Appeal for help

Dear Parishioners, Glory to the Lord:

In recent years we have witnessed and participated in major events in our community in Calgary; The purchase of the new land, construction of our Church and the completion of the landscape surrounding the Church. We believe that each of you is proud of what has been accomplished. Continue reading

Recall a sin every troparion

The Great Canon of Repentance by St. Andrew of Crete, especially when it is read in the Standing of St. Mary – There are many, many troparions. It seems hard to stand, hard to listen! It’s a long service. But you know, when you’re standing, you don’t notice that the canon has passed. 

When the choir sings “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.” – for every troparion I have to recall a sin I have done. And when for each troparion you recall: “Lord, I have sinned in this”, and for the next troparion – in that, and for the third – in that… your soul begins to revive. And a repentant sigh comes, and tears appear in your dry eyes, and every word of the canon tears your soul!

Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatogorsk

Four nails in every Christian’s Cross

Continuation of “The Three Wheels of the Chariot

And when a man follows the path of renouncing the world, this chariot of hell will certainly come out to meet him, to tempt him, to force him to follow after it; it will cut across his path to stop him. The chariot is headed in one direction, and the man who has renounced the world in another. And every Christian must necessarily be crucified on the cross of renunciation of the world; it’s not only monastics who renounce the world, but everyone who bears the name of Christian, for they cannot love the world, nor those who are in the world.

Christians also have four nails that nail them to the cross.

The first is self-denial.

This nail pierces the right hand, because it’s precisely our right hand that mainly creates and works. It’s an image of the active principle, and it’s nailed by the nail of self-renunciation.

What does it mean to renounce ourselves? To not pay attention, to not take notice of ourselves; if they berate you—don’t get upset; if they praise you—don’t rejoice, as if they’re talking about someone else.

The second nail is patience, which nails the left hand, because the left hand is considered a symbol of the evil inclination and protest.

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The Three Wheels of the Chariot

On the Battle with the Main Sins

In ancient times, the eastern despots, especially in Persia, had two terrible, disgusting forms of punishment.

One was that a decomposing corpse was tied to the one being punished, and the corpse’s arms were tightly wrapped around his neck. The sunken eyes of the dead man constantly gazed into his eyes, and he always smelled the stench of the decomposing body; he went about with this terrible burden on his shoulders; he sat down with the corpse; he couldn’t go to sleep without feeling its terrible embrace.

The other punishment was that the convicted man was placed naked on a board with his hands and feet bound tightly to it; then they placed a rat on his stomach, covered it with a clay pot, and a hot iron was placed on the pot. The pot would heat up, and the rat would begin to gasp from thirst, and not finding a way out, it would gnaw the stomach of the man being punished, climb into his insides, and cause terrible pain.

My friends, in our age of culture and civilization, in this age of great discoveries, both punishments have been preserved. Many of us are carrying a terrible corpse on our backs, this dead man of our times—godlessness. It’s also that rat that gnaws at our insides; and people go about with these terrible burdens, because the terrible executioner—the devil—is preparing punishment for them. Oh, what a loathsome, unbearably horrible torture!

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St. Isaac the Syrian “who was treated unfairly”

One day, the Elder, sitting on a stone ledge near the monastery of Stavronikita, had a conversation with some pilgrims. One of them, a graduate of the school of theology, claimed that Abba Isaac the Syrian was a Nestorian (type of eretic), and he kept repeating his view that was so commonly accepted in the West.

The Elder Paisios tried to convince the theologian that Abba Isaac the Syrian was not only Orthodox, but also a saint, and his ascetic words were filled with great grace and power. But the elder’s attempts turned out to be futile—the “theologian” stubbornly stood his ground. The elder retreated to his cell in distress and immersed himself in prayer.

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Calling Adam

In Orthodox monasteries, prior to the start of any service, we strike a large, wooden plank, known as the talanton (klepalo), in such a way as to reproduce the name of Adam. The two syllables of the name “Adam”, in other words, provide the basic beat by which the talanton is rhythmically and repeatedly struck: “A-dam, A-dam, A-dam.” By striking the talanton in this way, the sacristan is calling Adam home from his long exile. He is in effect announcing to the whole monastery, and to all the earth and to heaven itself, that the gates of paradise, which once were closed, are now open.

Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra
From the book “The Way of the Spirit”

While There Is Time

“In an acceptable time, I have heard you…” In a very old book, I read that there was a king a long time ago who had the following custom. Throughout his entire kingdom and whenever he came near a city with his army, he carried two flags; a white one and a black one. When he approached the city; he raised the white flag which meant that as long as that flag was raised, a soldier did not have permission to disturb anything, not even the hair on a person’s head! All of the city’s inhabitants had also the ability to request favors from the king, whatever they desired. This, however, was for a short duration only and it had a very definitive time limit. As soon as time was up, the black flag was raised and then mothers would weep for their children; in homes and in fields there would be fire, murder, blood, everywhere, to people and to animals alike…

Do you comprehend what I am telling you? Christ, our good King, raises His white flag over this world through His Holy Cross. Let all the sinful come, all people, all nations, while there is time! The time will soon come that the white flag of love and mercy will be lowered and then all gates will be shut. The day will come that you will arrive only to find the Church door closed. You will keep knocking but not even the chanter will be there to answer. The stars and the sun will be extinguished and the rivers will dry up. The moment of judgment and justice will be upon us all!

My brethren, as long as we remain in this vain world, let us repent, let us weep, and let us all beg God’s mercy; May God deem us worthy to spend the rest of our life “in peace and repentance,” through the intercessions of our Holy Theotokos and all the saints. Amen.

Bishop Augoustinos of Florina

Fast is abstaining from all evil things

“Fasting is not only abstinence from food. It is only one element of fasting. Fasting is abstaining from all evil things… If I steal, I must especially take care not to do so during the Great Lent. If I have another evil habit, either of foul language or of going out to party in places that are not very decent, during Lent I should make every effort not to do so. Lent is about the whole person: from food to evil thoughts, evil feelings and evil desires.”

“The man must always resist evil, but by fasting this struggle must be subdued, that is, even greater… when a person keeps such a fast, it becomes a treasure for him/her.”

“Fast is a good thing that we should do with regard to ourselves, a heavenly treasure. There are earthly treasures that moths eat and rust destroys, which thieves sneak up to, undermine and steal. And there are spiritual treasures, these are good deeds, which neither moth nor rust destroys, which thieves do not steal. This is the feast to which the Church calls us before the Holy Great Lent.”

Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev
Source: Union of Orthodox Journalists

My Lord, do whatever you want

When life goes wrong, when expectations are not fulfilled according to our ideas, when relationships in our family are difficult, when our children are not progressing, when illness and incurable diseases occur, when we do not know what to do, when we cannot find peace, when we are unable to learn, when we cannot pray and feel completely lost – let us not lose hope. Let’s just say: “My Lord, do whatever you want. I do not know; You know: You love me. If you want to separate me and my household – let it happen, if it is Your will.” When we say this, then God, Who loves His creation, comes and gives us strength, grace, and comfort that are beyond the understanding of anything that comes from the outside (surrounding). Then we really understand what it means that “Jonah cried out of the fish’s belly and was saved” and that “Christ is risen from the dead.”

Arhimadrite Vasilios of Iveron
Source: Monastery Podmaine

10 years in the new church

On February 26, 2024, on the day of St. Simeon Mirotocivi, it will be 10 years since moving into the new church.

“Nothing in life is accidental. Here, on Cheesefare Week, you moved to the new church – on the day when we remember Adam’s expulsion from Paradise with the hope that one day we will return there again.

You showed your faith when you built this church and won a reward both on Earth and in Heaven. But you should not forget that you do not build the Church, but She builds you. Our Lord established the Church on the Earth.

Even though the church is magnificent and well-built, you built it not so that people could pass by it and say “Wow!”, but to save your souls and educate your children in faith.”

“You have built the church, now continue to build up yourself spiritually by coming to Holy Services and saving your souls.”

Excerpts from the sermon of Bishop Georgije, February 26, 2014
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Why St. Nektarios is a saint

When in 1961 St. Nektarios of Aegina (+1920) was officially canonized, in one of the monasteries of the Holy Mount Athos the brotherhood was divided in their opinions about his canonization.

Some acknowledged the holiness of the Saint, while others refused flatly to pray to him as a saint of God. The atmosphere in the monastery became tense and heated up from day to day.

Then, the virtuous igumen of this monastery, seeing the turmoil taking place, summoned all the brethren and said:

– Let’s, fathers and brothers, not allow that the question of the holiness of Nektarios became a cause of disputes and spiritual doom in our brotherhood. From today I pronounce in our monastery three days of strict fasting and prayer. Let us fast and ask God to Himself reveal to us – Saint Nektarios or not a saint.

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