On The Struggle of Great Lent

At this time we have entered the great spiritual arena of the blessed Great Lent. Holy and Great Lent is a time of compunction, for repentance, for tears, for a change in ourselves, for a new stage in the spiritual life. Like an affectionate mother caring for her children, us Christians, the Church has designated this time of Lent as dedicated to the struggle, in order to help its children fight harder, to purify themselves, draw closer to God and to be counted worthy of celebrating the great day of the radiant Resurrection.

Christians, especially monks, have always paid particular attention to this spiritual arena and have thought it especially sacred, because it’s a period which envisages both spiritual and bodily struggles. There’s the struggle of fasting, the struggle of vigils, the struggle of purification and the struggle to fulfill one’s spiritual duties which are many more other times of the year. There’s a spiritual “defragmentation” and people pay greater attention to the voice of their conscience in order to correct what they’ve maybe neglected and to improve spiritually. Continue reading

On Obedience

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.

Luke 1:38

Those are earthly words, but like heavenly things, they are purer than tried silver, better than gold, of greater value than precious stones. This is the treasure which during five thousand years the heavens sought upon earth, and which one from before the heavenly throne was sent to reveal.

In truth, Archangel Gabriel not only brought unto the Virgin Mary the word of divine annunciation, but also awaited from her the word of compliance…He at length solves the question: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon Thee”, and then he received the desired answer, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word.” And now only is the long-sought treasure found…The heavenly embassy has attained its end. “And the Angel departed from her.”

What does this mean? What means it that the incarnation of the Son of God is preceded by Annunciation from heaven, Continue reading

Above all we should maintain a humble mindset

“Prayer, hymnology, attending church, making prostrations, primarily going to Holy Confession and receiving Holy Communion, helping others in any way possible (especially through acts of love that stem from our heart and not from pride and egotism), are all good steps toward beautifying our soul.

But above all, we should maintain a humble mindset. We must believe that everything we accomplish is due to God’s help.”

“Love demands discretion, and discretion, in turn, is an art. If you are unfamiliar with the art of love, then you do not know how to love.

Love overlooks the flaws of our brother. It forgives mistakes. It tolerates bad habits. It gives way to obstinacy. It avoids criticism.” Continue reading

Defender against heresy and false teaching

Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher, King of Serbia Stephen Nemanya was the Great Zhupan of Serbia, and lived during the twelfth century.
The saint toiled much for his fatherland: he united a large portion of the Serbian lands, and strove for the political independence of his country from the Byzantine Empire.
In his zeal for the Orthodox Church, he defended his nation against heresy and false teaching.

At the age of eighty, Stephen went to Mt. Athos, where his son Saint Sava (January 12), was glorified by the holiness of his life.

Together they restored the desolate Hilandar monastery, to which monks from various lands began to gather.

Continue reading

To Become Bearers of God

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

Dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the glorious and joyous feast of the Meeting of the Lord. This feast is so named because the righteous elder Symeon, living in Jerusalem, met in the Jerusalem Temple the forty-day-old Youth the Lord Jesus Christ with His Most Pure Mother. This sacred event is described by the Evangelist Luke: Continue reading

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