The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustynnik — 6


Remember the Little things- Diary of a Pustynnik

Each day before I say my morning prayers I take a little antidoron (Blessed bread) from the last Holy Liturgy we served together in Church. I soften it in some hot water and sometimes in wine and consume for the day’s blessing for all. I take another piece of antidoron and cut it, dividing it so I find that with the grace of God it begins to multiply.

Holy oil

I light a small lamp in my Icon corner next to the Holy Icons and Holy relics of the saints. Even though this is the smallest lamp I possess and I do not fill it completely with oil( there is water in it too) -it lasts for over eight hours. What a little wonder!

Day and night God increases this bread and this oil. Christ’s blessings come to us when we look unto Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2




The Main Mover

John 28:18: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”


Grant my soul the wings to fly

Above the sun and starry sky

To move through infinity and climb

Through silent galaxies sublime


From earth to heaven


The Keeper of the kingdom praise

With virtuous hearts on high to raise

To seek the things which are above

Born of dust, infused with love.

 From earth to heaven


What work the Father made for glory

What hand that wrote Creation story

On the pages of history’s text

That moves from past to present and the next

 From earth to heaven


Then this middle earth will bow before

The Watcher over grace and law

When we strive to reach perfection

As the Way points out direction

 From earth to heaven


Our Eternal Master assigns vocations

Wrought in tasks and duties of complexions

Within the precincts of our earthly chains

Released from the cycled losses and the gains

 From earth to heaven


He who decides our earthly station

Determines too our destination

The wounded hands outreach to all

Extend the invitation call

From earth to heaven


JAH Based on the Hymn of Caedmon and the words of Father Porphyrios of Athos.


Christ is Everything. He is joy, He is life, He is light. He is the true light who makes man joyful, makes him soar with happiness; makes him see everything, everybody; makes him feel for everyone, to want everyone with him, everyone with Christ.


Love Christ and put nothing before His Love. Christ is Everything. He is the source of life, the ultimate desire, He is everything. Everything beautiful is in Christ.

Saint Porphyrios

The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustinnyk — 5


Dear Friends in Christ,

In these hard times, I have very little to offer you except my love and prayers and to inflict my poetry on you, a captive audience!!

Remember the Little things – diary of a Pustinnyk 

A little miracle happened this morning when my printer decided to fail and “go on strike.”I pushed various buttons at random but to no avail. The question mark on the printer display reflected my own state of perplexity! I was wondering how I was going to print the Akathist for Friday evening and thinking of possible alternatives? Well, the All-Holy Mother of God must have seen my anguish and came to my aid. On returning after prayers, I tried again and the printer worked perfectly. I am sure some with more technological skills will have a perfectly good explanation for how it came to work, but for me who is incompetent, my first recourse is to prayer. 

It set me thinking that the faith of little children is very simple even though they are computer literate; their questions are most perceptive and their observations often revelatory.


The shadow of the wind

Matthew 21:16 And Jesus said to them,

’Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants,

You have perfected praise’?”


The little boy held his Grandad’s hand tightly in the driving rain.

He suddenly stopped and looked down and stared at the puddle before him.

His Grandfather anticipated some mischievous action from his little grandson.

Was he going to jump into the puddle and make a splash?

But no, the infant just stood there, looking intently into the puddle.

Then he looked up at his beloved elder, and with enquiring eyes asked:

“Grandad, are those ripples the shadow of the wind?”

His Grandfather was reduced to silence before such an observation and search for truth.


Lord, you breathed the breath of life into my body,

Let my heartstrings be tuned to your Holy Spirit

 my song of praise be the shadow of my soul,

and may I learn silence before your Word of Wisdom. Amen


A loving word never annoys. An arrogant word shall yield no fruit. You must pray all day and all night for the Lord to let your children avoid dangers. God is merciful!

Saint Theophan the Recluse

To the Glory of God

The Prayer of the Heart During the Coronavirus Pandemic

What is the “Jesus Prayer”, the “Prayer of the mind” and the “Prayer of the heart”?

Metropolitan Neofytos Morfou has gathered several  very short prayers that we can use in our everyday life, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic:

  1. “Great is the Name of the Holy Trinity.”
  2. “Most Holy Theotokos save us and put us under your protecting veil.”
  3. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me/us”. 
  4. “Holy Cross of Christ save us through your power”. 
  5. “Great Archangel of our Lord Michael protect us”. 
  6. “Great Archangel of our Lord Gabriel illumine us”. 
  7. “Saint of God Nikiforos pray for us.” [Here any Saint can be invoked]
  8. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your servants”.  The first time we add their Baptismal names, and then we continue “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your servants”.
  9. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on all your world.”
  10. Then for the Departed, we pray to the Conqueror of Death: the first time “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your departed servants”, then we add their Baptismal names, and we conclude “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your departed servants”, as many times as we can.
  11. “Lord Jesus Christ grant me the patience and faith of the Saints”
  12. “Lord Jesus Christ grant me the repentance and tears of the Saints”

The more we practice them the more they deepen and encompass our mind and heart:

“… Noetic prayer” (also called “the prayer of the mind”) and “the prayer of the heart” are just two special stages of the Jesus prayer.

God willing, if a person advances in prayer, then the prayer starts to “work”—that is to say, work alone, in the person’s “mind.” The person doesn’t make any effort anymore, but the prayer is said unceasingly by God’s grace, even if the person is speaking, eating, or even sleeping. When we say that the prayer is said in a person’s “mind”—that is, the “prayer of the mind” or “noetic prayer,” we say that the prayer is said in the rational aspects (parts) of the soul that is in the areas of logic and intellect (νούς), usually translated as “mind.”

If a person advances more, then God’s grace takes the prayer from the mind into the “heart”—that is, into the irrational aspects of the soul—the inflammatory aspect and the appetitive aspect.

Then, the “mind” and the “heart” become united—and the person will overcome the internal chaotic behaviour of his/her aspects, and will then reach a deep, peaceful power: joy and wisdom conferred by the Grace in the unity of their soul. …”

Source: The Ascetic Experience

Have your Bishops and Fathers suggested any other prayers to fight fear, acedia and binge-watching TV/ social media/internet? Metropolitan Morfou Neophytos has encouraged all of us to use these very short prayers together with the Lord’s Prayer, O Heavenly King, the Psalter and Supplications to our Saints.

The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustinnyk — 4

Remember the Little things #Day 4

Dear friends in Christ

May God bless you and keep you safe.
I was doing my obedience cleaning the chapel after morning prayers when a ‘member’ of my community appeared. Platina decided to reverence the Icon corner where the relic of the True Cross is and then make a “metanoia”. She may have been sniffing but she certainly bowed her head!
My love and prayers
In Christ 
Later on, St Nicholas  agreed to join us in the chapel today but insisted on being in the corner guarding the  door 

My prayers ev Xp 
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The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustinnyk — 3

Broad Bean1broad bean2

Remember the Little things“, #3

Dear Friends in Christ,

 May God bless you!

Today as part of my “obedience ” I potted some broad beans. I found them in a packet at the back of my kitchen drawer when I was looking for a battery for the kitchen clock. In the end, I did not need the battery because the clock started going again after a few adjustments to its positioning (I had on Sunday changed the time to British Summer Time forwarding it by one hour).

 So, I planted some beans in a little compost I had left, hopeful of their growth to maturity and fruitfulness. I look forward to seeing them grow. I added some water and some ashes from the incense burner with which I bless my house each day and I leave the rest to God.


I offer this my poor poem to the Glory of God.

Three Acorns

Luke 2:51-52.”Then he went down with them to Nazareth and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.”


 Three little acorns adorn the desk

Latent and potent in their passive shells;

Wisdom, Stature and Favour are their names,

Passing time and patience tells

Of their strength and humbleness.

Only to be sown to be set free

To be buried

 Within the heart of me. 

Obedience is their nature

 And their story,

They are the very seeds

Of growth and glory.


“I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, “What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility”.

St. Anthony the Great

Saint Nikephoros the Leper appears in Bulgaria and gives the cure for Coronavirus

Saint Nikephoros the Leper appears in Bulgaria and protects from Coronavirus

“…… I learned from the internet that the journalist Angel Bonchev was preparing a book about the unknown for us Saint Nikephoros the Leper, at a critical moment when the world was covered by the coronavirus pandemic and thousands died, killed by this new plague.

I called him on the phone and he briefly told me about his suffering life and the heavy cross that had been given to him. I was very anxious and disturbed in the weeks before by all that was heard on the media, but at that moment I felt comforted, especially when I learned that St. Nikephoros had appeared to a man in Greece to inspire courage and a willingness to help people against this evil.

Since up to this point I did not have much information about his life, akathist, prayers, I was comforted by the little I already knew and told myself that the saint would help, I had faith that he would be with us, I felt close to him. I cried all night, praying to him, thinking about what was happening in the world and the cases of infected people that were growing every day in Bulgaria.

Saint Nikephoros the Leper: The first night

At 4 o’clock that night I fell asleep. In my dream, he visited me – Saint Nikephoros the Leper. I recognized him immediately. I saw him in his black dew, standing up, holding a golden cross in his right hand. He addressed me with the words: “Warn all Christians to pray to me, but repeatedly. Let them also read the services. There is a cure and this is the Holy Communion. There’s also a herb to drink, it’s thyme, it kills viruses. And in any case, be sure to visit the house of God at this difficult time, because there is no contagion there and no one can be infected. ” It was the first night.

Second night

The next night, he came again and said this time that many Christians, and not only, had prayed to him because he had also spread through social networks about his appearance in Greece. He also told me to tell my son to pray to him, but not only once, as he had once said to him, – that is not enough. “Many times,” the saint repeated. The next day I asked my child, “How many times have you prayed to St. Nikephoros?” And he replied that only once in the morning. I explained to him that it was not enough.

The third night

The third night I saw him again. But this time, the most important thing I understood was that Bulgaria would be protected from the virus. I turned to him with the question: “Will all of Bulgaria be preserved?” He said to me, “Yes!” At that moment I saw our country as a map, and he stood over it, over Southern Bulgaria, and more precisely somewhere over Plovdiv. And he said, “Ring the bells, ring the bells, ring the bells!” I asked, “Are there bells in the Diocese of Plovdiv?” “Yes!” He said very briefly and affirmatively. Then he ascended to heaven, and with his golden cross in his hand, he blessed from above. From the very cross, a light came down and illuminated the whole country. The last thing he said was, “It will pass!”

After all this, a tremendous change occurred in me – the reassurance and strength that Saint Nikephoros the Leper Coronavirus Miracle Worker breathed into me, in the face of the panic that has engulfed everyone in the world and in our country … “

Based on a testimony from Bulgaria

In the photo a monk with the icon of the saint of his name: Saint Nikephoros the Leper. Vatopedi Monastery, Mount Athos.

Source: The Ascetic Experience

The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustinnyk — 2


Remember the Little things”, #2

Day #2

Dear Friends in Christ,

God bless you

A virtual tour of my chapel!

Spot the difference!





Today it was my obedience to wash the white and embroidered Holy Table cloth which was made and given to our community by a Greek lady from Polydroso Marousi in Athens back in 1998. She also embroidered a matching Gospel book cover( kalima) with an icon of St Nicholas Planas. I replaced it with the beautiful cloth from Syria that Fr Christopher of blessed memory gave to me.

The lectern from where I read morning and evening prayer each day( and the Lord’s prayer at midday)is composed of a chair with five cushions, a throw and a runner. Unseasonal I know but effective none the less. You will notice my silent server in the corner Katharis…always there ready to wash my hands before the services.

Then there is my Vestry….well actually you guessed it, it’s a chair with my Vestments on it. Glory to God by His mercy He provides us with everything we need!

Today God supplied me with some parsley and thyme from my little garden which made the spaghetti and tomato sauce for my evening meal taste even better! Glory to God for the little things.

My love and prayers