Saturday, February 27, 2010

..."How is it that I think and do things that I don't want or desire to think or do"? I answered that everyone is that way, and so forth. Therefore, the more one conquers himself, the greater the reward that he will receive there in eternity. This is the Christian's most essential duty, and for this one needs God's help, which is received through prayer..."

St. Innocent of Alaska

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The PriestMartyr Charalampios, Bishop of Magnezia, the Martyrs Porphyry and Baptos and the Three Martyresses
The PriestMartyr Charalampios, Bishop of Magnezia, the Martyrs Porphyry and Baptos and the Three Martyresses suffered in the year 202.
Saint Charalampios, bishop of the Thessalonian city of Magnezia (northwest region of Greece), successfully spread faith in Christ the Saviour. News about his preaching reached the governor of the district Lucian and the military-commander Lucius. The saint was arrested and brought to trial, where he firmly confessed his faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. Despite the decrepit age of the bishop (he was already 113 years of age), they subjected him to monstrous tortures: they lacerated his body with iron hooks, while they scourged all his skin from head to foot. During this the saint turned to his tormentors: "I bless you, brethren, ye have restored my spirit!"
Having seen the endurance of the elder and his complete lack of malice, two soldiers – Porphyry and Baptos openly confessed Christ, for which they were immediately beheaded with a sword. Being present at the sufferings of bishop Charalampios were likewise three women who began to glorify Christ and were quickly martyred.
The enraged Lucius himself seized hold of the instruments of torture and began to tear at the priest-martyr, but suddenly his hand was cut off as though by a sword. Also arriving at the place of execution the governor spat in the face of the saint, and immediately he bent backwards. Then Lucius began to beseech the saint for forgiveness, and through his prayer both torturers at once received healing. During this a multitude of witnesses came to believe in Christ. Among them also was Lucius, who fell at the feet of the holy elder, begging forgiveness.
Lucian reported about the occurrence to the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211), situated at this time at Pisidian Antioch (western part of Asia Minor). The emperor gave orders to bring Saint Charlampios to him, and this was done with a stupid ferocity: they dragged the priest-martyr, having tied a rope to his beard. The emperor then gave orders to torture the bishop more intensely, and they began to burn at him with fire. But the Power of God aided to the saint, and he remained unharmed. Besides this, miracles were done through his prayer: he raised up a dead youth, and healed a demoniac tormented by devils for 35 years, so that the people in a multitude began to believe in Christ the Saviour. Even Galina the daughter of the emperor began to believe in Christ, and twice smashed idols in a pagan temple. By order of the emperor they beat the saint with stones about the mouth, and they wanted to set afire his beard, from which the flames went forth burning the torturer. Full of wickedness, Septimus Severus and his dignitary Crispus hurled blasphemy at the Lord, mockingly summoning Him to come down to the earth, and bragging of their own power and might. In wrath the Lord quaked the earth, great fear fell upon all, both the impious ones were suspended in mid-air held by invisible bounds, and only by the prayer of the saint were they put down. The dazed emperor was shaken in his former impiety, but again quickly fell into error and gave orders to torture the saint. And finally, he sentenced him to beheading with a sword. During the time of his final prayer, the saint was vouchsafed to behold the Saviour Himself and besought Him to grant that place where his remains would repose, in peace, would be fruitful for people, bringing forgiveness of sins and salvation. The Lord promised to fulfill the request and ascended to heaven, bearing with Him the soul of the priestmartyr Charalampios – who through the mercy of God accepted a peaceful death before execution. The daughter of the emperor, blessed Galina, buried the body of the martyr with great honour.

You Must Become Like A Little Child To Enter The Kingdom Of Heaven

"He who is poor in spirit does not dare to try, does not think of trying. to comprehend the incomprehensible, to penetrate God's secrets, to philosephise on the highest; he believes in the word of the Lord, the Life-giver, knowing that His every word is truth, spirit, and life eternal; and in the words of His Church, ever instructed in all truth by the Holy Spirit, he believes as a child believes his father or mother, not demanding proofs, but relying upon them in perfect trust."
St. John lof Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver

Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver was, according to the testimony of the holy Evangelist Luke, one of the chosen of God in expectation of the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit dwelt upon him (Lk 2:25). It was announced to him from God, that he would not die until that time, when the Promised Messiah – Christ the Lord – would be come into the world.
Ancient historians relate that the Egyptian emperor Ptolemy II Philadelphos (285-247 BC) wished to add to the famous Library at Alexandria with texts of Holy Scripture. He invited scholars from Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin sent their wise men. Righteous Simeon was also among the 72 scholars in Alexandria for the translation of the Sacred Scriptures into the Greek language.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"For creation, as if written in characters and by means of its order and harmony, declares in a loud voice its own Master and Creator.... For this reason, God, by his own Word, gave creation such order as is found therein, so that while He is by nature invisible, men might yet be able to know Him through His works."

Saint Anthony the Great 251-356 A.D.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

St. Andrew (Rublev) of Russia, iconographer (1430)

Many consider him the greatest iconographer of all time, and his "Holy Trinity" the finest icon. Very little is known of his life. He was born around 1360, and probably studied with the Byzantine iconographer Theophanes the Greek. He is known to have created icons for the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Moscow and the Cathedral of the Dormition at Vladimir. He created a highly spiritual and distinctively Russian iconographic style that set the standard for Russian iconography for centuries thereafter. It is said that he knew St Sergius of Radonezh (July 5). In his later years he became a monk.

"If society embarks on the road of such recklessness consumption, our earth will go under. It has already been proven that if the average level of consumption of the whole world matches that of the United States… the basic resources will run out in 40 to 50 years. God has not given us resources to live like this,"
His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

Friday, February 5, 2010

What is the spirit of the anti-christ? It is the notion that man can work out his own problems and that we ourselves can usher peace into the world apart from divine intervention. It is a denial that we are broken and in need of a Savior. It is a display of pride that reflects a high regard for our own abilities to overcome the problems of this world through the unity of mankind rather than working within the unity of the Holy Trinity. It is a denial of sin, it's consequences and the day of judgement. Ultimately, it is a denial of the work of the Son of God to save mankind through the cross and His resurrection.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"In truth the Lord does not seek virgins nor married women, and neither monks nor worldly persons, but doth value the free intent of the person within the arbitrariness of his free will to offer thanks to the Holy Spirit, which acts and which rules the life of each person, yearning to be saved".