Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
HYMNS TO GOD THE HOLY TRINITY
It is truly right and proper to praise the Supremely Divine Trinity, the Unoriginate Father and Creator of all, the Co-Unoriginate Logos (Word), Begotten Eternally of the Father before the ages without change, and the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds Eternally from the Father.
It is truly and proper to glorify You, O God the Logos; the One before Whom the Cherubim stand in awe with fear and trembling, the One Whom the Powers of Heaven glorify. In fearful adoration, let us also praise and glorify Christ, the Giver of Life, Who Rose from the tomb on the third day.
Let us all praise in a divine manner, and with fervent hymns the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Thrice- Hypostatic Dominion, the One Kingdom, the One Godhead.
On Sacred and Blessed Prayer, the Mother of Virtues
by Saint John Climacus (of the Ladder)
"This prayer is remission and forgiveness of sins; a bridge that separates and frees man from temptations and dangers and transports him to freedom and rest; it is a wall of separation which obstructs the grief of the Passions both of men and of demons, and does not permit them (the demons) to enter into us and to torment us; it is a celestial activity that nourishes all the Angels and the Saints; it is the endless joy and delight of the righteous; it is the virtue which must never cease; it is a source from which spring all good things; it is a mediator for all the gifts; an invisible progress in the heart; a table of noble souls that is unfailing in providing spiritual food; a perpetual illumination of the nous; a heavenly Light; an axe that cuts off and dispels despondency; it is the proof of the hope the soul has in God and for this reason it prays; it is the antidote to and the release from sorrow; it is the wealth of the monastics who practice it with contrition; it is the great treasure of the hesychasts who study it thoroughly; it is the reduction and disappearance of anger; it is the mirror which reflects the degree of success in good things for the praying person; it is the revealer of the soul in love with God; the torch of the inner spiritual condition of man; it is a door through which the Angelic light enters into the praying persons and reveals to them the hidden mysteries of God; it is the messenger of the eternal honor and of the gifts of the beloved servants of God. And to put it even more briefly, prayer creates such a great activity in the soul that it is captivated before the tribunal and the Throne of God; and it is examined for its sins, as if it were that fearful hour of the Great Judgment, so the soul is judged and condemned, standing also in fear and trembling, entreating and grieving and seeking correction, in order that in the future judgment it may be found free from the wrath of God and the condemnation of its sins."
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On February 27th 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 Christian faith: Saint Procopius the Confessor of Decapolis; Saint Julian, Chroniun and Besas at Alexandria; Saint Asclepius and James of Syria; Saint Gelasius the actor of Heliopolis; Saint Stefanos of Constantinople; Saint Thalalaeos of Syria; Saint Timotheos of Caesarea; Saint Pitirim of Tambov; Holy Martyr Nesius; Saint Titus of the Kiev Caves, the former soldier; Saint Titus of the Kiev Caves, presbyter.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Confessors, Holy Mothers and Holy Fathers, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
VENERABLE ASCLEPIUS AND JAMES OF SYRIA. These two holy ascetics lived separately in the wilds of 4th century Syria. Saint Asclepius showed kindness, love, and hospitality to everyone. He ate and dressed simply, lived in total poverty, and refused to own anything. He was known to communicate with God regardless of whether he was alone or with a crowd. Saint James lived completely alone in a cell, seeing no one. He would talk with the pilgrims who came for spiritual advice through a hole in his dirt floor that he had dug out at the edge of his cell. He never used fire and never illuminated his cell, and he lived in this manner into his nineties. However, Saint James allowed his biographer Theodoretos to visit him twice by digging the hole in his floor larger to allow him entry.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: I Jude 1:11-25
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 23:1-31, 33, 44-56
FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS AND HOLY MOTHERS AND FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"The soul is always awake and active. Our bodies are unable to follow the soul in this activity and need sleep. During sleep the body and the soul are in a way separated for a time, while the body is resting and renewing its energy. During that time the soul is in a world of its own. There it can come into contact with the souls of the dead and with spiritual realms." (Geronda [Elder] Thaddeus of Vitovnica)
INSPIRED ORTHODOX POSITIONS
by Saint Nicholas of Ochrid
The Lord said: Repent and believe in the Gospel. True repentance is not only to grieve over the sins one has committed but a complete return of the soul from darkness to light, from the worldly to the heavenly, from me to God.
What does faith in the Gospel mean? It means to believe the Good News that the heavenly messenger (Angel), the Son of God and God brought to the human race. In other words, it is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Revelation. The Revelation of Christ is the greatest revelation since the creation of the world. It is the only Revelation that can change the man-worm into man-god and a son of God.
Only "the One Who descended from Heaven, the Son of Man Who is in Heaven" (St. John 3:13), could bear witness of the world that exists in Heaven, Who God is, what the spiritual reality is in the other world, how the spiritual world is that encompasses God, and what happens to human souls after bodily death. "What we saw we preach and what we heard we confess" (St. John 3:11).
We could say His witness is on a spiritual level, completely empirical. He does not bear witness according to worldly logic, or according to the conclusions of human understanding, or according to the wisdom or philosophies of the earthly man but according to him who has seen and heard. He is the Heavenly Messenger of the heavenly reality. "And to this end am I come to this world, that I should bear witness to the truth" (St. John 18:37)," which no one of those born on earth could bear witness to accurately. He Himself calls this witness Good News (Evaggelion).
The Heavenly Messenger of the Good News bears witness that: God is One, in the Triune harmony of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; that God is not Only the Creator but also Father, namely the Most Beloved and closest relative of all who wish to become His children; that God as Father is true love, and out of love for the human race He sent His Only-begotten Son to save the world. He bears witness: that the soul of man has greater value than the whole material world and that there are legions of innumerable Angels in that world who--sometimes invisibly and at other times visibly, ceaselessly nonetheless--work for people in the events of this world; that after death, the righteous of this world shine like the sun in the other world; and that the Son of God came down to the world with the purpose of making wormish men the sons of God, to make them gods, according to the Will and Mercy of the Father. He bears witness to the just judgment of God, the Resurrection of the dead and Eternal Life, and to many more things--one more joyous than the other.
Christ called men to believe this Good News (Evaggelion); repent and believe in the Gospel. This means that He called us to believe in Him, in His every word. Since for humans there is no other way to come to the knowledge of the Truth about the most important questions of life and existence, other than accepting to believe His words, seeing as He is an eyewitness to the Heavenly and spiritual truths. Either they will believe in Christ or they will continue to walk in the dark and stormy seas of life, guessing and hypothesizing about the earth and the edge of the ocean. A third solution does not exist in the history of the human anthill to this day.
From this it becomes obvious that the Christian Faith does not in the least resemble the other faiths and theories of the world, since the other faiths (religions) are manmade, from the earth and of the earth, by people who spoke about the spiritual world, either according to their natural reasoning or through the deceit of evil spirits. None of the founders of other religions said about themselves that they had descended from Heaven, or that they had been sent by the Father, or that they bear witness to that concerning heaven which they saw and heard and that they will return to heaven. For this reason, there can be no talk about the quality of or similarity between the witness of Christ and that of other religions and confessions of the rest of the world.
Do not ask a Christian if he believes in God but ask if he believes in the Gospel, in the Good News of Christ. For if he says he believes in God according to his own logic but not in the Gospel, then he is regressing and is a pagan, since he arrived at faith just as people who lived some two thousand years ago (e.g. some of the philosophers of Greece and Asia). Then for what reason did Christ descend from Heaven? For what reason did He seal His Blood, His Revelation to the world, the Good News? Such a Christian has in truth the All-Holy Blood of the Son of God on his head like those who cried, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"
he Orthodox Church--the only Church of Christ in the world--has kept the faith in the Gospel, without looking right or left, without being supported by other faiths, or by pagan philosophies or by the natural sciences. For if one follows a far-sighted and keen eyed leader, it is useless and laughable to ask the crooked and blind for directions.
While Christ says: "without Me you can do nothing" (St. John 15:5), the heretic world in thousands of ways expresses the following saying: "Without Christ we can do everything". The entire contemporary culture is turned against Christ. All the modern sciences compete in seeing who will succeed in serving the hardest blow to Christ's teaching. It is a revolution of the vulgar servants against the mistress of the house, a revolution of worldly science against the heavenly science of Christ. However, this whole revolution in our days boils down to what has been written with such clarity: professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22).
Truthfully, no one knows where the greatest insanity of the modern world that has fallen away from Christ lies: in each person's private life or in marriage? In school or in politics? In the economic structure or legislation? In war or in peace? Everywhere one sees what we call vulgar and barbaric. Falsehood and violence triumph.
The strongest blow the heretic "theologians" have imparted to the Gospel is in their questioning the Divinity of the Messiah of the world, some doubting it and other totally rejecting it. This was followed by a whole string of denials of spiritual truths such as: the existence of Angels and Demons, of Paradise and Hell, of the Eternal glory of the Saints and the Just, fasting, the power of the Cross, the value of prayer, etc.
Simply put, the heretics have concerned themselves with adaptations and homogenizations (of different religions), even since the schism of the West from the East, with greater emphasis in the last 150 years. They conformed the heavens to earth, Christ to other "founders of religions" and the Good News to other religions: the Jewish, Muslim and pagan. Everything allegedly in the name of "tolerance" and "for the benefit of peace" between people and nations. However, this is where the beginning of wars and revolutions lie, such as have never been heard of before. For the Truth can in no way tolerate joining with half truths and lies.
The theosophical view that the Truth is scattered among all the religions, philosophies and mysteries got the best of the heretic "theologians" of the Western world. Thus, they say that there must be some truth in Christianity, as well as in Islam, and Hinduism or Brahmanism, in Plato and Aristotle, in Zed-Avesta, in Tantra and Mantras of Tibet. If it were so, then the ark of humanity would keep on sailing without hope in the dark seas of life, without compass or captain.
Then, why did Christ say this strange saying: "I Am the Truth" (St. John 14:6). He did not say, I am a part of the truth but the Truth. Also, "I Am the Light of the world"(St. John 8:12). So, He is the whole Truth and the whole Light. Moreover, according to His word, He is the only guide to the path to eternal life and the only one who knows God. He said to the Jews: "and you have not come to know Him but I know Him and if I say that I do not know Him I will be a liar like you..." (St. John 8:55). Is it possible Christ was deceived? Or perhaps He deceived us?
May God forgive us for putting forth such a question. We do not pose them ourselves, but the heretics posed them from very early on. And they are constantly answering them, one so and so and another differently--the one like the Jews, that Christ was a deceiver, and the other like the theosophists, that He was deceived. For us such a case does not exist.
The Orthodox Christians believe and confess that Jesus Christ is the one and only Messiah, Savior of the world, The One Who has redeemed the human race from sin and restored it, the Son of God Who was Incarnate of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit, God of God, the fulfillment of truth, the source of life, the victor over death, the cause of resurrection, the only truth path toward the proper goal, the judge of the living and the dead…"
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God