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.
METROPOLITAN ANTHIMUS THE GEORGIAN
[The venerable Metropolitan Anthimus was born in Georgia. His parents John and Maria, gave him the name of Andrew at his baptism. In his youth he was made a slave by the Turks, and he lived for many years in Constantinople, where he learned the Greek, Arabic and Turkish languages, as well as the arts of sculpture, painting, and embroidery.
About 1690 Andrew was brought to the Romanian Land by Constantinople Brincoveanu. There he learned the art of printing from Bishop Metrophanes, and after a year he became a monk and was ordained a priest.
From 1691 to 1694 he directed the royal printing house in Bucharest and printed three books...From 1705-1708 he was bishop at Rimnicu Vilcea, founding the first printing house there. During those three years he printed ten books, seven of which were in Romanian. From 1708 to 1716 he was Metropolitan of the Romanian Land.
In the autumn of 1716 Metropolitan Anthimus was imprisoned by order of the Turks, defrocked, and exiled to the Monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai. On the way there he was martyred by the soldiers and thrown into the Tungia River, near Adrianople. It is now thought that he may have been drowned in Snagov Lake.]
WORKS AND TEACHINGS THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF HIS MANY TEACHINGS:
"These two virtues establish and strengthen the Church: faith in God and good-hearted obedience to the pastors of the Church." What does the slave desire more than his freedom? asked the good pastor. "And what is dearer to the exile than return to his fatherland?" It is proper for man to rejoice in the great goodness of God, and to fear His Majesty with trembling. He should ask for His help and abundant mercy, for without His mercy we can do nothing towards the salvation of our souls. Without these three virtues--faith, hope, and love--it is impossible for a Christian to be saved by any means, for these are the foundations of Christianity." As no one on earth can live without bodily food, clothing, and sleep, so no one can live without the three virtues of faith, hope, and love. Hope is true boldness before God, given to man's heart from the divine radiance. By it he never despairs of the mercy of God, but is assured that through repentance he will receive forgiveness of sins, and all other requests, both temporal and eternal.
There are two kinds of hope, good and evil. Good hope is this: when one hopes in God for salvation, or to receive some other good thing from Him, as David says: "He who hopes on God is surrounded by mercy" (Psalm 31:11). Hope is evil when someone hopes in man to do him some good, or for some compensation from the passing things of this world. This hope is false and empty, as David again says: "Hope ye not in princes, or in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation" (Psalm 145:3).
Love is the union of many on the same path towards God, and the summit of all virtues. But love also is of three kinds: divine, natural, and passionate and evil.
Another time Metropolitan Anthimus said, humbling himself: "Being blinded by worldly vanities, we do not rejoice in anything but the works of the darkness of this age. We all have set out towards wicked things, like a wheel rolling downhill that cannot be stopped. All these things have come upon us for no other reason but our unbelief. For like Pharaoh our hearts have hardened in evil, and we go about like untamed horses, unbridled and shameless, until we will fall into an abyss and perish."
"Therefore I say to you, my beloved ones, and I teach you with the fear of God, as your spiritual father and pastor, that you should come to your senses and repent of your impious works. God is merciful, and if He sees our turning back and good repentance, He will forgive us. For He says through the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah: "Return to Me and I will return to you" (Isaiah 45:22).
Then he added: "As sheep cannot be without a shepherd, so neither can people be without a hierarch. Whoever would take care for the things of the soul should run to me as to a father, that I may heal him with the help of Christ. For the Master Christ has given me the charge to pastor your souls as rational sheep. Your souls hang about my neck, and as long as I am your pastor He will require all of you from my hand, and not from anyone else's."
"As the Emperor demands taxes, so God asks from us faith and good works. For Christ says in the Gospel: 'Give to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things which are God's' (St. Mark 12:17).
"You should not assume that just because we have difficulties we will receive the mercy of God and He will forgive us, if we on our part will not fulfill His Commandments according to our ability; for He will cast us into a place from which we will not be able to come out. But let us abandon our evil habits and impious customs, so that perhaps God may have mercy on us and forgive us, and supply us with His abundant mercy."
At the beginning of Great Lent he would teach his spiritual sons: "Let each one guard himself from sins performed with understanding (with his knowledge and will), for in the day that he does it, he will die the death. For there is no death more evil than separation from God through sin. St. John says: 'He that commits sin is of the devil, for the devil sins from the beginning' (1 John 3:8)."
"In all the days that are in the garden of the year, each person may eat those things appointed as food for the body, in moderation and without cunning. But let no one break the fast appointed for the profit of the soul, which we make good or evil by our understanding, for in the day that he breaks it, he will die the death, since he tramples on the commandment of God. There is no death more evil than this trampling on the commandment of God, for we will be cast out by Him from the garden of the Church, even as Adam from Paradise."
"We who wish to march against the enemy (Satan) of our souls must take with us five things for provisions in time of peril: confession, prayer, fasting, almsgiving and love."
"Let us wash away our sins by confession, confessing ourselves before our spiritual fathers with fear and contrition of heart, accusing ourselves as though we were standing before God. Let us not lay the blame on others, or say that we sinned from necessity or weakness, for then our confession will not profit us, as it did not profit Adam. For when God desired to bring him to repentance, instead of acknowledging his mistake and confessing his sin, Adam placed the guilt on God for giving him the woman."
"Let us confess with good hope that God will forgive us, and not despair, as Cain did when he said, 'My guilt is greater than can be forgiven me' (Genesis 4:13). Likewise Judas, even though he confessed before the high priest that he had sold innocent blood, received no help from his confession, since it was made with despair."
"We should make our confession with the intention of sinning no more. For although Pharaoh confessed, 'I have sinned before the Lord' (Exodus 10:16), he was not profited, because he did not mean to abandon his evil deeds. Therefore he also perished. But we should have good hope; for if we confess ourselves with a pure heart and with the intention of ceasing from sin, God will forgive us and we will hear the words that David heard: 'The Lord has taken away thy sin, thou shalt not die' (II Kings 12:13)."
"In prayer we should ask God for the salvation of our souls, and He will give it to us, according to the word of Christ Himself: 'Ask, and it shall be given thee' (St. Matthew 7:7). For prayer that is said with warmth and from the heart penetrates the heavens and enters the ears of God."
"We should lighten the body by fasting, in order to clarify the mind and gladden the soul, so that the grace of God may come upon us. And we should join fasting to prayer. For as sweet foods are not made without salt, so neither is fasting without prayer."
"As the holy Angels are the guardians of those who fast and preserve them from all perils, so also the demons are the guardians of those who do not fast, and they incite them to many sins. We must therefore make efforts to not become accomplices of the devil. For no one who satiates himself with food according to his lust becomes a disciple of the virtues, nor is anyone who loves self-indulgence made a partaker of the Kingdom of Heaven."
"We placate God by almsgiving when we give our honest earnings to the needy, the poor, strangers, the sick, and prisoners, with love and mercy. Then we also obtain mercy from God, as he says in the nine beatitudes. But if we give alms out of money obtained through robbery, we will earn a greater punishment."
"We may with joy be assured that if we will love our neighbors and do good to them according to God's commandment, we will be like unto Him Who is above, as St. John says, 'For God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him' (1 John 4:16)."
"What profit is it for the body to be empty of food, but the soul full of sins? What profit is it to pale withered from fasting, but burning with envy and covetousness? What profit is it to abstain from wine, but to be drunk with the venom of anger? What profit is it to not eat meat, but to rend the flesh of our brethren by slander? What profit is it for us to cease from things which are sometimes allowed, but to do things that are never allowed? God loves and honors those who keep themselves from what is forbidden."
"When we enter the holy church," said the great hierarch, "we should first cleanse ourselves from our sins and from evil thoughts, and then with a clean conscience we should make ourselves chosen vessels, so as to receive, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the word of God in our hearts."
Another time he said, "There are four virtues of the soul: courage, wisdom, righteousness, and purity. There are also four basic bodily virtues: strength, wholeness, beauty, and health. From these virtues of soul and body are born the four other general virtues: faith, hope, love, and humility."
"Without faith it is impossible for us to be saved. Its dwelling-place is the heart of man, and its life is in good deeds, according to the word of the Apostle James, 'For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also' (St. James 2:26). [What is meant by "works" is works of mercy).
"Humility is the end, the link, and the seal of all the virtues. If one were to do all the good deeds in the world but did not have humility, they would all be lost, all ruined, all for nothing, and their labor would be in vain, because humility is the mother of all the virtues."
"As a mother out of her natural love undergoes much trouble to feed her children so they will grow up, and to protect them from everything so that no danger might befall them and she should lose them, so also humility nourishes the virtues so that they grow, and protects them from all dangers so that they do not perish. For the first and greatest of all sins is pride, which Satan himself invented and gave birth to."
"Sin is like a stone which seeks to go to its mother the earth, from whence it came. And virtue is like fire which always seeks to rise up into air, where its source is; for God is a consuming fire and a subtle flame, as the Prophet Elias saw."
"Man sins in three ways: from weakness, from ignorance and from an evil will. Sin committed from weakness is against God the Father, since the Father is called Almighty. Sin committed from ignorance is against the Son, since the Son of God is called Wisdom. Sin committed from an evil will is against the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is called God."
"God is the common Father of all. He loves all of us as His true sons, and His compassionate love of mankind cannot endure that we be forever in misery and need, but He only awaits our prayer. Remember that He hears our voices, he remains ever with His ear open to hear us as soon as we call on His Holy name."
"Every Christian has three births. The first is physical birth from his father and mother. The second is spiritual, and not all have it, but only those who are born spiritually in the bath of Holy Baptism. And the third birth--death--is saving, without sin or peril for the righteous and faithful man, for after death he can sin no more."
"Death is a great gift and merciful cure given to man by God, for his body of sin decays and another spiritual body, incorrupt and deathless, is raised up at the General Resurrection. Death brought great gain to man, says Saint Gregory the Theologian, for sin is cut off so that evil may not live forever."
SAINT ANTHIMUS THE GEORGIAN
TROPARION, Tone 3
O Holy Father, Hierarch Anthimus, with diligence thou didst order well the pastors and instructors of thy flock, and with divine wisdom didst pour forth rivers of holy words. Thou didst
give thy life for thy flock and obtain the crown of martyrdom from Christ God, to Whom do thou pray, O Holy Father, Hierarch Anthimus, to grant peace and great mercy to those who celebrate thy holy memory.
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.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God