Though Ours Are Difficult and Dangerous Times, Christ Will Triumph in the End

St. Gregroy the Wonderworker

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True God,


All-Holy Virgin Mother of God, we humans cannot offer to you the hymn and the praise that is appropriate to You, for your proper praise is superior to any human melody. From you God Himself received flesh and was born as a human being. The totality of nature in heaven and on earth offers to you its boundless respect. For you have become an Angelic Throne of Cherubim. As a reflection of light, you shine brightly in the imperceptible world and in all the ends of heaven and earth and in the whole universe, where the unoriginate Father is praised, whose power always overshadowed you; where the Son is worshiped, the Son to Whom you gave birth; where the Holy Spirit is glorified, the Spirit which enacted in your womb the birth of Great King. Through you, who are full of grace, the Holy and consubstantial Trinity is revealed in the world to become known by human beings. We pray to you and beseech you, Most Blessed Theotokos, to make us also worthy of your perfect grace that we too may partake of it with you in Christ Jesus, Our Lord, in Whom the glory and the power abides unto the ages of ages. Amen.


On November 17th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers, and every righteous spirit made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Church: Saint Gennadios, Patriarch of Constantinople; Saints Gregory, Wonder-worker of Neo-Caesarea, Victor, and Geminos of Heracleon in Thrace; Saint Longinos of Egypt; 150 philosophers converted by Saint Catherine; Saints Zacharias and John at Constantinople; Saint Maximus, Patriarch of Constantinople; Saint Gregory, Bishop of Tours; Saint Gennadios of Vatopedi Monastery; Saint Aredios, Abbot of Limoges; Saint the Cobbler of Olumba; Saint Zachariah the Cobbler and his wife Mary; Saint Nicon, Abbot of Radonezh; Righteous Justin; Saint Lazarus, iconographer of Constantinople; Saint Mikael-Gobron and 133 soldiers of Georgia.

SAINT GREGORY THE WONDER-WORKER, BISHOP OF NEOCAESAREA. Here is a man of God and of a mighty wonderworker, who was called a second Moses! Born of wealthy and eminent pagan parents, St. Gregory at first studied Hellenic and Egyptian philosophy, but, seeing its barrenness and insufficiency, he turned to Christian teachers, particularly Origen of Alexandria, with whom he studied for several years and by whom he was baptized. Pure in soul and body, he desired to consecrate himself utterly to Christ, to which end he withdrew to the desert, where, in painful asceticism, he spent many years. His fame spread abroad everywhere, and Phaedimus, the bishop of Amasea, wanted to make him Bishop of Caesarea. The discerning St. Gregory was warned of Phaedimus's intention, and hid in the wilderness from those sent to find him, so that they failed in their quest. Finally, Phaedimus consecrated him by untraditional means, and Saint Gregory had to accept the work of a shepherd. The Most Holy Mother of God appeared to him, together with Saint John the Theologian, and, at her command, Saint John gave him the Creed that is known by Saint Gregory's name. Who can enumerate the miracles of this second Moses? He commanded evil spirits, commanded mountains and waters, healed every sort of pain and illness, became invisible to his persecutors and had insight into both distant events and men's thoughts. He finished his earthly course in the year 270 A.D., in great old age. When he arrived in Caesarea as Bishop, the whole town was composed of pagans, with just seventeen Christians. When he departed this life, the whole town was Christian, with just seventeen pagans. He therefore received a wreath of glory from his Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Hierarchs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 9:57-62


"Do not become faint-hearted, and do not distress yourselves. He who searches out the hidden depths of a man's soul, knows your desires too, and has the power to fulfill them as he knows. For your part, ask of God, and do not lose your courage. Do not think that, since the longing you have is holy, you have the right to complain when your prayers are not heard. God fulfils your longing in a way that you do not know. So be at peace then, and call upon God." [Saint Nektarios of Aegina]


by Geronda[Elder] Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels [source: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man]

Most people now days have been educated in a secular way, so they live their lives rushing around at "secular" speed. Lacking the fear of God--for "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10)--they also lack brakes and as they speed everywhere without restraint, they end up going over the cliff. People are troubled by all kinds of questions and most of them walk around in a daze, having lost their direction. Day by day, they are losing control of themselves. If those who visit the Holy Mountain are so confused and full of anxiety, imagine how troubled those must be who live far removed from God and the Church.

What we see in all nations is a gathering of storms and confusion. May God save our suffering world that is boiling like a pressure cooker! Look at those in power, the schemes they come up with! They stir and boil in their pots, and the cooker is not whistling, the steam valve is ready to burst! I once asked a very important man, "Why do you neglect the things that matter most? What is going to become of us?" "Father," he said, "the evil that started with a few flakes of snow has now turned into an avalanche. Only a miracle can save us." Even the few who try to help are actually making it worse, and so evil grows bigger and bigger...At first, you only see a few flakes. But then the snow picks up, gets thicker and thicker, chunks of it start rolling downhill and turn into a snowball. On its way down, it gathers even more snow mixed with pieces of wood and stone, and as it keeps growing, it becomes huge and uncontrollable. That's what has happened with evil. Little by little it has turned into an avalanche and is now coming down on us in full force. What we need is to throw a bomb and stop it.

-Are you agonizing over this, Geronda? {An Elder (Gerondas) is a monk distinguished for his holiness, long experience in the spiritual life and special gift for guiding the souls of others).

--Just look at my beard! Why do you think it has turned gray so soon? It hurts me when I see evil things coming. I start shouting to prevent them from happening but no one pays attention--and it's not out of contempt for me--until something horrible happens and then they come asking for my help. Now I understand what the Prophets must have gone through! They were the greatest of Martyrs even though only a few of them died a Martyr's death. The Martyrs suffered much, but only for a short time. The Prophets, however, saw the state of things around them and were suffering all the time. Time and again, they gave warning, but people went about their usual ways. When finally the time came and the wrath of God came upon them, the Prophets also suffered with them. You see, back then, people were so narrow-minded; they left God and worshipped idols. Today, even though we know and understand much more, the idolatry is even greater.

We have not yet realized that the devil has set out to destroy God's creatures. He has drawn together an alliance to unravel the world. And he is getting rabid seeing how people are taking notice and are concerned for the right reasons. He is even more vicious now because he knows that his schemes are short-lived. (Rev. 12:12). He resembles a criminal, when surrounded he thinks to himself, "There is no way out; they are coming to get me," and he starts destroying everything around him. Or, he resembles soldiers in the battle who, having run out of ammunition, draw their bayonets or swords and lash out without a second thought. They figure: "We are going to die anyway; let's kill as many as we can."

Can't you see that the world is on fire, burning! Temptation is everywhere. The devil has set such a fire that even all firefighters in the world could not put it out. It is a spiritual fire. Nothing but prayer is left for us now, prayer that God may take pity on us! You see, when a fire spreads and the firefighters can do nothing about it, people turn to God and pray for a heavy rain. The same happens with the spiritual fire started by the devil; only prayer is needed so that God may help us.

Wherever you may turn, one thing is clear: things are falling apart! It's not, for example, that a house and a window or something else that needs fixing and we can take of it, it is the entire house that is in shambles00and worse yet, the entire village. We are spinning out of control. Only God can step in and make a difference. He's got to roll up his sleeves, take a screwdriver and with a slap here and a caress there fix the mess. The world is harboring a blistering wound, full of puss, that needs to be opened and treated; but it's too soon to open it now. Evil must come to term as it did in Jericho (Josh 6),a long time ago.

The things that people suffer from are endless. Young and old, entire families are breaking apart. Every day my heart is grieved profoundly. So many homes are full of distress, anguish, and anxiety. The rest come along with problems like divorce, bankruptcy and illness; others walk around, dependant on medications or addicted to drugs. Their pain is more or less the same. Especially nowadays people are out of work, in debt and in all kinds of trouble; the banks go after them and repossess their homes. They suffer every imaginable evil! And our problems are far from over! Children in these families start healthy and end up sick.

The world is so full of misery! When one gets to feel so much empathy that his heart aches and he cares more for others than he does for himself, he can see the entire world as if through an x-ray that beams with spiritual light. So many times when I recite the Jesus Prayer, I see poor, little ones, sad children, passing in front of me and pleading with God. It is their mothers who make them pray so that God will protect them from family problems and difficulties. We switch into the same frequency and make contact; we communicate.

[to be continued]

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George