Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos.

Conscience is the first law of God, which He deeply carved in the hearts of the First Created, and conse­quently, each one of us takes it as a "photocopy" from his parents when he is born. Those who have managed to sensitize their conscience through the daily study of themselves, feel themselves estranged from this world; and, as a result, worldly people are dumbfounded by their discerning behaviour. Those, however, who do not examine their conscience, are neither benefited by spiritual study, nor by the advice of the Elders, nor are they even able to keep God's commandments, since they quickly become insensitive.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Such is the path set before us.
Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov.

Father Sophrony’s sister, Maria, in one of her letters, wrote about a certain young relative whose ungrateful attitude towards everyone was causing anxiety in the family, and this was Father Sophrony’s answer.

 I received your last letter not long ago. At the present moment I cannot even find where it is. But I will answer from memory. Of course, the first thing to write about is young peo­ple. I must say that in my lifetime I have very often met the phenomenon you write to me about. In this connexion I tried to remember my own conduct in the past: did I not behave in such a way?. In my childhood I did not understand what diffi­culties and sufferings raising us brought to my (our) parents. My mind acted with its focus rather on myself, on my future, on my needs, and not on how I could show gratitude towards my parents - father and mother - or other people who in one way or another helped me in my childhood and youth. Now I am thinking about those young people whom I have met, for whom I tried to do as much good as possible, to help them arrange their lives; I tried to foresee in my mind the potential difficulties they would have in the future and so on. And the majority of them understood nothing of this; some even thought that I needed something from them, and that was why I did them a good turn.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Conseils spirituels.
Mère Mariam Zacca.

Conseils spirituels prodigués par Mère Mariam (Zakka) higoumène du monastère de Saint Jean Baptiste à Douma au Liban. Ces conseils s’adressent à un groupe de jeunes laïcs orthodoxes du Liban. Certains pensent à la vie monastique. La question posée par l’un d’entre nous était la suivante : « Mère Mariam, j’ai un problème, je trouve que certains frères ne changent pas, bien que nous recevons un enseignement, que nous lisons les vies des Saints ainsi que les Écritures, je commence à avoir des doutes sur le bien-fondé de notre action…peux-tu me conseiller ?!. »

Mes bien-aimés vous vous réunissez pour vivre en Christ !. Pour être à Lui ! Vous êtes avec Lui et en Lui alors pourquoi perdre espoir ?!. Vous pensez que l’être humain change vite ?!…L’être humain n’est pas un appareil que l’on pourrait confier à un réparateur pour le remettre en marche et qu’il se mette à fonctionner selon nos souhaits, à notre image et selon nos conceptions et sans doute pas à l’image du Seigneur.
Ce qui est essentiel lors de vos réunions est la patience qui vient juste après l’amour évangélique.
Avoir de la patience envers ses proches est le « cinquième clou » enfoncé sur le côté du Seigneur, qui est à la fois notre Seigneur et le Seigneur de ceux qui l’ont cloué sur la croix de notre Salut.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The world is a teacher to lead us to Christ.
Fr.Dumitru Stăniloae.

Fr. Dumitru Staniloae is a Romanian theologian. His many works include commentaries on the Church Fathers, a Romanian translation of the Philokalia, and his masterpiece, in 1978, "The Orthodox Dogmatic Theology". Fr. Dumitru endured several years of imprisonment for his faith at the hands of Communists, after which he began to work for the Romanian Holy Synod and often traveled to international conferences to share his theological vision. He reposed in 1993 at the age of ninety.

On the road of our approach to God stands the world - we must pass through the understanding of it. Every man has a mission connected with the world. Everyone must know it according to the power given to him, in as much as knowledge can't come until the gaining of the virtues; everyone must develop beforehand a moral activity in relationship to the world. A mainly negative attitude toward the world frustrates salvation itself. The world is imposed on everyone as a stone for sharpening his spiritual faculties.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

De la Prière…
Saint Nil d’Ancyre.
33 citations choisies du livre “Traité de la Prière”.

1. Si l'on veut préparer un parfum exquis, la Loi prescrit de mélanger à parties égales l'encens diaphane, la cannelle, l'onyx et la myrrhe : c'est le quaternaire des vertus. Si elles sont en pleine mesure et bien en équilibre, l'esprit est à l'épreuve de toute défaillance.
2. L'âme purifiée par la plénitude des vertus établit l'esprit dans un ordre inébranlable, grâce auquel il peut obtenir la constance qu'il recherche.
3. La prière est un commerce de l'esprit avec Dieu. Il ne faut pas une médiocre constance à l'esprit pour sortir de soi et aller vers son propre Maître dans une quiétude sans défaillance, et pour converser avec lui sans intermédiaire.
4. Quand Moise voulut s'approcher du buisson ardent, il en fut empêché tant qu'il n'eut pas quitté ses chaussures. Et toi, qui veux voir celui qui dépasse toute pensée et tout sentiment, tu ne te dégagerais pas de toute notion sensible ?!...
5. Prie d'abord pour recevoir le don des larmes, afin d'amollir par tes pleurs la rudesse de ton âme ; puis tu obtiendras le pardon en confessant ton iniquité au Seigneur.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Blessed Surgeon’s faith and love.
Excerpts from the life of Saint Luke of Simferopol.

The faith.
When he arrived in Simferopol in 1946, Saint Luke had thought that his knowledge and experience in surgery would be in demand. However, a month-and-a-half passed before he received official per­mission to practice medicine. From 1946 on, he worked as a consultant at the Simferopol Hospital. He also assisted the Hospital for Invalids of the Great Patriotic War. Until the end of 1947, he gave reports and lectures to doctors and operated on patients and the wounded. Zhdanov (the official in charge of Russian Orthodox Church Affairs) characterized his medical activity as very active.
Archbishop Luke regularly attended meetings of the surgeons' associa­tion, in which civil doctors and surgeons participated. He would listen carefully to their reports and speeches and always introduced necessary corrections. According to Dr. G. F. Pyatidvernaya, during a meeting, one surgeon asked the archbishop: "How can you, such a specialist, a surgeon, believe in somebody whom you have never seen, in God?"

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Testimony of the Saints.
Archimandrite George Kapsani.

Father Georges Kapsani.
Archimandrite George, the former Abbot of St. Gregorios Monastery (1974-2014), was well known throughout the Orthodox world both as a theologian and spiritual father. He has written many books and articles on theology and the spiritual life. His works have been translated into many languages. He reposed in the Lord, the day of Pentecost, 8 June 2014. 

The Church is the place of our meeting with the Holy Trinity and the Epiphany where the fullness of Grace and the real gifts of the Spirit exist. Where everything is perfect, since "the divine Fathers put everything in its proper order". They were driven and guided by the authenticity of the omniscience of God and "having recollected all the science of the soul" have passed on to us authentically" the great mystery of piety". The real piety, not the fake, not the in­dividual piety according to everyone's personal opinion, but piety of the Church.

We, the Orthodox Christians, in our honorable struggle daily die according to the old man and go from admiration to admiration and from surprise to surprise. We act as such even when we take up our cross, each one personally his own, despite our human passions and weaknesses.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

“ Most Christians are not born”.
Metropolitan Georges Khodr.

A chosen selection from “Most Christians Are Not Born”, a chapter of a book entitled “And If I Told the Ways of Childhood” written by Metropolitan Georges Khodr, the former Metropolitan of Byblos, Batroun and Mount Lebanon, and translated by father Robert Arida.  
Metropolitan Georges uses the third person, “my friend”, and not the first person “I.” More than a literary technique, “my friend” expresses a spiritual posture which enables Metropolitan Georges to stand apart from himself which, paradoxically allows for the intimacy needed to speak openly about himself and the world.

For a long time hope lived, but then came the time of disillusions. It is not enough for men to realize that they are to repent. For knowing that their passions lead to a disastrous fate, they do not cease to nurse them. They fall again into the same sins [either] through weakness or delight. Truly, they have very little interest in God. Moreover, many have no interest in him whatsoever. And nothing indicates that the bearers of the message, i.e. “the stewards of God’s mysteries” should be more profoundly anchored in divine things.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

“ Prenez donc garde à vous-mêmes”.
Archimandrite Touma Bitar.

En ce jour, la Sainte Église célèbre la mémoire des saints-Pères, qui se sont réunis au premier concile œcuménique, à la ville de Nice près de la ville de Constantinople. Le saint empereur Constantin faisait appel à ce concile nommé “le grand”, après avoir concerté avec certains évêques proches de lui, en ce qui concerne un enseignement étrange, que l’Église appelle “hérésie”. Ils se sont délibéré pour mettre fin au trouble causé par l’hérésie attribuée à un archimandrite Égyptien, nommé “Arius”.    
L’empereur  Constantin a pris l’initiative de convoquer les évêques de l’univers, c'est-à-dire le monde Byzantin, dans le temps. Il a voulu s’informer d’eux de l’enseignement officiel de l’Église Sainte Catholique Apostolique.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Quelle est la différence entre la douceur et l’humilité.?!...
Mère Mariam Zacca.

Le Seigneur a dit : “Apprenez de moi car je suis doux et humble de cœur ”.
La douceur est un des dons que l’Esprit Saint accorde à l’homme à sa naissance…Certains Pères de l’Église considèrent que la douceur est accordée à des personnes choisies par Dieu et qu’Il connaît depuis qu’ils sont dans le ventre de leurs mères : « Du sein de ta mère je t’ai connu ». Le Seigneur connaît l’homme depuis qu’il se trouve dans les entrailles de sa mère et Il peut le choisir pour en faire un vase d’élection, Il lui accorde de nombreux dons spirituels pour qu’il puisse les développer dans ce monde en prenant le Christ comme modèle.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

“Venez à moi, vous tous qui êtes fatigués et chargés…”
Père Lev Gillet

Père Lev Gillet : Prêtre et théologien orthodoxe français. Catholique de naissance, il fut reçu dans l’Église orthodoxe à Paris en mai 1928, par Mgr Euloge, responsable de l'Église russe en Europe occidentale, et en novembre 1928 il devient le recteur de la paroisse Sainte-Geneviève-de-Paris, la première paroisse orthodoxe francophone. En 1938, il quitte Paris pour s’installer à Londres, dans un premier temps dans le cadre d'un foyer s'occupant de jeunes réfugiés juifs et judéo-chrétiens de l'Europe centrale puis dans le cadre du Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius, organisme œcuménique voué au rapprochement entre l’Église anglicane et l’Église orthodoxe. Il reste en Angleterre jusqu’à son décès, faisant de nombreux voyages à l’étranger, notamment en France, en Suisse et au Liban, où il participe au renouveau spirituel de l’orthodoxie antiochienne.

Jésus, pour s'arrêter au puits de Jacob, choisit l'heure où il sait que la Samaritaine viendra puiser son eau de chaque jour. C'est dans nos besoins quotidiens, - dans nos corvées quotidiennes, - que Jésus veut nous rencontrer.
« Va et appelle ton mari ... » Jésus était en train d'exposer à la Samaritaine le mystère de l'eau vive. Et voici qu'il interrompt son discours d'une manière en quelque sorte abrupte et met la Samaritaine en demeure de révéler la plaie de sa vie. La Samaritaine se borne à un demi-aveu balbutiant. Jésus va lui-même préciser les choses. Il met le doigt sur la plaie et la débride: les cinq maris successifs, le concubinage présent...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

"I Want".
The miraculous healing of the paraplegic, Stavros Kalkandi.

The following story is not a well written narration created by the fantasy of a dreamer, nor a fairy tale for simple children's minds, nor is it a planned, fabrication which serves sane determined purpose. Rather, it is my true to-life testimony; the story of my life; a life which has passed through many painful stages and undergone many struggles and agonies until it finally found its correct meaning and its correct path, leading me close to God.
The War of 1940-41 found me as a twenty year old youth serving in the Martial Air force. In April, 1941, I received a Wound in the cervical part of my spinal cords lower marrow, while I was on an assignment. This brought about a certain spinal hemorrhage (eiparachnoeidis), and partial paralysis of the lower organs. In other words, I became a paraplegic.

The German occupation then followed.
Because my condition slowly began to improve, I went to the Middle East as an officer. There, I had the misfortune of reinjuring my neck which resulted in the aggravation of my condition. In April, 1947, after the war ended, the homeland sent me to America. As soon as I arrived there, I underwent an operation on my spinal column. I left the operating room worse than I got in. They diagnosed spastic tetraplegia with ortho­bladder (orthokystikon) disturbances. I then became a tetraplegic (paralyzed in both arms and legs). I stayed in America until 1957. Then I returned to Greece. I had a few flashes of improvements; however, without any positive results.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mère Mariam Zacca

          Qui est celui-ci qui donne la lumière à partir des ténèbres et de la vallée de la mort, à partir d’un tombeau .?!.
Il est la lumière du Verbe qui était auprès de Dieu, Lui qui est depuis le commencement, Il est Dieu et par Lui tout a été fait ..!!..
L’univers et les cieux, les corps célestes et les étoiles, la Terre et toutes les bêtes, les oiseaux et les océans….
En Lui était la Vie et Lui, le Dieu était sa lumière ..!!..
Par Lui tout a été fait et sans Lui rien n’a été fait de ce qui existe.
Il dit : voici que j’ai fait la vie, l’univers et la lumière ; mais où est l’homme .?!...

The Myrrbearing Women and the Christian Women of Today.
Elder Sofian Boaghiu

Elder Sofian Boaghiu of Antim Monastery (now with the Lord) was sentenced by the communists (in 1958) to 15 years of hard labor in the concentration camps for keeping the true Orthodox Christian faith and refusing to become atheist.

Elder Sofian Boaghiu.
As you know, the third Sunday after Easter is the Sunday of the Myrrh bearing women, or the Sunday of the faithful women, keepers of Christian family. You should be joyful that you partake of this special honor from our Resurrected Lord. And through our most pure Mother Theotokos and the Holy Myrrh-bearing women, you have a Sunday a year when you are especially honored. May the Lord multiply in you the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit and may the gift of Christian love abide truly in you, in order that you may become maintainers of Christian’ warmth and harmony in your family. For many families today are met with disaster… as you know better than me, so I will not speak about it.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Doubting Thomas… Believing Thomas.?!.
Kosmas Damianidis.

Dearly Beloved Brethren,
Nobody knows the time or even the place that our Lord is returning to judge the living and the dead. For this reason, the Fathers of our Church do not tell us to try and outsmart God, by predicting the time that He will appear. On the contrary the Fathers concentrate on teaching us to be constantly ready and watchful, by praying, fasting and doing works of love and faith. We are instructed to expect a sudden if not instant entry of our Lord.
In the final chapter of the Book of Revelations, the Apocalypse of St John the Theologian, we are informed that we must fully accept the imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore we are told that our world will suffer terribly before the Second Coming of our Lord and that this world will be destroyed. Nevertheless so let it be, in obedience we should pray "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev 22:20) and come quickly.
In John chapter 20 we are told of the pitiful sight of the Apostles who gathered in a small dark house for fear of the Jews after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. They had locked every window and door, and they were in a state of mourning. They must have been deeply depressed, angry, disillusioned, confused and very afraid to say the least.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

La fête…l'allégresse du cœur.
Archimandrite Aimilianos Simonopetra.

Portrait de L'Archimandrite Aimilianos
offert par Père Elisée, higoumène de Simonopetra, 
au monastère Saint Jean-Baptiste, Liban.
L’Archimandrite Aimilianos (Vafeidis) fut l’higoumène du monastère Simonopetra  dès 1974 jusqu’à 2000. Comme jeune enthousiasmé, il avait l’intention de devenir un missionnaire à l’étranger, mais en tant que moine il a vécu une expérience spirituelle spéciale qui l’a transformé en un moine enflammé de zèle pour la rénovation de la vie monastique. C’est ainsi que fut renouvelée la vie monastique au monastère Simonopetra au Mont-Athos, et fondé le monastère de L’Annonciation à Ormilia en Grèce.

         Je suis très heureux de pouvoir, enfin, vous réunir après les jours si denses que nous venons de vivre. Nous pouvons dire que ce temps liturgique, celui de la Grande Semaine, fut le plus beau de l'année.
Les fêtes sont passées. En nous résonnent encore les hymnes de la Passion, auxquelles ont succédé les cris jaillissant de nos cœurs devant le Seigneur ressuscité. Personne ne peut nier que nos fêtes étaient splendides. C'était les fêtes de Dieu, et non de ces fêtes dont on dit: «Je méprise vos fêtes», car elles ont rendu nos cœurs joyeux dans le Christ Jésus.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Meditations on Death and the Resurrection.
Father Georges Masssouh.

 There is an inevitable truth that death lies is waiting for us at some moment of our life. So how must one deal with this eventuality?. Do we surrender to it and live our life in fear of it happening sooner or later?. Or should we face it with courage and live as though it could happen at any moment? Do we live this coming death in constant fear or do we regard it as something natural and go about our daily life in a normal manner?.
 "Bishop Kallistos Ware" begins his article "'Go Joyfully:' The Mystery of Death and the Resurrection", which appears in his book The Inner Kingdom as follows: "In the worship of the Russian Orthodox Church, while the prayers of preparation are being said before starting of the Eucharist, the doors in the center of the icon screen remain closed.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

…De la Mère de Dieu.
Métropolite Antonios El-Souri.

      Nous sommes incapables de parler du Seigneur Dieu, sans parler de la Vierge Marie. Tout œuvre dans l’Église du Christ est accompli avec la présence de la Vierge. Du moment où la Vierge a accepté que le Fils de Dieu demeure en elle, et prendre corps dans son sein, elle est devenue liée à Lui existentiellement, et elle sera toujours présente avec Lui. Par son amour maternel, elle a embrassé Le Dieu incarné, et par cet amour même, elle embrasse l’univers tout entier.
L’éloge est présenté à Dieu exclusivement, aucun humain ne le déserve. La Vierge Marie est toujours liée à son Fils, ce qui apparaît clairement dans les icônes où elle se trouve toujours représentée avec l’enfant Jésus, dès lors la Vierge Marie et le mystère de l’incarnation se trouvent inséparables, et ce mystère est le sujet principal de L’hymne Acathiste :
“ Un ange, parmi ceux qui se tiennent devant la Gloire du Seigneur, fut envoyé dire à la Mère de Dieu : " Réjouis-toi ”…

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Priest Dimitry Shishkin

In our time, many laypeople ask the question: Why should people of the twenty-first century act according to rules written by monks and for monks in deep antiquity?. Why should they read monastic books in which there isn’t even a remote mention of the problems that we face today?.
Here it is, the fourth Sunday of Great Lent, dedicated to a monk who lived one and a half millennia ago. Just how relevant are the writings of St. John, abbot of Sinai, to the twenty-first century?. Could there really be something of value?. 

“Asceticism irritates and even angers some people, because it disrupts the momentary comfort that doesn’t want to know anything about eternity.”
Priest Dimitry Shishkin, rector of the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in the village of Pochtovoe, Bakhchesar region (diocese of Simferopol, Crimea). 

The main problem of our times is man’s loss of understanding of his higher calling. More and more the idea is spreading in the world that the meaning of human life consists in living here, on earth, with the maximum comfort and happiness. And by happiness is meant some average set of emotional-physical joys and conveniences. Having “waved away” the ascetical experience collected by the Church over the centuries, man handicaps himself, makes his life catastrophically truncated,  because he rejects help in the most difficult and most important work- discovering the fullness of love and harmony with God. Moreover, having completely immersed himself in emotional-fleshly life, man completely loses the true concept of spiritual life. He may even know about it from books, can think about it and discuss it, but no more than that. This is because the living experience of discovering the grace of the Holy Spirit, the experience of growing in the knowledge of God is acquired in no other way than by “love for the very venerable commandments and sacredly fulfilling them.” Without this experience, eternal grace-filled life becomes a certain culturological fact, and nothing more.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Father Sophrony Zakharov… Love to the point of self-hatred.
Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou).

God revealed Himself as the One who Is, initially to Moses in the Person of His Son. Subsequently, during His sojourn in the flesh, He showed that the content of His Hypostasis is love, and what is more, love “unto the end” [john 13:1; d. also 15:10-15]. This revelation is, according to the Apostle’s word, “the great mystery of our faith” [1 Tim. 3: 16].
The incarnation of the Son of God “explains” to us the person­-hypostasis. In the flesh He assumed, the Son and Word of God manifested the true dimensions of His Person and of His selfless love. “He first loved us” [1 John. 4:19], and first saved the impious man freely by what He wrought as a servant. “As a servant, because He did not want to frighten guilty mankind and therefore violate man's freedom. He showed that His love is absolute, yet also humble beyond description. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” [Rom.5:8].
Man was created in God’s image and after His likeness. Hence, man is a person and reflects his prototype, God. However, to attain to the final perfection of the hypostatic principle for which God destined him, man has to reach the fullness of divine love. He too is expected to express by his work, as a servant - by repentance and humility,  his gratitude for the saving work of Christ, to respond with love to His love and to be fulfilled as a person by emulating His example and His life.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

“Le Printemps de l’âme”.
Métropolite Stephanos de Tallinn.

"...Moi, je t'ai connu au désert, dans un pays de fièvre" (Osée 13.5)
Un jour trois ascètes décidèrent de choisir chacun un mode de vie différent:
          - Le premier choisit de faire la paix parmi ceux qui se battent.
- Le deuxième se mit à visiter les malades.
- Le troisième gagna le désert.
Peu de temps après, le premier, n’arrivant pas à ses fins, vint, découragé, trouver le deuxième qui lui aussi, était à bout.
Tous deux décidèrent alors de se rendre auprès de celui qui avait opté pour l’hésychia au désert. Ils furent étonnés de sa réussite et l’assaillent de questions. Ce dernier commence par se taire puis il prit un vase, le remplit d’eau. « Regardez cette eau, leur dit-il, combien elle est troublée. » Puis, après un bout de temps, il leur dit encore : « voyez maintenant cette même eau et comment elle s’est reposée». Et là, comme dans un miroir, ils virent distinctement leur visage. Il leur dit alors : « Il en est de même par rapport à nous : lorsque nous vivons au milieu des hommes, nous ne voyons pas nos défauts, alors qu’il en est tout autrement dans le désert. »

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Why icons?.
Archimandrite Touma Bitar.

Today, brothers, the Holy Church commemorates the fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council which affirmed the veneration of icons after a long period during which those who venerate them were persecuted and most ancient icons that had existed before the eighth century were destroyed.
 What is the importance of icons in the Church? First of all, brothers, we honor icons and do not worship them. For this reason, all that can be said about us worshiping idols if we use icons in the Church is false. There is a great difference between veneration and worship. Worship belongs to God and God alone. But man expresses himself with word and image. Man has senses with which he expresses himself. Thus we use incense. Incense, for us, is a sign of venerating the faithful and of worshiping God in the faithful. So too with the Holy Bible. There are words in it, but these words are only vehicles for God's presence among us. We cannot express ourselves in a non-human way.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

If God knows us, like the wise virgins, we will never die!.
Dr. Daniel and Dr. Jane Hinshaw.

{Medicine, health, psychiatry, faith, death… issues discussed by Dr.Daniel and his wife Dr.Jane Hinshaw, through an Orthodox, scientific and spiritual perspective, in a meeting with the community that took place in the dining room of our monastery of  Saint John the Baptist, on Saturday 3 February 2018.}
A special blessing that we would like to share with our readers.

One of the extraordinary things about the Orthodox Christianity’s understanding of reality is Orthodox Anthropology: how do we understand the nature of the human person.
The Eastern fathers of the Church have emphasized how there is a unity of the body and soul and this occurs from  the very point of conception, and so as human persons we acquire our personhood because God has called us to be persons, God makes us persons.

      The image of the Trinity is impressed upon each of us as Christians, by our Chrismation and baptism, so the Holy Spirit is there and hopefully will dwell with us as we draw toward the Kingdom. And so God has done everything possible to make us His children. And yet we have this tendency, because of the fall to continually wander away. In the Church’s use of the Greek language, there has been this term called amartia to describe what sin is, but in classical Greek before the Christian era, amartia in its most basic form meant not being the way things should be. The classical example was the athlete, the one who would be throwing the javelin and he missed the target, and so another extraordinary thing about the Orthodox Church compared to the Western branch of Christianity, is there is a recognition because of the fall of Adam and Eve, that not only do we have sins that we consciously choose to do, but there is also sins that we don’t consciously choose, that this is not the way that should be, where we are not meeting the mark, we are not hitting the target.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

“If any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him”…
Saint Anthony The Great.

Saint Anthony the Great.
The ancient saints were of the same nature as you and me; they had the same weaknesses that we observe in ourselves: They also experienced hunger like we do; they also wanted to sleep; their bodies were exposed to the same sicknesses as are ours.
God is no respecter of persons; and we hear now the same Divine voice that St. Anthony the Great heard, and that the host of great ascetics and saints following after him heard, and that future generations of Christians coming after us will hear: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcome will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3:20-21).
For our sake, our Lord Jesus Christ created this visible world; for our sake He descended from Heaven, becoming a man like unto us; He poured out His Divine blood for us in the terrible sufferings of the Cross, to grant us such blessings of which we on Earth cannot even conceive.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Saint Éliane de Homs.
Anargyre et martyr du III siècle.

Le récit le plus complet de la vie de saint Éliane est rédigé en arabe et compris dans le manuscrit n° 652 de la Bibliothèque de l'Université Saint- Joseph de Beyrouth, lui-même la copie d'un texte plus ancien établi à l'intention de J. van Kasteren S.J., en 1860. 
Ce récit nous apprend que saint Éliane était le rejeton d'une famille notable de Homs. Doué de multiples vertus, il pratiquait la médecine non seulement pour guérir le corps de ses prochains, mais pour soigner leur âme aussi. En même temps, il pratiquait la charité, prenant sur le superflu qu'il trouvait dans la maison de son père. Celui-ci, grand dignitaire du duc (douqs, et dans la version arabe wâli) de Homs et portant un nom orthographié de maintes manières (Hastaris, Hattâris ou Fastâris) était idolâtre, donc ennemi naturel de la doctrine que son fils confessait. Le conflit devait éclater sous Numérien, cet empereur éphémère, débonnaire et ami du poète Némésien , mais persécuteur des chrétiens.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Preparation for the journey
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh.

Girding our Loins

CONTRARY to what many think or feel, lent is a period of spiritual endeavor… Lent is a time of joy because it is a time for coming home, a period when we can come back to life. It should be a time when we shake off all that is worn and dead in us in order to become able to live, and to live with all the vastness, all the depth and all the intensity to which we are called. Unless we understand this quality of joy, we shall make of it a monstrous, blasphemous caricature, when in God's very name we make our life a misery for ourselves and for those who must pay the cost for our abortive attempts at holiness. This notion of joy coupled with strenuous effort, with ascetical endeavor, with struggle indeed, may seem strange, and yet it runs through the whole of our spiritual life, the life of the Church and the life of the Gospel, because the Kingdom of God is to be conquered. It is not something which is simply given to those who leisurely, lazily wait for it to come. For those who would wait for it in that spirit, it will come indeed: it will come at the dead of night; it will come like the Judgment of God, like the thief who takes us unawares, like the bridegroom who comes when the foolish virgins are asleep.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

La moniale Deborah, la “Staritsa”.

La vie monastique n'est pas toujours vécue entre les murs d'un monastère et le don de startchestvo (la guidance spirituelle), étant un charisme de l'esprit qui ne dépend pas d'une ordination, il peut se manifester chez une femme comme chez un homme.
 Dans une maison comme les autres d'une petite ville de Sibérie, vit la moniale Deborah. Percluse de maladies - tachycardie, migraines, maladie des poumons, des reins -, elle a déjà été miraculée une fois. Alors qu'on l'emmenait pour se faire opérer d'un kyste du cerveau et qu'elle souffrait horriblement, elle a senti qu'il se produisait quelque chose: elle a eu encore plus mal, puis la douleur est passée. A l'hôpital, les examens médicaux prouvèrent qu'il n'y avait plus de kyste, mais comme une cicatrice fraîche.
Elle se rappelle le long chemin qui l'a menée au monachisme. Voilà son récit: «Les fondements de l'orthodoxie ont été posés pour toujours dans mon âme enfantine. Mes parents étaient orthodoxes. Ma mère était sans instruction, mon père avait étudié au séminaire. On ne s'asseyait jamais à table sans avoir prié.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

“Pray… some donor may appear out of nowhere”

Kyriakos C.Markides.

His eminence Athanasios
Metropolitan of Limassol.
Father Maximos spent most of the morning in his office chatting with two fellows in their mid-twenties. They had arrived at the monastery two weeks earlier and were staying in a cell reserved for visitors. I assumed at the time that they were potential novices exploring the option of a monastic life. But Stephanos, being a kind of lay father figure to the younger monks and therefore having intimate knowledge of the goings-on in the monastery, informed me confidentially that the newcomers had a very severe drug problem. They had arrived with the aim of freeing them­selves from their deadly addiction, and were not primarily concerned with the salvation of their souls. Father Maximos was their therapist and the monastery was serving as a detoxification center of a sort.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

L'exorcisme du cosmos.

Un texte admirable de saint Siméon le Nouveau Théologien offre, avec une grande force symbolique, une description de la chute humaine : 
"Toutes les créatures, lorsqu’elles virent qu'Adam était chassé du Paradis, ne consentirent plus à lui rester soumises; ni le soleil, ni la lune, ni les étoiles ne voulurent le reconnaître; les sources refusèrent de faire jaillir l'eau, et les rivières de continuer leur cours; l'air ne voulait plus palpiter pour ne pas donner à respirer à Adam pécheur ; les bêtes féroces et tous les animaux de la terre lorsqu'ils le virent déchu de sa gloire première, se mirent à le mépriser, et tous étaient prêts à l’assaillir; le ciel s’efforçait de s’effondrer sur sa tête et la terre ne voulait plus le porter. Mais Dieu qui avait créé toutes choses et l’homme même, que fit-il? Il contint toutes ces créatures par sa propre force et par son ordre et sa clémence sacrée, ne les laissa pas se déchaîner contre l'homme, mais ordonna que la création restât sous sa dépendance et, devenant périssable, servît l'homme périssable pour lequel elle était créée et cela jusqu'à ce que l’homme renouvelé redevienne spirituel, incorruptible et éternel, et que toutes les créatures, soumises par Dieu à l'homme dans son labeur, se libèrent aussi, se renouvellent avec lui et, comme lui, deviennent incorruptibles et spirituelles".