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The Pilgrim's Odyssey

The Pilgrim's Odyssey (111)

tsounis Father Dimitrios Moraitis

 

Book Review: “Returning The Lost Sheep, Ministry to the Alcoholic and Addict: An Orthodox Perspective; Author: Father Dimitrios Moraitis

 

Publisher: Father Dimitrios Moraitis;

Date of Publication:  USA, 2013

Website: www.returningthelostsheep.com

 

By Catherine Tsounis

 

A unique, pioneer work, based on a doctoral project, presents the Orthodox perspective to addiction through the eyes of Father Dimitrios Moraitis. The foremost Greek Orthodox and Christian theologians, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, scholars, laypersons and family network of the twenty-first century of his aided him in this monumental work. His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, explains in the Forward that “the work with a substantial bibliography constitutes a compelling argument, as well as a timely opportunity, for the involvement of clergy and other religious workers in our ongoing efforts to seek integration or particularly for the addict, reintegration into the church community.”

 

Monday, 14 April 2014 17:30
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st sophias

 

Workshop:  Study the art of Byzantine Iconography

 

st stophia

St Sophia Workshop registration

 

Friday, 17 January 2014 02:01
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orthoxoxx

 

Dear Fellow Religious Educator

We often say that the Orthodox Tradition is a "living tradition." But what does that really mean? We have to admit that the definition might elude us. This recent experience led me to think about the phrase and it led me to some kind of "working definition."

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 18:17
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The following is from a Russian nineteenth century spiritual classic whose author is unknown.  It is about the Jesus Prayer.  It is appropriate for this time of the year, the Lenten season. The roots of the Jesus Prayer are Apostolic. It was advocated by Fathers of the Church, including Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, whom we commemorate on the Second Sunday of Lent.

 

The greatness of the Jesus Prayer is revealed in its very form, which consists of two parts.  The first part, 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,' leads the mind into the history of the life of Jesus Christ, or as the Fathers explain, it contains within itself the short form of the Gospel.  And the second part, 'have mercy on me a sinner,' tells the story of our weakness and sinfulness in an extraordinary way because it is not possible for a poor, humble, and sinful soul to express its petition more fundamentally and precisely.  Every other petition would not be as comprehensive and all-inclusive.  For example, if one were to say, 'Forgive me, cleanse me from my sins, free me from my transgressions, blot out my offenses,' all of these words would express only one petition, prompted by fear and coming from a cowardly and negligent soul who wishes to be freed from punishment.  But the expression 'have mercy on me' not only sets forth the petition for forgiveness, which is the result of fear, but is a sincere cry of filial love and trust in the mercy of God; it is a cry of a soul humbly aware of its weakness and lack of control in its vigilance over self.  It is a cry for pardon, grace, and strength from God to overcome temptation and to conquer one's sinful inclinations.  This can be compared to a poor debtor asking his gracious creditor not only to excuse his debt but, considering his poverty, to give him alms.  This profound expression, 'have mercy on me,' says as it were 'Gracious Lord! Forgive me my sins and help me to improve my life; give me an ardent desire to do your will and convert my mind, my heart and will to you alone.'

 

- From The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way, translated by Helen Bacovcin, Doubleday: Image Books, 2003. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 03:22
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THE TENTH OF APRIL

The Memory of the Holy Hieromartyr GREGORY V, Patriarch of Constantinople, who died by hanging

 

Born in 1745 in the bosom of a poor family from Dimitsane in the Peloponnese, Saint Gregory received his earliest education from his uncle who was a hieromonk, and then went to live with him in Smyrna.  Becoming a monk in the monastery on the island of Strophades, he completed his theological studies on Patmos.  On his return to Smyrna, Metropolitan Procopius, who showed him a fatherly affection, made him archdeacon and then ordained him priest.  When Procopius was elevated to the Patriarchate in 1788, he consecrated Gregory to succeed him.

 

For twelve years, the holy hierarch governed the great and wealthy city of Smyrna, the metropolis of Hellenism in Asia Minor, with wisdom and apostolic zeal.  He had several churches rebuilt there, founded schools and organized a system of charity for the underprivileged.  In 1797, he was elected Ecumenical Patriarch and immediately undertook to enhance the patriarchal dignity by having the Phanar palace rebuilt.  He also founded a publishing house in which he edited books in the vernacular, which contributed greatly to the cultural and spiritual awakening of the Greek people.  The holy hierarch was vigilant about the strict observance of the ecclesiastical canons and the moral rectitude of the clergy.  In those troubled times, when the Greeks, who had been held under the Ottoman yoke for almost four centuries, were brewing up for a general uprising, the Patriarch, aware of his pastoral responsibilities, exerted himself to temper the warlike spirits while secretly nurturing national feeling.

 

After just a year and a half, he was denounced to the Sultan by some bishops whom he had reprimanded for their conduct, and was exiled to Chalcedon and then to the Monastery of Iviron on the Holy Mountain.  During this forced stay on Athos, the Saint visited all the monasteries, preached the Word of God and was a model of monastic life to all.  He then gave the blessing to Saint Euthymius (March 22) to go and offer himself for martyrdom, and expressed his joy and pride at the news of the martyrdom of Saint Agathangelus (19 April), thus showing that he considered death for love of Christ to be the supreme goal and crown of the Christian life.

 

Recalled to the Patriarchate in 1806, he was received with enthusiasm by the Christian people of Constantinople, and courageously resumed his pastoral work and the raising of moral standards among the clergy.  But in 1808, a coup d'état brought Sultan Mehmed II to power.  He constrained Gregory to retire and withdraw to the island of Prinkipos, and then again to Mount Athos, where he resumed his patristic studies and his ascetic life, keeping himself informed, meanwhile, of the situation in the Church and among the people.

 

In 1818, he was contacted by members of the 'Friendly Society,' a secret society that was preparing for revolution by trying to bring together and co-ordinate the various scattered forces.  Gregory showed his support for the cause of liberty with enthusiasm; but, judging that the time was not yet ripe, he advised patience.  A very short time later, he was recalled for the third time to the Ecumenical throne and resumed his activity, especially encouraging the foundation of schools in which the pupils could receive a Hellenic formation.  He also organized a 'Mercy Fund,' which received funds from affluent Greeks for the aid of needy Christians.

 

As soon as a greatly-disorganized insurrection of the Greeks from the Danube principalities began on 1 February 1821, there immediately followed terrible and bloody reprisals in Constantinople and in the great centres of the Ottoman Empire.  The Turks massacred all the eminent men who had links with the principalities and arrested four bishops.  When the government had given the order for all the eminent Greek families of Constantinople to assemble at the Phanar, the Patriarch, in the hope of avoiding a massacre, made himself answerable for their allegiance at the Sublime Porte.  Not content with this declaration, the Sultan forced Saint Gregory to sign the excommunication of the leader of the insurrection, Alexander Hypsilantes, and his companions.

 

On 31 March, a general revolt in the Peloponesse was proclaimed, and three days later, on the Monday in Holy Week, the Great Interpreter, representing the Greek community at the Sultan's court, was executed along with other eminent citizens.  Foreseeing what his fate would be and refusing suggestions that he flee, the Patriarch said: 'How could I abandon my flock?  If I am Patriarch, it is to save my people, not to give them over to the swords of the Janissaries.  My death will be of more use than my life, because through it the Greeks will fight with the energy of despair, which often produces victory.  No; I will not become a laughing-stock for the world by taking flight, so that they can point their finger at me and say: "Look at the killer Patriarch!"'

 

On Easter Day, 10 April, Saint Gregory celebrated the Liturgy of the Resurrection calmly and with great solemnity, interrupted only by his tears.  At the end of the ceremony, the news of the revolution in the Peloponnese was confirmed to him.  He then replied: 'May the Lord's will, now as always, be done!'  Some hours later, they came to tell him of his deposition, and the Janissaries took him off to prison with no consideration for his person.  Submitted to interrogation and torture, he kept a majestic silence, that was only broken when, on their urging him to renounce his faith, he said: 'The Patriarch of the Christians must die a Christian!'  Shortly afterwards, as soon as a successor was elected by the Holy Synod, he was hanged at the gateway of the Patriarchate, that has ever since remained closed in commemoration of this wicked act.  At the last moment, Saint Gregory lifted his hands up to heaven, blessed the Christians who were present, and said: 'Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit!'  While the Turks and the Jews were casting stones on the Patriarch's corpse, the vizier who had been charged with the execution sat smoking in front of it.

 

They left the body hanging for three days, with the document containing the indictment round its neck.  Finally, the Jews bought the body for 800 piastres, dragged it through the streets to gibes and cries of triumph, and threw it in the sea.  In spite of the heavy rock that was tied to it, the body floated and was recovered by a Greek ship flying Russian colours, which took it to Odessa.  Venerated by the crowd for several days, the holy relics showed no sign of corruption.

 

In 1871, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Greek Revolution, the body of the holy Patriarch was translated to Athens and placed in the Metropolitan Cathedral with the greatest solemnity.

 

-From The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, Volume 4: March, April by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, translated from the French by Mother Maria (Rule) and Mother Joanna (Burton), Holy Convent of The Annunciation of Our Lady Ormylia (Chalkidike), 2003.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:44
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For our Greek readers...

 

Every day is a blessing.  February 21 however, for many of us, will be an extra-special day this year.  On February 21, 1913, the city of Ioannina (Giannena) in the province of Epiros in northwest Greece was freed after nearly 500 years of a difficult Ottoman Turkish occupation.  This year marks the 100th anniversary.  I am of Epirote background and particularly cherish this.

 

The following is a poem I found in one of the books at our library here at Holy Cross.  I was moved by what I came across. The poem here in Greek is entitled "The Evzone."

 

May we not forget such important days in the life of the Greek people. May we not forget the sacrifices of our ancestors and appreciate all those who make sacrifices today.  May we cherish freedom, in the true sense of the term, whether in our homes in the United States, in Greece, or wherever we may be. May we always remember and continue to strive to bring into our daily lives the Lord Jesus and the whole life and ethos of the Orthodox Church.

 

Ζήτω τα Γιάννενα!

 

Ο ΕΥΖΩΝΑΣ

Α. Μαυρουκάκη

 

Σίμωσε, φίλε μου πιστέ και σήκωσέ με λίγο
Μ'ἀφίνουν οἱ δυνάμεις μου, τὸ φῶς μου σκοτεινιάζει!...
Γιὰ πὰντα σ'ἀποχαιρετῶ, γι' ἂλλη ζωὴ θα φύγω,
μὲ πῆρε σφαῖρα στὴν καρδιὰ κι' ὁ πὸνος μου με σφὰζει.

 

Θ' ἀφήσω το τουφέκι μου, τὴν κάππα, το σπαθί μου
καὶ τοὺς πιστοὺς τοὺς φίλους μου τους χιλιαγαπημένους...
Μὰ ὁ πόνος μεγαλύτερος σπαράζει τὴν ψυχή μου
που θα πεθάνω πρὶν νὰ ἰδω τὰ Γιάννενα πεσμένα...

 

Μαῦρο, μολύβι ἐχθρικὸ γιατὶ ἐβιασθης τόσο;·
Μὲ παίρνεις πρίν τὰ Γιάννενα ἐλεύθερ' ἀντικρύσω,
τὴ μάνα μ' ἀπ' τὰ τουρκικὰ βὰσανα πρὶν γλυτώσω
και πρίν τὸ πόδι σπίτι μας το πατρικὸ πατήσω.

 

Ἑλληνικὰ τα Γιάννενα, Μεγάλη τὴν Πατρίδα...
κι' ἄς ξεψυχοῦσα στὴ στιγμή, ἄς μ'ἔκαναν κομμάτια...
Μὰ φίλε βοήθα με, μοῦ φεύγει κάθε ἐλπίδα,
κλονίζομαι...σκότος βαθὺ μοῦ σκέπασε τὰ μάτια....

 

...Θανάτου ἄρχισε καὶ ρόγχος κι' ἀγωνία...
Αἰσθάνθη ἕνα κλονισμό, ὁ Εὔζωνας μικρὸ
καὶ ἔπεσε λιπόθυμος...Μὰ θεία εὐλογία,
μήνυμα φθάνει σάλπισμα ἀκούεται λαμπρό...

 

Καὶ ἀντηχοῦν οἱ λαγκαδιές, τὰ δάση, τὰ βουνὰ
κι' ἀντιλαλοῦν οἱ ρεματιές γεμᾶτες ἀπὸ χιόνι
'πὸ ψαλμωδία ὅμοια μ'ἀγγέλων Ὠσαννά:
-Τὰ Γιάννενα Ἑλληνικὸς Στρατὸς ἐλευθερώνει...

 

Κι' ἡ γύρω πλάση χαίρεται καὶ τα τ' ἄψυχα γελᾶνε
τὰ χιόνια λυώνουν ἔξαφνα, καὶ τὰ νερὰ κυλᾶνε
κρυστάλλινα, θαμπωτικὰ κι ' ὁ ἥλιος ἀπ' ἀγνάντια
κάνει νὰ λάμπουν τοῦ νεροῦ οἱ στάλες σὰ διαμάντια....

 

Καὶ μέσα στό ἀφάνταστο ἐκεῖνο πανηγύρι
μισάνοιξε ὁ Εὔζωνας τὰ μάτια μιὰ στιγμὴ
(σὰ νἆταν μεταλήψεως, ὁ θρίαμβος, ποτήρι
ποὺ βάλσαμο τοῦ στάλαζε καὶ μιᾶς στιγμῆς ζωὴ

 

γιὰ νὰ περάση μὲ χαρὰ εἰς τὴν ἀθανασία)
ἐχαμογέλασε γλυκά, φιλεῖ τὸ σύντροφό του
γιὰ ὕστερη οὐράνια θεία εὐχαριστία
καὶ εἰς τὸν Ὕψιστο πετᾶ... Ἔγινε τ' ὄνειρό του...

 

 

-Από το βιβλίο του Βασίλη Κραψίτη, ΤΟ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙ ΤΗΣ ΛΕΥΤΕΡΙΑΣ (Ἡ ἀπελευθέρωση τῶν Ἰωαννίνων στὴν ποίησἠ), ΑΝΑΤΥΠΟΝ "ΗΠΕΙΡΩΤΙΚΗΣ ΕΣΤΙΑΣ," ΤΟΜΟΣ 6ος, ΑΝΑΤΥΠΟΝ "ΗΠΕΙΡΩΤΙΚΗΣ ΕΣΤΙΑΣ": ΙΩΑΝΝΙΝΑ,1937.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 21:11
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Memory of our venerable Mother PHILOTHEA of ATHENS
 
This bright star of compassion arose in the dark days of the Turkish occupation to shed God’s mercy upon the oppressed people of Athens and to guide many endangered souls onto the path of righteousness.
 
Her birth in 1528 into the aristocratic Venizelou family was seen as a miraculous answer to her mother’s prayers of many years.  Even as a child, she showed a remarkable inclination for the life of ascesis and contemplation.  However, as a sought-after heiress, she was married against her inclination at the age of twelve to a harsh, violent man whose moods and ill-treatment of her she bored with patience, while praying for his change of heart.  After three years, the death of her tyrannical husband freed her from the bonds of matrimony and, despite the urging of her kinsfolk, she would not consider a second marriage, but entirely devoted herself to pleasing the Lord by prayer and fasting, while remaining under her parents’ roof.  On their death ten years later, she used the whole of her great fortune to found a convent according to directions given to her in a vision by the holy Apostle Andrew, to whom the house was dedicated. [This monastery was situated on the site of the present cathedral (Metropolis) of Athens.] Not only did she see to the construction of cells and of all the other buildings that a monastery needs, but she also founded a whole range of charitable institutions alongside it: a hospital, hospices for the poor and the aged, various workshops and, above all, schools where the girls and boys of Athens could receive a Christian education.  To support the monastery and its associated institutions, she provided an endowment of landed estates and dependencies (metochia), which also enabled alms to be distributed on a generous scale.  St. Philothea’s monastery thus soon became for Athens a source of heavenly blessings, a haven for the afflicted and a focus for the revival of the tradition of the Greek people.
 
As soon as the first monastic buildings were ready, she took the veil under the name of Philothea, together with her maidservants, and large number of other young women of different ranks in society, who had turned from the allurements of worldliness to set out, under Philothea’s direction, on the narrow way which leads to the Kingdom of Heaven.  They were all of one mind in seeking to imitate the virtues of their spiritual mother.  She had not her equal in charity and compassion for the poor and the infirm, whom she visited and tended.  Since she gave alms without calculation the convent was, on one occasion, reduced to the last extremity, and some sisters began to complain about her.  However, a few days later two gentlemen made a large donation, which saved the community from going hungry.  

 

Her faith and compassion led Saint Philothea to offer asylum in the convent to Christian bondwomen who fled from their masters’ houses in order to preserve their faith and chastity.  As a consequence, the Turks surrounded the convent, pounced on Philothea like wild beasts and, regardless of the fact that she was ill, haled her before the judge, who had her confined in a dark prison cell.  When she was called on to deny Christ or to suffer death, she acknowledged with great joy that her dearest wish was to fulfil her martyrdom for love of Christ.  However, such was not the will of God and, through the good offices of some Greek notables in the city, she was released.  Strengthened by this trial, she resumed her apostolic activity and ascetic labours with redoubled zeal.  Having attained to perfection, she acquired the grace of working miracles and healings.  So many were the disciples who wanted to join her that she had to establish a second monastery.  There was a small cave in its grounds, to which she loved to withdraw for the sake of contemplation.  

Her influence among the people aroused the hatred of the Turks.  One night, they broke into the new monastery during a vigil, and cudgelled the Saint so violently that she was left half-dead on the ground.  She bore the effects of her injuries with wonderful patience, and gave back her Martyr’s soul to the Lord on 19 February 1589.
 
Scarcely twenty days had passed before a lovely scent began to issue from her tomb.  Her precious relic, which is venerated to the day in the Cathedral of Athens, has remained incorrupt for the glory of God and the consolation of the Christian people.
 

-From The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, Volume 3: January, February by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, translated from the French by Christopher Hookway, Holy Convent of The Annunciation of Our Lady Ormylia (Chalkidike), 2001.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 20:10
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At Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, on the evening of February 1, we had a Vigil Service (Αγρυπνία) for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus to the Temple.  This feast is celebrated 40 days after the Nativity. In Greek, the feast is known as Υπαπαντή.  On the feast of the Presentation, we celebrate Christ being brought to the Temple at 40 days old. The Vigil included Great Vespers (Μέγας Εσπερινός), Lity with a procession of an icon of the feast, Artoclasia, a patristic reading from Saint Cyril of Alexandria for the feast, Orthros, and Divine Liturgy.  The service spanned from 8PM until about 2:45 AM.  It was an unforgettable experience for those of us who were there.

 

Technically-speaking, the feast of the Presentation is now over.  The period of celebration actually extends to February 9.  It's never just "one day and that's it" for big feasts of the Orthodox Church.  Nevertheless, the following that I would like to share is, in my opinion, still very much a real treat and a wonderful blessing. 

 

A good friend of mine, a fellow seminarian who wishes to remain anonymous, made a recording of the Megalynaria of the 9th Ode of the Orthros Canon.  These Megalynaria are one of many reasons for the great beauty of the Orthros for this feast. It is a particular Orthros that is beloved by many.  Orthros, in general, is full of beautiful hymns and prayers, filled with rich theology, and the Megalynaria for the Presentation are certainly quite the treasure.

 

The hymns you will hear are chanted in both Greek and English by students (including my friend) of Hellenic College and Holy Cross, both males and females, under the direction of our Byzantine chant professor and protopsaltis of Holy Cross Chapel, Dr. Grammenos Karanos. Bravo to all of them! 

 

As my friend says, listening to this recording "will not have the same meaning or impact as it might on someone who was there or who would understand its place."  We nonethless do hope that listening to these hymns will be spiritually edifying and helpful to you all! Enjoy the link!

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0jjvx_D8FE

 

 

Friday, 15 February 2013 20:56
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February 15

Memory of our Venerable Father ANTHIMUS of CHIOS

 

Our holy father Anthimus was born in 1869 into a devout peasant family on the island of Chios.  In several childhood visions of the Mother of God, he learnt of the favour which in due season she would manifest toward him.  He left elementary school early to take up the shoemender's trade.  He was nineteen when, one day, his mother gave him an old icon of the Mother of God 'of Good Help' to take for restoration to the Monastery of the Holy Fathers on Mount Probation, recently founded by the holy monk Pachomius, the spiritual counselor of Saint Nectarius of Egina (9 Nov.).  Anthimus was much taken with the heavenly life of the monks and, on returning to his village, he built himself a hut in an out-of-the-way spot.  He was exact in fulfilling everything laid down for him by Father Pachomius, who, impressed by his obedience, silence and zeal for prayer, said to his monks, 'That young novice is already a mature monk, and he is destined to become an eminent Father.'  The icon of the Mother of God, which he always kept by him was, from that time, his only 'Help', his inspiration in contests well-pleasing to God, and his consolation in trials and temptations.  Miracles began to be wrought through the icon for the benefit of neighbours who visited his hermitage.  In the end, he retired to the Monastery of the Holy Fathers where he received the Little Habit under the name of Anthimus. 

 

Although moved by an increment of divine love and mortifying every desire of the flesh, he was ready and able to undertake practical tasks of all kinds, and so was put in charge of building-works at the newly-founded convent of St Constantine.  But, he soon fell sick and his Abbot decided that he should return to his parents for the sake of his health.  Anthimus continued his life of asceticism at home as though still at the monastery.  He took up the shoemender's trade again, looked after his aged parents and gave alms to those in need.  Despite poor health, his love of God enabled him to accomplish great feats of ascesis, to the unbridled rage of the demons.  With a dreadfull din, they would hurl themselves at him while he prayed at night, as was his habit, in the hollow trunk of an old olive tree near his cell.  He gave himself no rest, 'not even for a minute,' he said later, and thus, with the help of the Mother of God, he was able to spend ten day and nineteen nights awake in prayer, taking nothing but a small amount of bread and water every two days.  At the end of this feat, he was rapt in ecstasy and his spirit was carried up into paradise amid the angelic choirs, while he repeated without cease: Kyrie eleison.

 

More and more visitors came to his hermitage, attracted by his virtues and by the miracles wrought by the icon of the Mother of God.  In the year after he received the Great Habit (1910), it was decided, in response to the wishes of the people, to ask the Bishop of Chios to ordain him priest; but the Bishop refused, alleging the Saint's lack of education.  Anthimus was then invited to the diocese of Smyrna by his godfather.  At the moment of his ordination, an earth tremor, accompanied by lightning and claps of thunder testified to the divine favour; and, shortly afterwards, Father Anthimus freed a man of an unclean spirit.  Since his virtues and miracles provoked the jealousy of certain priests, he had to leave the region; and, after a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, he returned to Chios, where he was appointed chaplain of a leper hospital.  In a short time, this place, in which physical misery had given rise to spiritual corruption, was transformed into an image of paradise where life was lived in community as in a monastery.  He himself visited all the sick, tended the worst afflicted with his own hands and, by his meekness and good counsels led them to turn to God, so that not a few became monks and nuns.  Through his mediation, the divine loving kindness was also poured out on the many faithful who came from outside to seek the man of God's intercession and counsel.  Thirty-eight people were freed of evil spirits through his fasts and his prayers before the icon of the Mother of God.

 

The persecution of the Greek population of Asia Minor, which ended in the great exile of 1922-4, brought many refugees to Chios, particularly nuns and girls, who, without protection, would have been destitute.  Ever since his youth, Saint Anthimus had dreamt of founding a monastery on a certain steep uninhabited site that he knew of.  Now, encouraged by a vision of the Mother of God, he sought to make this dream a reality for the sake of the forty or so young women who gathered around him.  In 1927, he received permission to found a monastery there, and this was confirmed by God after lots were drawn thrice at the end of the Divine Liturgy.  The Saint himself put the plans into effect, anticipating everything that would be necessary to the life of a great monastery.  It was owing to his sweat, to his tears and to his prayers that the building-works were able to proceed, despite the opposition of some who regarded setting up such a community as useless and out-of-date.  After only two years, the icon of the Mother of God of Good Help was solemnly transferred to the monastery church, which received the same name.  Saint Anthimus ordered the conventual life of the nuns (thirty at first) according to the principles of the Holy Fathers, and he lived there for the rest of his life.  The community soon numbered eighty nuns, and was regarded as the most exemplary religious house in Greece.  But while he was the founder and spiritual father of the monastery, the Saint did not cease to be the consoler, intercessor and spiritual father of the whole population of Chios.  He would never leave a sick or penitent visitor without having comforted him, either with spiritual teaching or with medicinal herbs, but, above all, with his prayer accompanied by tears before the icon of the Mother of God.  On some days, sixty or seventy sick folk would present themselves at the monastery to ask for the help of the Saint and of the Mother of God.

 

For more than years, Saint Anthimus carried on his ministry for the salvation of souls and the relief of bodily ills.  When he was too old to work with his hands, he retired to his cell and begged the Lord to enable him to serve his neighbour, whoever he might be and in whatever way, until his last breath.  He gave up his soul to God on 15 February 1960 at the age of ninety-one, having entrusted his community with his finals counsels, full of divine wisdom and fatherly love.  He was mourned by the whole island of Chios.  He continues to remain present and to extend heavenly consolation and healing of different illnesses to Christians who have recourse to his intercession.

 

-From The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, Volume 3: January, February by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, translated from the French by Christopher Hookway, Holy Convent of The Annunciation of Our Lady Ormylia (Chalkidike), 2001.

Friday, 15 February 2013 04:55
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The Meeting of our Lord (2 February).  This festival, known in the west as the Presentation of Christ in the Temple or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the east bears the title ‘Meeting’ (Gk. ῾Υπαπαντή; Slavonic, Srétenie) – the meeting, that is, of Christ with His people.  Our Lord, brought to the temple by His Mother and by Joseph, now meets His chosen people in the persons of Simeon the Elder and Anna the Prophetess.  This feast forms the conclusion of the Nativity sequence, which opened some eighty days earlier with the beginning of the Christmas fast.

 

At the Meeting, as at Christmas and Theophany, the Church thinks about the kenosis, the deep self-emptying of the Incarnate Word.  He who is Giver of the Law is Himself obedient to the Law: ‘Today He who once gave the Law to Moses on Sinai submits Himself to the ordinances of the Law, in His compassion becoming for our sakes as we are’ (Vespers, Lity).  The texts for this days are based for the most part upon Simeon’s Song, Nunc Dimittis: they speak of the salvation that Christ has come to confer, of the glory and light of revelation that have been granted through His Incarnation.

 

- From The Festal Menaion, translated from the original Greek by Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, Saint Tikhon's Seminary Press: South Canaan, PA, 1998.

Friday, 01 February 2013 02:08
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