The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustynnik — 6

Antidoron

Remember the Little things- Diary of a Pustynnik

Each day before I say my morning prayers I take a little antidoron (Blessed bread) from the last Holy Liturgy we served together in Church. I soften it in some hot water and sometimes in wine and consume for the day’s blessing for all. I take another piece of antidoron and cut it, dividing it so I find that with the grace of God it begins to multiply.

Holy oil

I light a small lamp in my Icon corner next to the Holy Icons and Holy relics of the saints. Even though this is the smallest lamp I possess and I do not fill it completely with oil( there is water in it too) -it lasts for over eight hours. What a little wonder!

Day and night God increases this bread and this oil. Christ’s blessings come to us when we look unto Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2

 

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The Main Mover

John 28:18: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

 

Grant my soul the wings to fly

Above the sun and starry sky

To move through infinity and climb

Through silent galaxies sublime

 

From earth to heaven

 

The Keeper of the kingdom praise

With virtuous hearts on high to raise

To seek the things which are above

Born of dust, infused with love.

 From earth to heaven

 

What work the Father made for glory

What hand that wrote Creation story

On the pages of history’s text

That moves from past to present and the next

 From earth to heaven

 

Then this middle earth will bow before

The Watcher over grace and law

When we strive to reach perfection

As the Way points out direction

 From earth to heaven

 

Our Eternal Master assigns vocations

Wrought in tasks and duties of complexions

Within the precincts of our earthly chains

Released from the cycled losses and the gains

 From earth to heaven

 

He who decides our earthly station

Determines too our destination

The wounded hands outreach to all

Extend the invitation call

From earth to heaven

 

JAH Based on the Hymn of Caedmon and the words of Father Porphyrios of Athos.

 

Christ is Everything. He is joy, He is life, He is light. He is the true light who makes man joyful, makes him soar with happiness; makes him see everything, everybody; makes him feel for everyone, to want everyone with him, everyone with Christ.

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Love Christ and put nothing before His Love. Christ is Everything. He is the source of life, the ultimate desire, He is everything. Everything beautiful is in Christ.

Saint Porphyrios

The Prayer of the Heart During the Coronavirus Pandemic

What is the “Jesus Prayer”, the “Prayer of the mind” and the “Prayer of the heart”?

Metropolitan Neofytos Morfou has gathered several  very short prayers that we can use in our everyday life, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic:

  1. “Great is the Name of the Holy Trinity.”
  2. “Most Holy Theotokos save us and put us under your protecting veil.”
  3. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me/us”. 
  4. “Holy Cross of Christ save us through your power”. 
  5. “Great Archangel of our Lord Michael protect us”. 
  6. “Great Archangel of our Lord Gabriel illumine us”. 
  7. “Saint of God Nikiforos pray for us.” [Here any Saint can be invoked]
  8. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your servants”.  The first time we add their Baptismal names, and then we continue “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your servants”.
  9. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on all your world.”
  10. Then for the Departed, we pray to the Conqueror of Death: the first time “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your departed servants”, then we add their Baptismal names, and we conclude “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your departed servants”, as many times as we can.
  11. “Lord Jesus Christ grant me the patience and faith of the Saints”
  12. “Lord Jesus Christ grant me the repentance and tears of the Saints”

The more we practice them the more they deepen and encompass our mind and heart:

“… Noetic prayer” (also called “the prayer of the mind”) and “the prayer of the heart” are just two special stages of the Jesus prayer.

God willing, if a person advances in prayer, then the prayer starts to “work”—that is to say, work alone, in the person’s “mind.” The person doesn’t make any effort anymore, but the prayer is said unceasingly by God’s grace, even if the person is speaking, eating, or even sleeping. When we say that the prayer is said in a person’s “mind”—that is, the “prayer of the mind” or “noetic prayer,” we say that the prayer is said in the rational aspects (parts) of the soul that is in the areas of logic and intellect (νούς), usually translated as “mind.”

If a person advances more, then God’s grace takes the prayer from the mind into the “heart”—that is, into the irrational aspects of the soul—the inflammatory aspect and the appetitive aspect.

Then, the “mind” and the “heart” become united—and the person will overcome the internal chaotic behaviour of his/her aspects, and will then reach a deep, peaceful power: joy and wisdom conferred by the Grace in the unity of their soul. …”

Source: The Ascetic Experience

Have your Bishops and Fathers suggested any other prayers to fight fear, acedia and binge-watching TV/ social media/internet? Metropolitan Morfou Neophytos has encouraged all of us to use these very short prayers together with the Lord’s Prayer, O Heavenly King, the Psalter and Supplications to our Saints.

Saint Nikephoros the Leper appears in Bulgaria and gives the cure for Coronavirus

Saint Nikephoros the Leper appears in Bulgaria and protects from Coronavirus

“…… I learned from the internet that the journalist Angel Bonchev was preparing a book about the unknown for us Saint Nikephoros the Leper, at a critical moment when the world was covered by the coronavirus pandemic and thousands died, killed by this new plague.

I called him on the phone and he briefly told me about his suffering life and the heavy cross that had been given to him. I was very anxious and disturbed in the weeks before by all that was heard on the media, but at that moment I felt comforted, especially when I learned that St. Nikephoros had appeared to a man in Greece to inspire courage and a willingness to help people against this evil.

Since up to this point I did not have much information about his life, akathist, prayers, I was comforted by the little I already knew and told myself that the saint would help, I had faith that he would be with us, I felt close to him. I cried all night, praying to him, thinking about what was happening in the world and the cases of infected people that were growing every day in Bulgaria.

Saint Nikephoros the Leper: The first night

At 4 o’clock that night I fell asleep. In my dream, he visited me – Saint Nikephoros the Leper. I recognized him immediately. I saw him in his black dew, standing up, holding a golden cross in his right hand. He addressed me with the words: “Warn all Christians to pray to me, but repeatedly. Let them also read the services. There is a cure and this is the Holy Communion. There’s also a herb to drink, it’s thyme, it kills viruses. And in any case, be sure to visit the house of God at this difficult time, because there is no contagion there and no one can be infected. ” It was the first night.

Second night

The next night, he came again and said this time that many Christians, and not only, had prayed to him because he had also spread through social networks about his appearance in Greece. He also told me to tell my son to pray to him, but not only once, as he had once said to him, – that is not enough. “Many times,” the saint repeated. The next day I asked my child, “How many times have you prayed to St. Nikephoros?” And he replied that only once in the morning. I explained to him that it was not enough.

The third night

The third night I saw him again. But this time, the most important thing I understood was that Bulgaria would be protected from the virus. I turned to him with the question: “Will all of Bulgaria be preserved?” He said to me, “Yes!” At that moment I saw our country as a map, and he stood over it, over Southern Bulgaria, and more precisely somewhere over Plovdiv. And he said, “Ring the bells, ring the bells, ring the bells!” I asked, “Are there bells in the Diocese of Plovdiv?” “Yes!” He said very briefly and affirmatively. Then he ascended to heaven, and with his golden cross in his hand, he blessed from above. From the very cross, a light came down and illuminated the whole country. The last thing he said was, “It will pass!”

After all this, a tremendous change occurred in me – the reassurance and strength that Saint Nikephoros the Leper Coronavirus Miracle Worker breathed into me, in the face of the panic that has engulfed everyone in the world and in our country … “

Based on a testimony from Bulgaria

In the photo a monk with the icon of the saint of his name: Saint Nikephoros the Leper. Vatopedi Monastery, Mount Athos.

Source: The Ascetic Experience

Fear of Death

st joseph hesychast

“Listen to another story. Once a nun wrote to me to say that she was ill and would die if she didn’t have an operation. I wrote to her saying exactly the opposite. She wrote back saying that the doctor told her that she would die in so many days if she didn’t have an operation. I repeated my request, “Have faith; leave it all to God; prefer death .”
Later she sent me her response saying that the illness went away.

Do you see? I have experienced this thousand of times. When you put death before you and await it at every moment, it flees far away from you. When you fear death, it constantly pursues you.

I buried three people with tuberculosis, nourishing the hope that I would catch it. After I undressed the corpse, I wore his clothes, but death fled away from me to those who fear it. I have been ill my whole life. I have never had any treatment. I absolutely eat the wrong foods. But death is nowhere in sight.

What I am trying to say is that without the will of the Lord, we neither get sick nor die. Therefore, far away from us. O lack of faith!”

-Saint Joseph the Hesychast
Monastic Wisdom
Thirtieth Letter

If

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Not the famous one by Kipling, but the Bible’s 

but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” [THE GOSPEL The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (9:17-31)–4th Sunday of Lent]

If, αν, если, dacă is a very small word but it has a large range of interpretations from the negative desperation of hopeless regret “If only”- to positive intention, intervention and the releasing potential. “If” – “If we do this her life will be saved.” If “ is a word upon which faith can be strengthened or weakened.

The Athenians send a message to the Spartans: “If we come to your city, we will burn it to the ground” to which the stoic Spartans replied just one word “If”! Such can be the tenacious force of the word. If is one of the saddest words too- “If only I had acted sooner“: “ if only I had not said those unkind words.”

Martha and Mary on the falling asleep of their brother Lazarus said to Jesus “If only you had been here, our brother would not have died!”

“If” is one of satan’s favourite words. When the devil tempted Our Lord in the wilderness he prefixed each temptation with the word” if”:

If you are the Son of God prove it!!

If you are the Son of God turn these stones into bread

If you are the Son of God throw yourself down …. “and the angels will bear you up lest you hit your foot against the stone.” Yes even Satan can quote scripture Psalm 90

If you fall down and worship me I will give you all these kingdoms.

“If only” are words which are full of regret but it is not necessarily full of repentance. Repentance means moving and trying again and moving forward not looking back.

We have within us deeply rooted weaknesses, passions, and defects. This can not all be cut out with one sharp motion, but patience, persistence, care and attention. The path leading to perfection is long. Pray to God so that he will strengthen you. Patiently accept your falls and, having stood up, immediately run to God, not remaining in that place where you have fallen. Do not despair if you keep falling into your old sins. Many of them are strong because they have received the force of habit. Only with the passage of time and with fervour will they be conquered. Don’t let anything deprive you of hope. 
(St. Nectarios of Aegina, Path to Happiness, 3)

This is the If that we find in the Bible, in the Psalms and the Prophets and in the Gospels.  “If God is for us, who is against us?” Rom 8:30

“If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him…” John 14:23

The man in today’s Gospel brought his child and said to Jesus “If you can do anything….” This cry was an “if” born from despair and voiced against the power of the One who works miracles. Our Lord turns this round and God addresses the man’s lack of faith; not if I can, but if you can believe. If only we can believe all things are possible. The positive if lies not with God, of course, He can do anything but it lies with us. God’s everlasting love and power are boundless. Like the man whose tears showed his repentance, we may find ourselves saying likewise:” Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

Do we see a mother with her child in her arms and bending to give the child a kiss, her heart overflowing with emotion? Do we notice how her face lights up as she holds her little angel? These things do not escape a person with the love of God. He sees them and is impressed by them and he says, ‘If only I had those emotions towards my God, towards my Holy Lady and our saints!’ Look, that’s how we must love Christ our God. You desire it, you want it, and with the grace of God you acquire it.”

― Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love

In these difficult and testing times we must and again become people of prayer, people of perseverance, people of hope, people of zeal, people of faith, people of God; we must again become Christians.

4th Sunday of Lent Homily — Fr. Jonathan Hemmings

Holy and Life ­Giving Cross at Lancaster (United Kingdom)

 

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

catacombs

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!”

catacomb2

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 …