Elder Iakovos – Holy Monastery of St. David Euboea (Documentary)

Very important documentary about the sacred and blessed life of Elder Iakovos, the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. David in Euboea Island in Greece. 

Elder Iakovos (Tsalikis) of Evia canonized by Constantinople,
 November 27, 2017
According to exclusive information from the Greek-language Orthodox site Romfea, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate resolved today to officially number the blessed Elder Iakovos (Tsalikis) of Evia among the saints of God.(Original Greek-English Subtitles)

 

 

By Dr. Haralambos M. Bousias,
Great Hymnographer of the Church of Alexandria

The venerable Elder Iakovos Tsalikis, the admirable Abbot of the Monastery of the Venerable David in Evia, was a long-range star who shined in our days with the rays of his simplicity, his goodness, his equal-to-the-angels state and his numerous wonders.

Elder Iakavos was the personification of love, a living embodiment of “the new life in Christ”, a projector of virtue and a mirror of humility and temperance.

He embodied and experienced the testament of grace and delighted all those who approached him, since he was entirely the “fragrance of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:15). With his sweet words he gave them rest and conveyed to them the good things of the Holy Spirit, “joy, peace and gentleness” (Gal. 5:22), with which he was gifted, affirming the Gospel phrase: “Out of the abundance of the heart the tongue speaks” (Matt. 12:34).

Elder Iakovos was a spiritual figure of the Monastery of the Venerable David, sent by the philanthropic Lord to the modern lawless Israel and admonished them with the example of his simple yet venerable life and the grace of his words which were always “seasoned with salt” (Gal. 4:6). The Elder was not very educated, but he was overshadowed, like the fishermen of Galilee, with the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, making wise the unwise and moving the lips of those chosen by God to spiritually guide the people to salvation.

Elder Iakovos was born on November 5, 1920 to pious parents, his mother Theodora being from Livisi in Asia Minor and his father Stavros from Rhodes. In early 1922 Turkish cetes captured his father and led him deep into Anatolia.

After the catastrophe of our blessed Asia Minor, which was allowed by God for our sins and apostasy, the family of the Elder followed the hard road of exile. Their ship transferred them over to Itea and from there they settled in Amfissa.

There it pleased the Lord, in 1925, for his father to find them and together as a family they moved to Farakla in Evia.

At the age of seven the young divinely-illumined Iakovos memorized the Divine Liturgy even though he was illiterate. In 1927 he attended elementary school and was distinguished for his performance and his obvious love for the Church and sacred writings.

The appearance of Saint Paraskevi to the young Iakovos and the revelation of his brilliant ecclesiastical future stimulated the faith and piety of the young student.

Often the purity of his life led him to pray for his suffering countrymen, whom he would heal by reading prayers that were irrelevant to their situation, but he did it with much devotion showing to all that the “grace of God was on him” (Lk. 2:40).

In 1933 he completed elementary school, but the financial difficulties of his family did not allow him to continue his studies. So he followed his father in his manual work.

Impressed by his melodious chanting the Metropolitan of Halkidos consecrated him a Reader.

What impressed everyone was his ascetic life, his prayerful disposition, his love for work, his lack of sleep, and his strict observance of the fasts.

In this voluntary personal deprivation he came to add the involuntary suffering of the whole family and that of all the hapless refugees from the dispossession.

In July of 1942 the mother of the Elder died, foretelling his future as a priest. He joined the army in 1947, where he remained undaunted by the derision of his colleagues, who jokingly called him “Father Iakovos”.

However, he received admiration from his commander, who was among the few that sensed the future bright spiritual path of the young refugee.

After being released from the army in 1949, Iakovos, at the age of 29, was orphaned also of a father. His focus was on his sister, without, however, neglecting the thoughts of his childhood desire to enter the monastic state.

After his sister married, in November of 1952 he went to the Monastery of the Venerable David near Rovies, fulfilling his desire of completely dedicating his life to God. At the age of 32 Iakovos was tonsured a Monk, and on December 19, 1952 he was ordained a Priest in Halkida by Metropolitan Gregory.

He then continued his ascetic life in the Monastery, with concerted prayer in the cave of the Venerable David, with divine visions and miracles, which increased over time.

He achieved high measures in virtue and suffered many attacks from good-hating demons, who hated his equal-to-the-angels life.

He often saw and spoke with Venerable David and Saint John the Russian, while he was also made worthy of the gifts of foresight and insight.

Often during the Divine Liturgy he would see Angels serving him in the Sacred Altar, Cherubim and Seraphim encircling him covering their faces with their six wings, revering the slain Lamb, the God-man Jesus, on the Holy Paten, broken but not divided, forever eaten yet never consumed.

In August of 1963 in a wondrous way he satiated with three kilos of noodles 75 laborers with generous servings with half a pot of leftovers.

On the 25th of June in 1975 he became the Abbot of the Monastery and held this rudder firmly until his venerable repose on the 21st of November in 1991.

Due to his hermit and ascetic life, however, the health of the Elder was shaken, the veins of his legs rotted, and he had to undergo surgeries for his hernia, his appendix, his prostrate and his heart, even being placed within him a pacemaker.

From 1990 onwards his strength began to leave him. In September of 1991 he was hospitalized at the General State Hospital of Athens for a small infarction.

When he returned to the Monastery he suffered from inflammation, which, unfortunately, turned into pneumonia. He sensed his end.

The morning of November 21, 1991 he followed the Service for the Entrance of our Theotokos, he chanted and he communed of the Immaculate Mysteries.

After confessing some of the faithful he took a walk around the Monastery. In the afternoon he confessed a spiritual daughter of his and waited for the return of his novice Iakovos from Limni, who that day was ordained a Deacon by the Metropolitan of Halkidos.

As soon as the fathers arrived the Elder tried to get up, but became dizzy. His breathing became heavy, his pulse weakened and from his lips came a soft blow.

The Elder took the road to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The people who were informed of his funeral were few.

The phones, however, took fire and from one person to another the sad news spread.

The next day thousands of people flocked to the Monastery, clergy of all ranks and spiritual children of the Elder from all over Greece, who came to give their last embrace.

The courtyard of the Monastery was crowded. The funeral service was chanted outdoors and after his sacred body was processed around the Katholikon. During the procession many of the faithful saw the Elder get up from his coffin to bless the crowd.

Once the sacred body descended into the grave, with one voice the thousands of faithful with resurrection hymns and resurrection bells joyfully cried out: “Saint! Saint!”

Since then Elder Iakovos, with his dozens of posthumous miracles, has been classified in the souls of the faithful as a Saint, by those who await with longing his formal canonization by the Mother Church.

Translated By John Sanidopoulos

Source: Orthognosia
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Seraphima’s Extraordinary Adventures

 


The year is 1943, with communists oppressing Russia and persecuting Christians. The main character, a girl named Seraphima, dreams about a Palm Sunday celebration in a church where her father serves as a priest. The dream ends with the Soviet police taking her father away, and the church being blown up. 

Seraphima lives in a Soviet orphanage and secretly keeps a single reminder of her family — a cross. She finds it difficult to form friendships with the other girls, and the main teacher at the orphanage mocks and persecutes her.

Her friend tells her the house is full of secrets, including some resident ghosts. Seraphima visits a mysterious secret chamber under the stairs, to see one of them. From this moment, Seraphima falls into a whirlpool of incredible events, allowing her to shed light on the mystery of the orphanage, and the fate of her parents.

When the teacher discovers that Seraphima is a Christian, and that she secretly wears a cross, she has Seraphima banished from the orphanage. The girl refuses to renounce her faith, and she waits in suspense to find out who will arrive to take her away . . .

 

 

St. Gabriel’s fiery zeal

Saint Gabriel

Excerpt from the life of Saint Gabriel the Confessor and Fool for Christ of Georgia,   including rare video footage of him

 

“It is quite difficult for the contemporary generation to imagine the unusual spiritual ability of the young monk, who adopted unprecedented and astonishing steps during the terrible communist regime. … The Soviet government planned to keep him in the psycho-neurological hospital forever. But God had preserved the life of His chosen one not for such a fate. It is interesting to read an excerpt from the medical conclusion:

Georgian SSR Tbilisi Healthcare City Psycho-Neurological Hospital 19/1 – 1966, Tbilisi, 1, Electroni Str.

#666Patient: Vasili Urgebadze, born in 1929, 6 class education. Address: 11, Tetritskaro Str.

The patient is stationed in the city psycho-neurological hospital on 18.VIII.1965, and is brought from the prison for forced treatment. Diagnosis: psychopathic person, inclined to schizophrenia-like psychosis blanks. He was discharged from the hospital on 19/11/65. According to anamnesis he had a vision of a ghostly evil spirit with horns on the head at the age of 12… The patient proves that everything bad that is taking place in the world is due to Evil. From the age of 12 he started to go to churches, prayed, bought icons, and studied church literature… He ate nothing on Wednesdays and Fridays. Grown-ups and soldiers laughed at his nonsense: “On Wednesday Judas sold Christ for thirty silver coins, and on Friday the Jewish priests crucified him”; he was totally hallucinating. It was clear from the case that at the 1 May 1965 demonstration, he burnt a big portrait of Lenin, hanging on the building of the Council of Ministers. After interrogatory he said he did this because the picture of the Crucifixion of Christ should hang there and that it was not possible to idolize an earthly man – the doubt appeared in regard to his psychic health, due to which he was sent to court-psychopathic expertise. The examination showed the patient’s orientation is disoriented in place, in time, and in environment. He talks to himself in a low voice: he believes in the existence of heavenly beings, God and angels, etc. While talking, the main axis of a psychopath is always turned to that everything depends on God’s Will, etc. He is isolated from the other mental patients in the department. When someone talks to him, he surely mentions God, angels, and icons, etc. He is unable to criticize his condition. He was treated with the aminazinophrazia and syptomicine therapy, after which he passed commission.

Act of stationary #42 1965

Chairman of the commission: candidate of medicine, chief physician T. Abramishvili,

Members: J. Shalamberidze and physician Kropov.

He was discharged from the hospital on 19 Jan. 1965 and was taken home by his mother.

Physician: Lezhava 19 Jan. 1966.

 

… From that time on, Father Gabriel decided to completely change his lifestyle, which was too painful for him. Now he was determined to pretend as being mentally ill and to outwardly refuse his usual way of life. Instead of being in silence, he loudly preached in the streets. If till now he completely refused to drink wine, now he drank among people and pretended to be drunk. To pretend being foolish is an unusual feat which requires a spiritual strength and divine mind. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Cor. 1:25).

 

Source: Mystagogy Resource Center by John Sanidopoulos

Healing Fear

Year: 2013 (released 2014)
Running time: 110 minutes
Director: Oleg Sytnik
Cast: Vitaly Bezrukov (Luke), Ekaterina Guseva, Andrew Saminin, Alexander Jacko, Vladimir Gostyukhin, Alex Shevchenkov
Manufacturer: “Patriot Film” (Ukraine, Belarus), with the support of the State Agency of Ukraine for movies and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus
Synopsis:
The film “Luka” is the dramatic destiny of of the world famous surgeon who would become St. Luke of Crimea, the great surgeon and priest — V. Voyno-Yasenetsky (Luka).
The year was 1917. Young doctor Valentin Voyno-Yasenetsky with his wife and four children moved to Tashkent, beset by civil war. Voyno-Yasenetsky became head physician in the city hospital. He not only saved hundreds of patients every day, operating under the bullets of the permanent street battles, but he fought for his life and the life of his beloved wife, dying of TB. In the midst of communist persecution, he was alone with four children on the outskirts of the former empire, so he decides to become a priest. And since then, he never gave up either scalpel or cross, and he went with them through all their hard exiles and arduous life, treating both body and soul.

 

St. Luke of Crimea was an Archbishop in the Russian Orthodox Church during Soviet times and an occasional prisoner on account of his faith, suffering extended physical torture in Soviet gulags for as long as 2 years at a time.

He is called the “Blessed Surgeon” because in addition to his work in the Church he was also a practicing doctor and professor of medicine, known internationally for his research on anesthesia and his innovative surgical techniques. St. Luke reposed in the Lord in 1961, and his prayers and relics are known to heal many people today of physical maladies.

Noli Me Tangere

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art

 

Touch Me Not

 

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art

‘Touch Me Not’ theme in Byzantine Iconography and Western Art

 

I must say right away that although I am an Art lover, I do not consider any of the paintings presented in the analysis below as either ‘beautiful’ or ‘Art’, let alone spiritual, in any sense. (Ok. probably the first three, the early Middle Ages, pass the mark) Their ‘fleshliness’ and ‘wordliness’ deeply offend and appall me. Just look at the corresponding Byzantine icons “Touch Me Not” (in Greek: Μη μου άπτου, Mi mou áptou), which show the appearance of the Resurrected Christ to Mary Magdalene as described in the Gospel of John :

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western ArtMagdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art

If the long flowing hair of a female Saint is considered (and rightly so) not common in Orthodox iconography, inappropriate for a number of reasons, and a borrowing from Western art of the time, how are we to feel with the Resurrected Jesus wearing a floppy sun hat ?!

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Oh, the spirituality and ineffable, ethereal Beauty of Byzantine Art, especially its iconography! How movingly does Andrei Tarkovsky capture it in the concluding scene of Andrei Rublev!

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Let us now turn to the original article and more about ‘my’ views on the matter in the coming week’s blog posts. Hopefully I should be able to explain better my mind as to why i do not consider such paintings ‘Art’, let alone ‘Sacred’.

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“In his Gospel John records that on the Sunday morning following Jesus’s crucifixion, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and, finding it empty, started to weep, for she thought someone had taken the body. In her worry and frustration, she “turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus . . . supposing him to be the gardener” (John 20:14–15). It isn’t until he says her name that she recognizes him.

Artists—mainly from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries—have latched onto this detail of mistaken identity, representing Jesus carrying gardening tools, like a shovel or a hoe, and sometimes sporting a floppy gardener’s hat. A few artists, such as Lavinia Fontana, Rembrandt, and the illuminators of the book of hours and passional shown below, have even shown Jesus in full-out gardener’s getup. (In her commentary on John, Dr. Jo-Ann A. Brant mentions that the fact that Jesus left his burial clothes in the tomb, coupled with Mary’s confusion, might provoke the “fanciful speculation” that Jesus actually borrowed the gardener’s clothes. Nevertheless, a different understanding is more likely behind the artistic representations; read on.)

 

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Attributed to Jacopo di Cione (Italian, 1365–1398/1400), Noli me tangere, ca. 1368–70. Pinnacle panel from a Florentine altarpiece, now in the collection of the National Gallery, London.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene, from a Biblia Pauperum (typological picture book), ca. 1405, Netherlands. British Library, London.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Fra Angelico (Italian, ca. 1395–1455), Noli me tangere, 1440–42. Fresco from the convent of San Marco, Florence, Italy.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Israhel van Meckenem (German, ca. 1445–1503), Noli me tangere, 1460–1500. Engraving. British Museum, London.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Sandro Botticelli (Italian, 1445–1510), Noli me tangere, ca. 1484–91. Predella panel from an altarpiece from the convent of Sant’Elisabetta delle Convertite, Florence, Italy, in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Master of the Dark Eyes, “Christ Appears to St. Mary Magdalene as a Gardener,” from The Hours of the Eternal Wisdom: Lauds (KB, 76 G 9), fol. 88r, ca. 1490. Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), The Hague.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
“Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene as a Gardener” (detail), ca. 1503–1504, England. Fol. 134v, Vaux Passional(Peniarth 482D), National Library of Wales.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Noli me tangere, 16th century, Limoges, France. Enamel plaque, 27 × 19 cm.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528), Noli me tangere, 1511. Woodcut. British Museum, London.
Titian (Italian, ca. 1488–1576), Noli me tangere, ca. 1514. Oil on canvas, 110.5 × 91.9 cm. X-ray photographs show that Christ was originally painted wearing a gardener’s hat.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Hans Baldung (German, ca. 1484–1545), Christ as a Gardener, 1539. Oil on canvas, 110.1 × 84.1 cm. Hessen State Museum, Darmstadt, Germany.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene, 1540/45. Tapestry, 210.3 × 268 cm. Design attributed to Michiel Coxcie (Flemish, 1499–1592) or Giovanni Battista Lodi da Cremona (Italian, active 1540–1552). Woven in the workshop of Willem de Pannemaker (active 1515–ca. 1581). Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Noli me tangere, ca. 1560–70, Germany. Ink and wash on paper.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Agnolo Bronzino (Italian, 1503–1572), Noli me tangere, 1561. Oil on canvas, 291 × 195 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Lavinia Fontana (Italian, 1552–1614), Noli me tangere, 1581. Oil on canvas, 80 × 65.6 cm. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669), Noli me tangere, 1638. Oil on panel, 61 × 49 cm. Royal Collection Trust, London.
Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Noli me tangere by Edward Burne-Jones (design) and William Morris (execution), 1874. Bottom right stained-glass panel of the Vanderpoel Window, Trinity Church, Saugerties, New York.

The portrayal of Jesus as a gardener isn’t meant to suggest that Jesus was literally gardening that day—though he might have been, and that’s amusing to think of. Rather, it alludes to his role as one who “plants” us and grows us. He gets his hands dirty in the soil of our hearts, bringing us to life and cultivating us with care so that we flourish.

According to Franco Mormando, whose research involves the religious sources of Renaissance and Baroque Catholic art, Jesus the gardener was a traditional theme of orthodox scriptural exegesis and popular preaching that traces its origins to patristic times. In a 2009 article for America magazine, he writes,

Mary’s misidentification was meant to remind us, so the pre-modern exegetes taught, of a spiritual reality: Jesus is the gardener of the human soul, eradicating evil, noxious vegetation and planting, as St. Gregory the Great says, “the flourishing seeds of virtue.” Although today out of circulation, this teaching was disseminated in [the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries] in such popular, authoritative texts as Ludolph of Saxony’s Life of Christ (a book that played a crucial role in St. Ignatius Loyola’s conversion) and [starting in the seventeenth century] Jesuit Cornelius a Lapide’s Great Commentary on Scripture.

The Bible makes explicit the connection between God the Father and gardening. Genesis 2:8 tells us he was the world’s first gardener: “And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” The prophets sometimes wrote of God’s gardening in a metaphoric sense—for example, in Isaiah 61:11: “For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, / and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, / so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise / to sprout up before all the nations.” Or Jeremiah 24:6, in which God says of the exiles from Judah, “I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up.” Furthermore, Jesus’s parable from John 15 casts God as a vinedresser.

John’s Gospel, though, goes even further to ascribe this role to Jesus, and to present his resurrection as the genesis of something new. For example, the prologue to his Gospel starts, “In the beginning . . . ,” an obvious echo of the prologue to Genesis. In 19:41 he mentions that Jesus was buried in a garden, and in chapter 20, that he was found walking around in it. He mentions twice that Jesus rose on “the first day” of the week, as if this were the first day of a new creation (cf. Genesis 1:35). And then he has Mary mistake Jesus for the gardener. When taken in concert with Paul’s conception of Jesus as the Second Adam (Romans 5:12–211 Corinthians 15:21–22, 45), these allusions suggest that Jesus is the gardener of the new Eden, doing what Adam could not do. His resurrection broke ground in this garden, marking the beginning of a massive restoration project.

That’s why Jesus is so often found toting a shovel in the resurrection art of Renaissance and Baroque Europe. He is the caretaker of humanity, bending down to bring us up, to make us full and healthy and beautiful. Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on the topic back in 1882, in which he declares,

Behold, the church is Christ’s Eden, watered by the river of life, and so fertilized that all manner of fruits are brought forth unto God; and he, our second Adam, walks in this spiritual Eden to dress it and to keep it; and so by a type we see that we are right in “supposing him to be the gardener.”

More recently, Andrew Hudgins—inspired by the imagination of visual artists—wrote a poem called “Christ as a Gardener.” You can read it in full here.

I’m curious to know whether any modern artists have exegeted John’s text in the same way—that is, portraying Jesus as a gardener in his appearance to Mary Magdalene. Besides a pen, brush, and chalk work by Anton Kern, done in a Baroque style, I am aware of only a few, the first of which is Graham Sutherland’s 1961 altarpiece in the St. Mary Magdalene Chapel of Chichester Cathedral. Commissioned by Walter Hussey, one of the twentieth century’s most important patrons of sacred art, Graham Sutherland painted two versions of Noli me tangere. Hussey chose the one that shows a door opening out into a garden and Christ wearing a sun hat made of straw, pictured below. (Click here to see a longer shot of the painting in its chapel context.) The alternate version is in the Pallant House Gallery, also in Chichester.

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Graham Sutherland (British, 1903–1980), Noli me tangere, 1961. Oil on canvas. St. Mary Magdalene Chapel, Chichester Cathedral, England.

Back in 2010 Jyoti Sahi posted an oil painting on his blog along with three others under the heading “The Resurrection.” I think the signature says 1987, but it’s hard to tell, as it’s cut off in the photo. In it Jesus carries an oversize scythe while Mary anoints his feet, just as she had done a week earlier, when she had shed tears in anticipation of his death (John 12:1–8). The outline around her is reminiscent of a kernel of wheat.

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
Jyoti Sahi (Indian, 1944–), The Resurrection. Oil on canvas.

Most people associate scythe-wielding figures in art with the Grim Reaper—that is, Death—due to an iconography that stretches all the way back to the fourteenth century. But the Bible associates scythes with Jesus, the lord of the harvest (Matthew 3:12Matthew 13:2430Revelation 14:14–20), the harvest being the end of the world. Only those who have rejected Jesus need fear his Second Coming, for those who have grown in his word will be gathered up into heaven. This painting in particular reminds me of Psalm 126:5: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy”—a beautiful song of ascents that has been set to music by, among others, Bifrost Arts. Mary had wept penitently over her sin, and then later over the impending execution of her Lord, and still again at his grave, but now, because of his Resurrection, she enters into his presence with shouts of joy, and even more cause for worship.

Lastly, He Qi’s Do Not Hold On to Me from 2013 also references the Jesus as gardener metaphor, but because the head of the shovel isn’t visible, it’s not as obvious.

Magdalene and the Resurrected Lord, Byzantine icons and Western Art
He Qi (Chinese, 1950–), Do Not Hold On to Me, 2013. Oil on canvas.

Do you know of any artworks from recent times that take on this theme?

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St. Paisios the Athonite

Icons, Photographs and Video on his feast day

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I may be on a pilgrimage in Romanian monasteries, but St Paisios’ the Athonite, my patron Saint‘s, presence is strongly felt all over Romania. Plenty of icons of his and books with his services and spiritual counsels in all monasteries and churches I have been so far! I truly regret having to leave this week of all weeks Greece, but thanks be to God, while this was going on inside Souroti monastery church on July 12, and this outside the church, near his tomb

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Much longer queues than in 2013 … every year longer! The Lord is glorified in His saints!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the faithful all over in Romania were holding Vigils and praying Akathists and Supplication canons, asking for his prayers.

Wherever I go, the moment Romanians realise that I am Greek and my home town is near Souroti, they start asking for my telephone number and email, so that I can make arrangements and help them go and venerate his tomb.

 

Just in case you missed it, this is a beautiful documentary (in Russian with English subtitles) about the life of St. Paisios the Athonite and his years spent on Mount Sinai in Egypt.

And another one:

And yet another one by the Patriarchate of Moscow (a film documentary of six episodes with total duration of 5 hours on the holy life and work of Saint Paisius of Mount Athos):

With a Sling and With a Stone

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THIMBLERIG’S ARK is a blog which records one writer’s journey through faith, art, and life which I personally find very inspiring and highly rewarding. This film review is fresh, honest and constructive. “Should Christians Support Christian Content?” he asks in another blog entry, only to conclude, and rightly so in my opinion, that discernment should be applied. Bad art is simply not art, no matter if someone wants to call it “Christian” art. And I can’t agree more with another aside of his: ‘“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Phil 4:8) I don’t see “Christian” anywhere in that list, so that doesn’t seem to be an automatic criterion for what I dwell on.’ This specific quotation from the Epistle of Paul and Timothy to the Philippians and the interpretation provided above are a central preoccupation of my blog too.

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Thimblerig's Ark

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2014 saw the release of some major Bible-themed movies, movies backed by serious Hollywood studios, movies involving household name actors, directors with impressive filmographies, and budgets in the hundreds of millions.

Financially, the movies did respectfully, but they failed to make any sort of connection with the elusive “faith-based” audience – the audience willing to come out in droves for movies like God’s Not Dead or the films of the Kendrick Brothers.

The cry went out from faithful filmgoers everywhere, complaints that the films were not biblically accurate, that too many liberties had been taken, that our sacred stories should never have been entrusted into the hands of nonbelievers, and that one of us needed to do a Bible story properly, to show the world just how amazing our stories can be.

Veteran director Tim Chey answered that call, purportedly raising over 50 million dollars so that he could make a movie version of…

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