An attack on Orthodoxy

Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje-Niksic on the new Law in Montenegro “…Terrible injustice is being imposed against the Serbian Orthodox Church; we are experiencing an attack on Orthodoxy in Montenegro, designed, projected, but, as Christians, we have a duty to resist and to stand up against the injustice, that our people and their priests have done.

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Even one tear of repentance is equivalent to a spiritual bath

We should know that even one tear of repentance is equivalent to a spiritual bath. Just as the body feels refreshed when it bathes, and just as clothes become clean when they are washed, similarly, the tears of a repentant soul purify the heart, purify the mind, purify the body, purify life, purify speech, and purify a person’s every action. Let us kneel and pray with extreme humility! Every repentant soul is given words: it is granted enlightened prayer.

It is necessary for us to receive enlightenment. We should not be deluded by the world. We should not be drawn and attached to earthly things. We should not be weighed down by matters of the present age and this current life.

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Come, let us wonder at the Virgin most pure

“Come, let us wonder at the virgin most pure, wondrous in herself, unique in creation, she gave birth, yet knew no man; her pure soul with wonder was filled, daily her mind gave praise in joy at the twofold wonder: her virginity preserved, her child most dear. Blessed is He who shone forth from her!”

— St. Ephraim the Syrian, Songs of Praise

“When God became known to us in the flesh, He neither received the passions of human nature, nor did the Virgin Mary suffer pain, nor was the Holy Spirit diminished in any way, nor was the power of the Most High set aside in any manner, and all this was because all was accomplished by the Holy Spirit. thus the power of the Most High was not abased, and the Child was born with no damage whatsoever to the Mother’s virginity.”

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Our rejoicing on these days should be holy

Glory to Thee, O Lord!

Once again we greet the awaited bright days of Christ’s Nativity. Let us be glad and rejoice. In order to raise our festivities to a higher level in these days, the Holy Church has intentionally instituted a fast before them—a certain amount of constraint, so that as we enter the festive period we might feel as though we were coming out into freedom. Nevertheless, the Church in no way desires that we give ourselves over to mere sensual delights and fleshly pleasures.

Since the Church has from old times called these days sviatki (“holy days”), they require that our very rejoicing on these days be holy, as they are holy. So that those who rejoice might not forget themselves, the Church has placed a short hymn upon our lips to glorify the newborn Christ, by which the flesh is settled down and the soul is uplifted, showing the proper occupations for these days: “Christ is born, give ye glory,” and the rest.

Glorify Christ; glorify Him, so that by this doxology your heart and soul might delight, and thereby silence any urge for various other deeds and occupations that might promise some kind of pleasure. Glorify Christ: this does not mean that you have to compose lengthy songs of praise to Christ—no.

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St. Nicholas and Miracles in China

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

When we commemorate whole groups of Saints, we usually mention the great hierarchs among the first, and we have become used to the three great universal hierarchs and teachers — Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom — always being at the head of the hierarchical assembly. They belong there, because each of them contributed precious gifts [e.g. their writings] to the Church’s theological and moral treasury. So the Church honors them in particular and has established a feast for the three of them together, in addition to the solemn services for their individual feast days. But the feast of the great hierarch whom we commemorate today, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, has a special place of its own.

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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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God gives us the present time 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.

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On the Holy Ranks of the Angels

“And while, according to the Theologians,

the Thrones judge,

the Seraphim warm us,

the Cherubim make us wise,

the Principalities command,

the Powers work deeds,

the Dominions preserve things,

the Authorities rule the nations,

the Archangels are ministers of the faith,

and the Angels liturgize,

however, Michael and Gabriel, as the Taxiarchs over all the rest, even more so, judge, warm us, make us wise, even more so command us, work deeds for us, and preserve us, even more so rule over nations, minister the faith, and liturgize with us.”

Excerpt on the Holy Angels by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain