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Πέμπτη, 19 Οκτωβρίου 2017

On Forming the Soul

By Blessed Fr. Seraphim of Platina

The soul that comes to Orthodoxy today often finds itself in a disadvantaged or even crippled state. Often one hears from converts after some years of seemingly unfruitful struggles that “I didn’t know what I was getting into when I became Orthodox.” Some sense this when they are first exposed to the Orthodox Faith, and this can cause them to postpone their encounter with Orthodoxy or even run away from it entirely. A similar thing often happens to those baptized in childhood when they reach mature years and must choose whether or not to commit themselves to their childhood faith.

From one point of view, this is a result of the deep commitment required of those who are serious about the Orthodox Faith–a commitment that is quite different in kind from that of those who merely join a new denomination. or sect. There are many denominations with their various interpretations of Christian life, but only One Church of Christ which lives the true life in Christ and the unchanged teaching and practice of the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.

But from a more practical point of view, the problem lies in the poverty of our modern soul, which has not been prepared or trained to receive the depths of true Christian experience. There is a cultural as well as a psychological aspect to this poverty of ours: The education of youth today, especially in America, is notoriously deficient in developing responsiveness to the best expressions of human art, literature, and music, as a result of which young people are formed haphazardly under the influence of television, rock music, and other manifestations of today’s culture (or rather, anti-culture); and, both as a cause and as a result of this–but most of all because of the absence on the part of pa rents and teachers of any conscious idea of what Christian Life is and how a young person should be brought up in it–the soul of a person who has survived the years of youth is often an emotional wasteland, and at best reveals deficiencies in the basic attitudes towards life that were once considered normal and indispensable:

Few are those today who can clearly express their emotions and ideas and face them in a mature way; many do not even know what is going on inside themselves. Life is artificially divided into work (and very few can put the best part of themselves, their heart, into it because it is “just for money”); play (in which many see the real meaning of their life), religion (usually no more than an hour or two a week), and the like, without an underlying unity that gives meaning to the whole of one’s life. Many, finding daily life unsatisfying, try to live in a fantasy world of their own creation (into which they also try to fit religion). And underlying the whole of modern culture is the common denominator of the worship of oneself and one’s own comfort, which is deadly to any idea of spiritual life.

Such is something of the background, the “cultural baggage,” which a person brings with him today when he becomes Orthodox. Many, of course, survive as Orthodox despite their background; some come to some spiritual disaster because of it; but a good number remain cripples or at least spiritually undeveloped because they are simply unprepared for and unaware of the real demands of spiritual life..

As a beginning to the facing of this question (and hopefully, helping some of those troubled by it), let us look here briefly at the Orthodox teaching on human nature as set forth by a profound Orthodox writer of the 19th century, a true Holy Father of these latter times–Bishop Theophan the Recluse (+1892). In his book, What the Spiritual Life Is and How to Attune Oneself to it (reprinted Jordanville, 1962)*, he writes:

”Human life is complex and many-sided. In it there is a side of the body, another of the soul, and another of the spirit. Each of these has its own faculties and needs, its own methods and their exercise and satisfaction. Only when all our faculties are in movement and all our needs are satisfied does a man live. But when only one little part of these. faculties is in motion and on]y one little part of our needs is satisfied–such a life is no life…A man does not live in a human way unless everything, in him is in motion …. One must live as God created us, and when one does not live thus one can boldly say that he is not living at all” (p. 7).

The distinction made here between “soul” and “spirit” does not mean that these are separate entities within human nature; rather, the “spirit” is the higher part, the “soul” the lower part, of the single invisible part of man (which as a whole is usually called the “soul”). To the “soul” in this sense belong those ideas and feelings which are not occupied directly with spiritual life-most of human art, knowledge, and culture; while to the “spirit” belong man’s strivings towards God through prayer, sacred art, and obedience to God’s law.

From these words of Bishop Theophan one can already spot a common fault of today’s seekers after spiritual life: Not all sides of their nature are in movement; they are trying to satisfy religious needs (the needs of the spirit) without having come to terms with some of their other (more specifically, psychological and emotional) needs, or worse: they use religion illegitimately to satisfy these psychological needs. In such people religion is an artificial thing that has not yet touched the deepest part of them, and often some upsetting event in their life, or just the natural attraction of the world, is enough to destroy their plastic universe and turn them away from religion. Sometimes such people, after bitter experience in life, return to religion: but too often they are lost, or at best crippled and unfruitful.

Bishop Theophan continues in his teaching:

“A man has three layers of life: that of the spirit, of the soul, and of the body. Each of these has its sum of needs, natural and proper to a man. These needs are not all of equal value, but some are higher and others lower; and the balanced satisfaction of them gives a man peace. Spiritual needs are the highest of all, and when they are satisfied, then there is peace even if the others are not satisfied; but when spiritual needs are not satisfied, then even if the others are satisfied abundantly, there is no peace. Therefore, the satisfaction of them is called the one thing needful.

“When spiritual needs are satisfied, they instruct a man to put into harmony with them the satisfaction of one’s other needs also, so that neither what satisfies the soul nor what satisfies the body contradicts spiritual life, but helps it; and then there is a full harmony in a man of all the movements and revelations of his life, a harmony of thoughts, feelings, desires, undertakings, relationships, pleasures. And this is paradise!” (p. 65).

In our own day, the chief ingredient missing from this ideal harmony of human life is something one might call the emotional development of the soul. It is something that is not directly spiritual, but that very often hinders spiritual development. It is the state of someone who, while he may think he thirsts for spiritual struggles and an elevated life of prayer, is poorly able to respond to normal human love and friendship; for If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen.” (I John 4:20)

In a few people this defect exists in an extreme form; but as a tendency it is present to some extent in all of us who have been raised in the emotional and spiritual wasteland of our times. This being so, it is often necessary for us to humble our seemingly spiritual impulses and struggles and be tested on our human and emotional readiness for them. Sometimes a spiritual father will deny his child the reading of some spiritual book and give him instead a novel of Dostoevsky or Dickens, or will encourage him to become familiar with certain kinds of classical music, not with any “aesthetic” purpose in mind–for one can be an “expert” in such matters and even be “emotionally well-developed” without the least interest in spiritual struggle, and that is also an unbalanced state–but solely to refine and form his soul and make it better disposed to understand genuine spiritual texts.

Bishop Theophan, in his advice to a young woman who was preparing in the world for monastic life, allowed her to read (in addition to other non-spiritual books) certain novels which were “recommended by well-meaning people who have read them” (What the Spiritual Life Is, p. 252): With this in mind, this new column in “Orthodox America” will recommend and introduce certain works of literature and art (not excluding the modern art form of the movie) which can be of use in forming souls, especially of young people, in basic human attitudes and emotions which can dispose them to understand and pursue the higher things of the spiritual life.

+Fr. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina, Forming the Soul – Spirit, Soul and Body

Τετάρτη, 18 Οκτωβρίου 2017

On the martyrdom of the heretics (video)

Holy New Martyrs of Optina

by Fr John Valadez

From Issue 19

In 1917, the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism resulted in the deaths of millions of believers and destroyed countless churches and monasteries. Optina monastery, once the center of true spirituality for the entire region, was initially spared… but not for long. In 1938 the last Abbot was executed by the communists and the Monastery was shut down. It’s lands were taken by peasant farmers and it’s beautiful cathedral turned into a state museum. It stood silently decaying, awaiting it’s own resurrection. Just before the fall of communism, Optina was returned to the Church, and many of its former starets were glorified officially as Saints. The monastery began to be rebuilt and is flourishing once again today.

Holy Martyrs of Optina

Hieromonk Vasily was born Igor Roslyakov. He spent the years after high school working in an automobile factory before entering the Moscow University for Journalism. He recieved a master’s degree in sports and was a qualified newspaper journalist. Later, he married and subsequently divorced with no children. Like many graduates today, though he was academically distinguished, he lacked direction. Modern life seemed to have no purpose. In 1984 he embraced the ancient Christian faith of Russia and began to attend the divine services in the Epiphany Cathedral regularly. His devotion growing daily, he could always be found standing in the same spot in every service, near the Icon of Saint Vasily (Basil the Blessed).

In 1988, Igor moved into the Optina Monastery, which was still in ruins. After he was tonsured a monk and raised to the priesthood he was given the name Vasily, after St Basil. He and the few brothers there began to rebuild Optina and restore the Holy place to its former physical and spiritual glory. Those at the monastery with him can remember tears in his eyes at every Easter service. Many people – pilgrims and monks alike – noticed something special in Fr. Vasily. He became a wise spiritual Father to many, who remembered his deep, otherworldly compassion. Once, some of the faithful asked him, “Father, do you have a special, sacred wish?”

“Yes,” he answered, “I would like to die at Easter, to the chiming of bells.” Everyone knew Father Vasily as a counsellor wise beyond his years, a self-sacrificing priest who would go the extra mile for his spiritual children. He had great faith in God and was devoted to his Saints. What they didn’t expect was for him to receive the death he had wished for.

Leonid Tatarnikov was born in a small village in 1957. As a baby, people thought he was sick because he cried so often. When he was baptized at age two, he stopped immediately, and became healthy. All the local girls loved him as he grew into a handsome youth, and one famously tried to use witchcraft to put a spell on him, telling him, “You’ll be mine or no one else’s!” But Leonid simply ignored girls in general, and concentrated on his studies. He was known never to touch alcohol, instead focusing on learning, earning the nickname “bookworm.”

After college he enrolled in the Red Army. Once his service was complete, Leonid had a variety of odd jobs: sailor, horse breeder, photographer, and even a shoemaker. He studied dance martial arts intensely, once even being offered a contract to be a professional dancer. He could still do the splits without any effort into his thirties. Still, he was empty inside. Soon in his search for answers he began to go to the local church, and on the feast of Pentecost in 1990, Leonid (who now called himself Alexei) finally received an answer to his prayers. He had a vision, and immediately dropped everything to become a monk, buying a one-way ticket to Optina monastery. At the station, his ticket and passport were stolen, but that did not stop him. Using whatever means necessary, including walking most of the distance on foot, he reached the monastery in just a month and a half. At the age of thirty six, he was tonsured and became monk Trofim.

Trofim worked hard at the monastery. After Optina had been shut down by the communist authorities, the farmers tried in vain to get the monastery’s lands to grow anything. When the monks returned to Optina, it began to bear fruit again. Monk Trofim himself would help the local villagers (especially the elderly) plant their potatoes, and they marveled that wherever he had worked the plants were completely healthy. In all the surrounding gardens Colorado beetles infested everything, but where monk Trofim had labored there couldn’t be found even one beetle. Local farmers even came to the monastery asking the monks what prayers Father Trofim had been saying over the gardens, hoping to help their own crops. He worked other obediences, taking on extra work voluntarily. With prayer as his only training, he was an adept bell-ringer, tractor operator, receptionist, house-painter, baker, clerk, and worked in the forge.

The monk Trofim labored in asceticism, eating very little and sleeping even less. Instead, he devoted his hours to prayer, making prostrations before the icon of the Mother of God. In spite of his labor and the harsh treatment of his body, he was never sick, and seemed never to be the least bit tired. For the first and last week of great Lent, it was discovered later, he would eat nothing at all, sustaining himself only through prayer. But somehow near the end of his life he began to walk slowly, and to seem weary when he had never been weary before, as though he knew he was not long for this earth, and there was much to do before the end…

Vladimir Pushkarev was born in 1955 in a blighted village, where most of the men broke their back cutting lumber for pennies, and broke their spirits in poverty, drinking away what little they could earn. No one was baptized, and the nearest church could only be reached from that place by plane, which was impossible to afford. Vladimir attended school, and found his way out of the small town through the Army, where he served beyond the compulsory years. During this time he learned the eastern art of warfare, like the young Leonid Tatarnikov he hardened his body through intense physical training. After his service he worked as a lumberjack in Baikal. He never drank or smoked, and though he was respected, some people considered him a sorcerer because of his natural inclinations toward the spiritual., and the occult nature of the eastern martial arts he was practicing.

While in the forest, an old man appeared to Vladimir in the Taiga and gave him a book about magic. The old man said he would meet Vladimir on the same spot one year later. Though Vladimir didn’t return to meet the old man again, he did perform magical tricks to amuse the local girls. He would send some into the forest and told them to write a note, and would tell them what they had written from a distance. Soon, however, the fun would end, when Vladimir experienced his own death. Through his practice of magic, his soul separated from his body and traveled to a kingdom of terror. Suddenly an Angel appeared before him and offered to send him back, but only if he agreed to go to church afterwards.

After that Vladimir immediately devoted himself to God, moving from that region, where there was no church, to the Rostov-on Don, where he got a job tending the yard at the Cathedral devoted to the birth of the Theotokos. His selfish way of life was completely reversed as he labored and fasted, eating only crackers and prosfora with a little holy water for the entire fast. He began to ravel on holidays all around the region, visiting monasteries and hoping to find one to stay in. He was hired in Kiev and worked cleaning toilets in the cathedral when the Bishop gave his blessing and recommended that he go to Optina.

Vladimir arrived in Optina on foot and was tonsured with the name Ferapont. He quickly devoted himself to his labor, becoming a skilled woodcarver, making crosses for the brothers. In all things, he became devoted to God, crucifying his passions through obedience and prayer. After the monks had finished all the prayers for the day, many noticed that monk Ferapont would continue to pray long into the night. Once, one of the brothers decided to secretly count how many bows he made during the night, but as hard as he tried, he fell asleep long before Father Ferapont finished his prayers.

Once, a man who doubted the existence of God came to the Monastery by accident, and at last he believed. He explained to the Churchwarden, “I saw here how one monk was praying,” he said. “I saw the face of an angel talking with the Lord. Do you know that angels are among you?” “What angels?” asked the surprised warden. The visitor turned and pointed at Monk Ferapont, who had walked out of the Church at that moment. The hierodeacon who lived with Ferapont in the cell related that before the death of Ferapont, he did not sleep at all, praying all the night and only found rest while bending over a chair. Moreover, during all of Passion Week he did not eat a bite.

In 1993, Monks Trofim, Ferapont, and Father Vasily had been fasting with all of the brothers during Passion Week, anticipating Pascha, the glorious service, a celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. In Optina at Pascha there is a procession from the Monastery to the Skete of St. John the Baptist, which is some distance east of the Monastery proper. Over ten thousand pilgrims were present for Pascha. After the Liturgy the monks all went to the refectory to break the fast. After the meal, two of the bell ringers, monks Ferapont and Trofim, returned to the bell tower to continue the Easter peal, ringing for the Resurrection of Christ. At ten past six, the bell ringing became uneven and suddenly stopped completely.

A man named Nikolay Averin, an admitted Satanist, had climbed into the belfry and stabbed monk Ferapont with a knife. He died instantly. Monk Trofim shouted, “God, have mercy on us!” before he too was stabbed. Rising to ring the bell, he yelled, “Help!” and fell down, giving up his spirit. Having committed the murder, Averin slipped the edge of the monks’ robes to their heads and pulled their klobuks over their faces. The murderer quickly fled toward the skete, where Hieromonk Vasily was also going in order to hear confessions. The criminal stabbed him in the back, then climbed over the monastery wall and threw away his self-made knife. According to police, it was double-edged, five centimeters wide, and resembled a sword. It was engraved on its blade with “ 666” and “Satan”.

Averin had stabbed the God-fearing monks, now Martyrs, in the back. According to the investigator, the injuries were inflicted with unusual professionalism “and deliberately—they were not too deep—to make the victim bleed to death over a long time”. In spite of a terrible wound, Hieromonk Vasily lived longer than the others. He looked at the people surrounding him and even tried to rise. He was also brought to the Cathedral and was put next to the relics of St Ambrose before he was taken by ambulance to the local hospital in Kozelsk. There he also soon passed away.

Many investigators wondered; “how this man could overpower the two monks in the belfry?” Monk Trofim was so strong he was able to tie a fire poker into a knot with his bare hands. Father Vasily, before becoming a monk, had been one of the best water-polo players in the USSR. His reaction time was described as “stunning” and he was extremely powerful. Monk Ferapont had been a master of martial arts in his former life. Also, the belfry was so small that many noted it was impossible for a stranger to get in unnoticed.

It was clear to all the Monks and all the faithful that the monks had borne their Martyrdom with bravery. The Martyrs couldn’t requite violence using violence. It was their last temptation. A real monk must never bloody his hands. All became slowly aware that by that time the Martyrs had been prepared for death. They had foreseen the glory of martyrdom prepared for them. According to many witnesses, Monk Trophim had often recently spoken that he had little time left – half a year, a year. While Ferapont, once a silent monk, began asking everybody to pray for him. Also, all of the monks began to give away their few possessions before their murder, including their personal tools, telling others that they would not need them any more, even though at the time, there were so few tools in the monastery that many had to get tools sent from their former homes, or ask friends to bring them.

And so, the newly re-opened Optina, which in centuries past had given the world many saints, now gave up three Martyrs. Their faith in God and love for all did not die with their murders, however. Averin killed monks Ferapont and Trophim while they were announcing to the world the Resurrection of Christ. Hieromonk Vasily was killed when he was going to the skete to hear confessions, but all faithful Orthodox Christians know that death is not the end, but the beginning. The world lost three faithful monks, but the faithful have gained three heavenly intercessors, who achieved what they had struggled for, and reached the pinnacle of perfection, having the Martyr’s crown! While we ourselves may or may not be chosen for Martyrdom, we should imitate these holy Martyrs and heed their call, to be ready! For as we have heard, Suddenly the Judge shall come, and the deeds of each shall be revealed. Therefore, let us glorify their Martyrdom, and remember the words of the Gospel, “If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ “

Oh Holy New Martyrs of Optina, Pray to God for us!


Τρίτη, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Στον άγιο βασιλέα Εδουάρδο τον Ομολογητή της Αγγλίας.

Στον άγιο βασιλέα Εδουάρδο τον Ομολογητή της Αγγλίας.

Φωτεινή και καθαρή ήταν του αγίου η ψυχή, σαν το ολόλευκο χιόνι όταν ανατέλλει η πορφυρή αυγή.
Την καρδιά του γλύκαναν οι ψαλμωδίες των μοναχών του Έλυ,
όταν ήταν ακόμη μικρό παιδί και τα συναισθήματα του ομόρφυναν από το ουράνιο μέλι.
Το πρόσωπο του, έλαμπε με του Παραδείσου την γαλήνη,
την ευλάβεια και την ταπεινοφροσύνη του δεν τις νίκησαν η δόξα και η φήμη.
Ελεημοσύνη πρόσφερε με αληθινή χαρά και ο άγιος απόστολος Ιωάννης του κράτησε συντροφιά.
Τα αγιασμένα δάχτυλα του θεράπευαν κάθε άνθρωπο πονεμένο, τυφλοί έβρισκαν το φως τους δίπλα στον βασιλιά τον αγαπημένο.
Οι τυφλοί έβλεπαν με χαρά το χορτάρι της Αγγλίας το σμαραγδένιο και το υπέροχο φως της σελήνης το ασημένιο.
Την κοίμηση του συνόδευσε των αγγέλων η χορωδία, τα λείψανα του βρέθηκαν άφθαρτα και σκόρπισαν ευωδία.
Άγιε και αγαπημένε βασιλιά, από τα παλάτια του ουρανού πρέσβευε να ανθίσει και πάλι η Ορθοδοξία στης Αγγλίας την καρδιά.

(ένα ποίημα που έγραψα για τον άγιο βασιλέα Έντουαρντ-Εδουάρδο τον Ομολογητή της Αγγλίας)

Άρθρα σχετικά με τον άγιο:

Punks to Monks: Effects of the Last True Rebellion (Video)

In this engaging video, Fr. John Valadez speaks of the soul-destroying pitfalls of the punk culture he once found himself wrapped up in, and how the zine Death to the World, founded by former punks turned monks, helped him and many others to find the light of Christ in the Orthodox Church.

Και λιβανισον αυτούς τρεις φοράς!

Γράφει ὁ π. Διονύσιος Ταμπάκης

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για tamaia sfanta parascheva iasi

ΑΦΟΥ ΚΑΤΟΡΘΩΣΑΝ νὰ σπάσουν τὰ φτερὰ τῶν παιδιῶν μας. Ἀφοῦ βάλανε μπρὸς τ’ ἀλέτρι γιὰ νὰ ἀποκόψουν καὶ εὐνουχίσουν τὰ 15χρονα. Τώρα μεγαλουργοῦν καὶ πάλι θέλοντας διακαῶς μὲ νόμους καὶ ὑπο-νόμους νὰ μαστουριάσουν μὲ χασὶς καὶ ἀποχαζέψουν τὸ ὅσο μυαλὸ ἔμεινε στὴν νεολαία… Στὸ δικό τους λοιπὸν χασισολολίβανο «εἰς ὀσμὴν δυσωδίαν δαιμονικῆς» ἃς τοὺς λιβανίσουμε μὲ τὸ δικό μας Ὀρθόδοξο λιβάνι, λιβάνι καλὸ κι’ ἁγιορείτικο…

Καὶ νὰ τώρα 3 ὡραῖες ἱστορίες ποὺ ἔχω νὰ σᾶς λέω:
1η: Ἡ κυρία Γεωργία, ράφτρα γνωστὴ ἐκεῖ στὴν παλιὰ Κοκκινιὰ μὲ τὴν μικρασιάτικη πύρινη εὐλάβεια ,καρδιὰ φιλόξενο ἀρχονταρίκη γιὰ ὅλη τὴν γειτονιά. Ἢ θὰ ἕραβε ἢ θὰ προσεύχονταν στὶς λιβανοκαπνισμένες δεκάδες εἰκόνες ποὺ’χὲ στὸ προσφυγικὸ κελλάκι της.
Κάθε Πάσχα τὸ λοιπὸν τόση ἦταν ἡ χαρά της ποὺ ἔπαιρνε τὸ μαγκάλι, τὸ γέμιζε ὅλο κάρβουνα καὶ ὕστερόν τοῦ ’ρίχνε ἀπὸ πάνω 5 κιλὰ λιβάνι νὰ....
μοσχομυρίσει ὅλη ἡ γειτονιὰ μὰ καὶ νὰ φύγουν οἱ κακοῦργοι οἱ δαιμόνοι .

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για tamaia sfanta parascheva iasi

2η: Εὐλαβὴς Καλόγηρος , ὅταν ἤτανε μαθητὴς καὶ περνοῦσε ὁ καρνάβαλος ἀπ’τὴν γειτονιά του στὸν Πειραιά, δὲν λησμονοῦσε νὰ ἀνάβει τὴν ψησταριὰ τοῦ πατέρα του ποὺ εἶχε στὸ μπαλκόνι καὶ νὰ βάζει μὲ τὴν σακούλα ἁγιασμένο λιβάνι ἀπὸ Ἀσκητάδες .Ἔτσι κάποτε ὅπου περνοῦσε ἀπὸ κάτω ὁ καρνάβαλος πῆρε μία θαυμαστὴ τούμπα ὅπου ἀπέλιπεν «εἰς τὰ ἐξ ‘ὧν συνετέθη».

Νὰ καὶ ἄλλη μία στορία ἀπὸ τὴν Κρήτη:
«- Παπα -Γιάννη , νὰ σοῦ πῶ μιὰ κουζουλάδα μου καλὴ ποῦ κάμω; Γροίκα.
-Εἴντα κάμεις Τὸν ρώτηξε ὁ Κρητικὸς Παπάς.
-Νά! σίμα καὶ ἀπέναντι ἂπ΄τὸ σπιτικό μου μένει μιὰ ἀντρογυναίκα Ξυριζαία , ὅπου ἀποξυρίζει καὶ τὸν μύστακά της, ἀπὸ αὐτὲς τὶς ἀντιχριστες τὶς ἀναποδοκουλτουριάρες πανάθεμα τές.
-Καὶ τὸ λοιπὸν ;
-Ὅταν γιαγέρνω τ’ἀπόγευμα ἂπ΄τὴν δουλειὰ καὶ τούτη πορίζει στὸ μπαλκόνι της νὰ καπνίσει τσιγάρο μαζὶ μὲ τὴν συντρόφισσά της, ἐγὼ παίρνω ἕνα κεραμίδι καὶ ἀφοῦ τὸ κάμω γεμίδι ἀπὸ καρβουνάκια καὶ μοσχολίβανο μετὰ ἀνάβω τὸν ἀνεμιστήρα ποὺ κατέχω καὶ ξαμώνω ὅλο τὸν καπνὸ ἐπάνω στὸν ὀντά της. Μετὰ ἀφοῦ μὲ διαβολοστέλει κλείεται ντελόγο μέσα καὶ ἔτσι τὴν κάμω ζάφτι καὶ τὴν νηματίζω μιὰ χαρά.

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για tamaia sfanta parascheva iasi

Ἔτσα τὸ λοιπόν σου λέγω ἐτούτη μαντινάδα:
«Λιβάνι βάνω στὴ φωτιὰ ποὺ φτάνει εἰς τ’ ἀόρη.
Νὰ γίνουν κάργα, χαλασιά, τῶν ‘ξαποδῶν οἱ νόμοι .»


Οι φωτογραφίες με το λιβάνι που καίει είναι από το προσκύνημα της Οσίας Παρασκευής  της Επιβατινής στο Ιάσιο της Ρουμανίας-14 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Δευτέρα, 16 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Μία καινούρια εικόνα για τον άγιο βασιλέα της Αγγλίας, Edward τον Ομολογητή.

από τον Άγγλο αγιογράφο Aidan Hart. Πηγή εικόνας εδώ 

Για τον άγιο Cormac της Ιρλανδίας.

Για τον άγιο Cormac της Ιρλανδίας.

Τα Αποσπασματικά Χρονικά της Ιρλανδίας (Fragmentary Annals of Ireland) αναφέρουν πως ο Cormac θάφτηκε στην περιοχή Dísert Díarmata όπου τον τιμούσαν και αναφέρεται επίσης πως το σώμα του Cormac έκανε πολλά θαύματα. 

Τα Αποσπασματικά Χρονικά αναφέρονται επίσης στις σπουδαίες γνώσεις  και στην ευλάβεια του Cormac: «Ήταν ένας λόγιος στα Ιρλανδικά και στα Λατινικά. Ήταν ένας ευλαβής και αγνός επίσκοπος, θαυμαστός στην αγνότητα και στην προσευχή. Ένας σοφός στην διακυβέρνηση. Ήταν ποιητής και κατείχε πολλές γνώσεις. Ήταν ελεήμον και ενάρετος. Ένας σοφός διδάσκαλος και υψηλός βασιλέας του Munster.»

Για τον βίο του αγίου κλικ εδώ 

Αγγλικό κείμενο

Μετάφραση Orthodoxy-Rainbow

Ναταλία Λιονάκη: Ακολούθησα το μοναχισμό γιατί πλημμύριζα από χαρά και φως

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Ναταλία Λιονάκη: Ακολούθησα το μοναχισμό γιατί πλημμύριζα από χαρά και φως

«Δεν ακολούθησα το δρόμο του Θεού από ερωτική απογοήτευση ούτε από κατάθλιψη, τον ακολούθησα επειδή με πλημμύριζε από χαρά και φως ο Χριστός».
Αυτά ήταν τα λόγια της Ναταλίας Λιονάκη στη δημοσιογράφο Μαρία Γιαχνάκη όταν την είχε συναντήσει στο σπίτι της στο Παγκράτι, την περίοδο που όλοι την κυνηγούσαν για να μιλήσει στα τηλεοπτικά παράθυρα.
Οι δύο γυναίκες είχαν καθίσει για ώρες μαζί στον καναπέ του σπιτιού της Ναταλίας όπου είχε βρεθεί για λίγες ώρες ώστε να δει τη μητέρα της που ήταν ασθενής΄.

Η Ναταλία τότε έλεγαν όλοι ήταν σαν χαμένη, όμως η Ναταλία δεν ήταν καθόλου σαστισμένη απλώς είχε παραδώσει την ζωή της, στο θέλημα του Θεού προσπαθώντας να κόψει το δικό της θέλημα όπως λένε στην μοναστική ζωή και είχε βάλει στόχο να αξιωθεί να την δεχθούν στον Μοναχισμό.
Στα χέρια της κρατούσε πάντα το κομποσκοίνι κι έλεγε την ευχή: «Κύριε Χριστέ ελέησόν με».
«Έχω πάντα τον Χριστό στο μυαλό μου και κάνω πάντα νοερή προσευχή.
Δεν με θλίβει τίποτα μόνο νιώθω την χαρά που προσεύχομαι και προσπαθώ με την προσευχή να μην αποσπώ το νου μου.»

Η Ναταλία έδινε απαντήσεις πνευματικές σε όσους την ρωτούσαν για την επιλογή της αλλά κανείς δε μπορούσε να καταλάβει αν δεν είχε σχέση με το Θεό τι σήμαιναν τα λόγια της.
Η Ναταλία ταπεινώθηκε, έδωσε τα υπάρχοντά της στον κόσμο, μελέτησε πατερικά κείμενα, έμαθε να διαβάζει ακολουθίες και το σημαντικότερο ;
Έκανε παρακλήσεις στην Παναγία και γονάτιζε στην Παναγία προσφέροντάς της πλούσια τα δάκρια της μετάνοιάς της.

Σάββατο, 14 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Το νησί στη λίμνη

Παντού υπάρχουν νησιά: στο Αιγαίο, στον Ατλαντικό, στον Ειρηνικό… Υπάρχουν μεγάλα νησιά, μικρά νησιά. Υπάρχουν όχι μόνο νησιά στη θάλασσα, αλλά και νησιά σε λίμνες. Αυτές είναι κατά το πλείστον μικρά νησάκια. Μερικά απ’αυτά είναι φημισμένα στη λογοτεχνία.

Ο Ρουσσώ είχε ένα νησί σε μια λίμνη, όπου ευτυχούσε. Έγραψε για αυτό το νησί δυο φορές, στις Εξομολογήσεις του, και στις Ονειροπολήσεις του μοναχικού οδοιπόρου, το τελευταίο βιβλίο του. Πρόκειται για το νησί του Αγίου Πέτρου στη Λίμνη Μπιέλ/Μπιέν στην Ελβετία. Πήγε στο νήσι επειδή έπρεπε να φύγει από τη Γαλλία κι αναζήτησε ασυλία στην πατρίδα του, την Ελβετία. Έμεινε μερικούς μήνες στο νησί του Αγίου Πέτρου, και λέει ότι αυτοί οι μήνες ήταν ο πιο ευτυχισμένος καιρός της ζωής του, αλλά στο τέλος τον εκδίωξε η κυβέρνηση της Βέρνης, η οποία κατείχε το νησί και τη λίμνη.

Ο Γέιτς είχε ένα νησί του σε μια λίμνη στην Ιρλανδία: το νησί Ινισφρί. Έγραψε ένα πολύ φημισμένο ποίημα, «Στης λίμνης το νησί», για το ακατοίκητο νησάκι, πού γνώρισε σαν παιδί:

«Θα σηκωθώ να φύγω τώρα, θα πάω στο Ινισφρί
Με λάσπη και καλάμια την καλύβα μου θα χτίσω,
Εννιά αυλακιές φασόλια ως και κυψέλες θα ‘χω κει
Και μόνος μου μες στη βουή των μελισσών θα ζήσω.

Κάποια γαλήνη θα ‘βρω εκεί, μια και η γαλήνη στάζει αργά
Από το πέπλο της αυγής ως τ’ άσματα των γρύλλων
Εκεί ‘ναι οι νύχτες φεγγερές, τα μεσημέρια είναι πυρά,
Και τα βραδάκια γέμουνε απ’ τα φτερά των σπίνων

Θα σηκωθώ να φύγω, γιατί με φως και σκοτεινιά
Ακούω της λίμνης το νερό να γλείφει την ακτή,
Κι ενώ στου δρόμου στέκομαι τη γκρίζα τη γωνιά,
Στα φύλλα της καρδιάς μου ηχεί της λίμνης η φωνή.»[1]

Ο Γέιτς ήθελε να ζει μόνος του σαν ερημίτης σ’αυτό το νησάκι. Αλλά δεν το έκανε ποτέ, ήταν μόνο ένα νοσταλγικό όνειρο.

Συχνά το νησί σημαίνει έναν χαμένο παράδεισο. Έτσι είχαν τα πράγματα με τους Ρουσσώ και Γείτς. Ούτε ο ένας ούτε ο άλλος μπόρεσαν να ξαναπάνε στον κόσμο της παιδικής τους ηλικίας. Εκδίωχτηκαν από τον παράδεισο, και ο άγγελος με «τὴν φλογίνην ῥομφαίαν τὴν στρεφομένην φυλάσσει τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς».

[1] Γουίλιαμ Μπάτλερ Γέιτς, «Μυθολογίες και οράματα»,  μετάφραση: Σπύρος Ηλιόπουλος , εκδ. Γαβριηλίδης, 1999.
Το ποίημα του Ιρλανδού ποιητή W.B. Yeats μελοποιημένο


Παρασκευή, 13 Οκτωβρίου 2017


Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για rugaciunea ingerilor

Ο Γέρων Θαδδαίος συχνά αναφερόταν στις διδαχές του Αγίου Ισαάκ του Σύρου.
Ο Άγιος Ισαάκ ο Σύρος είναι ο μόνος που μιλά για τον τέταρτο βαθμό προσευχής που χρησιμοποιούν μόνο οι Άγγελοι,όπου σταματά η κάθε σκέψη και η κάθε λέξη.
Οι Άγγελοι λαχταρούν με όλη τους την καρδιά τον Θεό.
Στους Αγγέλους η λαχτάρα αυτή είναι μόνιμη.
Τέτοια είναι η συγγένεια ανάμεσα στους Αγγέλους, που δεν υπάρχει στη γη.Έτσι και η ψυχή,όταν εγκαταλείπει το σώμα και έρχεται σε επαφή με τους Αγγέλους τα ξεχνά όλα.Αισθανόμαστε ότι ζούμε σε έναν άλλο κόσμο.Τέτοια συγγένεια δεν μπορεί να εκφραστεί.

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για βιβλίο ''Γέρων Θαδδαίος" των εκδ.Πορφύρα

Από το βιβλίο ''Γέρων Θαδδαίος" των εκδ.Πορφύρα

Νομοσχέδια … της παρακμής

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Νομοσχέδια … της παρακμής

Είναι πολύ περίεργη η επιμονή και η τακτική με την οποία ψηφίστηκε το πρόσφατο  νομοσχέδιο αλλαγής φύλου. Το νομοσχέδιο αλλαγής φύλου σήμερα, το σύμφωνο συμβίωσης και τις ‘έμφυλες ταυτότητες’ χτες, και αύριο κάποιο άλλο αλλόκοτο νομοσχέδιο.
Στην γειτονιά μου, στους συγγενείς μου, στους συναδέλφους μου δεν γνωρίζω έναν, ο οποίος να ενδιαφέρεται για τέτοια θέματα. Το ίδιο ισχύει και για την συντριπτική πλειοψηφία των Ελλήνων. Απ’ την άλλη απ’ όσο ξέρω, καμιά διαβούλευση δεν έγινε  στα διάφορα κόμματα, αυτά τουλάχιστον που έλαβαν μέρος στις εκλογές. Γιατί όμως όλα τα κόμματα άλλο σε λιγότερο και άλλο σε μεγαλύτερο βαθμό υπέκυψαν στις αξιώσεις αυτές;
Τι είναι αυτό που επιβάλει την ψήφιση ενός τέτοιων ανώμαλων και έκφυλων θεμάτων; Και την ίδια στιγμή να αγνοούνται βασικά θέματα οικογενείας και επιβίωσης πολιτών; Τι είναι αυτό που επέβαλε την με επιμονή ψήφιση ενός θέματος που η πλειοψηφία των πολιτών ούτε καν θέλει να το ξέρει;
Είναι προφανές ότι, τα νομοσχέδια υπαγορεύονται από ξένα κέντρα. Ως προ-απαιτούμενα για επόμενη χρηματοδότηση. Δηλαδή εκβιασμός. Και επιβάλλονται σχεδόν σε όλες τις Δυτικές Χώρες. Τα κέντρα αυτά –της Παγκοσμιοποίησης- υλοποιούν βήμα – βήμα την διεστραμμένη πολιτική τους. Το πρόσφατο νομοσχέδιο περί αλλαγής φύλλου, αφορά μια πολύ ελάχιστα μικρή μειονότητα. Υποτίθεται ότι την προστατεύει. Την προστατεύει όμως ή μήπως την εκθέτει ακόμη περισσότερο;
Είναι προφανές ότι από την αρχή ήθελαν το νομοσχέδιο να ισχύσει για ηλικία από 15 ετών και άνω. Όμως έντεχνα χρησιμοποίησαν κατ’ αρχήν τα 18 έτη ώστε να διευκολύνουν και να πείσουν στις αρχικές διαβουλεύσεις μεταξύ των κοινοβουλευτικών ομάδων. Τελικά όμως παρουσίασαν ως βάση εφαρμογής τα 15 έτη, που ήταν και ο αρχικός στόχος.
Η πίεση και η επιμονή των Παγκομιοποιητών είναι τόσο έντονη ώστε έφτασαν στο σημείο,  το γνωστό Forum G8 να γίνει G7 - αποβαλόντας την Ρωσία- με το αιτιολογικό ότι δεν επιτρέπει στην LBGTQ οργάνωση να δραστηριοποιηθεί –στο εσωτερικό της Ρωσίας. Θεωρούν δηλαδή την δράση της LBGTQ οργάνωσης στην δύση, ως αξία, στοιχείο πολιτισμού και προόδου. Είναι όμως έτσι; Η μήπως είναι σημείο αλλοτρίωσης, παρακμής και σήψης;
Τι ρόλο παίζουν οι ομοφυλόφιλοι, ο σοδομισμός και όλα αυτά τα αλλόκοτα; Πρόκειται για  ένα καλοδουλεμένο εργαλείο στα χέρια των ανθρώπων που προωθούν την Παγκοσμιοποίηση. Φαίνεται ότι είναι εργαλείο διάλυσης των κοινωνιών. Δεν είναι υπόθεση αριστεράς ή δεξιάς. Άλλωστε όλα τα κόμματα υπέκυψαν και οι Βουλευτές υπερψήφισαν σαν πρόβατα. Οι πολιτικοί και τα κοινοβούλια, ψηφίζουν πια ότι τους παραγγέλνουν. Σε ολόκληρη την Δύση δεν κυβερνούν οι Κυβερνήσεις. Αυτές απλά διεκπεραιώνουν εντολές.
Είναι προφανές ότι οι άνθρωποι που δίνουν τις εντολές ελέγχουν οικονομικά τις διάφορες χώρες. Μπορεί να μην είναι γνωστά τα ονόματά τους αλλά είναι βέβαιο ότι εκδίδουν το νόμισμα και ελέγχουν και τις Τράπεζες. Έχουν όλα τα εργαλεία επιβολής αυτής της αλλόκοτης σκλαβιάς.
Επιπλέον, διαφαίνεται ότι η ομάδα αυτή εκτός της πίστη προς τον Μαμωνά (χρήμα) την οποία έχει, διαθέτει και ‘θρησκευτική’ πίστη. Και η θρησκευτική τους πίστη σχετίζεται με το ερμαφροδιτισμό και άλλες ανώμαλες καταστάσεις. Διότι πως αλλιώς να εξηγήσουμε την επιμονή τους να κάνουν το άνδρα να είναι γυναίκα και την γυναίκα να είναι άνδρας.
Αυτά τα νομοσχέδια που κατοχυρώνουν τις διάφορες ανωμαλίες δεν πρόκειται να σταματήσουν. Ας είμαστε έτοιμοι και για τα επόμενα … Πάτο το βαρέλι της παρακμής δεν φαίνεται να έχει.

Α. Λεώνη

Πέμπτη, 12 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Σαν καλός πυγμάχος κάρφωσε το βλέμμα της ψυχής σου στον αντίπαλο

Γέροντας Κλεόπα Ηλίε

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για CALUGAR PRIVIRE

Σαν καλός πυγμάχος κάρφωσε το βλέμμα της ψυχής σου στον αντίπαλο και προφυλάξου από τα χτυπήματά του.
 Σαν γρήγορος δρομέας βιάσου να φτάσεις στο τέρμα, για να κατακτήσεις το βραβείο της αρετής.
Τέτοιον σε θέλει ο Θεός· όχι τεμπέλη και κοιμισμένο, αλλά προσεκτικό και άγρυπνο κυβερνήτη του εαυτού σου.