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

 

The Text for Tonight’s Mount Athos Vigil Service

Mount Athos Vigil

For the All-night All-Night Vigil text, go here

Unfortunately, the text in the link below is available only in Greek, but I thought that nonetheless, I should share it, just in case … All prayers, though, are most welcome. Nothing is lost in Christ.

* Please share. 

Return of the Catacomb Church

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Christian Gatherings in the Early Church

“Doesn’t it impress you that the faithful met in the catacombs and secret places, using secret methods so as not to be detected by their oppressors? Yet they insisted on meeting every night. They endangered their very existence and risked confiscation of their property. Did you ever ask yourself why they did it when any one of them could have asked, ‘Why must I leave my house and expose myself to danger by going out to a secret Church gathering?’ Couldn’t each person have stayed home and worshipped God by himself? In fact, the faithful acted this way because it was in this manner that the presence of the Church was established in history. They gathered because they needed to reinforce the presence of the Church among them, regardless if the pagans or non-believers were persecuting them. Rather, they gathered as the faithful who have the presence of the Church and consequently, the Body of Christ. The Church was and is proof of Pentecost. For us, who are gathered here and for everyone gathered in every Church, we gather, not only for the sermon but also for the worship… Take courage brothers and sisters, Christ is in our midst!”

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lessons from a monastery

early-chruchBelow is an excerpt from Revelation: The Seven Trumpets & The Antichrist (Vol III), a commentary on the book of the Revelation by Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios of Larisa (pp.79-80). The passage the elder is commenting on is Revelation 10:1-4

I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do…

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Montenegro Serbian Orthodox Church in Coronavirus Times

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My brothers and sisters, Christ is in our midst. This Sunday 22/4/2020, in Montenegro, Holy Liturgies were offered open to the faithful, not in defiance of a ban on public gatherings as part of measures to protect people from infection, but cooperating with the authorities. At the special request of Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović (Serbian Cyrillic: Амфилохије Радовић), the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, and the faithful, with the cooperation of Prime Minister Markovitz, Minister of Justice Zoran Pažin and Police chief  Veliovitz.  Sign of the times? Your thoughts? A Photoblog.

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Source: enromiosini. gr

 

Coronavirus Pandemic Prophecy

street blessing with Holy Water in Orthodox Georgia

Street blessing with Holy Water in Georgia

Dearest brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst!

 

As all monasteries have closed to the public in Greece and the faithful attend the church services on-line, our spiritual fathers communicate with the faithful primarily via email. Here are Elder Theoklitos’ from Saint Arsenios Monastery in Vatopedi, one of St. Paisios’ closest disciples, last words:

“These days I am reminded of +Elder Gabriel’s [Mount Athos Dionysiou Monastery] prophecy of biological warfare and Revelation in the 1970’s. We visited the monastery then together with another pilgrim, a very well known spiritual father in Greece I do not want to disclose his identity now. While Elder Gabriel was explaining the frescoes in their Trapeza to us, he paused in front of that of the Second Coming, pointed a detail to us and told us: ‘This stands for biological warfare. I will not live to see this, but you will’. These were his exact words. And indeed with the Coronavirus pandemic, this biological warfare has started. 

Now, it is high time to start seriously repenting, stop judging anybody at any cost –a grave sin which separates us from God– forgive and ask for forgiveness from our ‘enemies’, properly confess our sins and be ready to meet Our Lord at any time because no matter what protection we take for ourselves and our loved ones, we cannot really be protected from this, and nobody knows when our time will come, and when the Lord will call us for our trip to eternity. …”

These two points Elder Theoklitos repeated them twice: in both the brief church homily after the Holy Liturgy –which he never does but Fr Synesios always instead– and in the separate homily he offered in the guests’hall at the end of the church services. Probably because not everybody stays for this longer homily, as they are travelling from afar, he made this exception so that everybody would hear this.

Lord have mercy!

 

To Be Continued …

Holy NeoMartyr Alexander the Dervish from Thessaloniki, Laodigitria (+ 1794)

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Verses
Give your head O straight-forward Alexander,
And receive a crown from the hand of the Lord.

 

Alexander was a very handsome, young Orthodox Christian from Thessaloniki who lived in Laodigitria — the church/monastery I presented in my previous blogpost — and was sent to Smyrna by his parents who sought in this way to protect their son from the local Muslims. Unfortunately, however, Alexander did come under the influence of the Muslim faith and accepted Islam. Moreover, he later made a pilgrimage to Mecca and even became a dervish, that is, a member of a Muslim monastic order.
It was not long, however, before his conscience began to trouble him. He found he could not tolerate the position he was in, that is, he could not stand by silently while Orthodox Christians, to whom he still felt related, were persecuted. To lighten the burden of his conscience, he began to feign insanity. While playing the role of a madman, Alexander tirelessly rebuked the Muslims for the injustices they committed against the Christians.
Later, while in Egypt, some Muslims from the island of Crete plotted to murder him because, as time went by, he sounded more and more like a Christian and less like a Muslim. Before their evil plans could be carried out, Alexander left Egypt and returned to Thessaloniki.
Later he went on to the island of Chios where he still dressed as a dervish but began to attend Orthodox services and continued to preach to the Muslims in Chios, beseeching them to act with justice towards the Orthodox.
From Chios, Alexander returned to Smyrna, the city where he had first abandoned his Orthodox Christian faith. The time had now come for him to witness for Jesus Christ. Voluntarily he appeared before the kadi of the city and told him his story. He said:
“Mulla! I was an Orthodox Christian and because of my foolishness, I denied my faith and became a Muslim. Later I realized my former faith was light, which I lost, while your faith, as I have come to know it, is darkness. So I have come before you to confess I have made a mistake by denying the light and accepting the darkness. I was born an Orthodox Christian! I want to die an Orthodox Christian! Behold, you have heard my decision, Mulla, now do to me whatever you wish, for I am ready to endure every torture and to even spill my blood for the love of my Jesus Christ, whom I wrongly denied.”
After these words were spoken, Alexander took off his Muslim head covering and replaced it with a Christian one. Those present in the courtroom could not believe their ears. In fact, they thought they must be listening to a madman.
But one by one, beginning with the mulla, they began in a soft sympathetic voice to tell him he had spoken unheard-of things, and perhaps he was not well and should come to his senses. How could he, a dervish, shame his religion and his integrity in such a manner?
To all of these remonstrances, Alexander responded: “It is true, I was out of my mind, but now frankly I have come to my senses and I confess my iniquity. You say because I am a dervish, how do I say such things? I truly speak the truth, for I have gone to your Mecca, and have examined all of your faith, and I have understood everything about it to be false and abominable.”
The Muslims present responded to Alexander’s declarations by saying he must be drunk, and as such they had him put in prison. On the following day when more Muslims gathered around the mulla, Alexander was questioned again but with the same results. The Muslims felt embarrassed that one of their best, a dervish, could renounce Islam and therefore tried very hard to persuade him to give up the notion of returning to Christianity.
They began to flatter him with soft soothing words, reminding him of his position, his integrity as a dervish, and the thought that it would be a pity for him to sacrifice his youth, his very life. They offered him money, clothes, anything he might wish, but none of this made an impression on Alexander who was determined to witness for Jesus Christ and suffer any and all consequences.
Alexander turned a deaf ear to the threats of physical torture and death as he had previously to the flattery and promises of material rewards. Nothing could persuade him to give up Jesus Christ for the religion preached by Muhammad. And so he responded:
“O how foolish you are to bring up death. I came here for this purpose, to die for the love of my sweetest Jesus Christ. You are trying in vain to change my unwavering decision with your deceiving threats and your insignificant promises. As for myself, I think of dying for my holy faith which I wrongly denied and to die to this false life and to gain the other, the eternal one. I was born an Orthodox Christian and I wish to die an Orthodox Christian. This is what I desire, this is what I thirst for. So you do whatever you wish. I am ready to suffer everything for my Master Jesus Christ.”
Alexander was returned to prison where he stayed until Friday, a Muslim holy day on which it was customary for the important Muslims of the city to gather about the kadi of each city and attend with services at the mosque. On this occasion, Alexander was the topic of their conversation.
When brought before the kadi for the third time, the same flattery, promises and threats were made. To these Alexander replied by simply saying: “I was born an Orthodox Christian, I wish to die an Orthodox Christian. I will not exchange the light for darkness. I worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity consubstantial and undivided.” Saying this, he made the sign of the cross.
This was the last straw for the kadi and the Muslims present. Alexander was immediately sentenced to death. He was bound and led to the place of execution accompanied by many Muslims who continued to try to persuade him to change his mind. To their admonitions, Alexander responded, “I am an Orthodox Christian and I die as an Orthodox Christian.”
Many people, Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Westerners and Armenians gathered for the execution. Alexander stood in the centre. The executioner then placed his sword in front of Alexander’s eyes to frighten him. But the Neomartyr remained calm and unaffected.
Alexander was then ordered to kneel, at which point the order came from the mulla for a stay of execution. The stay continued for an hour during which time Alexander prayed. When he gave no sign of changing his mind or of being willing to convert, the execution proceeded and he was beheaded.
Thus Alexander the dervish from Thessaloniki sacrificed his life for the love of Jesus Christ in the city of Smyrna, Asia Minor on May 26, 1794.
From Witnesses For Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyrs of the Ottoman Period 1437-1860, by Nomikos Michael Vaporis, pp. 217-219.
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Such close ties between New Martyr Alexander the Dervish and Laodigitria church are quite common in Thessaloniki; in its various historic churches, local neomartyrs (from the Ottoman rule) have received the crown of martyrdom in their yards. Like the Church of Saint Minas and the new martyr Christodoulos from Kassandreia (+27 July, 1777) who was hanged at its central entrance. But again that will be the topic of another blog post. It is no exaggeration that Thessaloniki, throughout the centuries, has proven to be “agiotokos”, a cradle for so many ‘local’ Saints.
*
Apolytikion in Plagal of the First Tone
In lawful contest O Martyr, you were valiant, you were wounded after prevailing against the enemy, and you are seen Alexander as a companion of Martyrs. Therefore as its holy offshoot, Thessaloniki honours you, and with longing, it proclaims to you: Do not cease interceding for the mercy of those who honour you.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
The city of Thessaloniki celebrates today your holy memory, Alexander Neomartyr; you are its own divine offspring and offshoot; you contested in Smyrna with brave resolve for love of the Lord; therefore entreat Him that He may save us all.
Megalynarion
You contested lawfully for Christ, Alexander Martyr, and destroyed the enemy; therefore Thessaloniki reverences your memory, honouring your struggles and your contests.

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 . . .