Here is how we must love others

Take your minds, my dears, to that sacred place where our Lord Jesus Christ’s Baptism was performed. And here appears to our gaze the picture of the Jordan event, deeply enlightening, wondrous, and full of Divine greatness.

When Jesus Christ turned thirty, He went to the Jordan, where John was baptizing the people, saying that He too came to be baptized. God revealed to John Who it was Who had come to him, and he exclaimed: I have need to be baptized of thee. But Christ answered: “Withhold Me not, for so shall we fulfill the will of God.” At these words He went down into the water, and when He was submerged, then then heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit alighted upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father was heard: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.

John baptized the people with the baptism of repentance. But did the Sinless, Holy God-Man Jesus Christ really have sins, such habits? Obviously not. He had no sins. He had nothing of which to repent… Continue reading

Lust for power is a coin with theomachy on the other side

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

I warmly congratulate you all, God-loving archpastors and pastors, pious monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters, with the great and joyous Feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.

In these sacred days, all the fullness of our holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church raises humble prayers, recalling and glorifying the incomprehensible Divine love and thanking God that He descended to earth and took human nature upon Himself in order to save us. Continue reading

Christ is born and God is with us

Glory to Thee O Lord! Yet again have we have reached the bright days of the Nativity of Christ! This feast is one of the great twelve feasts—it has five days of forefeast and six days of afterfeast, and in the divine service books it is called the three-day Pascha.

Because of the greatness of the event commemorated, this feast is celebrated more solemnly than all the feasts with the exception of Pascha. St. John Chrysostom calls the day of the Nativity of Christ the most honorable and important of all feasts, the “mother of all feasts”.

The first tidings of this magnificent event in the life of the Earth, the birth of Christ the Savior, were received by Continue reading

Our life is child’s play

Our life is child’s play, only not innocent, but sinful, because, with a strong mind, and with the knowledge of the purpose of our life, we neglect this purpose and occupy ourselves with frivolous, purposeless matters. And thus our life is childish, unpardonable play.

We amuse ourselves with food and drink, gratifying ourselves by them, instead of only using them for the necessary nourishment of our body and the support of our bodily life.

We amuse ourselves with dress, instead of only decently covering our body and protecting it from the injurious action of the elements.

We amuse ourselves with silver and gold, admiring them in treasuries, or using them for objects of luxury and pleasure, instead of using them only for our real needs, and sharing our superfluity with those in want. Continue reading

From this hour, from this minute

“And I, a sinner, have been trying to love God for more than forty years, and cannot say that I perfectly love Him. If we love someone we always remember him and try to please him; day and night our heart is occupied with that object.

Is that how you, gentlemen, love God? Do you often turn to Him, do you always remember Him, do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments? ‘For our good, for our happiness at least let us make a vow that from this day, from this hour, from this minute we shall strive to love God above all else and to fulfill His holy will.’”

+ St. Herman of Alaska

The great zeal for God’s truth

On the icons of St. Nicholas, the Lord Savior is usually depicted on one side with a Gospel in His hands and, on the other side, the Most Holy Virgin, the Theotokos, with an episcopal omophor on her hands. This has a two-fold historical significance, and in the first instance, this signifies the calling of Nicholas to the Hierarchical office and in the second instance, his justification from the punishment because of the confrontation with Arius. 

St. Methodius, the Patriarch of Constantinople writes: “One night, St. Nicholas saw our Savior in glory standing by him and extending to him the Gospel, adorned with gold and pearls and, on the other side, he saw the Theotokos who was placing the episcopal pallium [omophorion] on his shoulders.” Shortly after this vision John, the Archbishop of Myra, died and St. Nicholas was appointed as archbishop of that city. That was the first incident. The second incident occurred at the time of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea. Unable to stop Arius of the irrational blasphemy of the Son of God and His Most Holy Mother by reason, St. Nicholas struck Arius on the face with his hand. The holy fathers at the Council, protesting such action banned Nicholas from the Council and deprived him of all his episcopal signs. That same night, several of the holy fathers saw an identical vision, namely, how the Lord Savior and the Most Holy Theotokos standing around St. Nicholas; on one side the Lord Savior with the Gospel and, on the other side, the Most Holy Theotokos with a pallium extending to the saint the marks of his episcopacy which had been removed from him. Seeing this, the fathers were awe-struck and quickly returned to Nicholas that which had been taken away and began to respect him as a great chosen one of God and his actions against Arius, they interpreted, not as an act of unreasonable anger, but rather an expression of great zeal for God’s truth.

Prolog of Ohrid By Bishop NIKOLAI VELIMIROVCH

The present time is for repentance

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

Today the Virgin appears in the temple of God, in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all…

The angels beheld the entrance of the Pure One and were amazed. How has the Virgin entered into the Holy of Holies?

Purity and holiness, light and joy—that imperceptible spirit of today’s feast and service. Upon the steps of the Old Testament shrine of the Jerusalem Temple stands the three-year-old youth, the great Holy of Holies, triumphantly and rejoicing. And her elderly and righteous parents, Joachim and Anna, and a choir of young maidens with lighted candles, “singing, playing, and exalting,” accompany she who is borne as a gift to God. Embraced by sacred delight, the high priest Zacharias, the elder and father of the Forerunner, “blessed and welcomed” the holy maiden, and according to special revelation bore her into the Holy of Holies.

Small events, so why is this celebration so joyful, so memorable and significant? Continue reading

Why Go to Church Every Sunday

Fr. Daniil Sisoyev visiting the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, Serbian Orthodox Church

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord (Psalm 121:1).

People often ask priests: “Why should we go to church every Sunday?” and then they begin to justify themselves.

“We need our sleep, we need to spend time with the family, do things around the house and you want us to get up and go to church. What for?”

Of course, in order to justify one’s laziness one can come up with various objections. But we have to understand the meaning behind going to Church every Sunday. Continue reading

The new disciple of Saint Demetrios

Who would not be astonished to know in depth the life of this holy hierarch, this great servant of God? Like a new disciple of Saint Demetrios, during times of persecution, he did not hide his faith in Christ, but revealed and preached the name of our Lord and Saviour wherever he went.  

The future Vladyka Boris – zealous, respected and beloved shepherd, erudite, educator and patriot, was born on the day of Saint Demetrios in 1888 in the village of Gyatto, Bitola region. He lived modestly and poorly with his parents. When he was fifteen his father died.

The young man studied in the Constantinople Spiritual Seminary and in the Faculty of Theology in Chernovtsi where at the end of his studies he received a Doctoral Degree in Orthodox Theology. After becoming Hieromonk, the Synod assigned him a mission regading the Bulgarian community in Budapest. Later, he headed the Cultural and Educational Department at St. Synod, the temple “St. Alexander Nevsky” and after that was appointed a rector of the Sofia Seminary.  Continue reading