The Mystery of Tomorrow

A dear sister in Christ, a nun in a Greek monastery, recommended Mother Gavrilia’s book to me a month ago, to study again, and draw inspiration and courage and faith in my poor, little missionary endeavours, by that Missionary and Unmercenary Giant. I am so grateful for this Holy Mother and her book. I have had it for many years and read it many times. Each time it goes deeper, deeper. I am reading this again after many years of traveling and the book was packed away. She always, through the message of the Holy Spirit-alive in her, has a word or two about my/your struggles. Especially now. I feel her so close to my side. Mother Gavrilia is such a role model in her fearlessness, her humility and obedience to God’s Will, her dedication to the service of all mankind, her Faith! May we have her blessing!

 

A poem in the book touched my heart so deeply: 

 

THOU HAST made me known to friends

whom I knew not.

Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own.

 

Thou hast brought the distant near

and made a brother of the stranger.

I am uneasy at heart

when I have to leave my accustomed shelter;

I forget that there abides the old in the new,

and that there also thou abidest.

 

Through birth and death,

in this world or in others,

wherever thou leadest me, it is thou the same,

the one companion of my endless life,

who ever linkest my heart

with bonds of joy to the unfamiliar.

 

When one knows thee,

then alien there is none,

then no door is shut.

 

Oh, grant me my prayer

that I may never lose the bliss

of the touch of the one

in the play of the many.

 

 [R. Tagore, Gitanjali, LXIII]

This poem, dated March 24, 1964, exactly ten years after she was “reborn”, was found among her papers. On the top of that page, she made the sign of the Cross

ic xc ni ka

and added:

24-3-1954

Athens-Israel-Cyprus-Lebanon-Jordan-Syria-Iraq-Iran-Pakistan-INDIA

24-3-1964

Jordan-Greece-Turkey-France-Switzerland-USA-France-Belgium-Danemark-Sweden-Germany-Greece-Lebanon-INDIA

 

Arvo Pärt – And then came the evening and the morning (1990)

 

 Mother gavrilia orthodox pilgrim missionary

“God is Love” … and Mother Gavrilia‘s entire life, which was a hymn to the Lord, became thanks to Him, a burnt offering, a holocaust to His Love.

 

mother-gavrilia orthodox pilgrim missionary

 

“Only one thing do I know that I have always, and it is not pride, nor fantasy, but that which I have day and night, wherever I find myself–three things: first, Faith; second, Faith; third, Faith. That’s all! Nothing else can I say to you. It has directed all my life.”

 

 

Visited by God

Jeanne Harper, Visited by God: The Story of Michael Harper’s 48 Year-long Ministry (Aquila Books, 2013), 146 pages.

Visited by God is the extraordinary spiritual journey of an extraordinary Spiritual man – Michael Harper. I think that I would not be missing the mark to say that Michael Harper was the leader of the Charismatic renewal in England and many other parts of the Globe. Beginning as an Anglican chaplain under John Stott at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, his journey finally culminated in his introducing an authentically British Orthodoxy as Dean of a new Antiochian Orthodox Deanery with English-speaking parishes all over the country.

His journey was a long and often ‘very difficult’ and testing one. In some ways I can liken it to the journey of St. Paul in that he depended solely on the Holy Spirit to lead him and lead him the Holy Spirit did! It all began in 1962 when Michael was visited by God while studying St Paul’s two prayers in his Epistle to the Ephesians. He ‘saw’ the Church as God saw her – broken by divisions and untended wounds.

It was almost from that very moment that Michael’s God-given mission for unity in the Church began. But there were many in the Anglican Church who opposed this renewal and together with Pentecostalism the movement was dismissed as over-emotionalism and therefore unacceptable. Inevitable disputes and arguments occurred but this did not deter Michael. On the contrary his detractors spurred him on! He continued to go wherever in the world there were people hungry for the power to live what they believed.

One might come to the conclusion that Michael’s journey as leader of the Charismatic renewal movement would result in a very broad liberality but when the Church of England’s General Synod of 1975 passed the motion allowing women into the priesthood, Michael felt more than just stirrings of discontent. Jeanne Harper describes Michael’s anguish which led to a most difficult and painful decision – to leave the Church of England – whom he called his foster mother, so faithfully had she cared for him and led him to his real mother, Orthodoxy.

Jeanne describes how he was led by the Holy Spirit to the Orthodox Church and in 2000 Michael founded the English-speaking Antiochan Orthodox Parish of St. Botolph’s near Liverpool Street, London. At the same time Michael was appointed as a director of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies Cambridge. And in 2005 he was elevated to Archpriest.

The silken thread of a spider is spun from behind him as he moves forward to spin his web. The spider cannot see his work until he looks back and then the pattern of his web with all its links is revealed. Looking back over the web of Michael Harper’s life one thing is clear – from the very beginning Michael’s journey had a pattern and this pattern was a pure reflection of God’s will in his life. Once this was achieved Michael was taken in 2010 and lives in constant joy and prayer along with the saints in glory.

Jeanne Harper shares this God given Spirit filled journey of her husband with the reader and in so doing cannot fail to make us all yearn for the presence of the Holy Spirit to touch and lead all our lives.

And let us not lose this opportunity.

Reviewed by David Suchet CBE

* Last but not least, the concluding chapter “The British Antiochian Orthodox Deanery Mission” is written by Fr. Jonathan Hemmings, one of the priests of the Deanery, whose parishes are strategically spread over England and are to be found in Ireland, north and south. The Dean who succeeded Father Michael, is Father Gregory Hallam, whose vibrant parish is in Manchester. Fr. Jonathan Hemmings ministers in Lancaster at the Orthodox Church of the Holy and Life Giving Crossworshipping at St Martin of Tours, Westgate. He writes the following chapter on the story of the Deanery and its missionary vision.

Illustrated by David Popiashvili

Jesus1

Stories about Jesus Christ

The always thought-provoking Jesus Question website, which traces the identity of Jesus through history, art, and pop culture, featured today David Popiashvili – Date of birth 1969, Tbilisi, Georgia; graduated from the State Academy of Fine Arts; Georgia Commonwealth of Artists member since 1997. Their blogpost made me smile! What an artist! Such beauty, “naive art” and childlike innocence, such freshness of vision!   … “In 2002 the IBT published a Georgian edition of Stories about Jesus Christ, a children’s book based on the four New Testament Gospels. They commissioned Georgian artist David Popiashvili, who studied at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, to create thirty-one illustrations for it. People responded so well to Popiashvili’s images that IBT decided to create a digital version of the book that includes Russian and English translations as well the original Georgian. You can access this edition here.

 

14

 

2456789121315

1

3031323334363738394041

4243464849505152

535456

3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Jesus Question

The Moscow-based Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) exists to translate, publish, and distribute the Bible in the 130-plus languages of the non-Slavic peoples living in the Commonwealth of Independent States (that is, in former Soviet Union countries).

In 2002 the IBT published a Georgian edition of Stories about Jesus Christ, a children’s book based on the four New Testament Gospels. They commissioned Georgian artist David Popiashvili, who studied at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, to create thirty-one illustrations for it. People responded so well to Popiashvili’s images that IBT decided to create a digital version of the book that includes Russian and English translations as well the original Georgian. You can access this edition here.

Annunciation by David PopiashviliThe Good News about the Birth of Jesus

Baptism of Christ by David PopiashviliThe Baptism of Jesus

Walking on Water by David PopiashviliJesus Calms a Storm

Good Shepherd by David PopiashviliThe Good Shepherd

Agony in the Garden by David PopiashviliJesus Prays in Gethsemane

Christ carries his cross by David PopiashviliCarrying His Own Cross

View original post 200 more words

The Magic of Nowness

red1     red6

Sidewalk Flowers is a poem without words, a picture book that speaks to us.

red13  red32

A little girl and her father are taking a walk in the city. The father is pre-occupied, worried, texting on his phone. He does not have time to look around.

red2  red5

The little girl finds tiny flowers growing out of cracks in the sidewalk and she gathers them, each one a little treasure.

red8  red9

She is the only colour in a black and white city, dressed in a red cloak, a fairy-tale girl in an urban desert. At first only the flowers she picks are coloured, then gradually other objects are given colour and Life by the poet-artist-author of the book.

red6  red31   red34    red33

The little girl gives away all her tiny flowers and keeps none for herself. A man sleeping on a park bench, a friendly dog, a dead bird.

red37 red39

red12     red40

She saves some for her family too.

red41   red42

In a very symbolic final gesture she puts a flower behind her ear and looks up at the sky. We have the choice too. To look at the sky and to gather flowers, or to attach ourselves to our mobile phones and electronic devices.

red43   red44

The book was inspired by the experience of the author-artist and his own little daughter.