A modern Saint in a brother – Saint Porphyrios of Athens, Greece (+1991)

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COMING HOME – ORTHODOXY

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Athens, Greece

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Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia (Mount Athos) & Athens, Greece (+1991)

December 2

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A modern Saint in a brother

Saint Porphyrios of Athens, Greece (+1991)

In the old days, during the feast of the Theophany, we used to sanctify homes. One year I also went to sanctify. I would knock on the doors of the apartments, they would open for me, and I walked in singing “In Jordan, You were baptized O Lord….”

As I went along  Maizonos Street in the center of Athens (Greece) I saw an iron door. I opened it, walked into the courtyard which was full of tangerine, orange and lemon trees, and proceeded to the stairs. It was an outdoor staircase that went up, and down was the basement. I climbed the stairs, knocked on the door, and a lady appeared. Since Continue reading “A modern Saint in a brother – Saint Porphyrios of Athens, Greece (+1991)”

Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia & Athens, Greece (+1991) & his wild birds

http://saintsofmyheart.wordpress.com

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ATHENS OF MY HEART

SAINTS OF MY HEART

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Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia & Athens, Greece (+1991)

December 2

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Saint Porphyrios

of Kafsokalivia & Athens, Greece (+1991)

& his wild birds

Saint Porphyrios was born Evangelos Bairaktaris in the village of Aghios Ioannis in the province of Karystia on the Greek island of Euboea (mod. Evia). The youngest of four, he left school after the first grade and worked in the town of Chalkida at a shop to make money for the family. He was a hard and obedient worker, and stayed there for a few years before moving to Piraeus on the mainland (it is Athens’ port) and working in a general store run by a relative.

Although he hardly knew how to read at the time, Elder Porphyrios had a copy of the Life of St John the Hut-Dweller which he read as a boy. St John inspired him. St John the Hut-Dweller was late fifth-century Constantinopolitan saint who secretly took up the monastic life at the famed monastery of the Acoimetae (Unsleeping Ones). After living for some years according to a very strict rule, St John was granted permission by his abbot to go life near his parents so as to cleanse his heart of earthly love for them. He then dwelled in a hut beside his family, identity unknown, for three years. He revealed himself to his mother on his deathbed.

Young Evangelos was inspired by St John the Hut-Dweller’s story and wanted nothing more than to become a monk. He tried to run away to Mt Athos, the Holy Mountain, to become a monk on a few occasions. When he was 12, he succeeded at his goal and entered the life of obedience to two very strict and severe elders. At the age of 14, he became a monk under the name Niketas, and at 16 he took his full vows.

During these early years of the monastic life, Elder Porphyrios was given no praise but many tasks. He spent much time alone on the mountain with no one but the birds. He learned the Psalms and the prayers by heart. And at age 19, he received a gift from the Holy Spirit of clear sight. When this gift came, he saw his elders approaching his position even though they were far away and around a corner. He knew what they were doing. Later in his life, Elder Porphyrios was able to use this gift of sight to counsel and care for the souls of the many people who came to him seeking God’s grace.

The simplicity of Elder Porphyrios’ heart is visible in his recognition of the songs of praise sung by the birds to Almighty God, a realisation he had while living on the Holy Mountain:

“One morning I was walking alone in the virgin forest. Everything, freshened by the morning dew, was shining in the sunlight. I found myself in a gorge. I walked through it and sat on a rock. Cold water was running peacefully beside me and I was saying the [Jesus] prayer. Complete peace. Nothing could be heard. After a while the silence was broken by a sweet, intoxicating voice singing and praising the Creator. I looked. I couldn’t discern anything. Eventually, on a branch opposite me I saw a tiny bird. It was a nightingale. I listened as the nightingale trilled unstintingly, its throat puffed out to bursting in sustained song. The microscopic little bird was stretching back its wings in order to find power to emit those sweetest of tones, and puffing out its throat to produce that exquisite voice. If only I had a cup of water to give it to drink and quench its thirst!

Tears came to my eyes…” (Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love, p. 31).

Elder Porphyrios’ love of the animal world, and of birds in particular, is illustrated by his taming of two wild parrots later in life. He wished also to tame an eagle, but I don’t know if that happened. One of his parrots would say the Jesus Prayer with him.

Ill health forced Elder Porphyrios to leave Mount Athos, and he returned to Evia where we lived at the Monastery of St Charalambos, Levka. In 1926 he was ordained priest and was given the name Porphyrios. He lived at the Monastery of St Charalambos for twelve years as a spiritual guide and confessor, and then three years at the deserted Monastery of St Nicholas in Ano Vatheia.

1940 saw the Second World War and Elder Porphyrios’ move to Athens. He became the chaplain and confessor at the Polyclinic Hospital where he served for many years, leading the liturgy and hearing confessions and ministering to the staff and patients of the hospital, many of whose previous contact with Christianity had been minimal or merely formal.

From 1955 to 1979, he lived at the Monastery of St Nicholas in Kallisia. He was still chaplain at the Polyclinic, but he was now able to also live out his lifelong dream of being a monastic at the same time. In 1979, he moved to Milesi, a village that overlooks Evia, where he lived at first in a caravan and later in a single-cell built of cinder blocks. However, the goal of founding a monastery was realised, and in 1984 he was able to move into one of the rooms of the complex under construction, and in 1990 the foundation stone of the monastic church was laid.

He returned to the Holy Mountain and died at his hermitage in Kavsokalyvia, where he had become a monk so long ago, December 2 1991.

Stories about Elder St Porphyrios abound. One time, a young man on the verge of suicide received a phone call out of the blue, and it was the saint (neither knew each other) who counselled him not to kill himself. This young man was converted, and later met Elder Porphyrios before becoming a priest himself. One young woman had a vision of Elder Porphyrios while she, too, was contemplating suicide. At both these times, Elder Porphyrios had been at prayer when the Lord made the miracle happen.

Elder Porphyrios was a man who could be deeply moved by the words of Scripture:

“One Good Friday we were doing the service. The church was packed with people. I was reading the Gospel, and when I came to the phrase, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, that is, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? I was unable to finish it. I didn’t read the words ‘why have you forsaken me?‘ I was overcome with emotion. My voice broke. In front of me I saw the whole tragic scene. I saw that face. I heard that voice. I saw Christ so vividly. The people in the church waited. I said nothing. I was unable to continue. I left the Gospel on the reading stand and turned back into the sanctuary. I made the sign of the cross and kissed the Holy Table. I brought to my mind another image, a better one. No, not a better one. There was no more beautiful image than that one, but the image of the Resurrection came to my mind. At once I calmed down. Then I returned to the Holy Doors and said:

‘Excuse me, my children, I got carried away’” –Wounded by Love.

Imagine if more ministers were so drawn into Scripture that their hearts were pierced in the formality of Sunday services!

I have run on long enough. There is much to say. I encourage you to learn the life and teachings of this saint — they are even available in the English book Wounded by Love: The Life and Teachings of Elder Porphyrios.

I am not afraid of death – Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, Greece (+1989)

https://athensofmyheart.wordpress.com

http://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com

EX 2X2 LETTERS FROM GREECE

ATHENS OF MY HEART

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I am not afraid of death. Not, of course, because of my works, but because I believe in God’s mercy.

Blessed Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens, Greece (+1989)

Source:

https://orthodoxword.wordpress.com & HERE

ORTHODOX WORD

300+ heart shape photos, St Valentine an Orthodox Saint, Mariagge & Love

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http://orthodoxsaintvalentine.wordpress.com

ORTHODOX SAINT VALENTINE

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The Real Life of Saint Valentine

Feast day: February 14, +269

The ancient martyrology of the Church of Rome marks February 14th as the remembrance of “the martyr Valentine, presbyter of Rome” (Valentinus means “vigorous” in Latin).

The Martyrdom of Saint Valentine in Rome

Saint Valentine lived in Rome in the third century and was a priest who helped the martyrs during the persecution of Emperor Claudius II the Goth. The great virtue and catechetical activities of the Saint had become familiar. For this he was arrested and brought before the imperial court.

“Why, Valentine, do you want to be a friend of our enemies and reject our friendship?” asked the emperor.

The Saint replied “My lord, if you knew the gift of God, you would be happy together with your empire and would reject the worship of idols and worship the true God and His Son Jesus Christ.”

One of these judges stopped the Saint and asked him what he thought about Jupiter and Mercury, and Valentine boldly replied, “They are miserable, and spent their lives through corruption and crime!”

The judge furiously shouted, “He blasphemes against the gods and against the empire!”

The emperor, however, continued his questions with curiosity, and found a welcome opportunity to finally learn what was the faith of Christians. Valentine then found the courage to urge him to repent for the blood of the Christians that was shed. “Believe in Jesus Christ, be baptized and you will be saved, and from this time forward the glory of your empire will be ensured as well as the triumph of your armory.”

Claudius became convinced, and said to those who were present: “What a beautiful teaching this man preaches.”

But the mayor of Rome, dissatisfied, began to shout: “See how this Christian mislead our Prince.”

Then Claudius brought the Saint to another judge. He was called Asterios, and he had a little girl who was blind for two years. Listening about Jesus Christ, that He is the Light of the World, he asked Valentine if he could give that light to his child. St. Valentine put his hand on her eyes and prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ, true Light, illuminate this blind child.” Oh the great miracle! The child saw! So the judge with all his family confessed Christ. Having fasted for three days, he destroyed the idols that were in the house and finally received Holy Baptism.

When the emperor heard about all these events, he initially thought not to punish them, thinking that in the eyes of the citizens he will look weak, which forced him to betray his sense of justice. Therefore St. Valentine along with other Christians, after they were tortured, were beheaded on 14 February in the year 268 (or 269).

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3 photos from the Holy Relics of Saint Valentine

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The Relics of Saint Valentine in Athens, Greece

After the martyrdom some Christians salvaged the body of the Saint and put a bit of his blood in a vile. The body of the martyr was moved and buried in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla, a burial place of most of the martyrs. Over the years somehow he was “forgotten” since almost every day there were buried in these catacombs new martyrs for several decades. The memory of Valentine’s martyrdom however remained robust, particularly in the local Church of Rome. Officially the memory of St. Valentine was established in 496 by Pope St. Gelasius.

Roman Catholics were detached from the body of the Church in 1054 AD. So Saint Valentine is a Saint of the Holy, One, Apostolic & Catholic Orthodox Church (Eastern Orthodox Church) because he martyred on 269 AD before the Great Schism.

Fifteen centuries pass and we arrive at 1815, at which time the divine intention was to “disturb” the eternal repose of the Saint. Then the relics were donated by the Pope to a gentle Italian priest (according to the custom of the time). After this the relics are “lost” again until 1907 where we find them in Mytilene (Lesvos Island, Greece) in the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady. It seems that after the death of the priest that a descendant of his had inherited the relics who had migrated to Mytilene, which was then a thriving community of West-European Catholic Christians. There they remained until 1990 when they were moved to Athens in a Roman Catholic Italian community, where they are today.

Saint Valentine the Greek, 

from Athens, Greece

We should first say that there is not sufficient information on the national origin of the Saint, though there are some other (shades of) evidence that the Saint was of Greek origin. For example, the earliest depiction of the Saint bearing the inscription «O ΑΓΙΟC BAΛΕΝΤΙΝΟC” in Greek, is in the Church of Our Lady the Ancient (Santa Maria Antiqua) of the 6th century which was the parish of Greeks in Rome. The church particularly venerated saints who were Greeks and generally from the East. The decoration and renovation of the church was ordered by the Greek Pope John VII (705-707) and finished by his successors, including the last Greek Pope Zacharias (741-752). But perhaps it is no coincidence that after seventeen centuries, the remains arrived in Greece.

We hope that the Holy Relics of St. Valentine will return soon to his Home, to the Eastern Orthodox Church, as recently miraculously returned the Holy Relics of St. Savvas the Sanctified which they had the Roman Catholics as in 1965.

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Photos: The Holy Relics of St Sabbas the Sanctified

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Video: The miraculous return of the Relics of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified

from Roman Catholics to Eastern Orthodox Church

St. Sabbas the Sanctified during his lifetime told his disciples that his incorrupt body would be removed from his monastery and later would rest in the Lavra, which he founded. He said this return of his relics would come before the end of the world. This prophecy was fulfilled when the holy relics of St. Sabbas were stolen by the crusaders of the First Crusade (1096 – 1099) together with many other relics and brought to Venice, Italy where he was enshrined in a church dedicated to St. Anthony. Nearly nine centuries later his relics were returned to Israel.

On 10 October 1965 the relics of St. Savvas were returned by Pope Paul VI to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The reception was made, at the direction of Patriarch Benediktos of Jerusalem, by Bishop Vasilios of Jerusalem, Fr. Theodosios the Abbot of Bethany, Fr. Seraphim the Abbot of St. Savvas Lavra, and the Hierodeacon (and future Metropolitan of Nazareth) Kyriakos.

Though it is commonly recorded that this gesture on behalf of the Pope was made merely as an ecumenical gesture, such as that of the skull of St. Andrew in Patras, with regards to the return of the relics of St. Savvas there is more to the story. In fact, it was St. Savvas himself who was urging Pope Paul VI to have his relics returned, appearing first to his predecessor Pope John XXIII in his dreams and causing a scene in his reliquary.

Fr. Seraphim, the Abbot of St. Savvas Lavra, explains everything as follows:

“The Pope did not give us the holy relic because he loved us, but because he [St. Savvas] would constantly appear to him [Pope John XXIII] and would bother him to have his relics returned to his monastery. When the Pope died he did not take the wishes of the Saint into account, so he appeared again to his successor [Pope Paul VI]. Even in the church where his holy relics were treasured in a glass coffin, he would hit the glass and cause trouble, frightening the guards and the Latin monks.”

Patriarch Benediktos had insisted that Fr. Seraphim attend the reception of the relics. He even told the Abbot: “In your days, Fr. Seraphim, Saint Savvas has returned!” Fr. Seraphim responded: “No, in your days, Your Holiness.”

When the Orthodox representatives arrived at the Church of Saint Anthony in Venice they wondered if indeed these were the relics of Saint Savvas. Fr. Seraphim observed every inch of the incorrupt relic to see if he could see a sign of authenticity. He noticed that one of the eyes of St. Savvas was missing. This proved it for him, since in his biography it is said that the Monophysites removed one of his eyes. Moved by this Fr. Seraphim would not leave the side of the relics till they arrived at his monastery. Even when the holy relics arrived in Athens where they were to be venerated by the faithful prior to the return, Fr. Seraphim stood all night guarding the holy relics while everyone else was sleeping. Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth describes the scene as if Fr. Seraphim and St. Savvas were having a conversation that night.

A problem arose when it came time to dress the holy relics in Orthodox vestments, since the Latins had dressed him in Latin vestments. After nine centuries it would be impossible to manoeuvre the body so as to put on the rason, the monastic schema and epitrachelion among other things. To further complicate matters, the hands of St. Savvas were crossed over his chest. Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth describes what then happened as follows: “We then saw Abbot Seraphim kneel before the holy relics and pray for a good amount of time. At one point he arose and did prostrations and lifted the arms of Saint Savvas as one would a living man before the amazed eyes of us all.” They were able to change the vestments without a problem in Venice before the return to Jerusalem.

When the glass coffin arrived at the Piazza San Marco on the pier, there was a gondola that transported it by escort to an area near the airport. In a strange coincidence it was the same pier the sacred relic had disembarked centuries ago. Countless pigeons were gathered there, as if they were there to honor the event. Even many years later, when Fr. Seraphim and Metropolitan Kyriakos would reminisce about those days, they would always talk about the pigeons.

When the holy relics finally arrived in Jerusalem it was first brought to the Church of the Resurrection for many days. Here the women could venerate the holy relics prior to being brought permanently to the all-male monastic Lavra of St. Sabbas. Fr. Seraphim tells of a certain miracle at this time in Jerusalem. An Orthodox nun who was waiting to venerate the holy relics had doubts over whether or not the Latin’s had indeed given the authentic relics to the Orthodox. It was then that she saw the head of St. Savvas lift and turn to her, then it returned again in its place. Her joy removed all doubts.

(Elder Seraphim of Saint Sabba’s Monastery, Publications Migdonia – Greek book)

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Saint Valentine: Patron of married andall that unite them love

and want to marry with Orthodox Christian Marriage.

Apart from the historical data we have for Valentine’s life, there is accompanied various stories, such as from those who say he is the patron Saint of married and all that unite them love and want to marry with Orthodox Christian Marriage.

The Saint had a reputation as a peacemaker, and one day while cultivating some roses from his garden, he heard a couple quarrel very vigorously. This shocked the Saint, who then cut a rose and approached the couple asking them to hear him. Even though they were dispirited, they obeyed the Saint and afterwards were offered a rose that blessed them. Immediately the love returned between them, and later they returned and asked the Saint to bless their marriage. Another tradition says that one of the charges against Valentine was that he did not adhere to the command of the emperor which stated that men who had not fulfilled their military obligations were not allowed to marry; meanwhile the Saint had blessed the marriage of young Christian soldiers with their beloveds.

Besides all this, the likely choice of him as the “saint of lovers” is to be associated with the pagan festival of Lupercalia, a fertility festival, celebrated by the Romans on February 15. Others connect the celebration of this feast with the mating season of birds during this period. Certainly, however, the Saint has nothing to do with the commercialism (marketing) of flowers, gifts and secular centers which trivialize Eros, this great gift of God.

Saint Valentine and Orthodoxy

Many, however, raise the objection that St. Valentine is not mentioned anywhere in the calendar of the Orthodox Church. Indeed on 14 February in the calendar of the Church there are commemorated Saints Auxentios, Maron and the martyrs Nicholas and Damian. The explanation is simple: in ancient times hagiographic directories, biographies and martyrologia were written to be primarily used locally in their own character, and the fame and reputation of a saint locally does not mean that it extended also throughout the Church. So there may be saints honored widely in one region and completely unknown in another, eg, St. Demetrios, who is famous throughout the Eastern Church, yet in the West is not honored at all, and is almost unknown, but this does not mean that he is not a saint. Another example of the modern Church: Many New-Martyrs of Greece (1453-1821) who in Greece is known, yet in Russia is completely unknown, but this does not mean that he is not a saint.

Honor Martyrs – Imitate Martyrs

We honor our saints and St. Valentine when we imitate their courage to proclaim their faith in Christ the Savior, who did so even at the cost of their lives. We honor them when we beseech them to appeal to God to have mercy on us and forgive our many sins. We honor them when they are our models of the life in Christ. We do not honor the saints when we measure their ‘worth’ by worldly amusements and festivities in the best circumstances…

So Orthodox Church have the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 (+269) as we see in the Orthodox site ORTHODOX ENGLAND:

http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/stdfeb.htm – ORTHODOX ENGLAND

See also:

http://sthermans.ca/saints-life-of-valentine.asp – ST HERMAN OF ALASKA ORTHODOX SOBOR

Price witness – Mimisis witness!

To imitate and to make the Valentine rejoice for us must live Christian lives near the Sacrament of Holy Confession by Orthodox Christian marriage (for those who wishing Marriage).

Here there are Confession hours to lead safely through Confession in the Orthodox Marriage having from God a blessed family!

ENGLAND:

Father Zacharias

St. John the Baptist Monastery Old Rectory,

Tolleshunt Knights by Maldon, Essex CM9 8EZ

United Kingdom

***

GERMANY:

Fr. Bill, Orthodox Church of Saints Paul & Peter

Esslingen, Germany

***

ARIZONA, USA:

Fr. Ephraim Filotheitis

 http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/index.php

St Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona, USA

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Source:

Encyclopedia New Advent (www.newadvent.org)

Patron Saints Index (www.catholic-forum.com/saints/indexsnt.htm)

Oxford Dictionary of Saints

Hellenism & Orthodoxy, Publications PSL Livani (Greek book)

Saint Valentine of Athens, Publications Good Type (Greek book)

Elder Seraphim of Saint Sabba’s Monastery, Publications Migdonia (Greek book)

http://gkiouzelis.wordpress.com

ABEL-TASOS GKIOUZELIS

http://orthodoxsaintvalentine.wordpress.com

ORTHODOX SAINT VALENTINE

1

Saint Valentine:

Patron of married and all that unite them love and want to marry

with Orthodox Christian Marriage

https://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com/?s=love

https://heartquestionsandanswers.wordpress.com/love/

Love

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https://heartquestionsandanswers.wordpress.com/marriage/

Marriage

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300+ heart shape photos, Saint Valentine an Orthodox Saint &

articles about love & Marriage

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THE SACRED ICONS & THE HOLY CROSS – FR. ANTHONY ALEVIZOPOULOS, GREECE

http://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com

EX 2X2 LETTERS FROM GREECE

31.8.2015 - 1.jpg

Cherubim are Angels

Exodus 25:17-21

«17 “Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. 18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you» (Exodus 25:17-21).

Exodus 26:31

«31 “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker» (Exodus 26:31).

Hebrews 9:5

«5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now» (Hebrews 9:5).

25.07.15 - 1

The Sacred Icons and the Holy Cross

By

Fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos, Greece

https://athensofmyheart.wordpress.com

ATHENS OF MY HEART

God is the unique Being, the absolute existence; nothing can be compared with Him and the honor which is due Him, i.e. worship and adoration, is rendered unto none other; neither to some non-existent god nor to some idol.

But God’s grace is transmitted in every way in accordance with His will; even through material objects or even through the shadow of holy men, as was the case with the shadow of the Apostles, which is their imprint, a type of image (Acts 5, 12-16. 19,11-12).

In the Old Testament some of the objects which transmitted the miraculous grace of God were the bronze snake of Moses, the Ark of the Covenant, the sheep-skin coat of the Prophet Elias, et al. Every desecration of the sacred objects was severely punished by God (see Num. 10,15-20. I Kings 5, 2-4).

The teaching of the Orthodox Church concerning the holy icons has a Christological foundation. God is by essence unapproachable; He can neither be expressed by words nor depicted. The Son and Word of God, how­ever, became man and we beheld His glory (Jn 1, 14). Thus we can depict the person of Christ which consti­tutes the visible sign of the invisible presence of God, an “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1, 15). In the Ortho­dox Church that which is seen can be depicted; we express the same confession of faith either by written or oral word and even by depiction. The icon of Christ constitutes the confirmation of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, which was a totally real, and not a docetic or imaginary, one.

Through the sacred icons we express our internal desire to grow in the love of Christ and the saints, to attain to the “new creation in Christ” and to become “conformed to His image” (Rom. 8,29). Just as the word sanctifies our lips, in a like way the icon, which trans­mits the same meaning as does the word, sanctifies our eyes and our mind.

The icons of the saints refer to “the new man” and are a declaration of our belief in our tranformation in Christ and in the incorruption of man and the entire world. They do not refer to the “beauty” of this world, but rather symbolize the beauty and the glory of the “future age”. This is why the holy icons lack the dimen­sion of “depth” and are two-dimensional. They proclaim a transfigured world which however we observe “as through a mirror” (I Cor. 13, 12). The holy icons give us the feeling that there exists a new world that is being transformed, and they constitute the assurance of our hope, expressed in the words of our Lord: “Behold I make all things new” (Rev. 21,5).

The honor rendered to the holy icons is placed within the framework established by the Seventh Ecu­menical Council. According to the Holy Fathers of this council, the honor shown towards the holy icons refers back to the ancient Church and confirms the belief in the real incarnation of God the Word. This council ordains that along with the Holy Cross icons be made for the Churches, to be placed on the sacred vessels and the vestments of the priests, in the homes and in the roads; icons of Christ, the Theotokos and all the saints. It further underlines:

“For the more frequently they [the sacred icons] are seen, all the more those who see them are moved to remembrance and desire of those depicted; to them [the icons] they render greetings and a veneration of honor, but not true worship, which in accordance with our faith, is due only unto the divine nature…for the honor rendered to the icon is transfered to the prototype, and he who venerates the icon venerates the person depicted thereon”.

Orthodox Christians believe that the Holy Cross is their only pride (Gal. 6,14). It is the instrument through which sin, the source of death, was set at naught (Rom. 5,12. 8,3). The Cross is thus no longer a symbol of death and of shame (Deut. 21,23), but a source of eternal life. Through the Cross the curse is done away with, conciliation “in Christ” is brought about, and “the new man” is created (Eph. 2, 15- 16). These truths are expressed in many of the hymns of the Church:

“You spread out Your hands on the Cross, Ο Merciful One, and You gathered together the Nations that were far from You so that they might glorify Your great goodness”.

“By spreading out Your divine hands upon the Cross, Ο Jesus,

You brought unto Yourself the work of Your hands, and You freed all from the hands of the Evil One and subjected them [unto You], for which cause let us faithful hymn Your majesty, for indeed it is glorified”.

The Cross of Christ is thus characterized by the Lord Himself as glory, as the judgment of this world, as the casting out of the Devil and as exaltation (Jn 12, 24-33). Our Church characterizes the Cross as “a weapon against the Devil”, because he trembles and shudders at the sight of the Cross, not being able to bear its power.

“Lord, You have given us Your Cross as a weapon against the Devil; for he shudders and trembles, not being able to gaze upon its might.

For its resurrects the dead,

and abrogated death;

for which cause we venerate

Your entombment and Your Resurrection”.

The Holy Cross of Christ becomes a standard and a measure of either man’s triumph or his condemnation, depending upon the position he takes vis-a-vis it. Who­ever equates Christ’s Cross with that of the thieves, is equated with the unrepentant thief and is condemned. On the contrary, whoever differentiates the Cross of Christ and considers it to be a royal scepter, and invokes the mercy of Christ, is likened unto the good thief, and the road leading to Paradise is opened up before him. In this way the Holy Cross becomes the measure of the judg­ment of the world, “the scale of justice” as it is called by the hymn of the Church:

“Your Cross stood between two thieves

as a scale of justice.

The one is led down to hell

by the weight of his blasphemy,

the other is lightened from the burden of his sins

unto the knowledge of things divine.

Ο Christ-God, glory to You”.

When we speak of the Holy Cross we do not mean only Christ’s crucifixion, but also the wood of the Cross. For this, too, is sanctified by its contact with the Body of Christ, and that is why it, too, is venerated: “The wood of Your Cross do we venerate, Ο Lover of man, for on it was nailed the Life of all things”, states one of the Church’s hymns. The sign of the Cross is also “divine and venerable”, says St. Gregory Palamas, for it is “a venerable seal, sanctifying and perfecting all the marvelous and ineffable good things that come from God”. It is an image of the crucified Christ and it draws its power and grace from His passion. This is why the sealing with the sign of the Cross is the external sign of all of the Church’s Mysteries through which man’s salvation is wrought.

The Cross of Christ expresses the ineffable love of God, but at the same time it also expresses man’s infinite value in God’s sight. A contemporary theologian says that Christ put sin to death without slaying the sinner; He did away with guilt and yet saved the guilty one. This is the great difference between Christ and human justice which crushes guilt by deriding and disgracing the guilty one. However, Christ did not simply conquer sin but also the consequence of sin which is death, and restored man to his pristine purity. Thus He led man to a surpassing of death, to the life of immortality and incorruption. Thus we do not have here a lifting of some type of Augustinian inherited guilt, nor room for any type of “payment” or “ransom” – save only in the patristic sense – and certainly not an Ansel-mian satisfaction of Divine justice. Rather the weight rests on Christ’s love, Who achieved the most extreme limits of sacrifice in behalf of those whom He loves. And it is in precisely this that we see man’s infinite value.

Making the sign of the Cross is an early Christian Tradition testified to by St. Justin the Martyr (+ 150) and by Tertullian (+ 200). The latter writes: ” We Christians in all our travels and in all our movements about, at every departure and upon every arrival, when we put on our clothes and shoes, in the bath and at the table, when we light our lamp, when we sit or sleep, in all the acts of our every-day life in general, we make the sign of the Cross”.

” This custom,” Tertullian concludes, “has its beginnings in the Church’s Tradition, it is strengthened through habit and should be preserved in faith”.

Orthodox Christians unite the three fingers of their right hand and place them first on their forehead, then on their stomach and finally bring them to their two shoulders from right to left. All of the Church’s theology is depicted in the sign of the Cross. By uniting our three fingers we depict and confess our belief in the One Triune God. From the forehead we bring our fingers to the stomach, and by so doing “typify the Son” Who was pre-eternally born of the Father and came down to earth by His birth from the Virgin Mary. When we place our united fingers on our shoulders we do so to “typify the Holy Spirit”, Who is characterized as being the “arm” and the “might” of God. By uniting the remaining two fingers we depict Christ’s incarnation and the inseparable union of the two natures, through which human nature was cured and exalted to the height of theosis.

We must not make the sign of the Cross in a mech­anical way, but conscientiously, with inner participation. We should make the sign of the Cross upon our bodies distinctly and not carelessly, but in accordance with the order of the Church: with our three fingers joined together and as if the Cross itself were touching us. It is understood that the sign of the Cross must be accom­panied by analogous faith in that which it depicts and b> the unwavering decision to crucify and do away with oui sinful selves and our passions; to put on the new man and ever be orientated towards the Cross and the Resur­rection of Christ.

Orthodox Christians therefore render respect and honorary veneration to the Cross just as they do to the holy icons, in relation always to the personage of Christ. This also holds true for the honor rendered to the saints. This honor is not adoration and worship, but an express­ion of respect and love towards persons and things which God Himself honored by abundantly bestowing upon them His grace. This veneration would be transformed into worship only in such case where one were to render it by identifying in his conscience that which he vener­ated with God. No Orthodox Christian, however, ever identifies the Holy Cross, the sacred icons or the saints with God, nor does he differentiate the honor accorded them from their relationship to the person of our Lord.

Source:

http://www.egolpion.com/root.en.aspx

http://www.egolpion.com/Icons_Cross%20%20.en.aspx

ANTI HERETICAL MANUAL

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO WHEN THEY FEAR THE FREEDOM OF THEIR CHILDREN? – BLESSED FR. EPIPHANIOS THEODOROPOULOS OF ATHENS, GREECE (+1989)

https://athensofmyheart.wordpress.com

http://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com

http://orthodoxsaintvalentine.wordpress.com

ORTHODOX SAINT VALENTINE

EX 2X2 LETTERS FROM GREECE

ATHENS OF MY HEART

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What can parents do when they fear the freedom of their children?

http://paintingleaves.blogspot.com

PAINTING LEAVES

Blessed Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens, Greece (+1989):

Speak more to God about your children than to your children about God…. The soul of the teenager is in a state of an explosion of freedom. For this reason he has a hard time accepting various counsels. So, rather than counseling him continuously and re­proaching him now and again, leave the situation to Christ, to the Holy Virgin Mary the Mother of God and to the Saints, asking them to bring him to reason.

(Taken from Elder Epiphanios in “Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit”, Protecting Veil Press)

Source:

https://orthodoxword.wordpress.com & HERE

ORTHODOX WORD

“MY WORST HELL IS TO REALIZE THAT I HAVE SADDENED A BELOVED PERSON” (FR. EPIPHANIOS THEODOROPOULOS)

https://athensofmyheart.wordpress.com

ATHENS OF MY HEART

imageff0093_south_african_jade_plant“My worst hell is to realize that I have saddened a beloved person”

Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos (+1989)

p-epifanios
Blessed Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens, Greece (+1989)

(Taken from Elder Epiphanios in “Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit”, Protecting Veil Press)

Source:

https://orthodoxword.wordpress.com & HERE

ORTHODOX WORD