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SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE ORTHODOX MONASTERY, OROPOS, ATTICA, GREECE

SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE ORTHODOX MONASTERY, OROPOS, ATTICA, GREECE
September 8, 2018 - SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE ORTHODOX MONASTERY, OROPOS, ATTICA, GREECE - Email: gkiouz.abel@gmail.com - Tel: (0030) 2108220542 & 6978461846 (Athanasiou Diakou Str. & Ksiromerou Str., Sarantari Skalas Oropou, Attica, Greece)

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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Saint Porphyrios of Athens, Greece (+1991): Love for the Person with Aids


ORTHODOXY IS LOVE


Saint Porphyrios of Athens, Greece (+1991):

Love for the Person with Aids 

At one time, I took a sick person to him who was diagnosed with AIDS. Some of my friends who knew that I was friendly with the Elder Porphyrios of Athens and Oropos, Greece (+1991) asked me to help this sick person who was extremely depressed. The AIDS victim was in really bad shape and he wanted to commit suicide. When I heard that he wanted to commit suicide, I sent him to another priest who was also a doctor. His name is Fr. Stamatis. The sick person went to this priest but the priest advised him to go and see Elder Porphyrios.

I took him to the Elder. He was a person who did not appear to look like a Christian. He had a very worldly look about him. I left him in the cell with the Elder. The Elder kept him there for a long time. When he finished, he came out of the cell crying but he was very serene with a prayer rope in his hand that the Elder had given him. He was crying but not in a way that made him appear helpless. His eyes were filled with light. The Elder called me into his cell. “Come in here so that I can speak to you. What was that soul that you brought to me? What a marvelous soul that was!”

The person from that encounter repented and he truly lives in a spirit of penance. I have seen him many times since then as a doctor. I see that he has been reborn. He visits monasteries. He goes to confession. He receives Holy Communion and he thanks Christ for AIDS because this has become for him the reason for his true salvation.

From the book:

“Miraculous Occurences and Counsels of Elder Porphyrios”

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Video: Why are American Protestants converting to Orthodox Christianity?


USA OF MY HEART



Why are American Protestants converting to Orthodox Christianity?

"The friendship which can cease has never been real" and other Small Truths


ORTHODOXY IS LOVE


Small Truths

* The friendship which can cease has never been real.

* Always have the fear of God in your heart, and remember that God is always with you, everywhere, whether you are walking or sitting.

* The drunkard, the fornicator, the proud—he will receive God’s mercy. But he who doesn't want to forgive, to excuse, to justify consciously, intentionally… that person closes himself to eternal life before God & even more so in the present life. He is turned away & not heard [by God].

* Pay attention carefully. After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance. Did you pay attention to what I said? Satan upsets the order; he gives the courage to sin and the shame to repentance.

* If we make every effort to avoid death of the body, still more should it be our endeavor to avoid death of the soul. There is no obstacle for a man who wants to be saved other than negligence and laziness of soul.

* He who is master of possessions, is the slave of passions. Do not estimate gold and silver only as possessions, but all things thou possess for the sake of the desire of thy will.

* I beg and beesech you, Lord: grant to all who have gone astray a true knowledge of you, so that each and every one may come to know your glory.

* The soul is greater than the body: the body becomes sick, and with that it is finished. But a spiritual sickness extends into eternity. Deliver us, O lord, from such illness, and grant us healing.

* Do not disdain those who are deformed from birth, because all of us will go to the grave equally privileged.

* How can one laugh at a clergyman? So what if he serves poorly? He still has grace. He is ordained. One must not, must not, laugh!

Source:

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com

ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fr. Lawrence Farley, Canada: The Not So Eastern Church


CANADA OF MY HEART


The Not So Eastern Church

by

Fr. Lawrence Farley, Canada

Source:

https://oca.org

https://oca.org/reflections/fr.-lawrence-farley/the-not-so-eastern-church

ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA

I can, I think, count on the fingers of my one hand the number of times I have described myself as an Eastern Orthodox. Usually the preferred self-designation is simply “Orthodox,” but sometimes this provokes confusion, as when I am further asked, “Oh, are you Jewish?” The respondent has clearly heard of Orthodox Jews, and supposes that I must be one of them, though you would think the big pectoral cross around my neck would tip them off somewhat that I was a Christian. On these occasions I am reduced to elaborating more fully, saying that I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian: “You know, like the Russians, or the Greeks?” The respondent’s eyes then glaze over for a moment, since I am neither Russian, nor Greek, but they usually let the matter drop. In these conversations, the adjective “eastern” serves to connect me with a known quantity, such as the Russian Orthodox Church or the Greek Orthodox Church—i.e. the ones on television with the fancy robes and the icons.

There is a reason for not referring to our Church as “the Eastern Orthodox Church”—namely, that we are not in fact eastern. Our own jurisdiction has its membership in the west (i.e. North America), and my own parish is situated on the extreme west coast of that western continent. So, in what sense are we eastern? Only in the historical sense, and long dead history at that. In the first millennium the Church was dispersed throughout the Roman world, living in the west from Britain to Rome and in the east, from Jerusalem to Parthia and beyond. (Yep, Parthia. Like I said: long dead history.) In those far off days, east was east and west was west and never (or rarely) the twain shall meet. The church organized itself into patriarchates, including the famous five of the so-called “Pentarchy”, even though the actual reality never was quite as tidy as all that. In this ancient system, you had Rome leading the west, and Constantinople leading the east. Latin flourished out west, and Greek out east (and later on, Slavic languages in the northern land of the Rus) and, oh yes, Syriac. In those days, the designations of “western church” and “eastern church” meant something, since the faithful who lived in the west didn’t often visit the east, and those in the east visited the west even less often. Most people, in fact, didn’t travel very far from their homes at all, and for the overwhelming majority a trip of a hundred miles was the trip of a lifetime. The Greeks stayed in Greece, and the British stayed in Britain. (The Irish monks took to travelling, but that counted as a kind of ascetic exploit, and was quite exceptional.) Thus “the eastern church” was the church you found in the eastern part of the Roman empire, and which had certain identifiable characteristics, including language, liturgical traditions, and a certain way of organizing its life. “The western church” was the one you found in the

Monday, August 27, 2018

Saint John of Damascus, Syria (+780) - December 4


SAINTS BOOK - ORTHODOXY


Saint John of Damascus, Syria (+780)

December 4

Source:

https://oca.org

https://oca.org/saints/lives/2016/12/04/103473-martyr-john-of-damascus

ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA

Saint John of Damascus was born about the year 680 at Damascus, Syria into a Christian family. His father, Sergius Mansur, was a treasurer at the court of the Caliph. John had also a foster brother, the orphaned child Cosmas (October 14), whom Sergius had taken into his own home. When the children were growing up, Sergius saw that they received a good education. At the Damascus slave market he ransomed the learned monk Cosmas of Calabria from captivity and entrusted to him the teaching of his children. The boys displayed uncommon ability and readily mastered their courses of the secular and spiritual sciences. After the death of his father, John occupied ministerial posts at court and became the city prefect.

In Constantinople at that time, the heresy of Iconoclasm had arisen and quickly spread, supported by the emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-741). Rising up in defense of the Orthodox veneration of icons [Iconodoulia], Saint John wrote three treatises entitled, “Against Those who Revile the Holy Icons.” The wise and God-inspired writings of Saint John enraged the emperor. But since the author was not a Byzantine subject, the emperor was unable to lock him up in prison, or to execute him. The emperor then resorted to slander. A forged letter to the emperor was produced, supposedly from John, in which the Damascus official was supposed to have offered his help to Leo in conquering the Syrian capital.

This letter and another hypocritically flattering note were sent to the Saracen Caliph by Leo the Isaurian. The Caliph immediately ordered that Saint John be removed from his post, that his right hand be cut off, and that he be led through the city in chains.

That same evening, they returned the severed hand to Saint John. The saint pressed it to his wrist and prayed to the Most Holy Theotokos to heal him so that he could defend the Orthodox Faith and write once again in praise of the Most Pure Virgin and Her Son. After a time, he fell asleep before the icon of the Mother of God. He heard Her voice telling him that he had been healed, and commanding him

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Holy Fathers: Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai & San Francisco (+1966)


ST JOHN MAXIMOVITCH OF SAN FRANCISCO


Holy Fathers:

Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai

& San Francisco (+1966)

"Holiness is not simply righteousness, for which the righteous merit the enjoyment of blessedness in the Kingdom of God, but rather such a height of righteousness that men are filled with the grace of God to the extent that it flows from them upon those who associate with them. Great is their blessedness; it proceeds from personal experience of the Glory of God. Being filled also with love for men, which proceeds from love of God, they are responsive to men’s needs, and upon their supplication they appear also as intercessors and defenders for them before God." (St. John Maximovitch)

* * *

What better description could be found to portray the essence of a man whose love for Christ drew him to such heights of spiritual perfection that he enkindled the faith of thousands from East to West? The life of St. John Maximovitch demonstrates more vividly than any words that true Christianity far exceeds the bounds of human “goodness”. Here is a shining reflection of the supernatural love of God which works miracles, a living proof that the burning faith of the early Christian saints still warms the earth at a time when the love of many has grown cold.

St. John did not isolate himself from the world, but he was not of this world. First and foremost he was a man of prayer. He completely surrendered himself to God, presenting himself as a “living sacrifice” and he became a true vessel of the Holy Spirit. His work as an apostle, missionary and miracle worker continues even now.

This saint of the latter times was born June 4, 1896 in the province of Kharkov. At baptism he was given the name Michael. As a child he was serious for his years and he later wrote: “From the first days when I began to become aware of myself, I wished to serve righteousness and truth. My parents kindled in me a striving to stand unwaveringly for the truth, and my soul was captivated by the example of those who had given their lives for it.”

Following the desire of his parents, he entered law school in Kharkov. He was a naturally gifted student but spent more time reading the Lives of Saints than attending academic lectures. “While studying the worldly sciences,” he wrote, “I went all the more deeply into the study of the science of

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fr. George Paulidis Bishop of Nicea, Piraeus, in Greece (+1990) & the phone of a woman who wanted to kill herself


HEAVEN ON EARTH - ORTHODOXY


Fr. George Paulidis Bishop of Nicea, Piraeus, in Greece (+1990)

& the phone of a woman who wanted to kill herself

Fr. George Paulidis Bishop of Nicea, Piraeus, in Greece:

«One winter night, his phone ring around midnight. Just picked up the phone, a female voice spoke:

"I do not know whom I speak , but before committing suicide , I wanted to listen for the last time a human voice...".

Divine providence ring the phone of Fr. George. Was there any discussion, without disclosing his status, Fr. George (it was then Bishop of Nicea, Piraeus) except that he speaks with a cleric. He never learned what happened next, but I'm sure that the Grace of God will not let a human soul disappear like that night».

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Deep Roots In Fresh Soil - Orthodox Christianity Comes To Erie, Colorado, USA



CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

USA OF MY HEART


Deep Roots In Fresh Soil

Orthodox Christianity comes to Erie, Colorado, USA

250-member St. Luke grew from tiny Lafayette church established nearly two decades ago

By John Aguilar

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/02/deep-roots-in-fresh-soil/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

The building is brand-new, the land never before scraped, but the site in Erie where St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church now sits has roots going back nearly two millennia.

A vivid, larger than life-size image of the Virgin Mary, accompanied by a young Jesus, stretches her arms out above the altar. The Messiah — surrounded by painted prophets — gazes down from the dome inside the church’s temple, which is adorned with Byzantine arches and columns.

There’s no organ here — all music is chanted or sung a cappella. There are no statues — warm-hued iconography is the rule.

Standing inside St. Luke evokes a different time, a different era.

”It’s the one that was established by the Lord and the apostles,” said the Rev. David Mustian, pastor at St. Luke. ”When people look at the Orthodox Church, it feels new to them, but when they start digging, they see it has old roots.”

Those roots go back to the Roman empire and the earliest church established by Christ, St. Paul and the apostles. The faith has developed multiple permutations depending on where its adherents have called home — Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox — but Orthodox Christianity is bound by one dogma worldwide, Mustian said.

”There’s a deep seeking for God in this life and the truth about God,” he said. ”And maybe there’s a humility on your spiritual journey, a sense of ‘I can’t figure it out on my own.’”

 A rich tradition

Mustian sees nothing odd about choosing a burgeoning town like Erie — peppered with new housing developments and buildings under construction — as a place to set down an ancient tradition. The town, while appearing to be in its infancy, is actually a place with more than 100 years of mining history, he said.

And more important than the church’s physical location — on Austin Avenue just inside the Boulder County line — are the families St. Luke attracts, Mustian said. The families, he said, are looking for constancy in an ever-changing world.

Christi Ghiz, 40, has been an Orthodox Christian for 15 years. The Lafayette woman started off as a Baptist, but saw in her new faith a rich history that seemed to be fading from the Protestant services she attended.

Ghiz said that sense of tradition is ”comforting.” More than half of St. Luke’s 250 members are converts from other faiths.

That includes Mustian, who converted to Orthodox Christianity from the Episcopal Church nearly 20 years ago.

”I was looking for a church that would stay the same in terms of its doctrinal beliefs, which go back to the early centuries,” said the 56-year-old Yale Divinity School graduate. ”The problem with always trying to appeal to the right now means you’re quickly out of date.”

Denise McIntyre, an adherent from Broomfield, sees St. Luke as a mission church — attracting worshipers from Brighton, Boulder, Denver or Fort Collins. Prominently visible for miles from several directions, the church’s striking architectural style draws people’s eyes.

Inside the building it’s no different.

Holy paintings

”Iconography is a holy tradition,” said Archbishop Gregory, an Orthodox monk from the Dormition Skete monastery outside Buena Vista. ”When a person looks at an icon, their eyes want to stay on it.”

Archbishop Gregory and three of his colleagues created all of the icons for St. Luke, painting the images on canvas and then gluing them to the walls and ceiling of the temple.

He said it took about six months to do the work.

As vivid as the imagery inside the temple is, it’s hard to hide the fact that there are still wide swaths of a blank space on the cream-colored walls.

Mustian said they will eventually be painted too, most likely with illustrations showing the story of Christ’s life.

But he said there is no rush to get it completed.

”The church won’t be finished until the next generation,” Mustian said.

Archbishop Gregory said his own temple, which has been around since 1978, still needs some iconographic work done to it.

”You don’t need to have all the walls and ceilings frescoed to be a church,” he said.

Steady growth

Mustian is just happy with what he’s been able to accomplish in the nearly two decades St. Luke has been around, starting out in 1991 with 40 congregants meeting in Lafayette’s former city hall building.

After moving to a new location in the city, which it eventually outgrew, the church bought nine acres in Erie and broke ground a couple of years ago on a new 15,000-square-foot building.

The massive door handles on the entrance to the church were installed just a couple of weeks ago and the floor inside the temple is still concrete.

But Mustian said his congregation is patient and is happy to take things a step at a time, knowing they’ve finally found a permanent home.

”It’s nice to feel that you’ve got the foundation laid and have the space, so that the next generation can enjoy what has been given to them,” he said.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Holy Confession & the poison - Fr. George Paulidis, Bishop of Nicea, Piraeus, Greece (+1990)



HOLY CONFESSION OF YOUR HEART


The Holy Confession & the poison 

Fr. George Paulidis, Bishop of Nicea, Piraeus, Greece (+1990)

Some Holy Tuesday [Tuesday before Sunday Easter] after a sermon in a church of Lamia, Greece, appeared at the end of his short sermon a young man asking insistently to confess that very evening.

Fr. George was jaded and suggested the next day. But the young were kind and insisted on pressing to receive him that very night.

The heart of Fr. George could not refuse such a persistent. And we can imagine the surprised of Fr.George, when the young man pulled from the pocket and enecheirise a small bottle, telling him:

"My father, I wanted to deliver this bottle contained poison because tonight I was thinking about killing myself. Afterward preaching change my mind...".

Such was his influence.

Source, Greek Book: Fr. John Costoff, From Atheism to Christ, Publications: St. John Damascene, Athens 2011, http://www.truthtarget.gr, TRUTH TARGET