On Our Times (Part IV)

Venerable Sisoes the Great

Venerable Sisoes the Great

My beloved spiritual children 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.

A PRAYER FOR REFUGE

+In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your Righteousness. Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your Name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge, into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of Truth. Amen. (Psalm 31:1-5)

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TODAY'S SANAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):

On July 6th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercession of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and of every righteous soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Sisoes the Great; Holy Apostles Archippus, Philemon and Onesimus; Saint Loukia the Virgin-Martyr, Rixios and the 24 Companion Holy Martyrs; Saint Julian the Virgin-Martyr.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Mothers, Holy Apostles, Holy Virgin-Martyrs, O Christ Our God have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

OUR RIGHTEOUS FATHER SISOES THE GREAT.

This Saint, great and renowned among the ascetics of Egypt, lived in the fourth century in Scete of Nitria. After the death of Saint Anthony the Great, he left Scete to live in Saint Anthony's cave; he said of this, "Thus in the cave of a lion, a fox makes his dwelling." When St. Sisoes was at the end of his long life of labors, as the Fathers were gathered about him, his face began to shine, and he said, "Behold, Abba (Father) Anthony is come"; then, "Behold, the choir of the Prophets is come"; his face shone yet more bright, and he said, "Behold, the choir of the Apostles is come." The light of his countenance increased, and he seemed to be talking with someone. The Fathers asked him of this; in his humility, he said he was asking the Angels for time to repent. Finally his face as bright as the sun, so that the Fathers were filled with fear. He said, "Behold, the Lord is come, and He says, 'Bring Me the vessel of the desert,: and as he gave up his soul into the hands of God, there was as it were a flash of lightning and the whole dwelling was filled with a sweet fragrance.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. First Tone

Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an Angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Sisoes, ouir God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given three strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Kontakion Hymn. Fourth Tone

In thy struggles, thou was as an earthly Angel, shining light upon the minds of all the faithful ceaselessly with thy divine signs; and for this cause, righteous Sisoes, we honor thee faithfully.

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TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:

Holy Epistle Lesson: Romans 16:17-24
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 13:10-23, 43

INSPIRING WORDS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:

"For what, says he, is the will of My Father? That everyone that believes in the Son should be saved." (Saint Gregory the Theologian)

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ON OUR TIMES (Part IV)
By Saint Paisios of the Holy Mount Athos (Source: Orthodox Heritage)

In our age audacity has become a rarity. Water, not blood, flows in people's veins. So if a war were to break out, God forbid, many would simply die of fright while others would lose heart, because they're used to an easy life. Fear is necessary when it helps a person turn to God. Fear from lack of faith, from lack of trust in God, on the other hand, is ruinous.

Such fear is driven out by audacity. We must remember: The more a person fears, the more he is tempted by the enemy (Satan). If a person refuses to strive to become courageous, and doesn't strive for real love then when a difficult situation arises he'll become a laughingstock.

The warrior takes joy in the fact that he's dying so that others won't have to. If you dispose yourself this way then nothing will be frightening. Courage is born from much love, kindness and self-sacrifice. Today people don't even want to hear about death. However, the person that does not maintain remembrance of death is living outside of reality. Those who fear death and love life's vanities are in a state of spiritual stagnation. Bold people, who always keep death before them and think about it constantly, on the other hand, conquer vanity and begin to live in eternity and heavenly joy while still here on earth.

May he who fights in the war for Faith and Fatherland cross himself and not fear, for God is his helper! God Himself will decide whether he is to die or to live. One needs to trust God, not oneself.

Providence tells me that many events will happen: The Russians will take Turkey and Turkey will disappear from the world map because a third of the Turks will become Christians, another third will die in the war and another third will leave for Mesopotamia.

The Mid-East will become a theater of a war in which the Russians will take place. Much blood will be spilled. The Chinese, with an army of 200 million, will cross the Euphrates and go all the way to Jerusalem. The sign that this event is approaching will be the destruction of the Mosque of Omar, for its destruction will mark the beginning of work by the Jews to rebuild the Temple of Solomon, which was built on the same spot.

There will be a great war between the Russians and Europeans, and much blood will be spilled. Greece won't play a leading role in that war, but they'll give her Constantinople. Not because the Russians adore the Greeks, but because no better solution will be found. The city will handed over before the army has a chance to get there.

The Jews, inasmuch as they'll have great power and the help of the European leadership, will become proud and insolent beyond measure and conduct themselves shamelessly. They'll try to rule Europe.

They'll play all sorts of tricks, but the resulting persecutions will lead Christians to unite completely. However, they won't unite in the way desired by those who are now engaging in various machinations to create a single church united under a single religious leadership. Christians will unite because the unfolding situation will naturally separate the sheep from the goats. Then the prophecy of "one flock and one shepherd will actually come to pass.

Don't give in to panic. Cowards are of use to no one. God looks at a person's situation and helps him. We have to remain calm and use our brains. No matter what happens, we must continue to pray, think and act. It's best to always stand up to difficult situation using spiritual means. However, that spiritual boldness which is born of holiness and striving towards God is missing today, as is the natural boldness needed in order not to turn coward in the face of danger.

In order to hold back a great evil, great holiness is needed. A spiritual person can hold back evil and help others. In the spiritual life the biggest coward can attain great courage by entrusting himself to Christ and His divine help. He can go to the front lines, do battle with the enemy, and win! So therefore we will fear God alone, not people, no matter how evil they may be. The fear of God makes any coward into a hero! A person becomes fearless to the extent he unites with God.

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MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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Glory Be To GOD For All Things!

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

+Father George