Monthly Archives: Saturday November 28th, 2015

The Cross and How It Is Experienced in the Orthodox Church

Автор: стареца Емилиян Симонопетрит

Изпитвам особено вълнение, защото пред себе си имам хора, които се грижат за небето, а не за земята, хора, които всеки ден очакват слово Божие, за да го приложат, а не просто да го чуят.

Тези от вас, които сте идвали на Света Гора, сигурно сте забелязали, че навсякъде господства кръстът. Видели сте, че главните манастирски църкви са кръстовидни, куполите – украсени с разнообразни свещени кръстове, манастирските крила – разкрасени с кръстовидни украшения, пътепоказателите по кръстопътищата – и те са във формата на кръст, синорите между манастирите – обозначени с кръст, чешмите по сенчестите пътеки – и те имат кръст. Всеки манастир е невъзможно да не изложи на поклонение най-скъпоценната реликва – честното дърво на Господния Кръст.

Когато е облечен с цялото си одеяние – своето монашеско всеоръжие, всеки монах носи общо сто трийсет и четири кръста. В ръката си държи броеница с триста зърна, която се състои от две хиляди и седемстотин кръста. Така всеки монах във всеки един момент е обграден от хиляди кръстове, а самият той от своя страна пък е вграден в кръста Господен. Неговият преживян опит е кръстът, негова утеха е кръстът, негово оръжие е кръстът, негова радост, негов жребий, негово богатство е кръстът, животът му е кръст.

Но нима и цялата ни Църква, свещените ни храмове, светите съсъди и покривки не носят кръстове? Християните не носят ли кръст върху сърцето и гърдите си и ръцете им не описват ли върху тялото ден и нощ кръстния знак?

Това е естествено, защото кръстът е живият опит, притежание и знаме на Църквата.1 Извън Църквата хората, които не признават Църквата за своя майка2, гледат на кръста като на безумие3, като на религиозен символ, като на проклятие4 или като на нещо, достойно за похулване. Само един вярващ човек разбира уникалното му значение и може да преживее динамичната му енергия.

Затова нека видим какво е кръстът, който всеки ден ни заобикаля и ни освещава, и защо този свещен символ и форма има такава голяма употреба.

Нужно ли е обаче да ви го казвам? И последният от нас знае светилния на празника Въздвижение на Честния Кръст (14 септември), в който се казва, че кръстът е красота на Църквата, утвърждение на вярващите, пазител на вселената, слава на ангелите и поражение на демоните.

След като победи врага–дявол, унищожи силата му и съкруши войнството му, след като извърши делото на нашето спасение и отвори рая за нас, Христос ни завеща като свещена скъпоценност на земята една невидима стихия – Светия Дух, и една видима – Честния Кръст. Това небесно знаме, това Честно Дърво, което изобразяваме и целуваме, е видим знак на Самия Бог.

Както казва св. Атанасий Велики, кръстът е Христовата слава и чест, понеже чрез кръста са станали хиляди добрини: смъртта била потъпкана, проклятието било премахнато, адът бил ограбен, грехът бил заличен, възкресението станало право за всички, хората получили отново свободата си от робството на страстите, спасението било посадено, истинският живот избликнал от кръста.…

Schedule of Divine Services – December 2015

Dec-2015

A Homily given on The Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple (Day of the Orthodox Youth and Family)

Why We Fast

November 15 marks the beginning of the Nativity Fast (40 days before Christmas). The following article offers some thoughts on the purpose of fasting.

Fasting is not very alive and well in the Christian world. Much of that world has long lost any living connection with the historical memory of Christian fasting. It is as though they were Jews who heard there was such a thing as kosher and decided to make up the rules for what to eat and what not to eat because no one knew what was actually kosher.

There are other segments of Christendom who have tiny remnants of the traditional Christian fast, but in the face of a modern world have reduced the tradition to almost meaningless self-sacrifice.

I read recently (though I cannot remember where) that the rejection of Hesychasm was the source of all heresy. In less technical terms we can say that knowing God in truth, participating in His life, union with Him through humility, prayer, love of enemy and repentance before all and for everything, is the purpose of the Christian life. Hesychasm (Greek Hesychia=Silence) is the name applied to the Orthodox tradition of ceaseless prayer and inner stillness.

But these are incorrectly understood if they are separated from knowledge of God and participation in His life, union with Him through humility, prayer, love of enemy and repentance before all and for everything.

And it is the same path of inner knowledge of God (with all its components) that is the proper context of fasting. If we fast but do not forgive our enemies – our fasting is of no use. If we fast and do not find it drawing us into humility – our fasting is of no use. If our fasting does not make us yet more keenly aware of the fact that we are sinful before all and responsible to all then it is of no benefit. If our fasting does not unite us with the life of God – which is meek and lowly – then it is again of no benefit.

Fasting is not dieting. Fasting is not about keeping a Christian kosher. Fasting is about hunger and humility (which is increased as we allow ourselves to become weak). Fasting is about allowing our heart to break.

I have seen greater good accomplished in souls through their failure in the fasting season than in the souls of those who “fasted well.” Publicans enter the kingdom of God before Pharisees pretty much every time.

Why do we fast? Perhaps the more germane question is “why do we eat?” Christ quoted Scripture to the evil one and said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We eat as though our life depended on it and it does not.

The husband of Paris victim tells ISIS: You can’t make me hate

“You will not have my hatred.”

That’s the defiant message the husband of one of the Paris attacks victims is sending to ISIS.

Antoine Leiris lost his wife Helene Muyal in the Friday violence that shook the French capital, taking the lives of at least 129 and injuring hundreds more.

He penned the poignant tribute to his wife on Monday, publishing it on his Facebook page. His status, promising to not let his 17-month-old son grow up in fear of ISIS, has been shared over 150,000 times.

“Friday night you took away the life of an exceptional human being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred,” Leiris wrote.

“I do not know who you are, and I do not wish to. You are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill so blindly has made us in His image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in His heart.”

“So I will not give you the privilege of hating you. You certainly sought it, but replying to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance which made you into what you are. You want me to be frightened, that I should look into the eyes of my fellow citizens with distrust, that I sacrifice my freedom for security. You lost. I will carry on as before.

“I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago. I am of course devastated by heartbreak, I’ll cede you that little victory, but it will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will meet again in a paradise of free souls to which you will never have access.”

“There are only two of us, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. Moreover, I have no more time to grant you, I must go to Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is just 17-months-old. He will eat his snack like he does every day, then we will play like we do every day and every day of his life this little boy will affront you by being happy and free. Because you will not have his hatred either.”

Source: CNN

Orthodoxy in Bulgaria, A Documentary By Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev)

Two Miracles of Saint Menas

The following two miracles are taken from the account of miracles gathered by Patriarch Timothy of Alexandria (380-384)

1. There was a man once who having gone to pray at the saint’s church was given a place to stay by a certain individual. And because the man who received him realized that the guest was carrying gold on his person, he got up in the middle of the night and set upon him with a murderous hand. And cutting his body into pieces he put him in a basket, suspended it, and waited for morning. And then he was filled with anxiety about when and where he might take (the remains) to hide them in some remote place.

Now while his mind was preoccupied with these things, Christ’s saintly martyr appeared on horseback dressed as a military man and began to inquire about the stranger who had spent the night there. And although the murderer assured him he knew nothing, the saint dismounted from his horse, went into the inner part of the building and bringing down the basket and fixing a fearsome stare on the murderer, he said: “What is this?” And the man, going into a state of shock from fright, cast himself at the feet of the saint like a wretched corpse.

The saint then reassembled the severed limbs and, having prayed, he raised up the dead man, saying: “Give glory to God.” While he, rising as if from sleep and realizing the extent of his sufferings at the hands of the man who had given him lodging, praised God, and thanking the person dressed as a military officer he made obeissance to him. And when the murderer got up, the saint took the gold from him and gave it to the other saying: “Continue your journey.” And turning to the murderer he chastised him as was fitting and lectured him as well, granting him pardon for the crime. Then he offered a prayer on the man’s behalf, got on his horse and disappeared from his sight.

2. There was a man living in Alexandria named Eutropius who vowed to give a silver platter to the Church of Saint Menas. He summoned a smith and asked him to make two silver dishes and to inscribe on one, “the platter of the Holy Great Martyr Menas,” and on the other, “the platter of Eutropius, a citizen of Alexandria.” The silversmith did as he was told, and when he finished the work it could be seen that Saint Menas’ platter was the more handsome and brilliant of the two. After inscribing the dishes, the smith gave them to Eutropius.

One day, while Eutropius was at sea, he took out both the new plates, wishing to eat. Seeing that the plate on which the name of Saint Menas was inscribed was more beautiful than his, he did not wish to give it away.…

Homilies for the Yearly Cycle by Saint Luke of Simferopol and Crimea

Beloved brothers and sisters,

After we published the small book with twelve homilies on the Passion of Christ by Saint Luka thanks to God’s help and the financial assistance of our holy and loving Christian brothers, we are now prepared to take the next step in publishing the comprehensive collection of homilies of the Holy Hierarch. We turn to everyone with a request: let this book become our mutual and common deed and let everyone able assist, offering their donation in the church or to the bank account of

Parish Council at the Church of Saint Paraskevi, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

IBAN: BG48STSA93000019205032

SWIFT code: STSA BG SF

DSK Bank…

A Homily given on the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers