Holy Monastery of Zavorda of Saint Nikanor

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It is the Day of Resurrection! Let us be radiant, O people! Pascha! The Lord’s Pascha! For Christ our God has brought us from death to life, and from earth unto heaven, as we sing triumphant hymns!

 

 

Holy Monastery of Zavorda of Saint Nikanor

After about 80 years the Holy Monastery of Zavorda of Saint Nikanor seems that it will once again revive its old and religious and historical splendor.
 
It has been reported that 8 hieromonks, until now, have immediately expressed their interest to continue their asceticism in the historic Monastery in Grevena.
 
In this case they will re-establish the avaton, which prohibits females from entering the Monastery.
 
The avaton of Zavorda Monastery was abolished in the year 2000 by the late Metropolitan Sergios of Grevena, and from that time no hieromonks lived there in asceticism.
 
Zavorda Monastery was founded in 1534-1535 by Saint Nikanor and dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ. It is famous for its icons of exceptional artistic quality and hosts the grave of Saint Nikanor.
 

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The Angel cried to her who is full of grace: Rejoice, pure Virgin! And again I say, Rejoice! Thy Son has risen on the third day from the grave. Shine, shine, O New Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee. Now dance for joy and be glad, O Zion! And thou, pure Mother of God, rejoice in the rising of Him Whom thou didst bear.

Monastic Tonsure

ΚΟΥΡΑ ΔΥΟ ΝΕΩΝ ΜΟΝΑΧΩΝ ΣΤΗΝ Ι. ΜΟΝΗ ΑΓ. ΝΙΚΑΝΟΡΟΣ ΖΑΒΟΡΔΑΣ

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*The Paschal Canon was composed by the great Saint and Father of our Church, Saint John Damascene and is described as the most glorious of all hymns in the Orthodox Church; it has been called the Queen of canons because it exclaims the richness of Orthodox theology surrounding this great and holy feast.

 

Christ is Risen!

 

 

Father Ilarion and the Suffering Horse

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Source: Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses

The sequel to Father Arseny 1893-1973: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father

“There are many times when we read the words “the best book I have ever read”….well, this book is certainly the benchmark by which you can measure all the others you will read. If you are spiritually hungry and thirsting for that one drop of spiritual water….then read this. It will open your heart. The words in this book will feed your soul. If you are reading this because you are undecided…..then why don’t you ask your heart to make the decision for you? I did…..!”

Orthodoxy and Animals

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Submerged Beauty

 

 

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Unless we look at a person and see the beauty there is in this person, we can contribute nothing to him.

One does not help a person by discerning what is wrong, what is ugly, what is distorted.

Christ looked at everyone he met, at the prostitute, at the thief, and saw the beauty hidden there.

Perhaps it was distorted, perhaps damaged, but it was beauty none the less, and what he did was to call out this beauty.

 

Based on Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

 

Gie her a Haggis

 

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“Holiness in the Bible” Study Weekend: Highlights (I)

Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist

Orthodox Community of St Andrew the Apostle in Edinburgh

 

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Sunday 22/1/2017

*A thought-provoking talk by Dr. Fotini Hamplova on how women can be saved through child-bearing and especially child-rearing, including us all here, spiritual mothers, spiritual fathers and indeed all Orthodox Christians in this call to Holiness through asceticism, the cutting of our will, silence, podvig etc.

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Fotini: “The Church is our Arc. This is where we are safe.”

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Fr. Mark (Glasgow) on holiness in the 21st century

Fr. Mark: On Bearing Our Cross to become Holy

How can you bear it?

We cannot. But where else can we go?

The feeling of being nailed on a Cross. 

See this to the end. 

Proceed to a territory beyond our endurance–to Death. 

God will never force us, push us beyond we want to go. 

Danger: illusion of Peace. 

Terrorism of the demons: assailed largely through thoughts, discouraging: very convincing.

The Evil One becomes powerful in our lives to the extent to which we will listen to him.

It takes great humility, courage and faith in order to allow God to smash us to pieces. Because He will in order to save us. If we allow Him, if we surrender to His Will.

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How lovely to see Fr Michael Harry with his Khouriya,  who are to ‘retire’ after Easter to the Hebrides!

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And a few more friends

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 Archimandrite John Maitland Moir (b. 18 June 1924-d. 17 April 2013), the Founding Father of the parish, was also present in our hearts.

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Nice group photo of the Haggises  🙂

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A haggis lunch accompanied with with excellent Scottish folk music and Robert Burns poetry recitation while ceremoniously cutting the haggis.

The folk music was mesmerising and sounded something like that. Apologies for running out of battery…

 

And the Haggis ritual looked like that. Again apologies for my battery …

 

 

This poem was written by Burns to celebrate his appreciation of the Haggis. As a result Burns and Haggis have been forever linked. As I found out, this particular poem is always the first item on the programme of Burns’ suppers. The haggis is generally carried in on a silver salver at the start of the proceedings. As it is brought to the table a piper plays a suitable, rousing accompaniment. One of the invited artistes then recites the poem before the theatrical cutting of the haggis with the ceremonial knife: “But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer/ Gie her [Scotland] a Haggis”

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Then, a scenic tour of Edinburgh

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Arthur’s Seat is one of the Best Places with Scenic Views in Edinburgh.

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View of Edinburgh from the Rest and Be Thankful, Corstorphine Hill.

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View from Calton Hill Edinburgh

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Craiglockhart Hill

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Braid Hill

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Blackford Hill

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Arthur’s Seat

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Yes, I know. A haggis lunch…..then a walk…..Orthodox have stamina 🙂

 

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Edinburgh is traditionally said to have been built on seven hills. Walk round the town for an hour or so and you might wonder if they didn’t mean seven …

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Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh Castle as seen from Princes Street …

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While spending this long weekend in Edinburgh, I’ve caught a glimpse of the castle almost every day, whether I’m walking to or from the church, shopping, or wandering about town..

Our Sunday scenic tour culminated to St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh (Roman Catholic), where we venerated the relics of St Andrew the First-called. Here parishioners and visitors for the study weekend joined together as pilgrims.

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It was such a lovely weekend; thank you to all who worked so hard and for all the kindness and fellowship!

The Holy Monastery of Our Lady of Kipina, in Epirus

 

 

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If you go towards the old-world village of Kalarrytes in the Tsoumerka Mountains in Epirus, you come across an impressive fortified monastery built into a rock face: the Holy Monastery of Our Lady of Kipina.

 

The Holy Monastery of Kipina is built into a large cave in a sheer rock.

 

According to the founder’s inscription, building began in 1349. But according to Metropolitan Serafeim (Vyzantio) of Arta, a historian, the foundation dates back further in time. Other historical sources date it to 1212.

 

Access to the Monastery is by a stone path hewn into the rock. In former times, contact could be broken by means of a wooden drawbridge.

The outer gate of the monastery.

 

Without doubt, the time when the Monastery of Kipina was at its peak was the 18th century. Indeed, it’s recorded that, in 1760, the exceptionally active Abbot Kallinikos funded the construction of a bridge over the nearby River Kalarrytikos, a tempestuous tributary of the Arakhthos.

 

The Monastery also ran a school and a water-mill. All of this shows both the financial power of the foundation and also the close links with its social setting.

 

The imposing rock casts its shadow over the steps of visitors, next to the path to the entry.

 

Still surviving from the old Monastery complex are the church, four cells and a small building which used to serve as a stable.

 

In the olden days, the drawbridge would be raised at night or at times of danger. Access to the Monastery was thus completed severed, which is why it is one of the few that escaped pillage. The crank handle of the drawbridge has been preserved.

 

The Monastery is dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. According to tradition, however, it celebrates on the feast of the Life-Receiving Spring (Friday in the week after Easter).

 

The church is a small, single space, built within the cave.

 

The rich iconographical decoration of the church was carried out in the 18th century.

 

At the northern end of the narthex is the opening to the cave, which extends to a depth of 240 metres into the rock.

Who Are Today’s Abbesses of Abbesses?

Gerondissa Akylina, Gerondissa Porphyria (Sipsa) and Gerondissa Makrina (Portaria)

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Friday, November 4, feast day of the Blessed Elder Georgios Karslidis of Pontos, warmed my heart with fond memories of nearly 3 decades of pilgrimages to beautiful, gem monasteries in Northern Greece!

“God cares for everyone. Despair is in effect a lack of faith.”

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Taxiarches and the Analipseos Monastery (Sipsa) in Greece is one of the Monasteries in Greece that holds a dear place in my heart. Together with that of St. Paisios in Souroti, they were the first monasteries I started visiting as a University student, before my graduate studies and work at the US. At that time Gerondissa Porphyria, a Living Signpost in my journey on The Way,  had not even become a monastic, and now she is a renowned Abbess, one of the few of her ‘calibre’ in contemporary women’s monasteries.

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

The Blessed Elder Georgios Karslidis of Pontos (1901-1959), latter day saint of the Saintly Orthodox Church in Greece,  glorified by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2008, was the first “resident” and founder of the monastery in the year 1930. He is one of few saints known to bear an imprint of the sign of the cross on his skull. There is a flourishing multitudinous sisterhood of nuns here today, who occupy themselves with the Iconography of handheld pictures, gold embroidery,knitting and waxwork.
Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina was the first Abbess. I had the rare blessing to meet her a number of times during the last years of her life. In the words of our late Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos, Gerondissa Akylina, together with Gerondissa Makrina in Portaria, were ‘Abbesses of Abbesses’:  examples of the monastic life and their monasteries models of coenobia, workshops of virtue and antechambers of Paradise.

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Akylina holding the Cross of St. Georgios Karslidis which was found intact after the translation of his relics. He is one of few saints known to bear an imprint of the sign of the cross on his skull.

Gerondissa Akylina, Porphyria, Sipsa Monastery and St. Georgios Karslidis

Gerondissa Porphyria has always been so full of love and humility, always ready to sacrifice her ease,  her rest and sleep, everything for her ‘neighbour! How many times has she consoled me in the trials and tribulations of my life! Always by my side, always! How many times has she offered a shoulder to cry on and precious, practical counsel! Her prayerful presence is intensely, intimately felt even thousands of miles away, here at the UK, and her smile warms my heart. Oh, just look at her smile in the photographs below with a pilgrim at the monastery and imagine the rays of the sun warming your shoulders after a rainy, cold day! How blessed am I to have such a spiritual mother by my side! Over the years I got better acquainted with the friendly and hospitable nuns there and the pilgrims and the faithful who regularly visit this monastery. St. Georgios’ holy presence is immediately felt upon entering the monastery gate, and there is always a queue at his tomb where his spiritual children kneel before their spiritual father, now in Heaven, to ask for his spiritual guidance and to seek comfort in life’s trials and tribulations.
For a closer insight at Elder Georgios Karslidis and his miracles, watch the following interview by Gerontissa Porphyria:

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