Saturday, December 28, 2019

Anecdotes About St. Joseph the Hesychast
Hieromonk Ephraim, St. Nilus Skete, Alaska.

 Saint Joseph the Hesychast.
Elder Sophrony of Essex heard about Elder Joseph and found him on his own. Elder Sophrony visited him frequently because he had great reverence for him. He later said that Elder Joseph was one of the greatest ascetics of the Holy Mountain he had ever met. In a letter of his, Elder Sophrony wrote the following about their meeting: “I wanted to hear the words of this bearer of great grace. He spoke to me primarily about the hesychastic life of a hermit and that he himself had seen the Uncreated Light several times. My discussion with Geronda left a deep impression on me.... I had the impression that I had in front of me a spiritual general.” Indeed, he was “the teacher”—which is what pious monks of the wilderness of the Holy Mountain would call him out of reverence and respect.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Lily announcing Christ's birth.
Father Arseni Boca.

The soul that reaches the state of purity receives the Lily announcing Christ's birth. At this time the unfolding of gifts received through Holy Chrism occurs. Now the soul must pass against its will through tribulations not dependent on it though ordained by God, completing what was missing from the soul's understanding of things in its life on earth. Throughout this time, the power of Holy Spirit continues working within the ascetic. Let us not forget: the Holy Spirit acted only after the ascetic disengaged all of his soul's powers from working against nature and set them to work for their originally intended purpose: in accordance with nature. Once this conversion and inner harmony of powers is obtained in us, then comes the work of the things above human nature, assisting the growth and development of the Holy Spirit is gifts ordained by God for each of us.
A new child has been born in the flesh, bringing it into a state of purity. Then the child grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon Him."He is the morning star which arises in the hearts of the believers," as Peter says. He is God -as- Light - our light - the one covered by the darkness of ignorance from the time of passions, which will rise like the dawn and will speed your healing.' And thy old waste desert places shall be built up, and thy foundations shall last through all generations:" Jesus Christ. The Light of the world and your light will glow more brightly. The child Jesus became perfect man in the army of perfected men and comes, bowing his head under the hand of dust of His creation, showing His humility in receiving Baptism.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Farewell Word.
Saint Sophrony(Sakharov)

Fr. Sophrony:
            Blessed be the Name of the Lord now and unto the ages!
         The Lord left as His commandment: "Love me and in this love keep my commandments"[1]. By keeping the commandments we become accustomed to live effortlessly in the frequent memory of Christ, His life, His example and His words. So then, I ask you please, my beloved brothers and sisters, to accept simply and in peace these words, not as mine, but as an answer to the call which our Lord is addressing us.
         If you hear now some things, similar to those that the Lord said at the Last Supper prior to His departure, I ask you please to not be saddened by these, because He Himself said: "Do not premeditate what you will speak... but whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak but the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father".[2] As He chose the Most Holy Virgin Mary and rendered Her a path for His Incarnation, in that same way the Lord unites Himself with all of us and according to our type of mind. Therefore, it follows that I have the right to speak, following the example of Christ, because He said: "I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you".[3]

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Persecution and monasticism
preparation for sanctity.

Saint Sophrony(Sakharov)

Archimandrite Thomas, Saint Sophrony, Mother Mariam,
contemplating the icon of the Mother of God.
Fr. Sophrony:
          As always, I come to our synaxes without preparation. My preparation rests on the prayer which you have just chanted: that the Spirit may come and vivify our heart and mind. And once again I rejoice that I am living this moment of our meeting together...
          We are living in an exceptionally important time. Two or three years ago a team of theologians from Serbia visited us. These young Serbian theologians asked me what I thought about the future. Here in our country (England), no one knew at that time the word "perestroika", which all the world today knows. I answered them that I am not a prophet, but my prayer tells me that humanity is living in a tragic tension, which surpasses the capacities of whichever State leader. Thus, if destruction through a nuclear war does not come in the near future, there will occur an inevitable revival of Christianity. And behold, a little while later, we began to hear talk on "perestroika" (= reconstruction- reformation), so that the Orthodox Church in Russia is now undergoing a period of revival.
          As Christ said that through the Providence of our Creator and Father even the hairs of our head are numbered[1], it is obvious that through the same Providence also Russia was preserved throughout this entire period of seventy years. The Word of God entered total kenosis, when He said to the Father, on the Cross : "Why have You forsaken me?"[2]The Apostle Paul tells us that God did not answer His Son who was dying saying, "Father, into Your hands I commit  my spirit"[3]. And precisely from that moment of His death, Christ began to be known not as a Prophet, no matter how great He was, but as God Himself.
          What the Church of Russia lived throughout the period of the seventy years, was allowed by Divine Providence, even though from a human point of view these years were an exceptionally tragic period. The slaughter of Christians was allowed by the Providence of God, at a time when the voices and innumerable prayers of the faithful remained unanswered from the part of the Heavenly Father. Knowing very many texts of prisoners, exiles etc., we can see there the repetition of all that occurred during the first centuries of Christianity. Thus, was granted in our times an exceptionally grand privilege: the privilege not only to believe in God, but also to suffer with Him[4]. In other words, these events, which seem to us terrible and which urged in us tearful prayer for them and for the whole of mankind, permitted a harvest of thousands and thousands of great saints.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

What are you human life?!.
Saint Colombanus.


Saint Colombanus.
          Human life, fragile and marked for death, how many have you deceived, beguiled, and blinded? While in flight, you are nothing; while in sight, you are a shadow; while you rise up, you are but smoke. Every day you depart and every day you return; you depart in returning and you return in depart­ing, different ending, same beginning, different pleasure, the same passing, sweet to the foolish and bitter to the wise. Those who love you do not know you, and those who condemn you really understand you. Thus you are not true but false; you pre­sent yourself as true but prove yourself false. 
          What are you then, human life? You are the wayfaring of mortals and not their liv­ing; your beginning is in sin and in death your end. You would be true if the sin of the first human transgression had not cut you short so that you became unsteady and mortal and marked all who tread your way for death. And so you are the way that leads to life, but not life itself, for you are a true way, but not an open one: brief for some and long for others, broad for some and nar­row for others, joyful for some and full of grief for others, but for each and every one, you hurry on and cannot be called back. A way is what you are, a way, but you are not evident to all. Though many see you, few understand that you are indeed a way.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

l'Emmanuel né de la Vierge.
Saint Irénée de Lyon.

Saint Irénée de Lyon.

Par la désobéissance d'un seul homme, le péché a fait son entrée et par le péché, la mort a prévalu, de même, par l'obéissance d'un seul homme, la justice a été introduite et a produit des fruits de vie chez les hommes qui autrefois étaient morts. Et de même que ce premier homme modelé, Adam, a reçu sa substance d'une terre intacte et vierge encore - «car Dieu n'avait pas encore fait pleuvoir et l'homme n'avait pas encore travaillé la terre»- et qu'il a été modelé par la Main de Dieu, c'est-à-dire par le Verbe de Dieu - car «tout a été fait par son entremise», et: «Le Seigneur prit du limon de La terre et en modela l'homme, de même, récapitulant en lui-même Adam, lui, le Verbe, c'est de Marie encore Vierge qu'à juste titre il a reçu cette génération qui est la récapitulation d'Adam. Si le premier Adam a été pris de la terre et modelé par le Verbe de Dieu, il fallait que ce même Verbe, effectuant en lui-même la récapitulation d'Adam, possédât la similitude d'une génération identique. Mais alors, objectera-t-on, pourquoi Dieu n'a-t-il pas pris de nouveau du limon et a-t-il fait sortir de Marie l'ouvrage qu'il modelait?- Pour qu’il n'y eût pas un autre ouvrage modelé et que ce ne fût pas un autre ouvrage qui fût sauvé, mais que celui-là même fût récapitulé, du fait que serait sauvegardée la similitude en question.
En connexion étroite avec le Christ, la Vierge Marie tient nécessairement une place éminente dans le plan du salut.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Contemporary Hagiorite witnesses of Deification.
Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos.

Saint Gregory Palamas.

St. Gregory Palamas belongs to the category of those Hagiorite Fathers who see God. He himself, as St. Philotheos Kokkinos describes, had experiences of God many times, but also participation in the deifying energy of God. His way of writing and the way in which he analyses the texts of the holy Fathers manifest his personal participation in the uncreated glory of God.
For the Glory of God, we have written testimonies about vision of the uncreated Light in our days. Several Hagiorite monks, for many reasons, chiefly to help the Christians whose faith was wa­vering, came to the point of revealing their experiences. Thus we have written testimonies of this life. In what follows we should like to mention four such testimonies, which show the value and importance of the Mountain of holy name.
The first is the witness of father Paisios. He describes how St. Arsenios of Cappadocia appeared to him at the mo­ment when he had finished writing his biography. It was an experience of God, for saints appear in the uncreated Light. Moreover the saints enjoyed Paradise and the Kingdom of God, which is the vision of the uncreated Light. It is very charac­teristic that on Mt. Tabor the Prophet Elijah and the Prophet Moses appeared in God's Light. Paisios writes:
"The Father also has other such garments, but my own spir­itual hands have been paralyzed by my many sins and I can­not loose them for the present to pray. May the good Father forgive me for this and for the fact that I have defiled his name, which he gave me. It is true also that I have not imitat­ed him in any way. And while I was regarded as a young scamp the indulgent Father Arsenios, as an imitator of Christ, was vindicating me by his love. It seems that for years he was collecting all his love for me in order to give it to me at one time and to jolt me, careless and insensitive as I am, into re­covering my senses.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Vivre en Dieu au quotidien.
Starets Serge Chévitch.

Starets Serge Chévitch.

Correspondant de saint Silouane et du célèbre Higoumène Chariton de Valaam, ami de Jacques Maritain, Louis Massignon, Olivier Lacombe, Charles du Bos, Emmanuel Mounier et Gabriel Marcel, père spirituel de Nicolas Berdiaev, de Vladimir Lossky et du grand iconographe Grégoire Kroug, le Starets Serge Chévitch (1903-1987) fut l'une des figures les plus charismatiques et les plus lumineuses de l'émigration russe et de l'Église orthodoxe en Occident.

Les possibilités humaines dépassent de très loin les limites de la vie terrestre. Les hommes ont de grands dons, mais ceux-ci sont bien peu développés dans la vie terrestre. La plupart des hommes restent en deçà de ce qu'ils pourraient et devraient être par rapport à leur vocation et à leur destin spirituels. Comme disait Pascal: « L'homme passe infiniment l'homme » Les talents dont parle l'Évangile sont les possibilités que nous avons et que nous devons développer et faire fructifier. Nous devons avoir conscience de la responsabilité que nous donnent ces possibilités, et agir pour les mettre en valeur.
Notre but doit être de vivre en union avec Dieu. Nous devons tendre sans cesse vers le Royaume des cieux auquel nous sommes destinés. Notre but doit constamment être la vie éternelle qui est notre vraie vie. Mais cette vie nous sommes appelés à la vivre déjà ici-bas. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Spiritual Fire.
Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov.

Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov.

God is the teacher of prayer; true prayer is the gift of God. To him who prays constantly with contrition of spirit, with the fear of God and with attention, God Him­self gives gradual progress in prayer. From humble and attentive prayer, spiritual action and spiritual warmth make their appearance and quicken the heart. The quick­ened heart draws the mind to itself and becomes a temple of grace-given prayer and a treasury of the spiritual gifts which are procured by such prayer as a matter of course.
“Labor away”, say great ascetics and teachers of prayer, with pain of heart to obtain warmth and prayer, and God will grant you to have them always. Forgetfulness expels them, and it is born of sloth and carelessness. If you want to be delivered from forgetfulness and captivity, you will not be able to attain it otherwise than by acquiring within you the spiritual fire; only from the warmth of the fire of the Spirit forgetfulness and captivity vanish. This fire is obtained by desire of God.
Brother! Unless your heart seeks the Lord day and night with pain, you will not be able to succeed. But if you abandon everything else and occupy yourself with this, you will attain it, as Scripture says: Be still and realize (Ps. 45.11).
Brother! Implore the goodness of Him Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2.4) to give you spiritual vigilance which kindles the spiritual fire. The Lord of heaven and earth came to earth to pour that fire upon it (Luke 12.49).
According to my power I shall pray with you that God Who gives grace to all who ask with fervor and toil may grant you that vigilance. When it comes it will guide you to the truth. It enlightens the eyes, directs the mind, banishes the sleep of languor and negli­gence, restores luster to the weapon covered with rust in the earth of sloth, restores radiance to clothes defiled by captivity to barbarians, and inspires a desire to be satisfied with the great sacrifice offered by our great High Priest. This sacrifice of which it was revealed to the Prophet that it cleanses sins and takes away iniquities (Isa. 6.7), forgives those who weep, and gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3. 34), manifests itself in the worthy, and by it they inherit eternal life, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual vigilance or sobriety is a spiritual art which completely delivers a man, with the help of God, from sin­ful actions and passionate thoughts and words when fer­vently practiced for a considerable time. It is silence of heart; it is guarding of the mind; it is attention to oneself without any other thought which always, incessantly and unceasingly calls upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, which breathes by Him, with Him courageously takes up arms against the enemies, and which confesses Him. This is the definition of spiritual vigilance that St. Hesy­chius of Jerusalem gives. The rest of the Fathers agree with him.
When the fire descends into the heart, says St John of the Ladder, it revives prayer. And when prayer has risen and ascended to heaven, then the descent of the fire takes place into the cenacle of the soul. It is evident that the Saint is speaking from his own blessed experience. Some­thing similar happened in the case of Saint Maximus Kapsokalivitis. “From my youth”, he told St Gregory the Sinaite, “I had great faith in my Lady, the Mother of God, and besought her with tears to grant me the grace of mental prayer. Once I came to her temple as usual and fervently prayed to her for this. I went up to her icon and reverently kissed her image. Suddenly I felt as if there fell into my breast and heart a warmth which did not burn, but be­dewed and delighted me, and stirred my soul to compunc­tion. From that moment my heart began to say the prayer within itself, and my mind began to delight in the remem­brance of my Jesus and the Mother of God and to have Him, the Lord Jesus, constantly within itself. Since then the prayer has never ceased in my heart".
The prayer of grace appeared suddenly, unexpectedly, as a gift from God. The Saint's soul had been prepared to receive the gift of prayer by fervent, attentive, humble, constant prayer. The prayer of grace did not stay in the Saint without its usual concomitants, quite unknown and uncongenial to the carnal and natural state.
An abundant manifestation of spiritual fire in the heart, the fire of divine love, is described by George, the recluse of Zadonsk, from his own experience. But before that, he was sent the divine gift of penitence which purified his heart to receive love (the gift which acts like fire and con­sumes all that defiles the courts of the Holy and Mighty Lord), and even took all the strength from his body. “The holy and heavenly fire”, says St John of the Ladder, “scorches some on account of their defective purity; but others it enlightens as having attained perfection. The same fire is called a consuming fire and an illuminating light. For this reason some leave their prayer as if it were a hotly heated bath-house, feeling a certain relief from defilement and earthliness; while others go out shining with light and arrayed in a double garment of joy and humility. But those who after prayer feel neither of these two effects are still praying bodily, and not spiritually."! Prayer inspired by divine grace is here called spiritual prayer, while prayer performed by one's own efforts without the obvious assis­tance of grace is called bodily prayer. The latter kind of prayer is indispensable, as St John of the Ladder says, in order that grace-given prayer may be granted in its time. But how does the prayer of grace intimate its coming? It intimates its coming by supernatural weeping - and the man enters the gates of God's sanctuary (his heart) with unspeakable thankfulness!.


On the Prayer of Jesus. Ignatius Brianchaninov.(1965)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

L’image de L’Image.
Archimandrite Zacharias(Zacharou).

La création de l'homme.
Fresque dans la Cathédrale
de Sicile. 12ème siècle.

Le repentir est le moyen par lequel nous purifions le miroir de notre âme, qui est l'image de Dieu en nous, et cette purification nous conduit finalement à la ressemblance de Dieu. Le Livre de la Genèse enseigne que l'homme fut créé à l'image et selon la ressemblance de Dieu. L'image consiste en ce que Dieu a implanté en lui, en ce qu'Il a insufflé en lui, tandis que la ressemblance représente la potentialité de l'homme qui est réalisée dans la mesure où il vit selon les commandements de Dieu. Et c'est justement en raison de sa création à l'image et à la ressemblance de Dieu que l'homme a la possibilité de se repentir. Si l'homme ne portait pas en lui une telle parenté avec Dieu, il lui serait impossible d'entreprendre l'ascèse du repentir et de s'engager dans la voie du Seigneur. Mais puisque telles furent la parole et l'œuvre du Seigneur (car Sa parole est acte: « Il a dit, et tout a été fait»), il est possible à l'homme d’œuvrer à l'accomplissement de sa ressemblance à Dieu. De même, si le Seigneur n'avait pas dit: « Prenez, mangez, ceci est mon corps, buvez en tous, car ceci est mon sang », cet événement l'Eucharistie ne serait jamais devenu le contenu réel de la Divine Liturgie. Le fondement de tout être est la parole du Seigneur, et ceci se reflète dans la prière de l'Église dans le Saint-Esprit.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Saints Sergius and Bacchus.

Saints Sergius and Bacchos.
Byzantine icon,  Monastery of Saint Catherine, Sinai.
          Saints Sergius and Bacchus, were officers of high rank in the "Schola Gentilium" which was an equestrian body of men from all races. Sergius was one of the commanding officers of that equestrian body, and Bacchus was his second in command. According to their official functions and to their direct relation with the Emperor whose trust they had gained, these two young officers of high rank enjoyed great influence at the palace, and their prestige was felt in all the Orient, so much so that Antiochus, the commanding officer had been appointed to his post thanks to the influence of Saint Sergius.
          We do not know whether Saints Sergius and Bacchus were born Christians; but it is certain that they were so when they commanded that equestrian body. They had news about the martyrs, and listened to their stories with emotion. They may have seen martyrs being tormented, condemned and put to death; and it is possible that some of these military martyrs were their comrades.
          It is certain that there were many jealous fanatic pagans, or weak people paid by the authorities, who were ready to denounce the Christians to their persecutors. The Emperor learned that his devoted friends, these faithful military chiefs, these noble figures so familiar to him, whom he fully trusted, were Christians.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Vineyard of Our Heart.
Saint Isaac the Syrian.

Saint Isaac the Syrian.
When the intellect is renewed and the heart is sanctified, all the motions of desire that move in the heart are set astir in accord with the nature of that world which a man enters. First there arises in him fervent love for things divine and he ardently yearns for communion with the angels and the revelations of the mysteries of spiritual knowledge. His intellect perceives the spiritual knowledge of created things, and the divine vision of the mysteries of the Holy Trinity together with the mysteries of the worshipful economy on our behalf shines forth in him; then he becomes one through the completeness of the knowledge of the hope of future things.
If a soul confined in the realm of the passions could truly love God, she would have much need to ask questions and to learn the mysteries of the spiritual world. But it is clear that learning and knowledge bring no profit amid the passions, nor do they suffice to open the door closed in the face of purity. But if the passions are removed from the soul, the intellect is illumined, stands firmly in the pure region of its nature, and has no need of questioning, since it distinctly beholds the good things treasured in this region. Our out­ward senses do not perceive by learning and questioning the natures and the things that are kindred to them, but each sense naturally, and not by questioning, perceives what con­fronts it. Indeed, instruction does not mediate between the senses and things perceived. However, much one may tell a blind man about the glorious light of the sun, the moon, and the choir of the stars, and of the lustre of precious stones. He can grasp, judge, and conceive of their beauty only by their appellation, yet his knowledge and his discerning faculty remain divorced from the sweetness of their sight. In the same manner I conceive of the divine vision of the spirit. For if the intellect, which beholds hidden spiritual mys­teries, is in its natural state of health, it distinctly beholds the glory of Christ. It does not question or receive instruction, but more than in the freedom of the will it delights in the sweetness of the mysteries of the new world according to the fervour of its faith and hope in Christ. Even so the blessed Paul wrote "That which we see, why do we yet hope for? With patience we wait for it".  
We ought, therefore, earnestly to wait and persevere in a solitary manner with sim­plicity with regard to our inner man, wherein there are no impressions of thoughts or sight of complex objects. For in relation to what the intellect sees, it receives patterns.
When it looks toward the world, the intellect receives impressions and representations according to the diversity of the forms which it ponders. These stir up thoughts in the in­tellect in proportion to their multiplicity and the diversity of their variations. And when the thoughts are set in motion, they place their seal upon the intellect. But if the intellect looks steadfastly into the inner man, where there is nothing which could give rise to changing forms and no distinction of complex objects differing from one another by their shapes, but Christ is all in all, it is clear that the intellect will enjoy simple divine vision. There is nothing which so makes the soul's depths fragrant and is wont to give her such boldness in the hour of prayer as this, for simple theoria is the nourishment of the soul. When the soul stands firmly in the realm of the knowledge of the truth, she has no need of questioning. For just as the eye of the body does not question when it sees the sun, so the eye of the soul does not first investigate and afterward behold spiritual knowledge. It is in this manner also, O holy man that the mystical divine vision for which you yearn is revealed in the intellect after the soul has returned to health. But intellectual vision, which endeavours to learn such mysteries through investigation and inquiry, is [nothing but] folly of soul. The blessed Paul did not say that by instruction or in a material place he saw and heard mysteries and "unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter, but in rapture he was caught up into the spiritual realm and beheld the revelation of mysteries."
"labour in the vineyard of your heart"
Therefore, O holy man if you love purity, by love cut yourself off from all love that is poured out toward all things, and having entered, labour in the vineyard of your heart, pluck out the passions from your soul, and strive to be ignorant of human wickedness. Purity which sees God does not arise and blossom forth in the soul by searching for it, but by being ignorant of every man's wickedness. But if you wish your heart to be a dwelling ­place of the mysteries of the new world, first become rich in the works of the spirit, soul, and body; fasting, vigil, liturgy, ascetical struggle, patience, purging of thoughts, and so forth. Fetter your intellect by reading the Scriptures and pondering upon them, inscribe the commandments before your eyes, and pay the debt of the passions when you are de­feated and when you are victorious? By the constant converse of prayer and supplica­tion and by your rumination therein, uproot from your heart every image and every like­ness which you have received afore time. Accustom your intellect always to muse upon the mysteries of our Saviour's Economy; leave off your search for knowledge and divine vision, which, in their time and place, exceed all verbal description; pursue the practice of the commandments and labours on behalf of purity; and beg the Lord in heartfelt prayer that the very same fire which He set into the hearts of the Apostles, the Martyrs, and the knowledge cannot comprehend are received by us through faith, and we gain knowledge of them in that divine vision which we enjoy after purification.
For the sake of the mys­teries of the Spirit, which are above knowledge and cannot be apprehended by the senses of the body or by the reasoning power of the intellect, God has given us faith, whereby we know only that these mysteries exist. But this faith gives birth in us to hope for them. By faith we profess that God is the Lord, Master, Creator, and Fashioner of all things. By knowledge we determine that we must keep His commandments and understand that fear keeps the old commandments, but love keeps the life-giving commandments of Christ, as He Himself said, "I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." It is evident that the Son does not keep the commandments of His Father from fear, but from love. For this reason He admonishes us that we should also keep His commandments out of love when He says: "If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will entreat the Father and He shall give another Comforter". By the coming of the Comforter He in­dicates the gifts of the revelation of the mysteries of the Spirit, since it was by the recep­tion of the Spirit that the apostles received the perfection of spiritual knowledge. The Lord promised to ask His Father to give the Comforter to them, to abide with them unto the ages, after the doing of the commandments and purification. Do you see that by the keeping of the commandments the intellect is accounted worthy of the gift of mystical divine vision and the revelations of spiritual knowledge? Indeed, it is not as your wisdom supposed, namely, that the work of keeping the commandments is a hindrance to the divine vision of the divine mysteries which are accomplished in stillness.
Therefore I entreat you, if you perceive in your soul that you have reached the realm of love, keep the new commandments of love for Him Who decreed them, and not from fear, even as the blessed Paul said when he was aflame with divine love: "Who shall sepa­rate me from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or prison, or persecution...” Furthermore he adds, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come shall be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ our Lord."Amen.

The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian. Holy Transfiguration Monastery. (1984)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

L'amour des ennemis chez Saint Silouane.
Jean-Claude Larchet.

Fresque de Saint Silouane l'Athonite.
Monastère Saint Jean-Baptiste, Liban. 
L'amour des ennemis chez Saint Silouane implique non seulement que l'on supporte les afflictions que ceux-ci nous font endurer, mais encore qu'on les supporte avec joie à cause de Dieu. Il implique corrélativement que l'on remercie Dieu de toutes ces afflictions: elles contribuent en effet, nous l'avons vu, à notre progrès spirituel, et doivent à cet égard être reçues comme un don providentiel, de Dieu qui a en vue notre salut.
L'amour des ennemis implique aussi que l'on garde, face aux violences que l'on subit, la paix de l'âme et du corps, autrement dit, comme nous l'avons noté précédemment, que non seulement on ne s'irrite pas en retour, mais que l'on reste sans trouble .
Le Starets recommande aussi, non seulement de ne pas accuser nos ennemis, mais encore de ne pas penser de mal d'eux et même de ne pas les juger du tout. Plutôt que d'accuser les autres, il convient de se sentir soi-même coupable.
L'amour des ennemis suppose bien entendu, pour le Starets, qu'on leur pardonne leurs offenses et que l'on prie pour eux. Néanmoins le pardon n'est pas encore l'amour, et la prière peut précéder l'amour et n'en être pas encore une manifestation : « Lorsque j'étais encore dans le monde», confesse saint Silouane, «j'aimais de bon cœur pardonner; je pardonnais facilement et je priais volontiers pour ceux qui m'avaient offensé; mais quand je vins au monastère, alors que j'étais encore novice, je reçus une grande grâce et elle m'apprit à aimer mes ennemis».

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Orthodoxy and Salvation.
Father James Bernstein.

Father James Bernstein.

Father James Bernstein: Raised in Queens, New York by formerly Orthodox Jewish parents whose faith had been undermined by the Holocaust, Arnold Bernstein went on his own personal quest for spiritual meaning. He was ready to accept God in whatever form He chose to reveal Himself and that form turned out to be Christ. But Bernstein soon perceived discrepancies in the various forms of Protestant belief that surrounded him, and so his quest continued -- this time for the true Church.  In 1981 he and his family were received into the canonical Orthodox Christian Church in America. In 1997 Father James was made Dean of the Pacific Northwest Deanery of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and in 1999 was elevated to the rank of archpriest. In 2017 Fr. James retired as pastor of St. Paul and became priest Emeritus.
Orthodoxy introduces us to a whole spectrum of terminology that spoke of salvation in a non-juridical manner. The Orthodox understand that in Christ's death and Resurrection we are united with Him, not in a legal, positional, or virtual sense, but in a very real, literal sense. This is possible because in the Incarnation, Christ took upon Himself our human nature and united it to His Person. In His Passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, the common human nature He shares with us is now glorified.
The Scripture uses imagery that reinforces this concept of organic participation and unity with Christ in His human nature. For example, unity with Christ is presented as being like that between parts of a body. St. Paul often speaks about salvation as being included within the Body of Christ.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

La Mère de la Beauté.
Saint André de Crète.

“Réjouie-Toi beauté des apôtres”.
Fresque au Monastère Saint Jean-Baptiste, Douma, Liban.

       Aujourd’hui comme pour des noces, l’Église se pare de la perle inviolée, de la vraie pureté.
      Aujourd’hui, dans tout l’éclat de sa noblesse immaculée, l’humanité retrouve, grâce aux mains divines, son premier état et son ancienne beauté. Les hontes du péché avaient obscurci la splendeur et les charmes de la nature humaine ; mais, lorsque naît la Mère de celui qui est la Beauté par excellence, cette nature recouvre en elle ses anciens privilèges, elle est façonnée suivant un modèle parfait et entièrement digne de Dieu. Et cette formation est une parfaite restauration et cette restauration est une divinisation et cette divinisation, une assimilation à l’état primitif ...
       Aujourd’hui est apparu l’éclat de la pourpre divine.
       Aujourd’hui, la misérable nature humaine a revêtu la dignité royale.
       Aujourd’hui, selon la prophétie, le sceptre de David a fleuri en même temps que le rameau toujours vert d’Aaron, qui, pour nous a produit le Christ, rameau de la force.
       Aujourd’hui, une jeune vierge est sortie de Juda et de David, portant la marque du règne et du sacerdoce de Celui qui a reçu, suivant l’ordre de Melchisédech, le sacerdoce d’Aaron...
       Aujourd’hui commence la régénération de notre nature, et le monde vieilli, soumis à une transformation divine, reçoit les prémices de la seconde création.

Référence :

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Advice from Hell..!!.
Father Arsenie Boca.

Father Arsenie Boca.

Arsenie Boca (29 September 1910 – 28 November 1989) was a Romanian Orthodox monk, theologian, mystic, and artist. He was persecuted by the Communists and named among the 100 greatest Romanians. He was born in Vața de Sus, Hunedoara County, Romania, died at Sinaia M Father Arsenie has not yet been canonized as a saint. Nonetheless pilgrims from all over Romania flock to pray at his grave which is located in Prislop Monastery, Romania.
 In October 2015 the Romanian Orthodox Church announced that it was considering the cause of his recognition and proclamation as a saint.

In an old book from the Holy Mountain, a confessor skilled in giving advice left the following lesson contained in this story:
''A priest fearing God and caring greatly for his flock was daily struggling by all possible means to turn around those lost on the way to perdition, keeping them steadfast in His word. However, he saw with grief that the fruits of his labor were in vain. His flock had dispensed with their hypocrisy but they were still rotting in the .same sins he had found them in. His work, made up of useless sermons, daily counsels or confessions, proved to be in vain. Nothing moved them from the swamp of their sins.
"What was the poor priest to do? How could he set them straight?
Enthusiastic in his labor for God, tormented every day knowing he was responsible for their souls, he entreated God to tell to him why he was incapable of attracting people to repentance.
"One Saturday evening after Vespers, he was resting with sad countenance on a rock in the garden, overwhelmed by his priestly duties, disappointed that his labor bore no fruit. As he was sitting there lost in meditation, behold, God opened the eyes of his troubled soul onto a dreadful vision: a fearsome, armored mob, black as coal, appeared before him in a dark cloud of evil spirits. It was a council of demons led by Satan, the overbearing, frowning master of darkness. Suddenly, from the midst of the council, a devilish voice shrieked, causing the sky to vibrate:

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The devil hates Geronda.!!.
Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast and 
his disciple Father Ephraim of Arizona.
Elder Joseph the Hesychast was a monk and elder on Mount Athos. He reposed in 1959, and he has wide acclaim for being the spiritual father  of Elders Ephraim of Philotheou, Joseph of Vatopedi, Charalampus of Dionysiou and others, who are directly credited for revitalising six of the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos.

Even the demons know quite well who Elder Joseph was!. When exorcisms were being read over a possessed woman in Thessalonica, she began shouting: "That Joseph! He went to Philotheou. He's protecting Philotheou monastery, and I can't do anything to them!". Everyone who heard this, wondered how she knew about elder Joseph and that his skull was at Philotheou. She herself, of course, didn't know anything, but the demon inside her did!.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Le Temps de l’Apocalypse.
Père Séraphin de Valaam.

Père Séraphin à la bibliothèque
 du monastère Saint Jean Baptiste
 - Douma - Liban.
Entre le 5-8 Août 2019, le monastère Saint Jean-Baptiste, Douma, Liban, a eu la bénédiction de recevoir, le Père Séraphin, disciple de Père Sophrony Sacharov, starets de Valaam, ancien ami de la communauté. À l’occasion, il a adressé une parole spirituelle, que nous avons la joie de la partager avec nos lecteurs.

L’Écriture Sainte nous dit qu’il y a un temps pour tout sous le soleil. Un temps pour parler, un temps pour être silencieux, un temps pour rire, un temps pour pleurer, un temps pour construire, et un temps pour détruire…
Je pense qu’il nous est donné maintenant le privilège de vivre le temps de la destruction totale, le temps de lApocalypse. Père Sophrony disait, il y a environs 30 ans de cela, que bien sûre nous ne savons pas quand la fin du monde va arriver, mais nous pouvons dire une chose de façon sûre absolument, que nous sommes déjà entré dans le temps, le processus de l’Apocalypse. Mais il ajoutait que ce n’est pas pour nous une raison de paniquer, d’avoir peur… Au contraire, il disait que  vivre les derniers temps, c’est un grand privilège!.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Church in the world.
Father Georges Florovsky.

Father Georges Florovsky.

 Protopresbyter Georges Vasilievich Florovsky (23 August 1893- 11August1979) was a
prominent 20th century Orthodox Christian priest, theologian, and writer, active in the ecumenical movement. His writing is known for its clear, profound style, covering subjects on nearly every aspect of Church life.

Historical failures of the Church do not obscure the absolute and ultimate character of its challenge, to which it is committed by its very eschatological nature, and it constantly challenges itself.
Historical life and the task of the Church are an anti­nomy, and this antinomy can never be solved or overcome on a historical level. It is rather a permanent hint to what is "to come" hereafter. The antinomy is rooted in the prac­tical alternative which the Church had to face from the very beginning of its historical pilgrimage. Either the Church was to be constituted as an exclusive and "totalitarian" society, endeavoring to satisfy all requirements of the believers, both "temporal" and. "spiritual," paying no attention to the existing order and leaving nothing to the external world­ it would have been an entire separation from the world, an ultimate flight out of it, and a radical denial of any external authority. Or the Church could attempt an inclusive Christianization of the world, subduing the whole of life to Christian rule and authority, to reform and to reorganize secular life on Christian principles, to build the Christian City. In the history of the Church we can trace both solu­tions: a flight to the desert and a construction of the Chris­tian Empire. The first was practiced not only in monasticism of various trends, but in many other Christian groups and denominations. The second was the main line taken by Christians, both in the West and in the East, up to the rise of militant secularism, but even in our days this solu­tion has not lost its hold on many people. But on the whole, both proved unsuccessful. One has, however, to acknowledge the reality of their common problem and the truth of their common purpose. Christianity is not an in­dividualistic religion and it is not only concerned for the "salvation of the soul " Christianity is the Church, i.e. a Community, the New People of God, leading its corporate Life according to its peculiar principles. And this life can­not be split into departments, some of which might have been ruled by any other and heterogeneous principles.