I am well …

 

Glory to God for all things!

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst!

There has been some concern about the poor little hermit as you have not heard from me since August and the website could not be reached. At the end of my last blog post, I wrote “Dear friends in Christ, I fear that this will be my last blog post for quite some time, as I am about to retreat for God knows how long. ” Little did I know then … That retreat was only the beginning of weeks of monastic “soaking”… God is in charge and may His Name be blessed. I feel like a “pupa” … How long will “this” last? How many weeks, months away from the blog and “civilisation” in general? Please pray for me as I am trying to learn how one can pray for all mankind.

In Christ

PS. I am not back. I am still there …

Memorial Service for the Fall of Constantinople

Constantine_XI_Palaiologos

Constantine XI Palaiologos (Gr: Κωνσταντίνος ΙΑ’ Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, also Dragases ), was the last reigning emperor of the Palaiologos Dynasty as well as the last of the Roman Emperors. Born in 1404 AD in Mystras, he ruled from 1449 until his death on May 29, 1453, at the Fall of Constantinople.

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The Feast by the Sunday School at Perivolaki

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Constantine was the son of Emperor Manuel II. He was trained as a soldier and in 1441 conquered the Morea Peninsula of Greece. It had long been under the Frankish principality of ‘Achaia’ Constantine was crowned Emperor January 6, 1449 AD succeeding his brother. A little less than five years later in 1453 AD he was killed during the final assaults by the Turkish Sultan, Mehmed II on Constantinople. Constantine, with some 8,000 Greeks, Venetians, and Genoese, had faced 150,000 Turkish besiegers under the Sultan, and after almost two months of heroic defense, directed by the emperor, the city and the empire fell. Constantine died fighting with the last of his men. Going back to Augustus and the ancient Roman Empire, he was the 138th and last Roman Emperor.

Orthodox in general do not consider Constantine XI a saint, though there are some who incorrectly, personally consider him so because of their love of the Byzantine (Roman) Empire. However, the last Emperor has never been recognized as a Saint due to his heretical beliefs and his compromising of the Faith in order to gain material aid from Latin lands. When the Empire was in need, he sought Latin military aid by reaffirming the heretical statements of the Council of Florence. And it is said that he defiled the Church of Agia Sophia the day/night before the Fall with a blended Divine Liturgy and Latin mass. In attempting to preserve an earthly Empire, he lost a Heavenly Kingdom. In contrast, there is Tzar Lazar of Serbia, who gave up an earthly Kingdom for the Heavenly. The Faith is always more important than earthly possessions. May our Compassionate Lord forgive him and all his transgresions. (Orthodoxwiki)

St. Ipomoni, Born as Helena Dragaš. Before becoming a nun and assuming the name Ipomoni, Helena was the mother of Constantine XI Palaiologos. She lived a monastic life for over 25 years, after entering into the habit after the death of her husband. She died 1450AD and is commemorated by the church May 29. The relics of her skull and her icon are found at the Monastery of St. Patapios, Loutraki of Korinthos, Greece.

agia ypomoniupomoni2

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 37

mount athos

Touching Heaven! 

Christ is Risen!

I’m back!

I have all my data and files retrieved and installed on my new laptop. So once more I am able to inflict my poems on you. My “tech savvy” trusted helper patiently guided me through the installation, asking nothing in return. Such love and kindness inculcates a bond of respect.

However, I am going to miss my old keyboard, my new laptop is so sensitive to the touch! Things are different and yet the same- the same files but a new approach, a new style, a new image.

Quite recently, I met a former pupil in the city centre whom I had taught at school. He said:

“Hello sir!”  I haven’t been referred to as sir for some time! I searched my memory for a name, I hardly recognised him, not simply because of his physical maturity but because he had grown in confidence from the rather shy student I began to remember. He had changed and yet he was the same- his voice deeper but with the same inflection, accent and tone. When he began to speak, I knew who he was. What a joy it was to see him and to hear his news.

In the appearances of our Lord after his resurrection, his disciples do not always recognise him. The nature of His glorious resurrected body was so different and yet the same. His resurrected body contain the wounds of the crucifixion and yet it was transformed. His voice, His words, His actions reveal his identity.

2 Corinthians 3:18

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

Touching Heaven

John 21:4 “Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.”

 

The young monk stood upright head bowed in prayer.

Barefoot, he perched on rocks breathing the fresh spring air

The blue, tranquil lake lapped at his feet.

His eyes closed in mystery towards the setting sun,

Hands held aloft in reverence for the Holy One

Harmony of God and nature’s seat.

His leather holy belt hung at his waist

A sign of his ascetic labour and a taste

Of blessed Communion, Oh so sweet.

The stillness mirrored in his soul

Deep thoughts of Christ to make him whole

His heart in tandem with creation’s beat.

Here where sea and sky converge

This figure and Christ’s image merge

Earth touches heaven and for an instant meet!

To the Glory of God

 

“That is what the torment of hell is in my opinion: remorse. But love inebriates the souls of the sons and daughters of heaven by its delectability.”

St. Isaac the Syrian

Quick, While There’s Still Time!

 

I too meant to share with you but I am having problems with my laptop 😦 I tried to yesterday but was not able to … It is such a beautiful documentary! Even if someone is not so interested in the life of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, the scenery is breathtaking, the monastery “sightseeing tours”amazing,  and Jonathan Jackson’s acting is so good!

Update Saturday, 23 May: Actucally, there is time. You can watch the whole documentary on the great 20th-century Athonite spiritual father “Saint Joseph the Hesychast: ELDER JOSEPH THE HESYCHAST FILM (Άγιος Ιωσήφ ο Ησυχαστής)” , starring the Emmy-award winning Jonathan Jackson.

here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCZT8KvCsjU&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR2HqjqLGcpfIL4jlPzhEQsngfJT19nN8z7pPPS-ekcGDB1YPAxgP7RC9rc

 

or, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep9H5fM7d8c

lessons from a monastery

Christ is risen!

For a few more hours you can watch the full documentary of the life of Elder (Saint) Joseph the Hesychast for free!

I meant to include this link in my earlier post as a “treat” to share with you on my name’s day and completely forgot. Forgive me!

View original post

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 35

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Remember the little things- lifting the leaves–a Peace Plant and Basil miracles

 

Dear Friends in Christ 

Christ is Risen!

My peace plant that one Parishioner gave to me earlier this year is thriving. I was reading about the care of Peace Lilies and it said in the blog that when they need some water they will tell you as their leaves will begin to droop. Do not overwater! Plants may speak to us but what about us speaking to the plants? Eyebrows were raised some years ago when a prominent person admitted to talking to plants. I did not think this was odd.

 

Whilst not indulging in philosophical debate or tiresome monologue with my plants, I often say “Christ is Risen!” to them and show them a little attention by making sure that they have light, warmth, sustenance and care. Love, it seems, lifts the leaves.

 

I am reminded that God created the plants by speaking and they came into being:

 

Genesis 1:11-13 

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

We have been placed on this earth as stewards of God’s creation.

 Our Lord Jesus Christ told us to behold the lilies of the field and that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28) Indeed!

If speaking kindly words to plants helps them to grow, how much more will speaking encouraging words to our fellow humans help them develop and “lift their leaves”. We humans, it seems, require much the same as plants: love, warmth, sustenance, light and care.

 

I also want to share with you the little miracle that a parishioner witnessed back in 2013 when he transferred his Basil to Holy Water!

image

Glory to God

 

Love and prayers

Eν Χριστώ

Father Pustinnyk

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 31

 

The ruins and rock-hewn graves of St. Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham 2

The ruins and rock-hewn graves of St. Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham

There is an ancient Chapel dedicated to St Patrick which I often visit. I like to take friends and visitors there( when possible) and each time it is a blessing for us. The place is holy, graced by God and visited by His saints. There is a tangible feeling of the eternal energies breaking through time and space. It is a place which attracts people like metal to a magnet. Some are drawn by the sheer beauty of the place, some come for daily exercise or recreation and others come to pray and experience harmony with God.

saint-patrick-s-chapel Heysham

Saint Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham

At Tara today in this fateful hour

I place all Heaven with its power,

And the sun with its brightness,

And the snow with its whiteness,

And fire with all the strength it hath,

And lightning with its rapid wrath,

And the winds with their swiftness along their path,

And the sea with its deepness,

And the rocks with their steepness,

And the earth with its starkness

All these I place,

By God’s almighty help and grace,

Between myself and the powers of darkness.

 

The Rune of St Patrick

 

Inside st Peter's church heysham

Inside st Peter’s church Heysham

 

Here and now.

 

Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Here, St. Patrick’s monks made toil of prayers

And shared the task to foil the demons snares,

Here on this headland of Bannavem Taburniæ,

The work of saints confer a blessing still today.

 

Near is that realm on high where heavenly host

 Disperse the thoughts that charm us most.

 Here, upon this ancient Celtic Christian place

 A light shines upon the weary pilgrim’s face;

 

So that we may too reflect in holiness of life

 Struggling human flesh in ascetic pious strife.

 Here, where holy bread was broken

 Lies a shadow of that most holy token

 

A simple meal in fellowship

 A contract signed in partnership.

 Here, on Britain’s western edge of land and sea

 An eastern promise is fulfilled, made once in Galilee:

 

“Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.”

 He is with us now, to bestow upon the simple sage

 A truth perceived, perhaps a joy or word of inspiration,

 To those who gather here from every nation.

 

 Here where sea and human efforts ebb and flow

 The eternal veil is lifted high on those below.

 Here, where gold-red beams of sunset sink beneath the waves

 Christ, the Rising Son of times past, future and of present, saves. 

 

“What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.”

St. Isaac the Syrian

My prayers
Eν Χριστώ

Judgment in Three Acts

spring storm

 I was busy, stressed and prayer-less shopping at a supermarket when one of the employees called me out persistently, at least 3-4 times, ‘insisting’ I stop right there and turn around. Why? … She wanted to greet me with “Christ is Risen!” 

*

I finally met that person I had spent the whole day judging and quarrelling about with my family. How dare he try to solve that problem, my problem –my pain and my suffering–  in a different way than I would? … He was right! Not only did he also help me but he did so gently, with a great sense of humour and compassion.

*

I was walking back home when a wretched, ragged beggar stopped me and asked for a little money.  “Excuse me, ma’am. Please help me. I have not had anything to eat for the last two days!” He followed me pleading for quite some time. My heart was cold and I gave him nothing. I only turned back and looked at him perplexed at the softness of his voice. Then, he looked me in the eyes and gently blessed me: “May the Theotokos intercede for you and keep you under Her Protecting Veil!”  Ashamed, I changed my mind and decided to give him a little money, but  … too late! He vanished before my eyes!

*  Text by C. Photo by Jason Tiilikainen

 

 

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustynnik — 8

feeding birds

Remember the little things  #8

I have been reflecting greatly upon the first miracle of Our Lord which took place in Cana of Galilee, when, as a guest at a wedding, He changed water into wine. (John 2:1-11) The sheer grace and magnitude of this sign left me reflecting on how we work miracles and show hospitality in lockdown mode?

 Yesterday I had a knock on the door and there outside were two parishioners kindly and most generously bringing me some household items. As they stepped back two metres, it gave me the opportunity to offer them some incense, charcoal, floats, wicks and candles for their worship at home. We exchanged some kind and encouraging words through the “Chapel “window and they left.

 I know others from our God blessed Community who also go to the help of the poor, shop for the housebound and enrich the lives of others by their invitation to join them with online fellowship. 

However, I must tell you I show hospitality to some winged secret” guests .” Angels maybe in the Divine services, but I am talking about feeding the birds. Each day I leave some morsels of bread or nuts on my garden wall but whilst my back is turned they swoop down and take that which is given! So no photos!

 We too can change bitter waters into sweet wine if we show compassion, kindness and meekness.

The poem which follows is dedicated to my dearly departed spiritual father who showed me great kindness and hospitality and whose meekness was beyond compare.

 

The Wedding Banquet

John2:2 “Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.”

 

In South Cambridge Newnham terraces*, a place of late Victorian Mews

Where once the Deans of Cambridge held romantic rendezvous;

There is greater love in West View, which is from the east and old

That issues forth from Cana where living streams bear gold.

Where once the Saviour graced a marriage and turned water into wine

His disciples now shelter others in the branches of His Vine.

Here dwells a confluence of Christian souls of hearts and constant minds

Since “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.”

Such living streams of wisdom meander to a calm Bethesda pool

“Love never ends,” it is eternal for “Love is not time’s fool.”

“Love bears all things, believes all things hopes and endures all things”

Transcending any human love and in hands of angels brings

The indwelling of the Holy Guest with an invitation to the poor

To glimpse the wedding feast of the Father’s House through a simple terraced door.

 

“Oh, what great happiness and bliss, what exaltation it is to

address oneself to the Eternal Father. Always, without fail, value

this joy which has been accorded to you by God’s infinite grace

and do not forget it during your prayers; God, the angels and

God’s holy men listen to you.”

 

St. John of Kronstadt

*This poem refers to the home of my spiritual father and his Khouriya in Cambridge, England, and their enduring love.

My love and prayers,

Eν Χριστώ

 

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustinnyk — 5

puddle

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.

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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

Please Share Coronavirus Pandemic Vigilant Prayer

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Meanwhile, 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