To receive this high dignity, only one thing is required of us

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 our Lord Jesus Christ with His Most Pure Mother. This sacred event is described by the Evangelist Luke (See Lk. 2:22-40). This is a wondrous narration, brothers and sisters.

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The Jordan river reverses its flow

Every year, on Epiphany Day (according to the Julian Calendar) during the blessing of the waters, a miracle, which according to our Holy Church, occurred when Jesus entered the Jordan to get baptized by Saint John, is repeated. It takes place every year on the same day, at the very same spot where our God and Savior Jesus Christ was baptized. The Jordan River reverses its flow after the Holy Cross is dropped into its waters.

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It was by reason of a supreme, inexpressible mercy

“Why, and for what reason, was there such condescension [shown] on the part of the Creator toward His transgressing creatures – toward humanity which, through an act of its own will had fallen away from God, its Creator? It was by reason of a supreme, inexpressible mercy toward His creation on the part of the Master, Who could not bear to see the entire mankind – which, He, in creating, had endowed with wondrous gifts – enslaved by the devil and thus destined for eternal suffering and torment.”

+ St. John of Kronstadt, Sermon on the Nativity of Jesus Christ

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Geronda Ephraim’s Homily

April 4, 1990
Philotheou Monastery, Mount Athos

Here in Greece, and even more so abroad, there are people living far away from God, either with heresies, or with satanism, or narcotics, or crime, and what else is there that does not exist abroad. All these people are God’s creatures. All these people are God’s children. All these people need prayer, need help to be enlightened, to return to God. You see lost beings on the road, you feel sorry for them and think: Where is this man going, what is he doing, where is he dwelling, what does he believe, how does he understand life? He is like an animal that does not know what to rejoice at. Every man is called to live the eternal life with Christ, and yet he finds himself in this great – let us say – abandonment, he is in the midst of this desperation, inside his lost self. And indeed he needs prayer. From whom? Who will make this powerful prayer for these men to be enlightened? It is for this that all the people who are confessing have enormous devoutness for monasticism. They revere monks very much, and they greatly desire the establishment of monasteries. They love the Holy Fathers so much, and they know that the patristic teachings substantially give new birth. Certainly, the patristic teaching is the interpretation of the Gospel in detail, the evangelic truth inside the practical application of the life of the Fathers. These people there want also to live this life. And if it is in our Christ’s plan, what He wants will happen, because I believe that the antichrist will come and set foot first and foremost on that great Babylon which is called New York. However, he will come to find the strongest front: he will find Christians full of life and faith confronting him.

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The grace of 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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The faithful will receive wreaths merely for standing in faith

My child, know that in the last days hard times will come, as the Apostle says, behold due to poverty in piety, in churches the heresies and schisms will appear”, and as the Holy Fathers foretold, than on the thrones of hierarchs and in monasteries, there will be no men experienced in the spiritual life.

Wherefore, heresies will spread everywhere and deceive many. The enemy of the human kind will act skillfully, if possible, leading the chosen ones to heresy. He will not begin by discarding the dogmas on the Holy Trinity, divinity of Jesus Christ, on Theotokos, but will unnoticeably start to distort the Teachings of the Holy Fathers from the Holy Spirit – the Church teaching itself. Cunning of the enemy and his “tipics” will notice a very small number of those most experienced in spiritual life.

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The Lord leads His chosen ones to glory by a narrow and sorrowful path

Thy Nativity, O Theotokos Virgin,
Has brought joy to all the inhabited earth:
For from Thee has sprung forth
the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God.

We solemnly celebrate, dear brothers and sisters, the Nativity of the Most Holy Virgin Mary from her barren parents, pious Joachim and Anna. The Holy Church established this feast during the first centuries of the Christian Faith. The event that we celebrate—the birth of the God-Chosen maiden—brought joy to all the world, for the God-man, Jesus Christ, Who shone forth from Her, destroyed God’s curse which weighed heavily upon the transgressing and accursed human race, and brought God’s blessing upon it; having trampled down inherent death, He gave people eternal life. Thus the Holy Church explains the cause of the present joy.

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A Transition to Life

Elder Ephraim of Arizona, Homily on the Dormition of the Mother of God

Every time we celebrate the Dormition of the Mother of God, it’s as if we’re having Easter – the Easter of the summer. Our Lady the Mother of God prepares Easter for us. A glorious crossing “from death to life”. A second Easter, holy spotless, life-giving for the human race, because today “the laws of nature are overcome.”

“How the source of life goes towards life, passing through death”, says Saint John the Damascane. The death of the life-giving Mother of the Lord transcends the concept of death, so that it’s not even called death, but “dormition” and “divine transition” and an emigration and immigration towards the Lord. And even if it’s called death, it’s a life-bringing death, since it transports to a celestial and immortal life.

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Let Us Change the Garments of Our Souls

Homily on the Transfiguration of the Lord

Archimandrite Iachint (Unciuleac)

This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5).

Dear faithful!

Knowing that man always weakens in spirit during times of suffering, our Savior desired before His voluntary Passion to encourage His disciples by convincing them through this mysterious wonder that He is the true Messiah, promised by the prophets.

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