Tuesday, May 31, 2016

God will see your desire and suffering and will implant love into your heart.... ( Elder Ambrose of Optina )

Of course, love is higher than everything. If you find that you have no love within you but wish to obtain it, then perform acts of love, even though at the beginning without love. God will see your desire and suffering and will implant love into your heart. "Those who have an unsightly heart should not despair, because with God’s help they can reform it. All you need to do is watch yourself attentively, do not allow an opportunity to be beneficial to your close one slip by, disclose your thoughts to your elders and be benevolent to the utmost. Of course this cannot be done suddenly, but God is very patient. He only terminates the life of a person when He sees that he is ready to cross over into eternity, or, when He sees that there is no hope for improvement in him.

Elder Ambrose of Optina

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Stranger Sitting on the Television...

The following story is told by John Chrysopoulou, an architect from Alexandroupoli:

I’m married to Evanthia Siontopoulou, and we have three children. A few years ago when my son Christos was three and a half years old, he was watching his mother burn incense in the home. He followed her around the whole house with a wooden rattle which looked like a censer, while she censed [the house], repeating, “Lord have mercy.”
One day, while playing his censing game as he usually did, he neglected to “burn” incense in the corner of the living room where the TV was. My wife noticed this and asked why he didn’t cense the whole living room.
Christos replied, quite naturally, that the stranger sitting on the TV would not allow him to burn incense there.

“But what stranger?” my wife asked.
“Him, dear mother, who sits on the TV, don’t you see [him]?“
Christos saw, with the pure eyes of his soul the devil on the TV, who inhibited even Christos’ make-believe incense.


God's Help is greater than the demon's malice ( Part 1 ) - Basil bishop of Seleucia

Many and various are the demons' plots against humans. However, the help God provides to humans is incomparably greater. Indeed! If God did not defend us with His divine protection, the entire human race would have ceased to exist a long time ago due to the demons' onslaughts. 

Truly! When have the demons ever allowed an opportunity to pass without creating temptations for man? When did they ever pause preparing traps for human beings or planning calamities for us?

Of course, the devil is not evil by nature, but he chose to incline toward wickedness. The Creator had appointed him to rule over the air, as St. Paul,
the beholder of heavenly mysteries revealed to us:
“According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience”(Eph. 2:2).

However, when he desired to rise above his
appointed position and when he subsequently
lost his honorary distinction and was displaced from his throne on account of his high-minded arrogance, he turned his malice toward human beings, in order to manifest his vengefulness toward the Creator. Since he was unable to strike back at God directly, he devised a different plan of attack: he decided to instruct God's creations to revolt against Him. Thus, as soon as the first man was created in the image of the Creator, the devil advised him to oppose God:
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will become gods, knowing good and evil”(Gen. 3:5). 

In following, when the human race began to multiply, he imparted thoughts of idolatry to man,
who became so darkened that he began to worship the creation instead of the Creator.

However, the demons were not content with deceiving humans in this way or even with receiving worship from them. They proceeded to harm and forcefully take up residence within

Even so, God did not leave his creature helpless. He ceaselessly used various methods to heal man, and ultimately set in motion His wise plan of
Dispensation in Christ to trigger the downfall
of the demons.

This is clearly seen in the Gospel, where Christ censures the oppression of the demons and makes manifest God’s help to people. 

“And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons
for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house, but in the tombs”(Lk. 8:27).
This is the hostility the demons have toward humans. They desire to destroy everyone, but
they are deeply distressed since they cannot harm


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Last Judgement ( St. John Maximovitch )

The Day Of the Last Judgement! That day no one knows -- only God the Father knows -- but its signs are given in the Gospel and in the Apocalypse of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. Revelation speaks of the events at the end of the world and of the Last Judgement primarily in images and in a veiled manner. However, the Holy Fathers have explained these images, and there is an authentic Church tradition that speaks clearly concerning the signs of the approach of the end, and concerning the Last Judgement. Before the end of life on earth there will be agitation, wars, civil war, hunger, earthquakes... Men will suffer from fear, will die from expectation of calamity. There will be no life, no joy of life but a tormented state of falling away from life. Nevertheless there will be a falling away not only from life, but from faith also, and "when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (St. Luke 18:8). Men will become proud, ungrateful, rejecting Divine law. Together with the falling away from life will be a weakening of moral life. There will be an exhaustion of good and an increase of evil.

Of these times, the holy Apostle John the Theologian speaks in his God-inspired work, the Apocalypse. He says that he "was in the Spirit" when he wrote it; this means that the Holy Spirit Himself was in him, when under the form of various images, the fate of the Church and the world was opened to him, and so this is a Divine Revelation.

The Apocalypse represents the fate of the Church in the image of a woman who hides herself in the wilderness: she does not show herself in public life, as today in Russia. In public life, forces that prepare the possibility for the appearance of Antichrist will play the leading role.

Antichrist will be a man, and not the devil incarnate. "Anti" means "old," and it also signifies "in place of" or "against." Antichrist is a man who desires to be in place of Christ, to occupy His place and possess what Christ should possess. He desires to possess the attraction of Christ and authority over the whole world. Moreover, Antichrist will receive that authority before his destruction and the destruction of the world.

What is known of this man -- Antichrist? His precise ancestry is unknown: his father is completely unknown, and his mother a foul pretended virgin. He will be a Jew of the tribe of Dan. He will be very intelligent and endowed with skill in handling people. He will be fascinating and kind. The philosopher Vladimir Soloviev worked a long time at presenting the advent and person of Antichrist. He carefully made use of all material on this question, not only Patristic, but also Moslem, and he worked out a brilliant picture.

Before the advent of Antichrist, there was a preparation in the world, the possibility of his appearance. The mystery of iniquity doth already work (II Thes. 2:7). The forces preparing for his appearance fight above all against the lawful Imperial authority. The holy Apostle Paul says that Antichrist cannot be manifested until what withholdest is taken away (II Thes. 2:6-7). St. John Chrysostom explains that the "withholding one" is the lawful pious authority: such an authority fights with evil. For this reason the "mystery," already at work in the world, fights with this authority; it desires a lawless authority. When the "mystery" decisively achieves that authority, nothing will hinder the appearance of Antichrist any longer.

Fascinating, intelligent, kind, he will be merciful — he will act with mercy and goodness; but not for the sake of mercy and goodness, but for the strengthening of his own authority. When he will have strengthened it to the point where the whole world acknowledges him, then he will reveal his face.

For his capital, he will choose Jerusalem, because it was here that the Savior revealed His Divine teaching and His person. It was here that the entire world was called to the blessedness of goodness and salvation. The world did not acknowledge Christ and crucified Him in Jerusalem; whereas, the whole world will acknowledge the Antichrist’s authority and Jerusalem will become the capital of the world.

Having attained the pinnacle of authority, Antichrist will demand the acknowledgement that he has attained what no earthly power had ever attained or could attain and then demand the worship of himself as a higher being, as a god.

V. Soloviev describes the character of his activity well, as "Supreme Ruler." He will do what is pleasing to all -- on the condition of being recognized as Supreme Authority. He will allow the Church to exist, permit her Divine services, promise to build magnificent churches…. on the condition, that all recognize him as "Supreme Being" and worship him. Antichrist will have a personal hatred for Christ; he will see Him as a rival and look upon Him as a personal enemy. He will live by this hatred and rejoice in men's apostasy from Christ.

Under Antichrist, there will be an immense falling away from the faith. Many bishops will change in faith and in justification will point to the brilliant situation of the Church. The search for compromise will be the characteristic disposition of men. Straight-forwardness of confession will disappear. Men will cleverly justify their fall, and gracious evil will support such a general disposition. There will be the habit of apostasy from truth and the sweetness of compromise and sin in men.

Antichrist will allow men everything, as long as they "fall down and worship him"; and the whole world will submit to him. Then there will appear the two righteous men, who will fearlessly preach the faith and accuse Antichrist. According to Church tradition, they are the two Prophets of the Old Testament, Elijah and Enoch, who did not taste of death, but will taste it now for three days, and in three days they must rise. Their death will call forth the great rejoicing of Antichrist and his servants. Their resurrection will plunge them into great confusion and terror. Then, the end of the world will come.

The Apostle Peter said that the first world was made out of water — an image of the primordial chaos, and perished by water — in the Flood. Now the world is reserved unto fire. The earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up (II Peter 3:5-7, 10). All the elements will ignite. This present world will perish in a single instant. In an instant all will be changed.

Moreover, the Sign of the Son of God, the Sign of the Cross, will appear. The whole world, having willingly submitted to Antichrist, will weep. Everything is finished forever: Antichrist killed, the end of his kingdom of warfare with Christ, the end, and one is held accountable; one must answer to the true God.

"The end of the world" signifies not the annihilation of the world, but its transformation. Everything will be transformed suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye. The dead will rise in new bodies: their own, but renewed, just as the Savior rose in His own body and traces of wounds from the nails and spear were on it, yet it possessed new faculties, and in this sense it was a new body. It is not clear whether this new body will be the same as Adam was made, or whether it will be an entirely new body.

Afterward, the Lord will appear in glory on the clouds. Trumpets will sound, loud, with power! They will sound in the soul and conscience! All will become clear to the human conscience. The Prophet Daniel, speaking of the Last Judgement, relates how the Ancient of Days, the Judge sits on His throne, and before Him is a fiery stream (Daniel 7:9-10). Fire is a purifying element; it burns sin. Woe to a man if sin has become a part of his nature: then the fire will burn the man, himself.

This fire will be kindled within man: seeing the Cross, some will rejoice, but others will fall into confusion, terror and despair. Thus, men will be divided instantly. The very state of a man's soul casts him to one side or the other, to right or to left.

The more consciously and persistently man strives toward God in his life, the greater will be his joy when he hears: "Come unto Me, ye blessed." Conversely: the same words will call the fire of horror and torture to those who did not desire Him, who fled and fought or blasphemed Him during their lifetime!

The Last Judgement knows of no witnesses or written protocols! Everything is inscribed in the souls of men and these records, these "books," are opened at the Judgement. Everything becomes clear to all and to oneself.

Moreover, some will go to joy, while others — to horror.

When "the books are opened," it will become clear that the roots of all vices lie in the human soul. Here is a drunkard or a lecher: when the body has died, some may think that sin is dead too. No! There was an inclination to sin in the soul, and that sin was sweet to the soul, and if the soul has not repented and has not freed itself of the sin, it will come to the Last Judgement with the same desire for sin. It will never satisfy that desire and in that soul there will be the suffering of hatred. It will accuse everyone and everything in its tortured condition; it will hate everyone and everything. "There will be gnashing of teeth" of powerless malice and the unquenchable fire of hatred.

A "fiery gehenna" — such is the inner fire. "There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Such is the state of hell.

St. John Maximovitch

We are all suffering on this earth and searching for freedom, but few know what freedom is and where it can be found. ( Saint Silouan the Athonite )

We are all suffering on this earth and searching for freedom, but few know what freedom is and where it can be found. The Lord gives the repentant His peace and the freedom to love Him. Oh, my brothers, all the earth, repent while you still have time. God awaits our repentance with mercy. And all the heavens, all the saints await our repentance. As God is love, so the Holy Spirit in the saints is love. Ask, and the Lord shall forgive. And when you receive absolution from your sins, then your soul will be joyful and happy, and the grace of the Holy Spirit will enter your soul, and you will say, "Here is true freedom: it is in God and of God."

Saint Silouan the Athonite

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cremation ( St. Nikolai Velimirovich )

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich (Written in 1956)

You ask me, why is the Orthodox Church against cremation. First of all, because it considers it violent. The Serbs still shudder with the crime of Sinan Pasha, who burned the dead body of St. Sava in Vratsa.

Do people burn dead horses, dogs, cats and monkeys? I have not heard of this. I have heard of and seen them buried. Why should the dead bodies of people who are the lords of all animals on earth endure violence? Would it not be in all respects much more reasonable to incinerate dead animals, especially in big cities, than people?

Second, because this pagan and barbaric habit disappeared from Europe thanks to Christian civilization two thousand years ago. Anyone who wants to reinstate it doesn't do anything else, neither civilized nor modern nor new, but something ancient which has long expired.

In England, which one can hardly call uncivilized, this form of Neopaganism is very much hated by the people. To tell you a case: during the years of World War II a famous Yugoslav lost his mind. When asked before he died, he said his only desire was to have his body burned.

In our day, our little Yugoslavian community was reduced in the incinerator of Golders Green. When the dead bodies entered the burning furnace we began to tremble with horror. Then they shouted to us on the opposite side of the furnace, "wait a quarter of an hour to see your compatriot in the form of ashes". We waited over an hour and were mystified why the fire struggled with the dead body, and we asked the stoker about this. He apologized saying the furnace was cold, "it is not heated every day, since rarely do volunteers get handed over to the fire". Listening to this we were dissolved, unable to wait at the edge for our compatriot. And we know that in London over a thousand human beings die every day.

I am in America, I saw the graves of the great Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, Lincoln and many other important persons. None of them are cremated. Now this surprised me, that among the descendants of Saint Sava there could be found those who are like-minded with Sinan Pasha!

But why create an issue that has already been solved? If we want to be loaded with unnecessary worries, then someday we could be troubled by the question on whether to kill our decrepit men and women as do some primitive tribes? And we will create clubs to propagate this "idea"!

Finally, what sense is there in fighting the cemeteries, particularly in this country where the cemetery serves as a national pride, as a source of inspiration, and if you will as the book of the state?

Peace to you and health from God.

St. Nikolai Velimirovich 


Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia -On The Great Medicine

When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly. Then all sorts of abnormalities appear, even in our organism. The body’s affected, the endocrinal glands, the liver, the gall bladder, the pancreas and the stomach. People tell you: ‘If you want to be healthy, drink your milk in the morning, eat your egg, your butter and a couple of slices of toast’. But if you live with Christ, if you love Christ, you’ll be fine with an orange or an apple. The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything’s cured. Everything works properly. God’s love transforms everything, reconstructs it, sanctifies it, rectifies it, changes it and transmutes it

Burning love for Christ is something else. It’s not the end, it’s not satiety. It gives life, it gives resilience, it gives health, it gives, it gives, it gives… And the more it gives, the more we want to be in love. Human love can diminish us, can send us crazy. When we love Christ, all other loves recede. Other loves have a saturation point, but love for Christ doesn’t. Carnal love has a saturation point. After that, there might come jealousy, nagging and even murder. It can be transformed into hatred. Love in Christ doesn’t alter. Worldly love lasts a short time and then slowly dies, whereas divine love increases and deepens. Any other kind of love can drive us to despair. But divine love raises us up into the sphere of God, it gives us serenity, joy and fulfillment. Other pleasures fatigue us, but this is never satisfied. It’s an unquenchable pleasure which you never tire of. It’s the greatest of blessings.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Making the Sign of the Cross ( Church Etiquette )

A person looking around on a Sunday morning may notice that different people cross themselves at different times. To a certain extent, when to cross oneself is a matter of personal piety and not of dogma. However, there are times in the service when crossing oneself (thumb and first two fingers touching each other, third and fourth fingers folded into the palm: touching head first, to stomach, right shoulder to left) is called for:

To cross: when you hear one of the variations of the phrase “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”; before venerating an icon, Gospel, or Cross; when blessed with an icon, Cross, Gospel, or Chalice; entering and exiting the temple; when passing before the Altar.

Not to Cross: (only bowing of the head): when blessed with hand (as in “Peace be unto all”), or censed. In receiving a blessing from a bishop or priest one does not make the sign of the Cross beforehand. “In this way ought we to distinguish between reverence toward holy things and toward persons”.

Coming to Church late ( Church Etiquette )

Since this is entirely inappropriate, without due cause, for a Christian who has come to worship God, the point is moot. The same goes for leaving services early. Experience testifies that coming to Church late is more a matter of “habit” than circumstance: there are those who come late, and those who don't. Some rules of thumb: Those who arrive late should generally refrain from partaking of the Eucharist that day as “proper preparation” for Holy Communion assumes the ascetical effort of arriving on time service.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Man is endowed with free will ( Part 3 ) - St. Nektarios of Pentapolis

It is necessary for our free will to pave the way, for this is demanded by the conditions under which the Savior calls everyone who desires to follow Him (Lk. 14:16). Without man’s resolution, the fulfillment of the recommended conditions would be impossible, and, subsequently, salvation would also be unattainable. Grace is bestowed, but man’s decision and consent are needed in order for him to accept the grace. As a matter of fact, self-denial, self-sacrifice, and an unwavering mindset inclined toward nothing other than the
voice of the Savior, the voice of grace and truth, are also required. 

If the revealed grace of God (Tit. 2:11) alone, on it’s own, saved people, then the invitation, the conditions, and the covenant would be totally
unnecessary and redundant. However, even though
God’s grace is infinite, it does not save man on its own because it does not want to violate man’s free will. If man’s consent was not a factor of paramount importance for his salvation, then certainly God in his infinite love for man would save everyone [indiscriminately] and there would be no need for Him to invite anyone. 

However, He has invited man—even under conditions that seem difficult for sensual people who are enslaved to sin—, and He offers salvation
but also demands that people follow [Him], on
account of a great and most-significant reason: man’s rebirth and regeneration in Jesus Christ our Savior.
Because it was not possible for the “old man”
(Rom. 6:6), who had been corrupted by sin, to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Thus, it was necessary to “put off the old man”
(Col. 3:9)“along with his passions and desires”
(Gal. 5:24), and to “put on the new man, who is
renewed in knowledge according to the image of
the One Who created him” (Col. 3:10).
In order, however, for man to put off his old self, it was first necessary for him to desire to do so.
Man's collaboration is absolutely necessary in order for him to be perfected. The Savior made known to us that there are many mansions in the
home of His Father:
“In My Father’s house are many mansions” (Jn. 14:2).
People who have lived upon the earth in a befitting manner come to dwell within [these
mansions]. Hence, our life upon the earth appoints the position we will have in Paradise. This is why St. Gregory of Nanzianzus says, "
Just as there are different ways of life, similarly there are many mansions in God’s Kingdom, which are distributed according to the merit of each person. Some people carry out one specific virtue; others accomplish all the virtues. As long
as someone walks and follows in the footsteps of Him Who guides and leads well, and Who steers us through the narrow path and gate to the spaciousness of the future bliss.”

Accordingly, man is obligated to concern himself with and work toward his salvation; otherwise, he runs the risk of ultimately perishing. For there is
nothing in common between light and darkness, between good and evil:
“For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). Sin, which corrupted
man, is darkness and a most-terrible evil since it wages war against the will of God. Ethical freedom is an exceptional good; however, it carries with it exceptional responsibilities. He who is endowed with ethical liberty is obligated to become ethically free [from sin] in order to become holy. This is why God commands the following in both the Old and New Testament:
"Become holy, for I am holy" (Lev. 11:44-45; 1Pet
. 1:16). Otherwise, how is it possible for an ethical slave who is subjugated to sin to communicate with God? The Savior similarly commands,
"You shall be perfect, just as your Father in the Heavens is perfect" (Mt. 5:48), for it is necessary for the children to resemble the Father, Whom they call upon. Hence, God desires us to be holy
and perfect, because only they who are holy and perfect, as sons of the Heavenly Father, are capable of petitioning for His blessings with filial
boldness, and only they inherit the Heavenly Kingdom.
This is why the Apostle Paul wrote the following to the Corinthians:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). This is why the Savior invites us to deny ourselves and to carry the cross upon our shoulders and to follow Him:“If anyone desires to  come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me”(Mt. 16:24). He acknowledges our ethical freedom of choice, but He simultaneously leaves our salvation to be determined by our free will. Hence, he who desires to be saved is obligated to
make an effort in order to acquire salvation; otherwise, he will be deprived of it and, instead, will be preparing to forfeit eternal life through his indifference and negligence, and he will inherit
eternal Hell.
I pray for God to deliver us all from this . Amen.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Death, for men who understand it, is immortality; while for the simple, who do not understand it, it is death. ( Saint Anthony the Great )

Death, for men who understand it, is immortality; while for the simple, who do not understand it, it is death. And one should not fear this death, but ought to fear the perdition of the soul, which is ignorance of God. This is what is terrible for the soul! Life is the uniting and joining of the mind (spirit), soul and body; while death is not the perdition of these joined parts, but the dissolution of their union; God preserves all this even after the dissolution. Just as a man comes forth from his mother's womb, so does a soul come forth naked from the body. Some are pure and bright, some are spotted by falls, and some are black from many transgressions. That is why the wise and God­loving soul, remembering and considering the calamities and extremities that come after death, lives piously lest it be condemned and subjected to them. But the unbelievers, the mindless in soul, do not perceive and they sin, despising what is to come. Just as on issuing forth from the womb thou dost not remember what was in the womb, so on issuing forth from the body thou dost not remember what was in the body. Just as on issuing forth from the womb thou becamest better and greater in body, so on issuing forth from the body pure and undefiled, thou wilt be better and incorrupt, abiding in the heavens.

Mortal men ought to care about themselves, knowing in advance that death awaits them. For blessed immortality is the lot of the holy soul when it is good, and death eternal meets it when it is evil. Remember that thy youth is past and thy powers exhausted, while thine infirmities have grown and already the time of thy departure is near, when thou wilt give an account of all thy deeds; and know that there, neither will brother redeem brother, nor will father deliver son. Always remember thy departure from the body, and do not let eternal condemnation out of thy thoughts; if thou wilt act thus, thou wilt not sin unto the ages.

Saint Anthony the Great

Has someone offended thee? Guard thy breast with the sign of the Cross; remember what took place on the Cross, and all will be extinguished. ( Saint John Chrysostom )

Has someone offended thee? Guard thy breast with the sign of the Cross; remember what took place on the Cross, and all will be extinguished. Think not of offenses only, but recall also whatever good thou hast received from the one who has offended thee, and at once thou shalt grow meek. Bring to mind the fear of God, and quickly thou shalt grow more temperate and calm. Train thyself not to offend another during offenses themselves, and then, when offended, thou wilt not feel grief. Think to thyself that he who is offending thee is in a frenzy and not in his right mind, and then thou wilt not be vexed at the offense.

Saint John Chrysostom

Monday, May 9, 2016

Keeping one's spiritual peace ( St. Seraphim of Sarov )

It is necessary by all means to try to keep one’s spiritual peace, and not to become provoked by insults from others. To do this, it is necessary always to restrain oneself from anger, and by careful watch to guard the mind and heart from unclean waverings.

St. Seraphim of Sarov

Have more humility and a lighter stomach ( Saint Paisios )

It is better for someone to eat a little twice a day and have more humility and a lighter stomach, than to eat once a day, have a full stomach and a head full of pride.

Saint Paisios

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Prophecy of St. Kosmas Aitolos (1714-1779) (Concerning wars in Greece and the Balkans)

1. One day this will become Romaiko (Greek) and fortunate is he who will live in that kingdom.

(St. Kosmas would say this in different places in Greece, then under the Turkish yoke, that later on fought and acquired their freedom.)

2. O! Blessed mountain, how many souls, women, and children will you save during those difficult years.

(This prophecy was said in Siatista (northwestern Greece) and elsewhere where there were mountains. Women and children made them their refuge during the revolution.)

3. Those who will seek refuge up here in these high mountains will be fortunate; they will protect you from many dreadful sufferings. You will hear of but not see the dangers. You will suffer for three hours, or three days (prophesied by the Saint in Siatista).

4. That which is longed for will take place in the third generation. It will be seen by your grandchildren.

(This exceedingly important prophecy of the Saint, which nursed the sweetest hope of the enslaved Greek people, received astonishing fulfillment. For theyears of the liberation of the Nation are in fact the third generation from the time when the Saint made this prophecy, in as much as is known, each generation is reckoned as twenty-five years.)

5. There will come a time when your enemies will even take away from you the ashes from your fire, but do not deny your faith, as others may do.

6. There will come the red caps, and afterwards the English for fifty-four years, and then this region will become Romaiko (Greek).

(This was said in the island of Cephalonia regarding the liberation of the Heptanese, also known as the Ionian Islands, which were under Venetian occupation. The French soldiers were called "red caps" because their headgear was red during the years of Napolean. This prophecy found amazing fulfillment. For after the Venetians, the Ionian Islands were taken over by the French, and after their departure there came the English, whose occupation of them lasted for fifty-four years, that is, as many as the Saint had prophesied. The English seized the Heptanese in 1810- except for Corfu, which surrendered in 1815 to Campbell- and in 1864 they gave it up to Greece.)

7. The boundaries of the new nation (Greece after the revolution of 1821) will be the river Asos.

(A prophecy by the Saint in Old Arti)

49. If three powers are in agreement, you will not suffer anything.

50. If the matter is solved with a war, you will suffer much destruction. Out of three countries, one will remain.

51. A time will come when you will hear (learn) anything.

52. Give them whatever they ask. Just save your souls.

53. If they find silver in the road, they will not bend down to take it. But for an ear of wheat, they will kill each other trying to take it first.

54. The evil will come to you from the learned.

(It was by the intelligentsia that atheistic, materialistic, anti-Christian, soul-corrupting ideas have been introduced into Greece from Western Europe.)

55. It will last for either three days, three months, or three years.

56.A time will come when there will not be the harmony that exists now between the laity and the clergy.

57. The clergy will become the worst and most impious of all.

58. In the City (Constantinople) so much blood will be spilled that a three-year old calf will swim in it.

59 .Fortunate is he who will live after the great war. He will eat with a silver spoon...

60. After the great war, the wolf will live with the lamb.

61. First a false Greek will come. Do not believe him. He will go back.

62. The warships will gather together in Skaloma and the red-vested will come to fight for you.

63. The Turks will leave, but they shall return and will come as far as Hexamilia. In the end, they shall be driven away to Kokkina Milia. Of the Turks, one third will be killed, another third will be baptized, and the remaining third will go to Kokkina Milia.

(Kokkina Milia was a region which the imagination of the enslaved Greeks placed in the depths of Asia Minor and beyond. It is there that they hoped to push back their oppressors, i.e., where they originally came from.)

64. So many things will happen that mothers will give birth prematurely out of their fear.

65. No animals will remain. You will also go with them. From Joumerka you will take their breed again.

66. Do not make big houses. Make makeshift shacks so that they do not come in.
(A larger house draws more attention, as being a source of loot, booty.)

67 .They will try to enforce a huge and unbearable tax, but they will not make it in time.

68. They will put a tax on chickens and on windows.

69. They will seek to take you as soldiers, but they will not do so in time.

70. The Turks will learn the secret three days sooner than the Christians.

71. When you hear that the war has started from below (the south), then it will be near.

72.If the war starts from below (the south), you will suffer little. If it starts from above (the north), you will be destroyed.

73. The crags and the pits will be full of people.

74. It will come quickly. And either the ox will be in the field or the horse on the threshing floor.

75 .It is sad for me to say it to you: today, tomorrow we will endure thirst and great hunger such that we would give thousands of gold coins but still will not find a little bread.

76. After the war, a man will have to run half an hour to find another human being to join him in fellowship.

(The situation prophesied here fits with that anticipated today in the case of a nuclear war.)

77. Do not plant vineyards because they will be ruined like the ones in Dryinoupolis.

78. There will be a kingdom of paper (red tape) which will have a great future in the East.

79. The world will become so poor that it will clothe itself with tendrils.

80. The cause will come from Dalmata (Serbia).

81. France will free many Greek parts, and the Italians will, too.
82. France will free Greece, and Italy will free Epiros.

83. Through three narrow passes, Kra, Krapse, and Mouzina, many armies will pass to go to the City. It would be good for women and children to go out to the mountains. They will ask you if the City (Constantinople) is far away. You should not tell the truth, because they will do you evil. This army will not reach the City; on its way it will learn that the war has ended.

84. The time will come when the devil will make his turns with his pumpkin.

(A strange prophecy! Is it about the technical satellites, which like pumpkins turn about in space and evoke the astonishment of men, who gape before these pumpkins and deify science? By this, we do not wish to depreciate the value of scientific discoveries, but we censure the arrogance of the contemporary world, which seeks to place the idols of the inventions in the place of the True God. In comparison with the enormous spheres which the omnipotence of God has created and released, in order that they might whirl in the vast space. What are the greatly admired technical satellites, but small and fragile pumpkins in the infinite universe?)

85.You will see people moving from place to place.

86.Freedom will come from down there where the rivers empty.

87.Do not expect destruction from above and from Skales (a specific area).

88. One loaf will be half lost, and one will be lost entirely.

89. A time will come when one woman will drive away Turks with a distaff.

90.You should curse the Pope, because he will be the cause (of the war mentioned).

91.The destruction of the place will be done by a general by the name...(unreadable).

92. Many villages will be destroyed; the three villages will become one.

93.Have three doors; if they seize one of them, leave from the other.

94.If you hide behind the door, you will escape. It will happen quickly.

95. Entreat that it will be day and not night, summer and not winter.

96. People will be left poor because they will not have love for the trees.

97. People will end up naked because they will become lazy.

98. From up high, from the port the destruction will come.
99.They will throw you down a lot. They will ask to take it back, but they will not be able to.

100. You will save others, and others will save you.

101.You will leave by the mountains on the left, not from the right side.

Do not be afraid of the caves.

102 .It will come suddenly. The horses will be left tied up at their chores and you will leave.

103. It will be the eighth millennium when these things happen.

(The eighth millennium is where we are now, according to the Scriptures.

104. Hide next to the door or beside the table, if it is sudden and quick.

105. Many things will happen. The cities will end up like shacks.

106. A time will come when the cursed demon will come out of his wooden bowl (i.e., will be given much freedom).

107. A false prophet will come once. Do not believe him and do not rejoice with him. He will leave and will not come back.

108.A time will come when the Christians will rise up against each other.

109. Have a cross on your forehead so that they know that you are Christian.

110.The army will not reach the City (Constantinople). The news that what was always desired will be fulfilled (the City once again becoming Greek).

111.Go and you will be rewarded on the road.

(This was said in Derbistani about someone who spoke ironically about the Saint. Soon afterwards, he was wounded on the road by one of his enemies.)

112. Tell those idols not to come here, but to turn back.

(As the Saint was teaching in Assos of Cephalonia, he interrupted his preaching for a moment and sent someone from the audience to the house of the governor of the place, to say these words. When he went he found four aristocratic women indecently dressed, who were ready to come and listen to the Saint's preaching.)

113.You are building fancy houses, but you will not dwell in them.

(The Saint said these words in Assos of Cephalonia, when one day he was passing buy a new house. Shortly thereafter, all the owners died except for one woman.)

114. This child will make progress, will rule Greece, and will be glorified.

(This was said of John Koletis. When St. Kosmas received hospitality from the wealthy Koletis family, which had a child of about five years of age. This child, charming in every respect, sat in the lap of Kosmas and fondled his beard. The mother of the child had heard about Kosmas' gift of prophecy, and asked him about the future of her child. Kosmas said: "The child will be educated. He will go abroad. He will become a famous man. And he will die ruler of Greece." Indeed, the child was educated. He went to Europe and became a Physician. He took part in the Revolution of 1821. He became Minister, and in 1847, during the reign of Otto, he died as Prime Minister of Greece.)

115. You will become a great man, you will conquer all of Albania, you will subjugate Preveza, Parga, Souli, Delvino, Gardiki, and the very stronghold of Kurt Pasha. You will leave a great name in the world. Also, you will go to Constantinople,...but with a red beard. This is the will of Divine Providence. Remember, however, throughout your whole reign, to love and defend the Christians, if you want your successors to retain their power.

(This was said at Tepeleni, in present day Albania, to Ali Pasha, and found amazing fulfillment after some thirty years. He became the sole, powerful ruler of Epiros. In saying the Ali Pasha would go to Constantinople but with a "red beard", the Saint meant that Ali Pasha would be beheaded and his head with bloody beard would be sent to that city. This, too found fulfillment.)

116.Things will come out of the schools that your mind does not even imagine.

117.You will see in the field a carriage without horses running faster than a rabbit.

118. A time will come when the earth will be girded by a thread (electrical power grid and telephone lines).

119. A time will come when people will speak from one distant place to another, as though they were in adjoining rooms--for example, from Constantinople to Russia.

120.You will see men flying in the sky like starlings, and throwing fire on the earth. Those who will live then will run to graves and will cry out: "Come out you who are dead so that we the living may enter."

(These five successive prophecies of St. Kosmas are in books that were written about a century before the related inventions were made. Hence, they arouse admiration and manifestly testify to the Saint's gift of prophecy.)

121.The evil will come up to the Cross, and it will not be able to go down further. Do not be afraid. Do not leave your houses.
(This was said in the area of Polyneriou Grebenon. Indeed, in 1940 the Italians reached the place called "The Cross" where the Saint had preached, and they stopped there.)

122.When the branch falls (where the Cross is erected), the great evil will occur, and it will come from the place the branch points. And when the tree falls, a greater evil will occur.

St. Nilos the Myrrh-Streamer Prophecy


After the year 1900, toward the middle of the 20th century, the people of that time will become unrecognizable. When the time for the advent of the Antichrist approaches, people’s minds will grow cloudy from carnal passions, and dishonor and lawlessness will grow stronger. Then the world will become unrecognizable. People’s appearances will change, and it will be impossible to distinguish men from women due to their shamelessness in dress and style of hair. These people will be cruel and will be like wild animals because of the temptations of the Antichrist. There will be no respect for parents and elders, love will disappear, and Christian pastors, bishops, and priests will become vain men, completely failing to distinguish the right hand way from the left. At that time morals and traditions of Christians and of the Church will change. People will abandon modesty, and dissipation will reign. Falsehood and greed will attain great proportions, and woe to those who pile up treasures. Lust, adultery, homosexuality, secret deeds, and murder will rule in society.

At that future time, due to the power of such great crimes and licentiousness, people will be deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which they received in Holy Baptisms, and equally of remorse.

The Churches of God will be deprived of God-fearing and pious pastors, and woe to the Christians remaining in the world at that time; they will completely lose their faith because they will lack the opportunity of seeing the light of knowledge from anyone at all. Then they will separate themselves out of the world in holy refuges in search of lightening of their spiritual sufferings, but everywhere they will meet obstacles and constraints. And all this will result from the fact that the Antichrist wants to be lord over everything and become the ruler of the whole universe, he will produce miracles and fantastic signs. He will also give depraved wisdom to an unhappy man so that he will discover a way by which one man can carry on a conversation with another from one end of the earth to the other. At that time men will also fly through the air like birds and descend to the bottom of the sea like fish. And when they have achieved all this, these unhappy people will spend their lives in comfort without knowing, poor souls, that it is deceit of the Antichrist. And, the impious one! – he will so combine science with vanity that it will go off the right path and lead people to lose faith in the existence of God in three hypostases.

Then the All-good God will see the downfall of the human race and will shorten the days for the sake of those few who are being saved, because the enemy wants to lead even the chosen into temptation, if that is possible…then the sword of chastisement will suddenly appear and kill the perverter and his servants.

The people that will be living around the eighth century (7500 years since the creation), will acquiesce into corruption of the flesh, and will argue incessantly with no beginning and no end. Then the eighth Synod will convene….and things will become peaceful for a while, but soon people’s minds will revert back to the evil ways and perdition. They will not respect the sanctity of marriage but with dissipation will gravitate towards perdition which will be worse than during Sodom and Gommorah… committing many more evil works. The more evil works, the more calamities will befall the people. The people then will be committing twice as much evil, believing that whoever does evil is good…The more greedy men become the more sorrow will visit the earth. Love of money will become an insatiable passion. Greed leads to perdition and destitution leads to salvation, for man is risking salvation through greed.
This curse (greed) will bring great sorrow to the world and happiness will disappear and will be replaced with discord. Greed will be the throne of the antichrist. Greed offers to the world lies and people are attracted to lies and become lawless being abducted by injustice. Truth has disappeared and everybody believes in lies. Truth is the intimate economy of Christ and of the teaching of the Gospel, but the lie is the advent of the antichrist and his kingdom, which wishes to bring global calamity and perdition to the world. Like the Prophets prophesied the coming of the Lord, likewise over concern will darken the intellect of men, they will become insensitive to their salvation from their over concerns they may have. Salvation will be rescued only by those that refrain from partaking in the works of the antichrist whose works are the cares of this world and the hoarding of treasures. To day’s men are given over to hoarding treasures and worries and have surrendered themselves over to perdition through looting, betrayals, lies, homosexuality, gluttony, pride , hardness of heart and overwhelming avarice….
When the world will become impoverished of the grace of the Holy Spirit, then the world will be encircled by all types of calamities. Firstly the world will suffer from lack of love, peace and moderation. Secondly, every country will suffer and there will be great loss of capital from every country. The Church of Christ will also suffer due to lack of priests and spiritual shepherds. After this calamity the unclean one will be born from the belly of filth and will bring forth signs and beasts with demonic fantasy, pretending to the world that he is meek and humble at heart but he will be foxy at heart and a wolf at mind. His sustenance will be the agitation of the people and when ever the people become agitated, he, the antichrist, will be filled.
The agitation of the people due to condemnation, envy, vindictiveness, hatred, enmity, greed, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, loss of faith arrogance, will be the food of the antichrist, who will be the head of many countries and have authority over all the world. He will have power over the feelings of people and all will believe him because he will be the dictator and emperor and he will bring spiritual loss to the people. Those that are on the way to perdition will believe that they are being saved.
Then the Gospel will be ignored because the spiritual loss will bring great unhappiness in the world and signs and terrible events will occur. Man will hunger greatly and will not be able to be filled, for then he will be eating seven times more than he eats now but he would still not be satisfied and there will be great sorrows everywhere. Then, whoever was sealed with the seal of the antichrist, many will die in the streets and the heart of most will weaken, not being able to bear hunger and faintness, they will revert to eating the dead. On the seal will be written, “you are mine, yes I am yours, voluntarily I come and not by force”. Woe to him who bears the seal, for there will be a great agitation in the world. God seeing the unsettling of the people, will order the sea to become exceedingly warm, so when the antichrist will sit on his cursed throne, the sea will boil like molten copper and the earth will be depleted of vegetation and trees from the warmth of the sea and the source tributaries will dry up and the animals and birds will die from the breath of the sea.
And then the day will be like an hour, the week like a day, the month like a week. Due to the wickedness of man, the elements will speed up, that the time will end soon, as proclaimed by God. Then will come the prophets Elijah and just Enoch to proclaim that whoever is patient and is not marked by the seal of the antichrist, will be saved and will be accepted by God in paradise eternally, only that he not be marked with the seal, but instead make the sign of the Cross, for the seal of the Cross frees man from the torments of hell while the seal of the antichrist delivers him to the torments of hell. And if they hunger, they should not ask for food but should have patience, for He will send help from above… The most wicked children of the antichrist are: fornication, adultery, homosexuality, murder, confiscation, stealing, injustice, lies, torture, the buying and the selling of man….. so evil will human nature become, that they will use wickedness worse than the demons…. And the antichrist seeing that human nature became more evil than the demons, will rejoice greatly….

Monday, May 2, 2016

Saints come from every class and occupation

Saints come from every class and occupation, every temperament and background. They show us how Christ can be imitated in everyone's life including our own. As we have models in business, science, homemaking, etc., so we have faith models. We have soldier-saints, scholar-saints, politician- saints. missionary--saints, parent-saints, praying-saints, healer-saints, worker-saints, and most important of all, sinner-saints. Saints are not perfect people: to be a saint is to be the best one can be by God's grace. That is why every saint is different and why every Christian can be one.

A Prayer Rule ( St. Theophan the Recluse )

A prayer rule for one who is on the path of a God-pleasing life. Memorizing the Psalms. Replacing long prayers with short ones. The prayer rope.

You ask about a prayer rule. Yes, it is good to have a prayer rule on account of our weakness so that on the one hand we do not give in to laziness, and on the other hand we restrain our enthusiasm to its proper measure. The greatest practitioners of prayer kept a prayer rule. They would always begin with established prayers, and if during the course of these a prayer started on its own, they would put aside the others and pray that prayer. If this is what the great practitioners of prayer did, all the more reason for us to do so. Without established prayers, we would not know how to pray at all. Without them, we would be left entirely without prayer.

However, one does not have to do many prayers. It is better to perform a small number of prayers properly than to hurry through a large number of prayers, because it is difficult to maintain the heat of prayerful zeal when they are performed to excess.

I would consider the morning and evening prayers as set out in the prayer books to be entirely sufficient for you. Just try each time to carry them out with full attention and corresponding feelings. To be more successful at this, spend a little of your free time at reading over all the prayers separately. Think them over and feel them, so that when you recite them at your prayer rule, you will know the holy thoughts and feelings that are contained in them. Prayer does not mean that we just recite prayers, but that we assimilate their content within ourselves, and pronounce them as if they came from our minds and hearts.

After you have considered and felt the prayers, work at memorizing them. Then you will not have to fumble about for your prayer book and light when it is time to pray; neither will you be distracted by anything you see while you are performing your prayers, but can more easily maintain thoughtful petition toward God. You will see for yourself what a great help this is. The fact that you will have your prayer book with you at all times and in all places is of great significance.

Being thus prepared, when you stand at prayer be careful to keep your mind from drifting and your feeling from coldness and indifference, exerting yourself in every way to keep your attention and to spark warmth of feeling. After you have recited each prayer, make prostrations, as many as you like, accompanied by a prayer for any necessity that you feel, or by the usual short prayer. This will lengthen your prayer time a little, but its power will be increased. You should pray a little longer on your own especially at the end of your prayers, asking forgiveness for unintentional straying of the mind, and placing yourself in God's hands for the entire day.

You must also maintain prayerful attention toward God throughout the day. For this, as we have already mentioned more than once, there is remembrance of God; and for remembrance of God, there are short prayers. It is good, very good, to memorize several psalms and recite them while you are working or between tasks, doing this instead of short prayers sometimes, with concentration. This is one of the most ancient Christian customs, mentioned by and included in the rules of St. Pachomius and St. Anthony.

After spending the day in this manner, you must pray more diligently and with more concentration in the evening. Increase your prostrations and petitions to God, and after you have placed yourself in Divine hands once again, go to bed with a short prayer on your lips and fall asleep with it or recite some psalm.

Which psalms should you memorize? Memorize the ones that strike your heart as you are reading them. Each person will find different psalms to be more effective for himself. Begin with Have mercy on me, O God (Psalm 50); then Bless the Lord, O my soul (Psalm 102); and Praise the Lord, O my Soul (Psalm 145). These latter two are the antiphon hymns in the Liturgy. There are also the psalms in the Canon for Divine Communion: The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 22); The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof (Psalm 23); I believed, wherefore I spake (Psalm 115); and the first psalm of the evening vigil, O God, be attentive unto helping me (Psalm 69). There are the psalms of the hours, and the like. Read the Psalter and select.

After you have memorized all of these, you will always be fully armed with prayer. When some disturbing thought occurs, rush to fall down before the Lord with either a short prayer or one of the psalms, especially O God, be attentive unto helping me, and the disturbing cloud will immediately disperse.

There you are; everything on the subject of a prayer rule. I will, however, mention once again that you should remember that all these are aids, and the most important thing is standing before God with the mind in the heart with devotion and heartfelt prostration to Him.

I thought of something else to tell you! You may limit the entire prayer rule just to prostrations with short prayers and prayer in your own words. Stand and make prostrations, saying Lord have mercy, or some other prayer, expressing your need or giving praise and thanks to God. You should establish either a number of prayers, or a time-limit for prayer, or do both, so that you do not become lazy.

This is necessary, because there is a certain incomprehensible peculiarity about us. When, for example, we go about some outward activity, hours pass as if they were a minute. When we stand at prayer, however, hardly have a few minutes gone by, and it seems that we have been praying for an extremely long time. This thought does not cause harm when we perform prayer according to an established rule; but when somebody prays and is just making prostrations with short prayers, it presents a great temptation. This can put a halt to prayer that has barely begun, leaving the false assurance that it has been done properly. Thus, the good practitioners of prayer came up with prayer ropes so that they would not be subject to this self-deception. Prayer ropes are suggested for use by those who desire to pray using their own prayers, not prayers from a prayer book. They are used as follows: Say Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner, and move one bead between your fingers. Repeat the prayer again and move another bead, and so on. Make a prostration during each repetition of the prayer, either a partial one from the waist or a full one to the ground, as you prefer; or, for small beads, make a prostration from the waist, and for large ones, a full one to the ground. The rule in all of this consists in having a definite number of prayer repetitions with prostrations to which are added other prayers in your own words. When deciding on the number of prostrations and prayers, establish a time limit, so that you do not deceive yourself as to haste when you perform them. If haste creeps in, you can fill up the time by making more prostrations.

How many prostrations should be done for each prayer is set down at the end of the Psalter with sequences in two categories, one for diligent people and the other for lazy or busy people. The elders now living among us in sketes or special kellia in places such as Valaam or Solovki serve the entire service according to this. If you would like to, now or some other time, you can perform your own prayer rule in this manner. Before you do this, however, get used to performing it in the manner prescribed for you. Perhaps you will not need a new rule. In any case, I am sending you a prayer rope. Try it! Note how much time you spend at morning and evening prayer, then sit down and say your short prayers with the prayer rope, and see how many times you go around the rope during the time usually required for your prayer. Let this quantity be the measure of your rule. Do this not during your usual prayer time, but at some other time, although do it with the same sort of attentiveness. The prayer rule, then, is carried out in this way, standing and making bows.

After reading this, do not think I am driving you into a monastery. I first heard about praying with a prayer rope from a lay person, not a monk. Many lay people and monastics pray in this way. It should be suitable for you, too. When you are praying with prayers that you have memorized and they do not move you, you may pray that day using the prayer rope, and do the memorized prayers another day. Thus, things will go better.

I will repeat once again that the essence of prayer is the lifting of the mind and heart to God; these little rules are an aid. We cannot get by without them because of our weakness. May the Lord bless you!