Concerning the Last Judgement

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Never expect help!

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Not even ask for help! From anybody around you. Only from your spiritual father. And God of course. In prayer. God will give you all the help you need for the challenge in question and He will also send near you all those you need to help you. If that is His Will for you, of course. So, whenever a difficulty arises, do not waste any time and your peace of mind and do not start asking for help, or complaining for not getting any … Let go of all feelings of bitterness and pray! If anybody offers their help, by all means accept it humbly and gratefully, but do not seek, expect or hope for help from others. “Unless a man say in his heart, Only I and God are in the world, he shall not find rest.” (Abba Allois) 

* I was offered this word by S.Silouan today …

Monastery of Saint David the Elder (I)

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Evia pilgrimage . Our next stop was the Monastery of Saint David the Elder.

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In northern Evia, on the slopes of Mount Kavalaris, at a height of 927 meters above sea-level and at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Aidipsos, lies the Holy Monastery of Saint David.

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The monastery was founded and built in about 1540, thanks to Saint David.

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It was built in 1520 by the young (at that time) ascetic David, using contributions from rich monks and Christians of Greece, Moldovlachia and Russia. During the Turkish domination the Monastery became a shelter for the miserable inhabitants of the area and «hidden school» for slaveries. In 1824 Turks butchered all the Monks and burnt the Monastery.

After the Greek War of Independence, a new monastery was founded. In 1870 the Katholikon of the monastery that is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Jesus and to the holy founder Venerable David, was destroyed by an earthquake. It was rebuilt in 1877 by Anthimos Aggelis who was Abbot at that time. The largest estate of the Monastery was expropriated in 1933.

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The Main Church is where the relics of Saint David are kept, as well as his censer, his stole (of Russian provenance) and other valuable treasures.

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In 1951, in the priorship of Archimandrite Nikodemos Thomas, the Monastery was restored from the beginning and many new chapels (Saint Archangel Michael, Holy martyr Polycarpus, Saint Varvara, Saint George and Assumption of the Virgin, Venerable Eiriny Chrysovalantou, Saint Nectarios, Saint Vasil and Saint Demetrios) were built. A new building contains large guest rooms which can offer hospitality to over one hundred worshippers. Only one part of the east aisle of the old building of the Monastery is preserved. Of particular interest is the chapel of Saint Charalampos, that firstly was the cell of Saint David, where he stayed every Saturday. The Byzantine chapel (catacomb) of Saints Anargyros is found undamaged under it. It is decorated with marvelous wall paintings of the 18th century.

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The Igumen from 1975 to 1991 was Elder Iakovos (Tsalikis), who was formally glorified as a saint on November 27, 2017 by the Sacred and Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, following the approval and recommendation of the Church of Greece.The feast day of Venerable Iakovos of Euboea The New Ascetic was set on November 22 each year. His glorification was liturgically celebrated on Sunday June 3, 2018, at St. David Monastery, headed by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the concelebration of 30 Orthodox bishops from the Greek and Cypriot Orthodox Churches and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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The agionery (holy water) is found about 1 km north of the Monastery. According to tradition, Saint David struck the rock with his stick and it gushed curative holy water.

To the south of the Monastery, about twenty minutes on foot, near a ravine, the pilgrim finds a cave. It, according to tradition, was the room of the training (Asceterion) of Saint David, who lived on scanty bread all the week.

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It is worth mentioning the Reliquary of the Monastery, where, besides the relics of Saint David, relics of many Saints (Protomartyr Stefanos, Cyprianus, Justin, Tryfon, Charalampus, Panteleymon, Therapon, Anargyron Cyrus and John) are kept. These have been carried by David from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the patriarchy of Jeremia II the Grand (Tranos). In the end, Venerable David’s Russian stole and a Russian censer, his staff, old icons and three woodcut-crosses are saved in the Museum of the Monastery. One of the three crosses is from the era of Palaiologoi.

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The monastery celebrates: the Transfiguration of the Lord (6/8) Saint David (1/11) the Holy Unmercenary Doctors (1/7), Saint Haralambos (10/2), the Dormition of the Mother of God (15/8) and Saint George (23/4).

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Photos: Pemptousia

God and the Harlot

Did God desire a harlot? Yes, He did: a harlot. I mean by that our own nature. Did God desire a harlot? If a man desires a harlot, he’s condemned, yet God desired one, in order to make her a virgin. So the desire of a man is perdition for the woman, but that of God works for her salvation.

And this mighty and great One desired a harlot. Why? To become her bridegroom.

What did He do? He didn’t send one of His servants, He didn’t send an angel to the harlot, nor an archangel nor the cherubim or the seraphim. He Himself came, because He was in love with her…

He desired a harlot, so what did He do? Since she couldn’t ascend to the heights, He came down to the depths. He wasn’t ashamed to come to a harlot. He came to her hovel. He saw she was drunk. And how did He come? Not in His obvious divinity, but in the same condition that she was in, not in will but in nature, in case she was terrified at the sight of Him and wanted to escape. He came to the harlot and became a human person. And how did that happen? He gestated in a womb for a while and became like any other person. Dispensation, not divinity; the form of a servant, not of the Master; my flesh, not His Essence. He found her [i.e. our human nature, as elsewhere] sorely wounded, bestial, possessed by demons. She [We] saw Him and wanted to flee.

Then He said: ‘Don’t be afraid, I’m a doctor, not a judge. I came into the world not to judge the world but to save it’ [Jn. 12, 47]. And immediately, He called upon the Magi. What a new and strange wonder! The Magi immediately became the first-fruits. He Who holds the world in His hand lies in a manger; He Who cares for all things is wrapped in swaddling-clothes. There lies the temple [of the human body] and within it dwells God. The Magi come and immediately worship Him. The tax-collector comes and becomes an Evangelist, the harlot comes and becomes a virgin, the Canaanite woman comes and is shown mercy. This is typical of people in love: they don’t seek responsibility for sins, but rather they forgive mistakes and lapses. And what did He do? He took her and made her His wife. And what gift did He give her? A ring. What ring? The Holy Spirit. As Saint Paul says: ‘But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us the pledge [troth] of the Spirit in our hearts’ [II. Cor. 1, 21-2]. He gave her the Spirit.

Then He said, ‘Didn’t I place you in Paradise?’ ‘Yes, you did’. ‘And how did you fall from there?’ ‘The devil came and took me’. ‘You were planted in Paradise and he had you cast out. Well, I’m planting you within Myself and will hold you. How? He will not dare come to Me. I will not take you to heaven, but, even more than that, I Who am the Lord of heaven will hold you. The shepherd has you and the wolf won’t come again. Or, rather, I’ll allow him to come’. He bears our own nature, the devil comes and is defeated. ‘I have planted you within me’. This is why He says ‘I am the root and you’re the vine’. ‘But I’m sinful and filthy’ she said. ‘Don’t let that bother you. I’m a doctor. I know my own vessel and how it became distorted. It was clay before and was distorted. I’ll remake it in the water of renewal and fire it in the kiln’.

Pay careful attention here. Look what He does. He came to take the harlot but she- and I emphasize this- was wallowing in filth. This is so that you can see the love of the Bridegroom.

Before, she’d been the daughter of demons, a child of the Earth, unworthy of the Earth. Now she became a child of the King, because that’s what He Who loved her wanted. Love doesn’t examine the means. Love doesn’t see ugliness. That’s why it’s called love, because often it loves what’s ugly. This is what Christ did. He saw an ugly woman (because I can’t say she was beautiful), fell in love with her and renewed her, without blemish or wrinkle. Imagine, a Groom Who makes His ugly bride beautiful!

(St. John Chrysostom, Excerpts from his Second Homily to Eutropios)

 

 

An Orthodox Bible Reading Plan for 2019

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Is reading the whole Bible” one of your New Year’s Resolutions? Want a plan that will get you through the entire Bible in one year? Then have a look at this one year plan which has a lot to commend. Indicatively, a few of its most attractive features are:

1. The Scriptures are read in sync with the Church- the epistle and Gospel readings accord with the Lectionary of the Church;

2. Those Scriptures which the Church has most emphasised are emphasised- Using this plan we can read the Gospels and the Psalms through twice a year. (An Orthodox priest suggested the Psalms are recited rather than just read silently);

3. The daily readings are further divided, thematically,  into two separate sittings.

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Your thoughts?

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To download this one year Bible plan, click here.

To download its accompanying Psalm calendar, click here.

For more details and the rationale behind this specific reading plan, click here.

Ten Orthodox New Years Resolutions

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Making New Years resolutions? Consider the following Ten Points for a better Orthodox way of life. These will nourish your soul and bring you closer to God and an eternal heir to His kingdom.
1. Praying Daily: Have a regular prayer rule that includes morning and evening prayer.
2. Worshiping and Participating in the Sacraments: Attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy receiving Holy Communion regularly as well as regular participation in Confession.
3. Honoring the Liturgical Cycle: Follow the seasons of the church and participate in the fasts and feasts of the Church.
4. Using the Jesus Prayer: Repeat the Holy name whenever possible throughout the day or night.
5. Slowing Down and Ordering Your Life: Set priorities and reduce the stress and friction caused by a hurried life.
6. Being Watchful: Give full attention to what you are doing at the moment.
7. Taming the Passions: Overcome your habits, attachment to your likes and dislikes, and learn to practice the virtues.
8. Putting Others First: Free yourself from your selfishness and find joy in helping others.
9. Spiritual Fellowship: Spend time regularly with other Orthodox Christians for support and inspiration.
10. Reading Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers.
Link to guidance on these ten points: Ten Points for an Orthodox way of life

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Happy New Year 2019 to all dearly loved in the countries of my heart, and to all the world! This New Year is yet one more plain covered with snow, unspoiled, pure … Let us tread responsibly on this expanse of whiteness still unspoiled. So much depends on the way in which we tread it. Will there be a road cutting through the plain following Light and Love? Or wandering steps that will only soil the whiteness of the snow?

The Christmas Tree of Virtues

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On top it says:

The Christmas Tree in the Courtyard of Karakalou Monastery

 

On the bottom it says:

In view of the Nativity of the Savior Christ … if we need to decorate a Christmas tree, this would surely be the fruitless tree of our spiritual nakedness, which requires the needed decoration of the God-seeing, illuminating and incorruptible virtues…!

 

The tree is decorated with 40 ornaments of virtues, the top three being reverence for God, philanthropy and faith. It is then topped with the star of love.

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On this Holy Nativity, our wishes are for each human being to make his or her heart a cave for the King of Glory. We also pray to the newborn Child for you, that peace and quietness may abound in your heart, the peace that comes from the Lord of peace, to Whom we give glory and honour forever, Amen.