Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Miracle Wrought Through Almsgiving

   In speaking of the significance of almsgiving and mercy, Fr. Cleopa stressed the importance of these virtues by relating the following story:
   Emperor Nicephorus of Constantinople reigned from 1078 until 1081. He decided to build a cathedral that would be almost as grand as St. Sophia. When it was ready, the patriarch of Jerusalem, the patriarch of Alexandria as well as the patriarch of Constantinople were all invited to consecrate the beautiful new church built by the emperor. Announcements had been made about the consecration for several months in advance so that everyone would have time to travel to the great city of Constantinople; remember that during that time there were no cars, planes or trains. Everyone had to travel either in carts pulled by oxen, horses or donkeys, and those from great distances had to cross the sea in boats.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saint Macrina the Elder

The Bridge of Theology

The Holy family and Saint Macrina the elder at its head
   She is called “confessor of the Faith.” In her family there are so many saints that she is known as the “mother and grandmother of saints”. She should be given another title­ - Bridge of Theology - for her invisible contribution to the understanding of our faith and its expression in the world.
   Born about AD 270, Saint Macrina the Elder grew up as a pagan. Most of the city she lived in was pagan until Saint Gregory Thaumaturgis arrived.

   The Heritage of Saint Gregory
   Saint Gregory Thaumaturgis and his brother, both pagans and thirsty for learning, traveled to Alexandria as young men to study philosophy. It was there that some of the most influential meta­physical work was being conducted. The two men arrived at the peak of the "flowering of a tradition that had flourished at Alexandria" since the first century of Christian thought - the melding of early Christian thought and pagan philosophy that has given rise to our modern understanding of Christian faith and theology.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lettre à David Balfour (XV)

Archimandrite Sophrony

Les afflictions sont le signe de la faveur de Dieu. - De la vaillance dans les afflictions qui sont l'essence de la bienveillance de Dieu envers nous. Rendre grâce à Dieu pour celles-ci. Les afflictions sont le chemin vers la déification.

Mont Athos, 21 janvier (3 février) 1933.
Vénéré Père David, Bénissez!

   Frère bien-aimé dans le Seigneur, paix à votre âme dans le Seigneur.
   Notre vie est «un flot irrésistible» (Septante, Ps. 123,4). Ce ne sont pas seulement les débutants, - tels que nous, aspirant seulement à nous engager sur la voie de l'ascèse -, qui sont éprouvés. Les pères parfaits qui avaient atteint les hauteurs ultimes de la contemplation, eux non plus, ne demeuraient pas inébranlables. Ne soyez pas troublé par les afflictions et les incertitudes qui s'emparent de vous, mais tenez ferme par la foi quand les vents changent, c'est-à-dire les états d'âme. A cet égard, il est bon de nous affermir dans la conscience de ce que toutes les tentations qui nous arrivent sont d'un grand profit: elles enseignent la lutte spirituelle, elles permettent de se connaitre soi-même. Une âme vaillante doit même aimer les tentations car, en les surmontant, elle devient plus forte, plus ferme, plus expérimentée, plus sage: elle devient capable de s'élever vers la contemplation.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Miraculous Healing

   One day, I entered the office of Fr. Sophrony. I used to always seek for an opportunity to have contact with him. I would go two or three, or several times a day to see him. I never asked questions, but I always knew that he would say something to me, and every time he said something, it was an opening of a horizon, of a spiritual horizon. There were many times when just one word made me understand many things from the lives of the prophets and of the holy apostles and of the saints; just one word.