Saturday, April 24, 2021

The gates of Hell will not prevail.!..
Archimandrite Simeon (Symeon) Bruschweiller.


From the word spoken at Putna on May 21 by Archimandrite Father Simeon (Symeon) Bruschweiller of St. John the Baptist Monastery (Essex), a disciple of Father Sofronie Sakharov:


Archimandrite Symeon with Mother Mariam(Zacca)
and Father Touma(Bitar) in the Monastery
 of Saint John the Baptist.
Douma. Lebanon.


 Almost all of us are Westerners who found in the Orthodox Church the true faith and the true life in God. Orthodoxy means "the correct faith", "the correct Glorification" and this "correct faith" enlightened us and lead us here today.

As I said, the Church can be compared to a river flowing through centuries, but this river is exposed to a lot of dangers. We could say that this river, this Church, can be attacked either from the inside, or from the outside.

Today we celebrate another feast apart from Mid-Pentecost, the Feast of Saint Constantine and Saint Helen. Until Saint Constantine the Great, the Church was attacked from the outside by the Roman Empire. As you know, the early Christians were subjects of unmerciful persecutions. The greatness of Saint Constantine comes also from the fact that he was a Roman Emperor, that he stopped the persecutions against the Church and he even became a Christian. Since then, the Church stopped being attacked from the outside like before, but, as you know there were other outside attacks.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

On Suffering and Death.
Metropolitan Paul Yazigi.


Metropolitan Paul Yazigi in his last visit
to Mont Athos.

    In the text of the Gospel [Luke 8:41-55], there are two miracles. The first is the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, which was achieved while Jesus was on the way to heal the daughter of Jairus, the chief of the synagogue. As Chrysostom says, Jesus hesitated on His way, just as He did with Lazarus, in order to raise Jairus' daughter, not from her illness, but from death. Thus the second miracle was achieved as a resurrection from the dead.

At root, illness is the beginning of death. Some philosophers say that birth is the first step towards death. Man is born into the world of corruption, that is "wearing out", and he grows in order to go back, weaken, and come to an end. All healings just delay death; they do not eliminate it. Death is the final enemy of man. It is born with man as a child, in illnesses, grows up, and finally becomes a mature master in old age. Human medicine treats illness-- it extends the years of life and delays death for a bit. But the enemy remains standing and victorious. Human hope for liberation from death is hopeless in the end. For this reason, in these two miracles there is a clear indication that the Lord Jesus is not simply an able physician or someone with the power, authority, and impressive miracles. He is the final hope in the face of the failure of every other hope. This is in regard to the question of illness and death at its most profound.

God has given us reason and intelligence so that we can face the reality of suffering and alleviate it. We build a better world, but who destroys it? Death is an inevitable destiny. Death comes to us by surprise or we go to it with firm, sure steps.

Man, without God and the reality of the Resurrection is a being whose origin is perhaps a monkey and whose end is nothingness. Christ is our hope in the face of death. He is our victory. His presence in these events, and afterwards in His glorious Resurrection and is entrance with His body and our luminous body while the doors were locked, these realities are our healing and our resurrection. In light of this hope, we understand that birth is not the first step towards death. So we realize that life is a bridge, a passage, and an experience and that suffering in it is not final, but rather one of the shades of experience within it. Man, then, according to our hope in Christ does not die, even if we are worn out through the most difficult illnesses and infirmities, even unto death (that is, falling asleep): he shall rise. So what is the meaning of suffering, so long as this hope of ours is alive?

First of all, suffering reminds us this condition of ours is not what we were called to. Through suffering we know that we are held hostage by the reality of our sin and through it we are called to repentance. Thus suffering is not the beginning of death, but the beginning of life. The suffering of the present age reminds us while we are here of the eternal city and the awaited eternal state of being. It strengthens our steps towards them. Suffering pushes us to escape from our laziness and to bear the responsibility of using the intellectual gifts that God has granted us, so that we can life in confrontation with the self, creatively striving against it, in order to ensure a better life.

Here Jesus did not give the woman with the issue of blood a promise of being healed. Rather, He treated her suffering as a reward for her faith. As specific cases, these healings and raising from the dead do not eliminate the general condition prevailing over all humankind. However, they indicate God's will to do away with them. We are partners with God in two things. The first is in eliminating suffering and facing death. The second is that we are His partners in the Resurrection and the hope of eternal lifeThus we must live in earnestness, trying to improve the condition of life and alleviate suffering. In this way we contribute to realizing the divine will and preach the good news of our God's salvation and the hope of the Resurrection. Amen.






Saturday, April 10, 2021

On Revival in Antioch(2).
Archimandrite Elias Morcos.


Archimandrite Elias Morcos.

        This is not for some people and not for others. It is a call, it is an invitation, to all. All of us are called to love the Lord with the love of life. All the life of the Church is the life of invitation: “’I have redeemed you and I have called you by your name. You are mine,’ says the Lord to his people” (Isaiah 43:1). Likewise the Apostle Paul says, “We also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). The people without a calling and love is “a people ravaged and plundered,” the Bible says. The Church does not exist without the visible Church, the Christian people. Our religion is a religion of incarnation. If we do not embody it, if we do not follow the Lord, then where is the Church? “Our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power” (1 Thessalonians 1:5), says the Apostle, but out of habit and the passing of time, we often take the words without their true meanings, the shadow instead of the person and thus we mock the Lord. We might hear the call and do something. We might go for a part of the way. We might be given the grace of prayer if we ask for it, the fathers say. But if we do not do all the Lord’s will, there will come a day when we discover that we have no faith and no forgiveness. “Woe to the person whose reputation surpasses his reality,” says Fr. Silouan. But the Lord says, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God” (Revelation 3:1-3).

Saturday, April 3, 2021

On Revival in Antioch(1).
Archimandrite Elias Morcos.


A talk given by Archimandrite Elias Morcos in 1964. The Arabic original, from Majallat al-Nour, the magazine of the Orthodox Youth Movement.


The Revival as a Return to God

Archimandrite Elias Morcos.
    The Church in her human reality is always something less than her perfect true reality. We must always surpass our human weakness within her in order to arrive at her prefect true reality. This is the revival: this constant effort, this continuous movement from the way we are to the way we should be.

The Church is the salt of the earth and completes the work of Christ in the world. The Church works, she is present, for the sake of the salvation of the world. We can say that she is the center of being, in her its destiny is achieved. The world corrupts and ages, but the Church is continuously renewed for the sake of the salvation of the world. But if the salt is corrupted, then how can it be salty?

The Church is the group of those who believe in the Lord Jesus and who have united around him to live the life of the Gospel, the life of God. They have no concern except to follow the Lord’s teaching and to follow in his footsteps. The group is in the world and for the world, but at the same time it is not of the world. From the beginning, from the ascension of the Lord to heaven, it is oriented toward the age to come, awaiting the return of the heavenly bridegroom and hastening him on. From now on, it lives in the last days, in the fullness of time, “it uses this world as though it doesn’t use it, and buys as though it doesn’t own.”