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As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, we congratulate Reader Philip, wishing him many, blessed years. May God bless and reward his determination in maintaining and building parish life, in what has been a very difficult, but spiritually fruitful time for the Gloucestershire mission. Dear Philip, you have a good example in Metropolitan Philip: emulate him!We commend the whole Cheltenham and Gloucestershire community to his intercession.“The Church of Russia, which thou didst deliver from sickness and tribulation, now proclaimeth thee, O divinely blessed father Philip, who hast been revealed to be a converser with the angels. Wherefore, though joining chorus with the apostles and martyrs, thou art still our helper amid sorrows, the consolation of the grieving, the shepherd and guide of the lost, O most excellent and blessed Philip. By thy supplications deliver us also from misfortunes, and pray to Christ God, that He grant forgiveness unto those who with faith and love honour thy holy memory.” ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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A DRUNKARD MONKThere was a monk on Mount Athos who lived in Karyes. He would drink every day, and then cause problems for pilgrims.When he died, a group of them hurried to St Paisios the Athonite as they were happy to tell him that the problem was now over.It turned out that St Paisius already knew about the monk’s death and had seen hosts of Angels come to meet the monk’s soul.The pilgrims got perplexed and even annoyed.St Paisios told them the following:This monk was born in Asia Minor, shortly before the Holocaust. His parents did not want to leave their child on his own, so they would take him with them to harvest. Lest the boy cry and they be caught, they would add some strong alcoholic drink to the milk to make him fall asleep. Because of this he became addicted to alcohol. Doctors advised him against starting a family, so he arrived at Mount Athos and became a monk. He confessed to an elder that he was a drunkard. The elder instructed him to make prostrations every day and pray to the Most Holy Theotokos asking her to help him gradually reduce drinking. After a year of continuing struggle and repentance, he managed to reduce his daily 20 drinks to 19. The struggle continued, and after all those years of his spiritual warfare, the monk would now have only 2-3 drinks a day.For years, people knew him as a drunkard monk and a troublemaker, but God saw a warrior fighting with great zeal to overcome his passion.#StElisabethConvent #minsk #obitelminsk #belarus #orthodox #god #faith #spirituality #athos #saint #paisiosofmountathos #church #parable #praying #godbless #jesus #jesuschrist #christian ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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THE FEAST OF THEOPHANY (EPIPHANY) AT SAINT ELISABETH CONVENT IN MINSK, BELARUS ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in the Church of St John the Evangelist, Canton, at 11:00 this Sunday (24 January), followed by the Great Blessing of Water.We will ensure that there are bottles for Holy Water.Unless exempt, woshippers are required to wear masks in accordance with statutory measures, and should wash or sanitise their hands on arrival, as per the risk assessments required for public worship.Please help make St John's a safe and secure place for worship, and respect our hosts who have generously allowed us to continue serving the Divine Liturgy.Our thanks are extended to Mother Frances and the PCC.All who wish to attend Liturgy should contact Fr Deacon Mark asap: rmfisher@ntlworld.com Please indicate if you require confession, or wish to commune. Having fasted, fulfilled the customary prayer rule and having confessed, all communicants must have a blessing to receive Holy Communion.Wishing you all a happy feast! ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.Dear brothers and sisters, I greet you all with the Theophany: the Baptism of the Lord. The Theophany services are rich in prophetic, Old Testament imagery and among the vesperal lessons for the feast, we heard of the creation of the waters at the beginning of time; of the sweetening of undrinkable, bitter waters by God’s power; of the deliverance of the children of Israel through the waters of the Red Sea; of the Jordan parting to make way for the Ark of the Covenant; of Elisha crossing the Jordan when it is struck with the cloak of Elijah; of the healing of Naaman in the waters of the Jordan: images of creation, restoration, deliverance and passage. All of these prefigurements of the salvific events of the feast, find their fruition in the celebration of Christ’s Baptism, wherein the world itself is baptised and consecrated, as the Lord, clothed in humanity and physicality descends into the very waters that He created at the beginning of time. The shadows of the Old testament are dispelled by the Light of Christ as we sing, "Today creation is enlightened! Today all things are glad, those of heaven and those on earth! Angels and men mingle together! For where the King arriveth, there doth order prevail. Wherefore, let us all hasten to the Jordan and see how John baptiseth the sinless head which no man fashioned. And, chanting the cry of the angel, let us exclaim together: The grace of God hath appeared, saving all men, illumining and granting mercy unto the faithful!"(Doxasticon of the litia, at compline) The ancient hymns of the feast call each of us to spiritually participate in this Theophany, as witnesses to the great events that unfolded, with the revelation of God at the Jordan River in Triune glory. As in the texts of the Nativity, the hymn also call back to the Old Testament righteous to rejoice in the feast. In the second song of the Ninth Ode of the Canon, St John of Damascus calls David the forefather of Christ, "O David, come in spirit to those who are now to be enlightened and sing, ‘Approach ye now to God in faith and receive enlightenment. Fallen Adam, the poor man, cried and the Lord heard him; He has come, and in the streams of Jordan, He has made him new again, who was sunk in corruption.’ "The Jews already knew a form of baptism, but as only as a ritual cleansing. St John the Baptist went further in preaching repentance and spiritual transformation to those who flocked to the wilderness to hear his message and who were symbolically cleansed in the waters of Jordan in a baptism that St John Chrysostom says “was far more sublime than the Jewish but less so than ours: it was like a bridge between both baptisms, leading across itself from the first to the last… John did not say: wash your clothes, wash your body, and ye will be pure, but what - Bear ye fruits worthy of repentance (Mt 3:8).” And then, the Forerunner beheld the Lamb of God, who came, as St Matthew wrote in his Gospel: “to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying: “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” And Jesus, answering, said unto him: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” In St Sophrony of Jerusalem’s stichera at the first Royal Hour, he meditates upon the Forerunner’s awe. "The waters saw Thee and were afraid, and the Forerunner trembled and cried out, saying: “How can I enlighten the Beacon of light How can a servant set his hand upon his Master? Sanctify me and the waters, O Saviour Who takest away the sin of the world!" With the coming of the Saviour, the meaning of baptism changed for ever, as God was revealed at the baptismal moment in the Holy Trinity, and baptism was sealed to the Triune revelation of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The penitential baptism and ritual washing of the Jews was transformed by the light of the Triune God, as attested to by the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark: “And forthwith coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit as a dove descending, and remaining on him. And there came a voice from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” The Son of God is revealed in Truth, as the Father speaks and bears witness to Him, with the Holy Spirit descending upon Him - the Christ - as He ascends from the Jordan. This Trinitarian revelation shines through the feast, as we repeat the narrative over and over in the troparion, as the cross is lowered into the waters for blessing, and which we sing during the blessing of the temple, of the faithful and their homes. "When Thou, wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; for the voice of the Father bear witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and hast enlightened the world, glory be to Thee."And in this feast, we are called upon to make haste as witnesses to the great wonder of the Saviour’s Baptism. In the sessional hymn after the polyeleos in matins, we hear, “Come, ye faithful, let us behold where Christ was baptized, that after Him we may follow to the River Jordan to the voice of one crying in the wilderness, and there may see the Creator of Adam, touched by the hand of His servant…” In other places, that ‘come’ is addressed not only to each of us, but to the whole created world as a participant in the cosmic events of Christ’s Baptism. The ninth ode at matins, not only calls us to don our baptismal robes to join in this feast, but invites all of creation to celebrate the Baptism, as a cosmic renewal, by which the Creator-Lord has crushed the heads of the serpents, banished the demons, and raised up the world which fell though the disobedience of the first-parents. “Let the whole of earthly creation be clothed in white, for this day it is raised up from its fall to heaven; and, washed and most splendidly cleansed in the flowing waters by the Word, by Whom all things are preserved, it hath escaped its former sins.” Not simply the rivers and seas, but all of creation is sanctified in the condescension of Christ’s seemingly impossible descent into Jordan beneath the hand of the Baptist. To quote the renowned Orthodox Christian writer, Fr Thomas Hopko; “It is the faith of Christians that since the Son of God has taken human flesh and has appeared in the world, immersed in the streams of the Jordan River (which is itself full of biblical significance), all flesh and all matter is sanctified and made pure and holy in Him, purged of its death-dealing qualities inherited from the devil and the evil and wickedness of men. In the Lord's epiphany to the world, all creation becomes good again, indeed "very good," the way that God called it and created it to be in the beginning of time. (Genesis 1:31… The world and everything in it is indeed "very good." And when it becomes polluted and corrupted and dead, filled with evil and not with God, then God Himself does everything to save it and glorify it once more. This is what Epiphany, and the Great Blessing of Water specifically tells us: that God has saved and glorified by Christ and the Spirit the "very good" creation that He made through the same Christ and the same Spirit in the very beginning of the world.” Having celebrated the Incarnation such a short time ago, we now move from the Epiphany of the Cave of Bethlehem, to the Theophany of the Lord’s Baptism, in which we encounter the fulness of Divine revelation in the Holy Trinity. In such dark times, we must enter into the joy of this feast, celebrating the sanctification and goodness of the creation rather than obsessing on a virus – an expression not of hope and restoration, but of the fall. At the end of each Orthodox celebration of compline, we say, "My hope is the Father, my Refuge is the Son, and my Protection is the Holy Spirit, O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee", and this must be our rock and foundation as we celebrate this glorious feast, which calls us and the cosmos to return to the primal and essential goodness of God’s creation in renewed life in the Holy Trinity.Through the Lord’s Baptism, we are called to witness the Trinity, and through our own baptism we are called to live in the light of the Trinity, in a world which is consecrated by the indwelling of the Grace which sanctified the waters of Jordan, which abides in our holy places, which transforms the saints, even in their physicality, and which gives us life through the Holy Mysteries/Sacraments.Through lives of simplicity, asceticism and obedience, struggling against fear, we must trust in the God who calls us to freedom from phobias, the shackles of socio-political theories, manifestos and agendas. Then, in freedom, we can truly participate in this life of Grace. May these days be grace-filled, radiant, and truly blessed for each and every one of you, however dark the world may be. Do not let the darkness in, for the light Christ illuminates all men! Свет Христов да просветит всех! Amen. ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Dear brothers and sisters,A blessed feast of St Seraphim to you all!Once again, there will be no Liturgy in Cardiff this coming weekend, and as I come out of isolation I will hopefully celebrate quietly and simply with Father Luke, in the little chapel in Llanelli.I greatly look forward to the following week, when - God willing - we will celebrate the Sunday of the Baptism of Christ (24th January) with the Great Blessing of Water at the end of Liturgy.I have yet to decide how we will manage confessions, but I will update you regarding this once I have discussed the matter with Fr Deacon Mark.Please continue to pray for all of the members of our community affected by coronavirus, and take care to monitor your own health. If you develop any symptoms, please order a test.May God bless you and protect you!With love in Christ - Hieromonk Mark ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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The Holy Pope of Rome, Sylvester: commemorated on January 2/15The Holy Pope of Rome Sylvester (314-335) was born at Rome of Christian parents named Rufinus and Justa. His father soon died, and the saint remained in the care of his mother. Sylvester's teacher, the presbyter Quirinus, gave him a fine education and raised him as a true Christian. Having reached the age of maturity, Sylvester set about fulfilling the command of the Lord about service to neighbour, and particularly concerned himself with the taking in of vagrants, offering them in his own house shelter and respite. During a time of persecution against Christians, Sylvester did not hesitate to take in the holy confessor Bishop Timothy, who dwelt with him for more than a year and who by his preaching converted many to Christ. After the Martyr's death of Timothy, Sylvester secretly took up the body of the saint and reverently gave it burial. This however came to the attention of the city-head Tarquinius, and the saint was arrested and brought to trial. Tarquinius demanded him to renounce Christ, threatening him with torture and death. Saint Sylvester was however not intimidated, and he remained steadfast in his confession of faith, and was then thrown into prison. When Tarquinius suddenly died after the trial, the saint was set free and fearlessly he evangelised amongst the pagans, converting many to Christianity. At thirty years of age Saint Sylvester was accepted into the clergy of the Roman Church and was ordained to the dignity of deacon, and then also presbyter, by Pope Marcellinus (296-304). After the death of Pope Militiades (or Melchiades, 311-314), Saint Sylvester was chosen bishop of Rome. He zealously concerned himself about the purity of life in his flock, and he insisted that presbyters strictly fulfil their duty, and not be overwhelmed with worldly matters.Saint Sylvester became renowned as a profound expert on Holy Scripture and as a staunch defender of the Christian faith. During the reign of the emperor Saint Constantine the Great, when the periods of persecution had ended for the Church, the Jews arranged a debate about the true faith, at which were present the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine and his mother – the holy Empress Helen, together with a numerous retinue. On the side of the Christians Pope Sylvester stood forth, and on the side of the Jews – a number of learned rabbis, headed by Zambrius, a magician and sorcerer. On the basis of the Sacred books of the Old Testament, Saint Sylvester convincingly demonstrated, that all the prophets foretold the Birth of Jesus Christ from the Immaculate Virgin, and also His voluntary Suffering and Death for the Redemption of the fallen race of mankind, and His glorious Resurrection. In this verbal confrontation the saint was declared the victor. Then Zambrius tried to resort to sorcery, but the saint obstructed the evil by calling on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Zambrius and the other Jews came to believe in Jesus Christ, and they besought that there be made over them the holy Baptism. Pope Saint Sylvester directed the Roman Church for more than twenty years, and earning deep esteem as a Christian. He died peacefully in old age in the year 335.© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos. ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Troparion, Tone I —Thy sound hath gone forth into all the earth, which hath received thy discourse, whereby thou didst divinely teach and make clear the nature of things, and didst adorn the ways of men. O venerable father, thou royal priesthood, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.The Circumcision of our Lord, Troparion, Tone I —O Jesus, Who in the highest dost sit with Thine unoriginate Father and the divine Spirit upon a fiery throne, Thou wast well-pleased to be born on earth of Thy Mother, a Maiden who knew not man; wherefore, thou wast circumcised as a babe eight days of age. Glory to Thine all-good counsel! Glory to Thy dispensation! Glory to Thy condescension, O Thou Who alone lovest mankind!Kontakion of the feast, Tone III, "Today the Virgin" —The Lord of all endureth circumcision and, in that He is good, He cutteth away the transgressions of men and today granteth salvation to the world. And Basil, the high priest of the Creator, the radiant and divine initiate of the mysteries of Christ, rejoiceth on high.Kontakion of the hierarch, Tone IV, "Thou hast appeared today" —Thou hast been shown to be the unshakable foundation of the Church, bestow­ing upon all men a dominion which cannot be taken away, and sealing them with thy precepts, O newly revealed and venerable Basil. ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Born! Glorify Him!Though the ‘sviatky’ (holy-days) continue till next week, today is the last day of the after-feast of Christmas.Tomorrow, we celebrate the Circumcision of the Lord, and His naming according to the flesh.In the festal verses on Lord I have cried, we chant, “The all good God was not ashamed to be circumcised with the circumcision of the flesh, but provided Himself as an example and pattern for all, for their salvation; for the Creator of the law fulfilleth the prescriptions of the law and the predictions of the prophets concerning Himself. O Lord Who holdest all things in the palm of Thy hand, and wast wrapped in swaddling clothes, glory be to Thee!”Though established by Him as a sign of His covenant with Abraham, the Saviour underwent circumcision Himself, as a sign of His humility, testifying to the truth of His humanity, and in fulfilment of the Law and the prophets.When the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, was circumcised, the Prophet Zachariah was inspired by the Holy Spirit, singing. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: for he hath visited, and redeemed his people; And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us: in the house of his servant David…”This visit and redemption is not a fleeting encounter with the Lord, as an outsider an apparition or mere visitor, but as the God of Israel, as the progeny of King David, and as the supreme Servant among His own kin and people.The Lord’s Nativity, Circumcision, Presentation and cultural identity attest to the Him as one of the Jewish nation, to whom He had come as one of their own, as a descendent of King David and of all those listed in the genealogy that we heard only a few weeks ago.This feast of the Circumcision is a synaxis - a meeting of the Old and New Testaments, of the Torah and the Gospel in Christ, who is the Living Torah and the Living Gospel. We hear the Word, who is co-unoriginate and co-eternal with the Father named Yeshua/Jesus – deliverer/rescuer - and the deliverance achieved though His death and resurrection is anticipated even on this feast, as the Christ-Child sheds His Blood in obedience to the will of the Father as he is circumcised by the priest, in accordance with the law.He calls the children of Abraham to the Kingdom of Heaven; from the law of circumcision to the law of Grace; from the covenant of Moses, to the covenant of the Church; from the old Passover to the new Pascha - not through the waters of the Red Sea, but through the waters of baptism.Let us learn the lessons wonderfully glimpsed in this feast and seek to imitate the obedience of the Lord and His all-embracing love, which brings the Gospel to all of humanity – male and female, Jew and Gentile, bond and free – and all with self-effacing and sacrificial humility. "For this cause, praising His all-good condescension, we hymn and glorify Him in thanksgiving, entreating Him to grant our souls great mercy." (from the Praises of matins)With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Христос рождается! Славите!Christ is Born! Glorify Him!Today we celebrate the memory of St Makariy, the great Metropolitan of Moscow and All Rus (1563).He was born in Moscow in 1492. When his father died, his mother became a nun and he a monk, receiving the monastic name Macarius. He became an iconographer of rare talent. In 1523 he was ordained to the priesthood and made Abbot of the Monastery of Luchski; three years later he was consecrated Archbishop of Novgorod and Pskov, a see which had been vacant for many years. As Archbishop, he sent missionaries to the native peoples of the far north of Russia and, within his own diocese strove against the paganism still common among the people. He regularized life in the monasteries of his diocese, which had fallen into self-indulgence. In 1542 he was elected Metropolitan of Moscow and head of the Russian Church. Five years later he crowned the first Tsar of Russia, Ivan Vassilievich. In 1551 he summoned the Council of the Hundred Chapters, which condemned various heresies prevalent at that time, laid down principles of Christian conduct and education, and established rules for iconography and Church art. Throughout his time as a hierarch, he continued to paint icons, and in 1553 he brought about the production of the first books to be printed in Russian. When the Khanate of Kazan fell, he immediately sent missionaries to convert the Tatars. When the Tsar, who revered Saint Macarius, asked him for a spiritual book, he was surprised and displeased to be given a copy of the funeral service; but the Saint told him that anyone who read this book carefully and applied its words would never sin. Saint Macarius reposed in peace in Moscow in 1563, and his popular veneration began immediately. ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Христос рождается! Славите!Christ is Born! Glorify Him! ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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ST. PAISIOS | TAKE CARE of the VESSEL God gave you. FILL IT UP! | New Year's resolution ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Glimpses of the Christmas vigil in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Greetings to Fr Seraphim, his family and community. Christ is Born! Glorify Him! ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Dear brothers and sisters, due to clergy illness, there will be no Liturgy this Sunday: 10 January.Sorry for such short notice of the cancellation.Parishioners - please share this news with those who may not use email of Facebook. With love in Christ - Fr Mark ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Dear brothers and sisters,Greetings to you all, as we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Христос рождается! Славите! This year, we celebrate the feast in the uncertainty of the present dark times, amidst surveillance and controls placed upon our lives, but this also was at the heart of the first Christmas, when the very presence of the Holy Family in Bethlehem was a product of the Roman financial surveillance of the people of Israel. Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem in order to be registered and taxed by Roman bureaucrats. The controlling machine of the Roman empire watched, listened, and enforced, and whilst it did so, virtually everyone living under this oppression remained unaware of the great mystery that had come to pass – that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)We know this everlasting, life-changing Truth, but it is too easy for us to lose sight of its meaning in the present darkness. Christ is perfect freedom, whatever shackles and chains are put upon us by systems, states, ideologies and tyrannies. This was something that the Soviets could not grasp. They tried to crush, to brainwash and coerce, but for those truly conscious of the meaning of the Incarnation and the Economy of Salvation, none of these controls could rob the believer of the freedom so joyously summed up in the two intertwined liturgical greetings, “Христос рождается” and “Христос Воскресе”: "Christ is Born" and "Christ is Risen".The magi travelled through dangers on their search for the new-born King – thieves and ambushes, wild animals and tough terrains, mountain regions and rivers to cross, hostile receptions in places where they stopped, not to mention politically dangerous territories – and yet their focus remained fixed on the star, and their vision remained singular: to go wherever the star led them.They remained focussed with hope, even though they did not know their destination or the details of the events that had come to pass. They endured all the difficulties and dangers of their journey for the sake of its singular purpose and meaning. Their first call at the palace of Herod reminds us that their initial understanding of the New Born King was political and dynastic, and this makes their ultimate encounter with the Christ-Child, their worship and gifts all the more remarkable.We, in contrast, are fully aware of the glory of the Nativity, of the babe laid in the manger, of His life and death, of the resurrection and His ascension, in which He takes the humanity laid in the manger into heaven itself, calling us to follow Him to the Heavenly Kingdom.In today’s Liturgy we chanted, “As many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ.”This is not a vague poetic image, but our baptismal calling to labour and struggle to realise the image and example of Christ in us, by lives of prayer, spiritual sobriety and podvig. This should make us vessels of joy, of light, of consolation to the world and those around us, however dark and depressing the world and life may seems.Like the star, each of us must become a beacon that leads those around us into the joy, light and triumph of the Nativity and its meaning for the world. We must also become angels –messengers – to those who like the shepherds are huddled and sitting in darkness, surrounded by the wolves and deadly dangers of the present spiritual night, and bring tidings of consolation, hope and joy – even if that is only by letting the fearful see our own hope and joy.“Today Christ is born of the Virgin in Bethlehem! Today the Unoriginate beginneth to be and the Word becometh incarnate! The hosts of heaven rejoice, / and earth and men are glad! The magi offer gifts to the Master, and the shepherds marvel at Him Who hath been born! And we cry out unceasingly: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men!” (From the praises of matins)May the joy and courage of our lives proclaim that God is with us. С нами Бог!In Christ - Hieromonk Mark ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Russian Orthodox Christmas ServicesPlace: The Church of St Mary the Virgin, North Church St, Cardiff CF10 5HBDate: Wednesday 6th January (New Style)Time: Vigil and confessions 20:00, Liturgy 23:30.This year the Cardiff Russian Orthodox parish will celebrate its Christmas services at St Mary Butetown, where the Christmas Vigil will begin at 20:00, with the Liturgy beginning at 23:30.Archpriest Luke has kindly offered to hear confessions during the early part of the Vigil, and he will celebrate the Christmas daytime Liturgy, in Llanelli the following morning.Please ensure masks are worn, unless you have an exemption, as we are the guests of Fr Dean and his parishioners, and must respect their risk assessment and the measures that they have put in place to ensure that the church remains open for worship.As we celebrate the Divine Humility of God becoming man, and laid in the manger in the poverty of the Cave of the Nativity, let us find the humility to do what is required of us, whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not.All wishing to confess and commune should email Hieromonk Mark: otetzmark@hotmail.com Our profound thanks go to Father Dean and the Butetown parish. ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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The Sunday of the Forefathers of Christ.In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.On this Sunday before Christmas when we celebrate the Holy Forefathers of Christ, we hear the Gospel of the genealogy (ancestry) of Christ – a Gospel in which it is easy to lose concentration, as we hear a family tree in which A was the father of B, B was the father of C, C was the father of D, and so on - for fifty two generations.The Gospel itself is one in which nothing seems to happen, and yet it tells a vital story as the Gospel foundation of the reality of Christ’s humanity. Through the lives of those whose names we hear, God prepared the people of Israel and the world for the birth of Christ, not as God who just appears to be human, and who takes on the illusion of being human, but of the Son of God, who is fully and perfectly human, as well as Truly God. St Gregory Palamas wrote that “Christ's descent according to His Divinity is impossible to recount, but His ancestry according to His human nature can be traced, since He who deigned to become Son of man in order to save mankind was the offspring of men. And it is this genealogy of His that two of the evangelists, Matthew and Luke, recorded.”The story of those listed in these genealogies, is one of spiritual movement towards the world-changing event of the Cave of Bethlehem, and the path to our salvation by the Son of God, born and laid in a manger. This preparation was not simply through the historical, ancestral succession of the names we have read, but through the spiritual relationship between God and the Forefathers of Christ; through His first covenant with the Righteous Noah; through His promises and covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; through His relationship with David, the King and Prophet who built the temple and wrote the Psalms; through the troubled relationship between God and the Kingdom of Israel, laid bare by the prophets who spoke as God’s mouthpiece, and who prophesied the birth of the Messiah. “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) The Greek text of today’s Gospel speaks of the genesis, or generation of Jesus, and the genealogy we have heard in the Gospel records Jesus’s descent from Abraham to Joseph, even though we know that Joseph was only perceived to be the father of Jesus. In the third Gospel, St Luke writes that “When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli…” and upholding that Christ is the Son of God, not Joseph, St Matthew immediately follows his genealogy with the account of the Annunciation by the Archangel, the Saviour’s conception by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, and the Virgin Birth in Bethlehem.Why did St Matthew write of Christ’s ancestry in such terms, even though He upholds that He has no human father?Jewish tradition only permitted the recording of male ancestors/descendants on family trees and St Matthew does not introduce any novelty in his ancestral text. As St John Chrysostom wrote, “wherefore he gave not her genealogy, but Joseph's, requires explanation. For what cause was it then? It was not the law among the Jews that the genealogy of women should be traced. In order then that he might keep the custom, and not seem to be making alterations from the beginning…”But though the Saviour was not Joseph’s son according to the flesh, according to the Jewish law, Jesus’s relationship with Joseph – even though not a blood relationship - still made Him a recognised descendent of David in the eyes of the establishment and Jewish society – the very people who would hear the Gospel, receive healing and see the countless miracles performed by the Lord. Equally, according to the Jewish law, Mary could legally claim the same Davidic patrimony, as Joseph’s spouse, besides her Davidic descent in her own right, as her father, Joachim, was of the tribe of Judah.But, as we approach the feast of the Nativity, led by the Forefathers, we should not become solely absorbed by these family trees, which speak in human and historical terms. We need to remember that they only speak of the humanity of Christ, who is both human and divine: the God-Man - the Theanthropos. St John, contrasting with Matthew and Luke, does not begin his Gospel with a genealogy, or even by speaking of the humanity of Christ, but speaks of His Divinity, as the Logos/Word, who has no beginning."In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1: 1-3)Though this seems far removed from the content of today’s Gospel, we remember that the Church Fathers understood that the pre-eternal Christ spoke and acted in the stories of the Old Testament and that the very Forefathers we remember today encountered Him as the Logos/Word of which St John speaks. In the Old Testament, He is referred to as the Angel of Great Co'sunsel: angelos being the Greek for messenger. Christ the Word was the Father's messenger to His people.Thus, according to the ancient Christian understanding of scripture, Christ was not divorced from the Forefathers, but He was the revelation of God in their lives. Though they could not encounter Him in the flesh, because He was not yet born as the Incarnate Saviour, as the Logos/Word, they met Him, listened to Him, and were guided by Him. In his Dialogue with Trypho, the early Church Father, Justin Martyr, makes this clear:“Neither Abraham, nor Isaac, nor Jacob, nor any other man, ever saw the Father and Ineffable Lord of all things…; but the One who according to his will is both God his Son and his Angel ministering to his will, whom he determined should be born as man of a Virgin, and who once even became fire when he conversed with Moses from the bush”. (Dialogue 127)In the Orthodox, Patristic understanding of Old Testament scripture, it is Christ, the Only Begotten Son and Immortal Word of God who created Adam and Eve, with whom He walked in paradise; at the Oak of Mamre, it was Christ as the Father’s messenger - the Angel of Great Counsel - who appeared to the Abraham and Sarah, promising their much-longed-for son; it was Christ, who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and who appeared and gave him the Ten Commandments on Sinai; Christ who appeared to the Prophet Elijah on Mount Horeb; and it was Christ who appeared alongside the righteous youths who were thrown into the Babylonian furnace. The relationship between the Forefathers and Christ the Word/Logos was not a one way passive movement, but an active spiritual one, in which they reacted to God with faith. Today’s Epistle reading from the eleventh chapter of St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews repeatedly refers to faith in the lives of the Patriarchs, the righteous Moses and the judges of Israel:“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac: and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son…By faith also of things to come, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph…By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the going out of the children of Israel…By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents…For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Baruch, Samson, Jephtha, David, Samuel, and the prophets: who by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners…”The Forefathers participated in the divine revelation as far as they were able, in the days of preparation for the earthly coming of Christ. The theophanies, experienced by them and the wider righteous of the Old Testament were steps in the preparatory spiritual journey of Israel towards the Incarnation and Nativity of Christ. Paradoxically, when the Lord assumed humanity within the womb of the Virgin, Christ became Adam’s descendent in the flesh, even though He is Adam’s creator. He became Abraham’s seed and descendent, even though He had appeared to Abraham and promised that “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed…” and it is Christ Himself who is both the promiser and the seed, and all the nations are blessed by His coming and the salvation that He brings.At the Incarnation and Nativity of Christ, the Church teaches that the souls of the Forefathers rejoiced, and in St John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56) and St Irenaeus wrote of “the rejoicing of Abraham descending upon those who sprang from him … while, on the other hand, there was a reciprocal rejoicing which passed backwards from the children to Abraham, who did also desire to see the day of Christ's coming.” (In Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 7) This calls us to see the relationship between the Saviour, the Old Testament past and the Forefathers in a different way, liberated from a purely human perspective, and an earthbound outlook conditioned and limited by time and space, in purely historical and sequential terms, starting in the distant past and moving forward in time from Abraham to Joseph. When we see it in divine terms, accepting that God is without beginning, timeless and eternal, then the laws of time and space are dissolved. The genealogy is then not simply an expression of ancestry in linear time, but an expression of a metaphysical and spiritual relationship which moves both ways: backwards as well as forward as the Saviour reaches through the centuries to the past generations of the righteous, to save not only the people of the His present and the subsequent millennia, but also to redeem those from ages past. This reaches its culmination in Christ’s Victory of the Cross, and His Harrowing of Hell, when the Old Testament righteous, including those celebrated in today’s Gospel are raised from the Kingdom of Hades, when the Lord shatters the gates of hell and breaks the shackles of those held there. We see this in the traditional, canonical icon of Pascha, where the Lord raises the righteous of the Old Testament, who have been the prisoners of death until His death and resurrection. Each year, in the fifth ode of the Paschal canon we sing, “When they who were held by the chains of hell beheld Thy boundless compassion, O Christ, they hastened to the light with joyful feet, clapping the eternal Passover.And now, as we celebrate this Sunday of the Forefathers, we rejoice with them."Rejoicing today, Adam is adorned with the glory of divine communion, as the foundation and confirmation of the wise Forefathers; and with him Abel doth leap for joy and Enoch is glad, and Seth danceth together with Noah; the all-praised Abraham doth chant with the patriarchs, and from on high Melchizedek doth behold a birth/ wherein a father had no part. Wherefore, celebrating the divine memory of the Forefathers of Christ, we beseech Him, that our souls be saved.” (from the stikhira on ‘Lord, I have cried’)Amen. ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Who will cure my soul, if not Thou, O Christ, the only Physician of souls? Where will I find a remedy for the diseases of my soul, if not with Thee, O Fountain of healing? Thou who didst cure the ailing woman, cure also my soul from the ruin of sin.From ‘Psalm’ 74, from ‘A Spiritual Psalter of St Ephraim the Syrian’ ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Divine Liturgy, St John's Canton: 03/01/21This coming Sunday of the Forefathers of Christ, the Russian Orthodox Parish of the Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, will celebrate its first Liturgy of 2021 in the Church of St John the Evangelist, St John’s Crescent, Canton, CF5 1NX. The Hours, followed by the Divine Liturgy, will begin at 11:00. Those wishing to attend the Liturgy are asked to email Hieromonk Mark at otetzmark@hotmail.com and those confessing/ communing are asked to communicate this in their email, with confessions on Saturday for all who are able to make their way to Deacon Mark’s office in Morganstown. I have already arranged some confessions for Sunday morning, but time is limited and primarily for those in Cardiff without transport, and the faithful travelling from Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. Time may demand that confession and communion continues after Liturgy. Please be patient and flexible. The variable portions of this Sunday’s Liturgy may be found at: drive.google.com/file/d/1gTbRToKVSil9XVbp2C9P2BwZcRzzuFJB/viewThose members of the community who have been conspicuously absent from Liturgy (without justified reason) since we resumed parish worship should be mindful that they should be in Church NOW, during Advent, and should have been at Liturgy during the fast, as we journey towards the Nativity, week by week. We know that within our community there are some who cannot be with us every week, because of family circumstances, employer's demands, distance, health issues, financial constraints etc. We fully understand this and, in many cases, know about these issues in detail. Complacency and putting worldly things above the Dvine Liturgy is different! It may surprise the faithful to learn that, at their strictest, the sacred canons of the Church (6th Ecumenical Council) rule that anyone who has missed three consecutive Sunday Liturgies without justification is excommunictaed and needs to return to the fellowship of the local Church through confession and the fulfilment of any given epitimia before they may approach the Holy Mysteries. Whilst we show far greater economia today, we need to be clear that the Christian Faith and discipleship have demands and obligations. The Church of Christ is not a consumerist setting where we may simply turn up and approach the Holy Mysteries whenever it is convenient, even if we see this happening unchallenged elsewhere. The greatest expression and realisation of Christian life and the Church is our participation in the Liturgy each week. As for the clergy, they are the stewards of the Holy Mysteries and are spiritually responsible for those who receive them. In the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, we take this responsibility and the spiritual wellbeing of those who partake of the Holy Gifts seriously. Even if we struggle, fall and make mistakes, let us be obedient and do our best to fulfil the Holy Tradition of the Church, all of the time. If you are an Orthodox visitor and have a blessing from your parish priest or spiritual father to receive Holy Communion (or are bringing your children for communion), please do not be shy. Please introduce yourself to one of the servers or readers before the Holy Gifts are presented to the faithful. They will then be able to inform the clergy. It is our practice for the priest to know or be aware of all who are approaching the Holy Mysteries. … and please, everyone, Orthodox or not, feel free to come forward to receive antidoron (blessed bread) at the end of the Liturgy. Please spread the news that Liturgy is now celebrated every Sunday and check that everyone knows. Not everyone reads their emails, or even uses email or Facebook. In Christ - Hieromonk Mark ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Dear brothers and sisters, please could you consider making a donation to Reader George Florentin Sultan from our Cathedral in London to purchase vestments similar to those worn by Vladika Irenei.Reader George accompanies Vladika Irenei on his Diocesan travels providing much needed assistance not only to Vladika but also to each parish when serving the Hierarchical services. Recently during the Liturgy at the Cathedral concelebrated with Father Mark and Deacon Mark of our parish Reader George was awarded the right to wear the orarion for his services to the Church. It would wonderful if we are able to support him on his purchase of vestments which will enable him to have his own set to travel with ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Stillness, as Saint Basil says, is the beginning of the soul's purification. For when the outward members cease from their outward activity and from the distraction caused thereby, then the mind turns away from distractions and wandering thoughts that are outside its realm and abides quietly within itself, and the heart awakens for the searching out of deliberations that are within the soul. And if purity is nothing else save forgetting, an unfree mode of life and departing from its habits, how and when will a man purify his soul who, actively of himself or through others, renews in himself the memory of his former habits ... ? If the heart is defiled every day, when will it be cleansed from defilement? But if he cannot even withstand the action upon him of outward things, how much less will he be able to purify his heart, seeing that he stands in the midst of the camp and every day hears urgent tidings of war ... ? if, however, he should withdraw from this, little by little he will be able to make the first inner turmoils cease. . . . Only when a man enters stillness can his soul distinguish the passions and prudently search out her own wisdom. Then the inner man also awakens for spiritual work and day by day he perceives the hidden wisdom which blossoms forth in his soul. . . . Stillness mortifies the outward senses and resurrects the inward movements, whereas the outward manner of life does the opposite, that is, it resurrects the outward senses and deadens the inward movements.Saint Isaac the Syrian ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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The Akathist Hymn to St Spyridon the WonderworkerKontakion 1: O holy hierarch and wonderworker Spyridon, who hast been glorified by the Lord! Celebrating now thy most honoured memory, with tenderness we cry out to thee, as one who art able greatly to assist us with Christ Who hath glorified thee: From all misfortunes and evil deliver us, that we may cry out to thee in thanksgiving: Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Ikos 1: Adorned from thy youth with all the virtues, and emulating the angels of Christ in thy life, O holy hierarch Spyridon, thou didst truly show thyself to be His friend. And beholding thee, the heavenly man and earthly angel, we cry out to thee with tenderness:Rejoice, mind contemplating the mysteries of the All-holy Trinity;Rejoice, thou who hast been enriched by the all-radiant splendour of the Spirit!Rejoice, beacon of great brilliance;Rejoice, thou who didst enlighten thy mind with dispassion!Rejoice, thou who didst love true simplicity and serenity from childhood;Rejoice, adornment of chastity!Rejoice, inexhaustible torrent of love;Rejoice, for thou didst emulate the hospitality of Abraham!Rejoice, for in an abundance of love thou didst open the doors of thy house to all;Rejoice, intercessor for the poor!Rejoice, thou before whom men offer reverence;Rejoice, for thou art the abode of the All-holy Spirit!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontakion 2: Beholding thine incorrupt relics, from which abundant healings flow, the island of Cyprus and all Christian lands rejoice, O holy hierarch; and, honouring thee as a fountain overflowing with grace sent down upon us from on high, we cry out to the ultimate Bestower of the good things of heaven and earth: Alleluia!Ikos 2: Possessing divine understanding, while yet a shepherd of dumb sheep thou wast chosen to be the shepherd of the reason-endowed sheep by the providence of Christ the Chief Shepherd. And, understanding thee to be a good shepherd who showest untiring care for thy flock, the faithful cried out:Rejoice, O high priest of God Most High, who received divine grace in abundance at thy consecration;Rejoice, most luminous lamp, burning and shedding light!Rejoice, faithful husbandman in the garden of Christ;Rejoice, shepherd who nurtured thy flock on the meadow of faith and piety!Rejoice, thou who hast illumined the world with the rays of thy virtues;Rejoice, thou who offered the divine sacrifice at the throne of Christ!Rejoice, hierarch adorned with the understanding of Orthodoxy;Rejoice, thou who art full of the teaching of the apostles, giving drink to the faithful with the streams of the doctrine of salvation!Rejoice, for thou didst shed light upon the wise;Rejoice, for thou didst make new the hearts of the simple!Rejoice, glory of the Orthodox and unshakeable foundation of the Church;Rejoice, adornment of the Faith, glory and boast of reverent priests!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 3: Thou wast shown to be divinely wise by the power of the Most High which overshadowed thee, O holy hierarch Spyridon; and, grasping a tile in thy hand, thou didst manifestly demonstrate to all the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead. Wherefore, the philosophers of false knowledge assembled at the Council were stricken with awe, but the faithful glorified our unfathomable God Who made thee wise unto salvation, crying out to Him: Alleluia!Ikos 3: All the Fathers of the Council, considering thee to be a simple man, unskilled in book learning, begged thee, O father Spyridon, not to enter in debate with the rhetor whom they thought to be wise. Yet, aflame with zeal for God, O holy hierarch, and believing that the preaching of Christ lieth not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the manifestation of the Spirit and of power, thou didst most wisely reprove and admonish him, and didst guide him to the way of truth. And seeing this wonder, all cried out:Rejoice, light of Orthodox wisdom;Rejoice, for thou didst put to shame the disputers who were said to be wise!Rejoice, abundant wellspring of grace;Rejoice, unshakable tower holding fast those who are in the Faith!Rejoice, thou who dost cast most pernicious heresy into darkness;Rejoice, thou by whom foolishness was trampled underfoot!Rejoice, for in thy hands the dust of the earth proclaimed the Holy Trinity;Rejoice, for from the tile thou didst bring forth fire and water to confirm the dogma of the Holy Trinity!Rejoice, for thou didst enlighten the people to glorify the Word Who is truly of one Essence with the all-unoriginate Father;Rejoice, for thou didst crush the serpent’s head of the pernicious heresy of Arius!Rejoice, for by thee was enmity slain;Rejoice, thou who didst convert to the true Faith the unbelieving wise man who disputed with thee!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 4: Leading thy life in poverty and want, thou wast a nurturer and helper of the poor and unfortunate; thou didst transform a serpent into gold in thy love, and didst give it to one who asked thine aid. And marvelling at this miracle, we cry out to God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!Ikos 4: It hath been heard by all and in every place, that the holy hierarch Spyridon is a habitation of the Holy Trinity; for God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit dwelt within him. Wherefore, by word and deed thou hast preached the true incarnate God to all Christians, who cry out:Rejoice, initiate of the mysteries of the words of God;Rejoice, thou who hast made clear God’s blueprint for the salvation of the world!Rejoice, for thou didst teach us not to test that which transcendeth the knowledge and wisdom of man;Rejoice, thou who didst show forth the unfathomable power of God which worketh within thee!Rejoice, for through thy mouth God Himself spake;Rejoice, for all heeded thee, to their delight!Rejoice, thou who didst drive away the gloom of idolatry;Rejoice, for thou didst lead many to the true Faith!Rejoice, for thou didst crush the heads of invisible serpents;Rejoice, for through thee is the Christian Faith glorified!Rejoice, for thou dost splendidly illumine all who call thee blessed;Rejoice, champion of the Christian Faith and Orthodoxy!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 5: Thou wast full of the divine Spirit, O holy hierarch Spyridon, because of thy virtuous life; for thou wast meek, merciful, pure of heart, patient, not mindful of the evils done thee, and hospitable. Wherefore, the Creator hath shown thee to be most glorious in miracles; and, glorifying God Who hath glorified thee, we cry out to Him: Alleluia!Ikos 5: We see Spyridon, the great wonderworker, as an equal of the angels. For once the land was stricken with drought and suffered greatly from the lack of water; and there was famine and contagion, and a multitude of men perished. But by the supplications of the holy hierarch rain fell from heaven upon the earth, and the people, delivered from this misfortune, cried out in gratitude:Rejoice, thou who didst emulate the great Prophet Elijah;Rejoice, for in due season thou didst bring down rain, dispelling famine and affliction!Rejoice, for again by thy supplications thou didst close the sky up again;Rejoice, for thou didst punish the pitiless merchant with the deprivation of his possessions!Rejoice, for thou didst give food in abundance unto those who asked;Rejoice, for thou didst move God to loving compassion for the people!Rejoice, thou who takest away the weakness of the infirm;Rejoice, helper of men, full of the grace of God!Rejoice, thou who grantest health to the sick;Rejoice, thou before whom the demons tremble!Rejoice, wellspring of countless miracles;Rejoice, fountain gushing forth the grace of God!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 6: The veil of the Old Testament tabernacle covered the ark, the manna and the tablets of the law in the Holy of Holies. And thy temple, O holy hierarch Spyridon, hath thy shrine as its ark, thy holy relics as manna, and thy heart as tablets of divine grace, whereon we see graven the hymn: Alleluia!Ikos 6: Once, because iniquity had increased, the Lord punished the people of Cyprus. causing their land to become barren. When a farmer known to the holy Spyridon came, begging help, the saint gave him gold. But when the misfortune had passed, and that farmer returned the gold to the saint, – O, the wonder! – the gold turned into a serpent! Glorifying God, Who is wondrous in His saints, let us cry out:Rejoice, for thou didst emulate Moses, who miraculously transformed his staff into a snake;Rejoice, loving pastor, who deliverest the reason-endowed sheep of thy flock from misfortunes!Rejoice, thou who dost abundantly enrich all with every good thing;Rejoice, thou who, like Elijah, didst feed the poor!Rejoice, thou who movest the pitiless to mercy;Rejoice, example of love for men living in the world to emulate!Rejoice, consolation of both believers and the unbelieving amid tribulations;Rejoice, tree of goodly foliage, overshadowing our city and land!Rejoice, glory and boast of Kerkyra;Rejoice, thou who, by the grace of God, hast dominion over wet and dry weather, heat and cold!Rejoice, thou who didst alter the laws of earth by thy prayer;Rejoice, thou who didst foresee things to come as though they were in the present!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 7: Thou wast shown to be a mediator for all before the Lord, O holy hierarch Spyridon. Wherefore, we flee beneath thy shelter, seeking salvation; for we all have thee as our helper amid all necessity, during famine, deadly plague and all manner of misfortunes and trials. For this cause we cry out to God with thanksgiving: Alleluia!Ikos 7: A new and magnificent wonder did we see, O father, when, going forth to deliver the man condemned to death though innocent, thou didst find a rushing torrent barring thy path; but thou didst command it to halt in the name of God Almighty, and didst cross the river with thy companions as though it were dry land. The fame of this miracle spread far and wide, and all glorified God, crying out to thee:Rejoice, thou who didst cross the river, as once Joshua, son of Nun, crossed Jordan;Rejoice, thou who didst tame the rushing of the river by thy voice alone!Rejoice, for, moved by compassion, thou didst undertake a difficult journey;Rejoice, for thou didst expose the slander and deliver the innocent man from the bonds of imprisonment and a violent death!Rejoice, good fellow labourer in the Godly life;Rejoice, defender of those unjustly oppressed!Rejoice, thou who didst alter the laws of the nature of water;Rejoice, for thou didst admonish the judge and save the innocent from execution!Rejoice, true correction of souls;Rejoice, wondrous power which restrained the torrent!Rejoice, thou who dost make sweet the hearts of those who have recourse unto thee;Rejoice, emulator of Abraham’s love for man!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 8: A stranger and sojourner wast thou on earth, as are all men. Yet from thy mother’s womb the Omniscient One showed thee forth to be a great favourite and wonderworker, O holy hierarch Spyridon; for thou expellest demons, healest every illness and wound, and perceivest the thoughts of men. Wherefore, thou art shown to be wondrous among the saints. And sending up supplication to God, the Benefactor of all, we cry out to Him: Alleluia!Ikos 8: The whole world was seized with great awe when it heard that death giveth up the dead from the tombs at the sound of thy voice; and it cried out:Rejoice, thou who recalled to life thine own dead daughter, to allow her to reveal the location of the treasure that the widow has entrusted to her;Rejoice, thou who didst console the grieving widow who had given gold into thine daughter’s care!Rejoice, thou who didst restore the dead boy to life;Rejoice, thou who didst revive his mother, who had died suddenly in her joy!Rejoice, for thou didst emulate Elijah, who by his supplications returned to life the son of the woman of Zarepath;Rejoice, for thou didst also emulate Elisha, who roused a boy from death!Rejoice, pastor who truly loved men;Rejoice, thou who, in the name of God, didst absolve the sins of the harlot who washed thy feet with her tears!Rejoice, thou who didst acquire the holy zeal of the pre-eminent apostle;Rejoice, for, at thy word, the unrepentant sinful woman died in her grievous sins!Rejoice, thou who in thine entreaties didst ask that the land yield abundant fruit;Rejoice, firm assurance of the resurrection of men!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 9: Thou wast illumined with the radiance of the divine Spirit, O Spyridon, for thou didst possess the spirit of wisdom, since, by thy wise words, thou didst show the mindless ones to be foolish in the midst of the Fathers didst confirm the Faith. Thou didst also possess the spirit of understanding, in that thou didst enlighten the minds of the benighted, and didst likewise have the spirit of the fear of God, for thou didst continually purify thy soul with God-pleasing works. Wherefore, standing before the throne of the Most High, with the assembly of the angels thou dost chant unto Him: Alleluia!Ikos 9: Receiving from the Lord Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, the staff of a shepherd of reason-endowed sheep, O holy Spyridon thou did not alter thy manner of life. Unacquisitive, meek, bearing all things for the sake of love, thou were not ashamed to care also for thine flock of dumb sheep. All of these things move us to glorify God and cry out to thee:Rejoice, thou who disdained the glory of this world as vain;Rejoice, thou who hast acquired great reward in the heavens!Rejoice, thou who didst consider the beautiful things of this word to be as dung;Rejoice, vessel of the good things of heaven!Rejoice, most holy pasture of the inhabitants of Cyprus;Rejoice, for, for thy sake, God bound with invisible bonds those who attempted to steal thy sheep!Rejoice, thou who didst give fatherly admonition to the thieves;Rejoice, thou who, in thy loving kindness, didst make a present of a ewe-lamb to them after they had spent a night without sleep!Rejoice, thou who didst, by the disobedience of the goat, reprove the merchant who consciously concealed the full payment for thereof;Rejoice, thou who didst bring to repentance the man who hid thy silver coins!Rejoice, for thou didst cure him of the passion of love of gain by thine exhortation;Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 10: O holy hierarch Spyridon, who savest the souls of the flock entrusted to thee by God, by the providence of God thou wast called to show forth thine own glory, and all the moreso the glory of the true God, even in other lands, that the name of God may be glorified everywhere by those who cry: Alleluia!Ikos 10: The holy Spyridon, the speedy helper and aid amid every necessity and sorrow, travelled to the city of Antioch with the other pastors, where the Emperor Constantius was held fast by sickness. The holy hierarch touched his head and restored his health; and we, marvelling at this miracle, cry out to thee:Rejoice, thou whom an angel revealed in a dream to the emperor as a healer;Rejoice, thou who, in thine old age, didst undertake a difficult journey for the sake of the love of God!Rejoice, thou who, following the Saviour’s commandment, didst turn thine other cheek to the servant of the emperor who struck thee;Rejoice, pillar of humility!Rejoice, thou who by thy supplications healed the emperor who besought thee with tears;Rejoice, for by thine own meekness thou didst admonish the servant and change his unmerciful character!Rejoice, for thou didst teach the emperor piety and loving kindness;Rejoice, for, despising the treasures of earth, thou didst not accept the emperor’s gold!Rejoice, for thou didst turn thine own disciple, Tryphillius, away from passion for earthly goods and didst make of him a vessel of the grace of God;Rejoice, for at thine arrival in Alexandria the idols toppled!Rejoice, thou to whom even the demons submit;Rejoice, for thou didst convert many from idolatry!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker !Kontaktion 11: Angelic chanting was audible when thou didst offer up thine evening prayers in church, O holy hierarch Spyridon, yet there was none serving with thee. And the inhabitants of the city, hearing this marvellous chanting, entered the church and, seeing no one, chanted with the heavenly hosts: Alleluia!Ikos 11:Thou wast a radiant sun for the world and a conversor with angels on earth, depart for the mansions of heaven, where thou prayest for the world before the throne of the Master. And we who live on earth cry out to thee:Rejoice, for, while yet alive, thou didst serve with the angels;Rejoice, thou who didst listen to the hymnody of the archangels!Rejoice, visible image of our transfiguration;Rejoice, for, when there was not enough oil in church, God filled the lamps with an abundance thereof for thy sake!Rejoice, lamp of divine radiance;Rejoice, vessel of the grace of God, which, like oil, filleth thy soul to overflowing!Rejoice, wellspring which can never dry up, who ever pourest forth torrents of grace upon all;Rejoice, thou at whom even the angels are amazed!Rejoice, thou who chastised the disobedience of the deacon in church;Rejoice, thou who deprived of voice and speech one who was enamored of his own voice!Rejoice, for, during the burning heat, a dew which suddenly descended from on high cooled thy sacred head;Rejoice, thou who didst foresee the approach of thy repose in this sign!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 12: The protection and refuge of all the faithful during thy lifetime, O holy hierarch, thou hast not left us orphans since thy repose; for God, abrogating the laws of nature, hath preserved thy holy relics incorrupt for the strengthening of the Orthodox Faith and piety, and as a token of immortality. And glorifying Him, we cry out: Alleluia!Ikos 12: We hymn thee, O holy hierarch of God, for thou has astonished the world with the miracles which flow from thy holy relics. For all who approach them and kiss them with faith receive the goodly things for which they ask. And glorifying God Who hath given thee strength, hath crowned thee with the wreath of incorruption, and worketh through thee, we cry out to thee:Rejoice, thou who in time of famine didst appear to the ship-captains and didst command them to supply the people with food;Rejoice, thou who gavest sight to the blind who approached thy holy relics with faith!Rejoice, thou who healed the youth of his incurable ailment;Rejoice, thou who didst drive the demon from a woman, making her well!Rejoice, chosen general of Kerkyra;Rejoice, for thou expelled the horde of muslim infidels and didst sink their ships in the deep!Rejoice, thou whom they beheld surrounded by a crowd of angels, holding a sword in thy right hand, and who caused the enemy to tremble;Rejoice, thou who didst prevent the governor from building a church for himself in which to have mass celebrated with unleavened bread!Rejoice, thou who didst bring upon the Venetian governor a cruel death;Rejoice, thou who by lightning didst cause his portrait to burn in his palace in Venice!Rejoice, thou who hast put to shame the apostasy and false teaching of the West;Rejoice, thou who hast confirmed for men that only the Orthodox Faith is true and leads to salvation!Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!Kontaktion 13: Accepting this our entreaty, O all-wondrous holy hierarch of Christ, father Spyridon, deliver us from all tribulations and assaults, strengthen the hierarchy of our Church against all heresies and schisms, grant us remission of our transgressions, and rescue from everlasting death all who for thy sake cry out to God: Alleluia!The above Kontaktion is said three times, then continue with the below:Ikos 1: Adorned from thy youth with all the virtues, and emulating the angels of Christ in thy life, O holy hierarch Spyridon, thou didst truly show thyself to be His friend. And beholding thee, the heavenly man and earthly angel, we cry out to thee with tenderness:Kontakion 1: O holy hierarch and wonderworker Spyridon, who hast been glorified by the Lord! Celebrating now thy most honoured memory, with tenderness we cry out to thee, as one who art able greatly to assist us with Christ Who hath glorified thee: From all misfortunes and evil deliver us, that we may cry out to thee in thanksgiving: Rejoice, O Spyridon, most miraculous wonderworker!PrayerO all-blessed and holy hierarch Spyridon, thou great favourite of Christ and most glorious wonderworker! Standing in heaven with the choirs of angels before the throne of God, look down with merciful gaze upon the people who stand here before thee and beseech thy mighty aid. Entreat the compassion of God Who loveth mankind, that He judge us not according to our iniquities, but that He deal with us according to His mercy. Ask for us of Christ our God a peaceful and undisturbed life, health of soul and body, bounty from the earth and abundance and prosperity in all things; and that we turn not the good things given us by our compassionate God to evil, but rather to His glory and the glorification of thine aid. Deliver all who approach God with unwavering faith from all retribution and from the assaults of the demons. Be thou a comforter for the grieving, a physician for the afflicted, a helper amid temptations, a shelter for the naked, an aid to the widowed, a defender of the orphaned, a nourisher of infants, a strengthener of the aged, a guide to travellers; and beg thou for all who are in need of thy mighty help all things which conduce to salvation, that, guided and protected by thy prayers, we may attain unto everlasting rest and with thee may glorify God Who is worshiped in the Holy Trinity: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen ... 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Commemorated on December 9/22: the Conception by Righteous Anna of the Most Holy Mother of God.Saint Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She married Saint Joachim (September 9), who was a native of Galilee.For a long time Saint Anna was childless, but after twenty years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to them that they would be the parents of a daughter, Who would bring blessings to the whole human race.The Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching that the Mother of God was exempted from the consequences of ancestral sin (death, corruption, sin, etc.) at the moment of her conception by virtue of the future merits of Her Son. Only Christ was born perfectly holy and sinless, as Saint Ambrose of Milan teaches in Chapter Two of his Commentary on Luke. The Holy Virgin was like everyone else in Her mortality, and in being subject to temptation, although She committed no personal sins. She was not a deified creature removed from the rest of humanity. If this were the case, She would not have been truly human, and the nature that Christ took from Her would not have been truly human either. If Christ does not truly share our human nature, then the possibilty of our salvation is in doubt.The Conception of the Virgin Mary by Saint Anna took place at Jerusalem. The many icons depicting the Conception by Saint Anna show the Most Holy Theotokos trampling the serpent underfoot.“In the icon Saints Joachim and Anna are usually depicted with hands folded in prayer; their eyes are also directed upward and they contemplate the Mother of God, Who stands in the air with outstretched hands; under Her feet is an orb encircled by a serpent (symbolizing the devil), which strives to conquer all the universe by its power.”There are also icons in which Saint Anna holds the Most Holy Virgin on her left arm as an infant. On Saint Anna’s face is a look of reverence. A large ancient icon, painted on canvas, is located in the village of Minkovetsa in the Dubensk district of Volhynia diocese. From ancient times this Feast was especially venerated by pregnant women in Russia. ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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Just as it is only after labour that a pregnant woman gives birth to the fruit that gives joy, so it is with the soul. Only after labours is knowledge of the mysteries of God given birth in it.St Isaac of Nineveh ... Click Here To See MoreClick Here To See Less
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