We must hurry to accomplish everything

Elder Ephraim of Arizona reposed in the Lord on December 8th, early morning, at the age of 91 after a long illness.

He established 19 monasteries in North America, 17 in the US and 2 in Canada, both for men and women, under the Greek Orthodox Archdioceses of America and Canada and lived in St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona.

The elder’s task was to build in America as many monasteries as there are on Holy Mount Athos. Why did he have to build monasteries precisely in America?

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O Much-Hymned Tree of the Cross

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

O much-hymned Tree of the Cross! O Life-bearing Tree of the Cross! O thrice-blessed Tree of the Cross! O honorable Cross, joyous sign of our redemption!

Show us sinners the path to the salvific life.

Dear friends! “…For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18). Yesterday we visibly touched this power, having participated in the Elevation of the Cross of the Lord. The Life-creating Wood passed by each of us, carried out from the Holy of Holies, from the earthly Heaven, from the altar of the Lord. It passed by and was lifted on high, and descended to the earth to again be raised, overshadowing all corners of the earth, that everyone would see, understand, and feel the power and authority of this great sign of victory.

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Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist

John was called by God to be the forerunner of his Divine Son, to usher Him into the world, and to prepare mankind by repentance to receive the Redeemer, whom the prophets had foretold at a distance through every age from the beginning of the world, never ceasing to instill in the people of God faith and hope in Him by whom alone they were to be saved.

At first St. John led a most austere life in the wilderness, exercising himself in prayer and meditating on the high mission he was called to perform. In the thirtieth year of his age, John came from out his seclusion. This was also the age at which the priests and Levites were permitted by the Jewish law to begin the exercise of their functions. Clothed in camel’s hair, held to his person by a girdle of raw leather, the man of the desert, who knew not the luxuries of a dwelling-house, nor the taste of cooked food, himself subsisting on locusts and wild honey, comes to the thinly settled banks of the river Jordan, and preaches repentance, baptizing all comers…

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Let us be happy that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church

” . . . when the Church tells us in her hymns and icons that the Apost­les were mira­culously gat­he­red from the ends of the earth in order to be pre­sent at the repose and burial of the Mot­her of God, we as Ort­ho­dox Chri­sti­ans are not free to deny this or rein­ter­pret it, but must believe as the Church hands it down to us, with sim­pli­city of heart.”

St. John Maximovich

“Let us be happy, beloved brothers and sisters that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, worthily and rightly glorifying the Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos on this eminent day out of all the days of the year with special solemnity.

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There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith

Saint Mark, Archbishop of Ephesus, was a stalwart defender of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence. He would not agree to a union with Rome which was based on theological compromise and political expediency (the Byzantine Emperor was seeking military assistance from the West against the Moslems who were drawing ever closer to Constantinople).

Saint Mark countered the arguments of his opponents, drawing from the well of pure theology, and the teachings of the holy Fathers. When the members of his own delegation tried to pressure him into accepting the Union he replied, “There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith.”

Although the members of the Orthodox delegation signed the Tomos of Union, Saint Mark was the only one who refused to do so.

When he returned from Florence, Saint Mark urged the inhabitants of Constantinople to repudiate the dishonorable document of union. He died in 1457 at the age of fifty-two, admired and honored by all.

The Orthodox Church in America

Do not hide your thoughts

The demon always rejoices when things are hidden. Thieves do not steal as much during the day; they steal more often during the night. Similarly, the demons hide within the night of concealed thoughts, and this is when they harm us.
For this reason, we should go to confession and we should not hide anything. We should repel this difficulty, because we all feel ashamed—and I first. “How will I say this?” we think, when in essence it is easy. In a split second, when a person reveals what is on his mind, he is freed, and afterwards he wonders: “What was preventing me from confessing?” It was the demon who did not want to be exposed by the light of sacred and purifying confession, who did not want you to attain forgiveness and enlightenment.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

A Strange Miracle of St. Nicholas in 1956

A true incident which shocked and brought repentance to hundreds of people in the Russian Soviet city of Kuibyshev (modern day Samara), in the year 1956.

In the city of Kuibyshev there lived a family: a pious mother and her daughter Zoë. On the evening of New Years Eve (December 31) of 1956 Zoë invited seven of her girlfriends – and just as many young men – over for dinner and dancing. At that time it was the fast for Christmas* and Zoë’s mother begged her not to plan a dinner, but the daughter insisted on having things her way. That same evening her mother went to church to pray.

All those invited came over, except for Zoë’s fiancé who hadn’t arrived yet. His name was Nicholas. The young ladies and the boys got in pairs and Zoë was left alone. Not knowing what to do and without really thinking, she took down the icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker from the wall and said, Continue reading