+ Memory Eternal — Vasiliki Ralli/ Sister Eirini

Today, at the age of 100 years old, Sister Eirini (Vasiliki Ralli) fell asleep in the Lord, at the Holy Monastery of Theotokos the Merciful in Patra. «Blessed is the way wherein you walk today, for there is prepared for you a place of rest.» in the company of your beloved patron Saints. Memory Eternal!

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The Back Seat

We are all born with a set of keys in our hands…
And it is up to us to decide what to do with these keys. It is up to us to decide who will do the driving.

I have watched people grab the wheel of their life. Struggle to keep the car on the track. Get stressed with the route, with the destination, with the angles, the curves, and the hills. Get stressed with the fuel, get confused with the maps. I have watched them get angry with their fellow passengers, fall ill from trying so hard and get lost amidst so much care and such stress.

But I have also met others. Humble people. People who sit in the back seat. People who, day by day, try to do their best but do not worry. Day by day, they do their best, and then, they let go… They sit in the back seat and let God be God. Let God do the drive…

I will tell you the truth.
I envy these humble people and want to become one of them…

By Eleutherios Eleutheriadis

Martyrs of Obedience

Saint Efraim of Katounakia

Christ is in our midst!

I would like to share a few thoughts about mental health disorders from the point of view of a carer. While in the UK, I worked in a care home for some time and had some experience interacting with mentally ill people. However, I was a member of a team and was not fully responsible for anybody. Now, things are tougher because I am in many ways wholly responsible and a carer 24/7. In so many ways I feel I too need long-term support…

‘Give blood and receive the Spirit’


“A woman knows she has conceived when she stops losing blood. So it is with the soul, she knows she has conceived the Holy Spirit when the passions stop coming out of her. But as long as one is held back in the passions, how can one dare to believe that one is sinless? Give blood and receive the Spirit. (Abba Longinus, Sayings of the Desert Fathers)

During this week my thoughts were on a recent saint, Elder Efraim of Katounakia, famous for his 42 years of the martyrdom of obedience to a very difficult, harsh and especially towards the end mentally unstable Elder Nikiforos.

I also reflected a lot on Sister Aggeliki of blessed memory and her obedience to her mentally disturbed sister, keeping her awake with all kinds of ‘happenings’ every single night for about 60 years (!), after her unmercenary doctor’s duties all day and night! I was reminded especially of her obedience to all kinds of crazy errands she was sent and/or accompanied and her long-suffering to all the insults and every name under the sun her sister was calling her for decades! Why did Sister Aggeliki not leave? For the salvation of her sister’s soul. Because, as much as she wanted to become a nun in a monastery, she knew that her sister would then be committed to a mental hospital and there she would be deprived of all the church services she so longed to participate in. And it was only during these church services and Holy Communion that she would be so surprisingly quiet, ‘saneand absorbed …

These were precisely my Elder’s words upon this new obedience: “it is very important that you are patient and do everything that you can so that this poor soul is saved and enters the Kingdom of Heaven!Not that I bear any resemblance to these exalted ones, but I too must give blood to receive the Holy Spirit and thus receive the baptism of long-suffering and obedience. Grace does not come without blood and tears.

Your prayers and your thoughts

My New Obediences

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst!

How fast time has flown!

How many changes in our lives!

I have no doubt

Our Lord has held us all

In the Palm of His Hand!

Since the beginning of the new church year in September,

I have become the cook and the personal carer of a mentally- ill brother.

Through the intercessions of

+ St. Euphrosynos the Cook, and

+ St. Dymphna, Patron Saint of mentally ill

My every hope I place in you,

Mother of God,

Keep me under your protection.

Asking for your prayers,

In Christ

* In Memoriam

+ Sister Aggeliki of blessed memory

A living signpost

At 106 years of age …

At 106 years of age, a Greek yiayia, or grandmother, named Anthi Katsouli stands in her yard every single day and prays for the entire world.

Born in the village of Katarraktis in the region of Arta in Epirus, Northwestern Greece, Katsouli has never left her beloved hometown, which is situated near the stunning Tzoumerka Mountains.

Greek yiayia prays for her fellow man each and every day

The Greek yiayia, who feels moved every morning by the beauty of her surroundings to pray for her fellow man, stands in her yard (which has an incredible view of the two waterfalls on the mountain) each day to do just that.

Yet recently, in a moment captured by her grandson Dimitris, and posted on his social media accounts, Anthi decided to pray indoors.

It was raining and the temperature had dropped significantly. Life in the village, which is located quite high on the mountain slopes, is quite difficult under these weather conditions.

Rather than stepping out into the cold, Anthi stood in her kitchen and opened a window to look out on the stunning mountain range before her.

When Dimitris asked his grandmother why she opened the window, she answered:

“So I can see God.”

Please continue at Greek Reporter

PS. And please forgive my return with two 100+ blog posts … I too am growing older… I feel I am running out of time … Your prayers

“Everything in this life passes away — only God remains, only He is worth struggling towards.”

*

And: “It is later than you think. Hasten, therefore, to do the work of God.”

Blessed Seraphim Rose

Nun at 100 !

Now: Nun Eirini at 100! Then: Vasiliki Ralli, a ‘simple’woman to whom St Raphael revealed his martyrdom after 5 centuries!

*

Vasiliki Ralli, a resident of Thermi Lesvos, was one of many witnesses of miraculous events which took place in the area and led to the discovery of the holy relics of Saint Raphael, Saint Nikolaos, Saint Eirini and other martyrs on the hill of Karyes in Mrs Ralli’s olive tree orchard.

Now: Nun Eirini at 100!
At 100, at her ‘birthday’, before the tonsure!

Yesterday, 5/2/2022, at her 100 years old ‘birthday’, Vasiliki was ‘born’ again and was tonsured as nun Eirini! Saint Raphael himself in a vision 64 years ago (!) had foretold to her that she would become a nun at the end of her life and she would receive the name ‘Eirini’!

Then: Vasiliki Ralli in Lesvos together with pilgrims and Gerondas Theoklitos on the left

More photos and videos of the tonsure here

PS: Please forgive my disappearance and very long retreat this time … Your prayers

A Letter to an Abbess Concerning the Vaccines (English Translation)By Elder Evthymios of Kapsala, Mt. Athos

Too long has our people been plagued with this painful coronavirus affair. Let them at last leave every one free to act according to his judgement, without pressure.

Elder Evthymios of the Cell of the Resurrection in Kapsala on Mt. Athos, a disciple of Saint Paisios of Mt. Athos, more than a year after his first letter, now writes a second letter concerning mandatory vaccination in response to questions from an abbess (dated 20 June 2021).

Elder Evthymios of the Cell of the Resurrection in Kapsala on Mt. Athos, a disciple of Saint Paisios of Mt. Athos, more than a year after his first letter, now writes a second letter concerning mandatory vaccination in response to questions from an abbess (dated 20 June 2021).

Venerable Abbess, your blessing.

I received your letter some time ago, and I beg your pardon for delaying to respond due to a lack of time. It is indeed difficult for me to respond to letters, but, because I saw your concern for all that has been happening in our days and your good disposition to act according to the will of God, I am responding to you.

I do not know you, and it is difficult for you to meet me as you desire. You ask whether you may share my response with others, to which I have no objection. Besides, my views on the coronavirus and the vaccine are well-known, and I say more or less the same things to pilgrims as well, when they ask me.

Every day, “like the waves of a billowy sea,” pilgrims come to Mount Athos and some of them even to our cell. All of them, as well as those who send letters, have but one anxiety and one question: “What will happen with the obligatory vaccine?” All of their other problems which used to inundate them have now been delegated to second place.

In his attempt to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, his Excellency the Prime Minister of our country has imposed a strict control, which seems to surpass the endurance of our people. He imposed the strictest limiting measures, the greatest fines, and the most extended lockdowns out of all the countries of Europe. He incompetently interfered in the matters of the worship of the Church by closing down the temples and depriving the faithful of the assistance of the sanctifying Mysteries with measures that are exceptionally strict and unfair toward Christians. His actions reveal his inclination to humiliate and weaken the Church.

In fact, in his excessive zeal to deal with the virus successfully, he has proposed a certificate of vaccination and announced that the vaccinated will enjoy privileges. This will not be a simple paper, a usual certificate. If (as we hope not) this is employed, then whoever will not be vaccinated and will not have this certificate will be excluded from everywhere. Τhe Council of Europe (2361/2021) has ruled that the vaccine is not compulsory and that there should be no discrimination between those vaccinated and those not vaccinated. Behaving despotically, the Prime Minister of Greece becomes, as we say, “kinglier than the king”, he divides the Greek people, and he enforces a dictatorship of the worst kind.

Some bishops have undertaken to apply this anticonstitutional and illegal attempt of the Prime Minister, threatening and blackmailing priests, monks, and the people of God to become vaccinated. Do they have such authority to force them to be vaccinated against their will?

Our Saviour Christ would heal only those that asked for healing. As for the rest, before healing them he would ask them, “Do you wish to be made well?” He neither heals nor saves us without our consent, although He greatly desires our salvation. God does not abolish our freedom. He respects our free will, which He Himself gave to us. According to the holy Chrysostom, “God does not force those that wish not” (PG 51, 143).

Our present-day “saviours” do not take us into account at all. Under the pretext of health they abolish our freedom. Then, from the fear of the virus we passed on to the terrorism caused by the compulsory vaccination. Unfortunately we are experiencing division, hatred, and the distinction of people into categories. The present-day situation is somewhat reminiscent of Greece at the time of the civil war. It prepares and prefigures the age of the Antichrist. Just as at that time whoever does not have the mark will be excluded from buying and selling, from public positions, and from travel, similarly, if this certificate of vaccination is put into practice, whoever is not vaccinated will be excluded from everywhere. Fear, coercion, surveillance are the common elements.

The topic of the coronavirus is of course, at first glance, a medical matter, but it has become more of political one (the politicians and the journalists speak more), it is also economic, and it has become a perfect means of enforcement and control. To be sure, it is also spiritual, since under its pretext our free will is abolished, while cells from an aborted fetus were used in the preparation of the vaccine.

Τhere are testimonies going around which are continually increasing, according to which at the airports there is a device that recognises who is vaccinated and also that on certain mobile phones with a certain application a twelve-digit number appears when a vaccinated man approaches. This evidence proves that the vaccinated can be tracked through the vaccine. On all these matters the experts will enlighten us and I believe that God will uncover the whole truth.

Much money has been employed and much advertisement has been done for this vaccine. Many have done it wishing to protect their health. They have every right to do so. We sincerely wish none of the vaccinated to come to any harm. Nevertheless, they should let the people be, let them free to choose. No one should nor has any right to coerce those that do not wish to do the vaccine to be vaccinated.

We are not against vaccines in general. The old, tried vaccines saved many. The newer ones have many unwanted effects. Regarding this specific vaccine people are justifiably fearful. This is a vaccine that became compulsory by law even before it was made, of which the producing companies were exempt from responsibilities and compensations, which was put into use so quickly before it was sufficiently tested, which does not fully protect the vaccinated, and every day we learn of serious side-effects and deaths of vaccinated individuals. We learn these facts not only from statistics but also from acquaintances and relatives of ours.

As we lamented for the death of acquaintances and relatives from the coronavirus, so now we lament for the sick and dead from the vaccine. To escape Scylla (the virus), is going to Charybdis (the problematic vaccine) the only solution? Is there no cure for the virus?

I am not a doctor to express an opinion. Nevertheless, I know doctors that have successfully treated patients with the coronoavirus using antibiotics, vitamins, and other medicine.A doctor that I know gave antibiotics and other medicine to hundreds of patients and no one died. There is a cure for the virus, but some people do not want it. They only promote the vaccine. I read the well-known statements of the French scientist Luc Antoine Montagnier, Nobel prize winner, who said, “There are effective cures which are also cheap, such as azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine. The vaccine is not a cure. Research must turn to the therapeutic approach.” If the vaccine was truly sufficiently tested and effectively protected without side-effects and deaths, people would be internally informed and all of this propaganda and pressure would be unnecessary. They would ask for the vaccine on their own. Too long has our people been plagued with this painful coronavirus affair. Let them at last leave every one free to act according to his judgement, without pressure.

In the difficult years that we are living, more than in any other age, our refuge and salvation is our Church. The Church is not simply the ark that saves us: she is for the difficulties. [I.e. she is particularly meant to help us especially in difficult situations.] Wherever science and human attempts are unable to help, the Church, when she uses her own spiritual means and her own salvific medicine, makes possible even the impossible and heals every disease. She is able to eliminate any epidemic, no matter how contagious and deadly it may be, as Church history teach us. Just as Noah’s ark, which prefigured the Church, contained both clean and unclean animals, so also our Church contains saints and sinners, righteous and unrighteous, masked and non-masked, vaccinated and non-vaccinated. There is room for everyone in the House of God. We must not separate people, nor should we consider the vaccinated as marked deniers of Christ. And again neither should the vaccinated reprove and unbearably pressure those that do not wish to take the vaccine, as is usually the case. In the future, when the truth concerning the vaccine will have been revealed, perhaps many will regret having done it, as some have already regretted it. It has already been announced that two well-known companies have withdrawn their vaccines as being dangerous. Is it with such vaccines that the Prime Minister is trying to build the much-promoted immunity wall? And does he have no responsibility for those who have suffered irreparable damage to their health and for those that have died? Are they playing with people’s health and life? How can we still believe that they are interested in our health?

Venerable Abbess! With these short lines I am expressing my pain of heart and replying to your question, which is similar to the anxiety and concern of a multitude of people. I worry over the division of our people. The political parties have always been partitioning and dividing the people. The Church unites us amongst ourselves into one body with Christ as the head. Even the name “Church” [Ecclesia – ‘congregation’] is a name of unity. History teaches us that whenever the people was divided, disaster followed. Whenever the enemies of our Nation were planning and “meditating evils” for us, they prepared the division of the people beforehand. Before the Fall [of Constantinople] they had divided us with false unions into unionists and anti-unionists, before the Asia-Minor Catastrophe into Royalists and Venizelians, before the civil war into communists and nationalists, and before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus into Macarianists and Antimacarianists. In similar situations the solution is not the submission of the Truth to falsehood for the sake of unity but the selfless struggle for the prevalence of the Truth which sets us free. We are in need of repentance and prayer that God may grant an end to this trial. The Holy Spirit, Whose descent we are celebrating, “calls all to unity”. Because He is also the Spirit of Truth, may He reveal to us the whole truth regarding the vaccines.

I pray the Trinitarian God grant His grace to all that act with pain of heart and sincerity for the health of men, to all that respect freedom, and to all that struggle for the unity of the people, giving hope and strengthening their faith.

With my love in Christ

And boundless wishes,

Priestmonk Euthymios

Cell of the Resurrection

Holy Mountain

7/20 June 2021

Translation/Source: orthodox ethos.com

Please Share Pandemic Vigilant Prayer

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Christ is in our midst.

A year has passed but the pandemic has not yet ceased. Just a few time slots remain to make this prayer truly “sleepless” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! 01:45, 02:30, 02:45, 04:15 and 17:30 UK time. This is a special request to our US brothers and sisters in particular. Please consider joining.
Your prayers

PS. Should you decide to join, please do not forget to sign up your name in the time slot you choose.

ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FAITH AND LIFE

IMG_1699 2Meanwhile, in Syria

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst.

Here is the link to a time table to pray the Jesus Prayer in the time of the Pandemic crisis. Please choose your time slot to pray the Jesus prayer for 15 minutes for the world. 
 

You can have more than one slot if you like and apparently, there is an option for people to have the same time slot if they use a comma or semicolon but it would seem best to use the available spaces first. The time zone can be altered depending upon where you are in the world.

*  Please share with your Orthodox friends. 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QagBKLCyxZJVtG8FX106QkrGMAXhf8u_GWVPiQEJXpk/edit#gid=2002126163

 

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