The Only Constant

Skopelos Greek Church Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Everything changes
Except our Lord Jesus Christ,
The only Constant.

He is Light, Life, Love,
Perpetual Truth, and Strength,
Hope, and Salvation.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. ~ Hebrews 13:8

…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ St. Matthew 28:20

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

Greeting you on the 6th Day of Christmas!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Happy Saint’s Day Anysia!

Through Stillness

Image by John from Pixabay

Monastery in Meteora, Greece

When you go forth, guard what you have gathered. When the cage is opened, the birds fly out. And then we shall find no further profit in stillness. ~ St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent)

Love of God proceeds from conversing with him; this conversation of prayer comes about through stillness, and stillness comes with the stripping away of the self.  ~ St. Isaac the Syrian (The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life)

True wisdom is gazing at God. Gazing at God is silence of the thoughts. Stillness of mind is tranquillity which comes from discernment.  ~ St. Isaac the Syrian (Homily 64)

From One Lamp to Another

Lantern Lights Exterior of Greek Church in Chios -2006

If from one burning lamp someone lights another, then another from that one, and so on in succession, he has light continuously. In the same way, through the Apostles ordaining their successors, and these successors ordaining others, and so on, the grace of the Holy Spirit is handed down through all generations and enlightens all who obey their shepherds and teachers. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

In the measure that we pay attention and take care to carry out what we hear, God will always enlighten us and make us understand His will. ~ St. Dorotheus of Gaza

6th Day of Nativity

January 12 / December 30

Christ is Born!

Today is the feast of St. Anysia.

The feature image shows her Icon and Reliquary at St. Demetrius Church in Thessaloniki, Greece – photo taken in 2017.

We do not worship the relics of the martyrs, but honour them in our worship of Him whose martyrs they are. We honour the servants in order that the respect paid to them may be reflected back to the Lord. ~ St. Jerome (342 -420 AD)

Here below, is an Apolytikion – a Dismissal Hymn, chanted in different parts of daily services, summarizing each feast day. This Greek Apolytikion, is sung in honour of St. Anysia.

To a dear friend who’s blessed to have this wonderful patron saint. Happy Saint’s Day Anysia. Congratulations, and God grant you many years!

Glorify Him!

Walking By Faith

An Ancient Pebble-Mosaic Church Walkway, Greece ~ 2004

Today is the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers: the Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel.

For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. ~ Psalm 26:3

We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. ~ Psalm 55:14

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. ~ Psalm 84:11

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. ~ Psalm 89:15

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. ~ Psalm 143:8

Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. ~ 1 Kings 8:61

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? ~ Amos 3:3

Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. ~ St. John 5:8

For we walk by faith, not by sight: ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ~ Galatians 5:25

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: ~ Colossians 2:6

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.~ Colossians 4:5

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Immeasurably Manifest

A Vantage View-Point in Mystras Greece – 2017

…The way of knowing God that is most worthy of Him is to know Him through unknowing, in a union that rises above all intellect. The intellect is first detached from all beings, then it goes out of itself and is united to rays more luminous than light itself. Thanks to these rays it shines in the unfathomable depths of Wisdom. It is no less true, however, as I have said, that this Wisdom can be known from every reality. ~ St. Dionysius the Areopagite

I’ve always been drawn to how even before St. Dionysius the Areopagite became a Christian, his numinous heart sensed why the sun hid its rays as if in shame, at the time of Christ’s Crucifixion.

Studying astronomy in Egypt, he witnessed the world-wide solar eclipse that occurred during our Lord’s death. So struck by this heavenly event, he exclaimed,“Either the Creator of all the world now suffers, or this visible world is coming to an end.”

Upon his return to Athens from Egypt, he was chosen as a member of the Areopagus Council, the Athenian high court, which would meet on the Hill of Ares (Mars)… across from the Acropolis.

St. Dionysius was present when Apostle Paul preached in the midst of the Areopagus, on Mars’ Hill, (Acts 17:16-34).

St. Paul’s sermon also described the supernatural darkness which occurred during our Lord’s Crucifixion, and St. Dionysius remembered what he witnessed in Egypt (which the other learned astronomers couldn’t explain). He became a Christian, was baptized by St. Paul, and is numbered among the Seventy Apostles.

The Areopagus in Athens on Mars’ Hill: 13 seconds into video shows the altar “To the Unknown God” as St. Paul saw and describes in Acts 17: 22-34

For three years St. Dionysius remained a companion of St. Paul in preaching the Word of God. St. Paul chose him as bishop of the city of Athens, and St. Dionysius later travelled to Jerusalem to meet the Virgin Mary. He was also present at her repose. There are four theological works attributed to St. Dionysius: The Divine NamesThe Mystical TheologyThe Celestial Hierarchy, and The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, as well as eleven letters. 

Sometime after the death of the Apostle Paul, St. Dionysius set off with two others, to evangelize Germany, Spain and France. Eventually the three met martyrdom together. St. Dionysius’ Heavenly Birthday (Feast Day) is Oct. 16/3. He is the patron saint of Athens and venerated as the protector of the Judges and the Judiciary.

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent. ~ St. Dionysius the Areopagite

Nativity of the Theotokos

Icon of St. Anna holding the Most Holy Theotokos – Benaki Museum, Greece, 2017

Greetings on this beautiful Feast Day! (September 21 /8)

In their barren affliction the holy parents [Sts. Joachim and Anna] of the Mother of God cried aloud unto the Lord; and they… received from heaven a gift worthy of God… Today the inhabited earth rejoiceth with thee, O holy Anna. For thou hast borne as blossom the Mother of its Redeemer, even her who brought forth the Rod of our strength from the root of Jesse, and who bore Christ as flower… Husbandman of our Thoughts and gardener of our souls, Thou hast made the barren earth fertile. Thou hast turned the ground that once was parched into fruitful land, rich in corn and bearing fruit. From Holy Anna Thou hast made to blossom… the Theotokos. ~ Matins Excerpts on the Birth of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos

7th century sermon on the Nativity of the Virgin Mary ~by St. Andrew, Archbishop of Crete

The root is the household of the Jews, the rod is Mary, the Flower of Mary is Christ. She is rightly called a rod, for she is of the royal lineage, of the house and family of David. Her Flower is Christ, Who destroyed the stench of worldly pollution and poured out the fragrance of eternal life. As He Himself said, ‘I am a flower of the plain, a lily of the valleys.’ ~ St Ambrose of Milan (4th century)

I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the Holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the Holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God? ~ St. Cyril of Alexandria (375 -444 AD)

She is the flower of the field from whom blossomed the precious lily of the valley.~ St Augustine (354-430 AD )

Here are some traditions on ways to celebrate today! Besides wearing blue in honour of the Theotokos, many hike and go birdwatching after Liturgy and lunch, to count how many birds and species they can see today. (It is said St. Anna saw a mother bird tending her fledglings in a garden nest, which saddened but inspired St. Anna to pray yet again faithfully for the blessing of a child.) If hiking, and you are allowed to, flowers and wild grasses are picked and placed in the family icon corner.

Some families have recently adapted baking a Birthday Cake or another kind of sweet, and sing the Tropar of the Nativity of the Theotokos before enjoying the treat. Others share they make blueberry pancakes after Liturgy or bake a blueberry pie for dessert for after dinner!

Thy nativity, O Virgin Theotokos, hath proclaimed Joy to all the world;
for from thee hath shone forth Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness,
Who, having annulled the curse, hath given His blessing, and having abolished death, hath granted us life everlasting. ~ Troparion Tone 4

O Most Holy Theotokos, pray to God for us!

Beautiful Orthodox Hymn to the Virgin Mary by St. Nektarios of Aegina Greece (with English translation)

Abbreviated version in Greek
Full version in Slavonic

The Door of Our Heart

A tiny church’s entrance in the heart of Athens, Greece 2017

When our hearts seek Christ, He’s clearly revealed through the teachings and Sacraments of the Holy Church.

Prayer and humility will gently guide us to that wondrous, internal Door to the Kingdom of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus has been patiently waiting (our whole life) for us to enter.

When we hear Him knock and lovingly call our name, we fling the Door wide open and joyfully rush into the Everlasting Arms of our soul’s Heavenly Bridegroom.

We are home.

…for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. ~ St. Luke 17:21

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. ~ St. John 10:9

Find Jesus at the door of your heart and you will discover paradise. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Thus, my brother, if you love peace of heart, strive to enter it by the door of humility, for no other door but humility leads therein. ~ Unseen Warfare

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. ~ St. Matthew 7:7-8

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. ~ Revelation 3:20

Let Him Write

Interior archway with ancient frescoes St. Demetrios Church Thessaloniki, Greece – 2006

Let God intervene between you and your purpose, instead of letting your purpose intervene between God and you… Every morning, open a new page, and put your signature on the blank. Whatever God wills, let Him write. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

The Feast of Life

Monastery Gardens – Meteora, Greece 2006

Christ is Risen!

Memory Eternal Faith!

Beautiful Beatitudes!

Thou broughtest me into this life as if into a wonderful garden. I see the sky deep and blue, the birds as they chirp in flight; I listen to the soothing rustle of trees and the sonorous sound of waters; my mouth is enjoying fragrant and succulent fruits. How wonderful it is in Thy world and how joyous it is to be Thy guest! ~ Ikos 2; Akathist of Thanksgiving

Glory to Thee for the feast of life! Glory to Thee for the scents of lilies of the valley and roses. Glory to Thee for the abundance and multiplicity of earthly fruits. Glory to Thee for the glistening of morning dew. Glory to Thee for the joyous smile of dawn with which Thou dost waken me. Glory to Thee for eternal life and the kingdom of heaven. Glory to Thee, O God of the ages! ~ The Akathist of Thanksgiving  by Metropolitan Tryphon of Turkestan; discovered in the personal effects of Hieromartyr Grigori Petroff (+1942)

Truly He is Risen!

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