Sunday, May 31, 2009

A brother spoke with Theodore and began to talk about matters of which he had no experience. Theodore said to him, "You've not yet found a ship to sail in, nor put your luggage aboard, nor put out to sea, and you're already acting as if you were in the city which you mean to reach. If you make some attempt to do the things you are discussing, then you can talk about them with understanding."
Evagrius said, "Cut the desire for many things out of your heart and so prevent your mind being dispersed and your stillness lost."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do not rail against anyone, but rather say 'God knows each one.' Do not agree with him who slanders, do not rejoice at his slander and do not hate him who slanders his neighbour. This is what it means not to judge. Do not have hostile feelings towards anyone and do not let dislike dominate your heart; do not hate him who hates his neighbour. This is what peace is: Encourage yourself with this thought, 'Affliction lasts but a short time, while peace is forever by the grace of God the Word'"
-St. Moses the Ethiopian

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Archbishop Iakovos

"Though God may intend man to destroy himself, he also has given man free will and the ability to cleanse himself and his world. The church will not be pessimistic, nor sit quietly in its handsome houses of worship while the war rages outside its churches for the bodies, minds and souls of its parishoners."
His Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis) of America quoted by Fr. Milton Efthimiou

I just thought his farewell speech was beautiful.

Farewell Remarks of Archbishop Iakovos Upon His Retirement in 1996

By Archbishop Iakovos
Grand Banquet, Clergy-Laity Congress, July 3, 1996

The beautiful Day which lasted almost 37 years has reached its end. The sunset is brilliant, as I can read it in your eyes. The night will be short, as are the nights of the summer. And the dawn will rise tomorrow upon another Day. It is for this day that I pray together with you. I want you to be happy, to enjoy the light, to walk in it. I will be terribly unhappy if you ever lose the sight of tomorrow.

Finish your each day with the reassuring truth that tomorrow is another day. A day unsure as it may be, but a day which is yours with all the brilliance of its sun, with all its flowers and birdsongs, and all the uncertainties, the fears, the anxieties and the hopes, as well. Remember, that you also have to make it easier to accept each day, to dissipate any clouds that may threaten to darken the sun. Do not allow the darkness to envelop your soul. When you see it approaching, you keep it at a distance with your Christian courage and determination. There are so many blessings surrounding you every day. Enjoy them; rejoice in them all. The Heavens above are always blue for those who can turn the eyes of their soul towards them. And the nights for those who believe in God will be adorned with silver rays.

And now, after these general paternal reminders and remarks, walk boldly toward the third millennium, reassured by your Orthodox faith. As you pass its threshold, look at the sun; let it take care of the shadows that follow you. The Sun of righteousness will guide your steps towards the values of Christianity: The hope, the life and the love that will enable you to hold fast on what is yours: Your faith!

Orthodoxy is a religion and theology that places no boundaries or barriers along the way of those who search for happiness in unity, in peace, and in justice. Orthodoxy will one day, and hopefully soon, rediscover its essential oneness and disavow hunger for power, ethnic superiority and secularism which leads it to unchurchly ambitions. Orthodoxy must definitely identify itself as a religion that leans over all people with genuine compassion and declare that its chief concern is to gather and unify all those who drifted away from Christian truth.

Christianity in the light of the upsurging of religions must become once again a robust religious movement capable of touching all human souls. Missionary orders that look for the increase of numbers alone, owe it to themselves to place their mission in the hands of Christ who has said to care "for the least of my brethren" (Matt. 25:40).

We, in the Americas, strengthened by the martyrdom and martyria of the Great Church of Constantinople and the ancient churches of the East, as well, will continue to grow in the truth and beauty of the Christian spirit, as truly ecumenically minded, being concerned and committed to peace with all religions and to the eradication of bigotry, discrimination, injustice, violence and racial hatred.

The march in Selma, Alabama, will continue to pave the way from which we shall never deviate along with the frontiers of unity and social justice. Ours is a commitment to true Christianity, to true justice, to the liberation of people still oppressed, and to true peace, the one founded upon respect of life and of each other, as we declare in our Pledge of Allegiance.

And so, my beloved, unafraid, armored with all the spiritual weapons of legitimate opposition, we will march forward to a new millennium and a new world, having rolled up our sleeves and ready to rebuild our human society. True, we will find critics, even opponents, even enemies, even faults and errors in our own thinking and the way we understand the immensity of our task, but nothing should ever discourage us or turn us into deserters of the new front. We are called by our Church and country to bravely stand and combat whatever is untrue, dishonest, unchristian or inhuman. So let us march forward, boldly and with definite resolve to win. The moral victory and the new century will be yours.

+ + + + + +

May his Memory be Eternal

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quote from St. Seraphim of Sarov

When despondency seizes us, let us not give into to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, who you are...a fugitive from Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ...has dominion over us and over all
- St. Seraphim of Sarov

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quote from the Fathers about gossip...

Hyperichius said, "The serpent whispered to Eve and cast her out of paradise. The man who whispers against his neighbor is like the serpent. He condemns the soul of whoever listens to him, and he does not save his own."

Monday, May 18, 2009


And yet another quote. I haven't been able to update at all, as I was at the iconography workshop, so hopefully I'll have more time now (at least until June, which is unexpectedly busy).

Found this quote by accident, and it's on of my favorite ones. Not exactly religious, but a good one anyways.

Science arose from poetry... when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Wisdom from the Desert

Arsenius once asked an old Egyptian monk for advice about his temptations. Another monk who saw this said, "Arsenius, how is it that you, who are so learned in Greek and Latin, are asking that uneducated peasant about your temptations?"

Arsenius answered, "I have a lot of worldly knowledge of Greek and Latin but I have not yet been able to learn the alphabet of this peasant."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fr's Homily (letter of St. Seraphim of Viritsa)

Saint Seraphim of Viritsa's Spiritual Testament

"This Was From Me"

By Metropolitan Manuel Lemeshevsky

Have you ever thought that everything that touches you touches Me as well? For that which touches you touches the apple of My eye.

You are dear in my eyes, precious, and I have loved you; therefore it is a particular pleasure for Me to educate you.

When temptations arise against you, and the enemy comes like a river, I want you to know—This was from Me.

Your weakness needs My strength, and your safety comes from giving Me the opportunity to fight for you. If you find yourself in difficult circumstances, among people who do not understand you, who do not take what you like into consideration, who alienate you—This was from Me.

I am God, Who arranges circumstances. It was no accident that you find yourself in the place where you are; this is the place I have appointed for you. Did you not ask that I teach you humility? Well, then, look: I have placed you in precisely that place, in that school, where this lesson is learned. Your surroundings and those who live with you are only fulfilling My will. If you find yourself in financial difficulty, if you find it hard to make ends meet—This was from Me.

For I have your material means at my disposal. I want you to call unto me, for you to be dependant upon Me. My reserves are inexhaustible. I want you to be confirmed in fidelity to Me and to My promises. May it not be said to you in your need: You did not believe in the Lord your God.

Are you in a night of suffering? Are you separated from your loved ones and those close to your heart? This was from Me.

I am the Man of suffering, Who has tasted affliction. I have allowed this so that you would turn to Me, so that in Me you would find eternal comfort. If you have been let down by your friend, to someone to whom you opened your heart—This was from Me.

I allowed this disappointment to touch you so that you would know that your best friend is the Lord. I want you to bring everything to Me and to speak to Me.

Has someone slandered you? Give this to me, and bring your soul closer to Me, your Refuge, to hide from the contradiction of the nations. I shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. If your plans have been destroyed, if you are downtrodden in soul and tired—This was from Me.

You made plans, and brought them to Me, so that I would bless them. But I want you to leave Me in charge of the circumstances of your life, and then responsibility for everything will be Mine, for this is too difficult for you; by yourself you can not manage them, for you are only an instrument, and not the actor. If unanticipated problems of life have visited you, and if despondency has seized your heart, then know—This was from Me.

For I want your heart and your soul to be always aflame before My eyes; to conquer faint-heartedness of the soul in My name. If you do not hear from your dear ones and friends for a long time, and in your faint-heartedness fall into despondency and grumbling, know—This was from Me.

By this anguish in your spirit, I test the strength of your faith in the surity of My promise and the strength of your boldness in prayer for these dear ones of yours. Was it not you who entrusted them to the Protection of My All-Pure Mother? Was it not you who once entrusted their care to My providential love? If serious illness, either temporary or incurable, has visited you, and has confined to your bed, then know—This was from Me.

For I want you to know Me even more deeply in you bodily infirmities, so that you would not grumble over this trial sent to you, that you would not try to penetrate My plans through different means for the salvation of peoples souls, but that you would uncomplainingly and submissively bow you neck under My goodness towards you. If you have dreamed of performing some special deed for Me, and instead haven fallen onto a bed of sickness and weakness—This was from Me.

Then you would have been immersed in your activities, and I would not have been able to attract your thoughts to Me, for I want to teach you My deepest thoughts and lessons, so that you would be in My service. I want to teach you to recognize that you are nothing. Some of My best co-workers are those who have been cut off from vital activity, that they would learn to wield the weapon of unceasing prayer.

Have you unexpectedly been called to occupy a difficult and responsible position? Go, place it on Me. I entrust these difficulties to you so that the Lord God would bless you for this in all your deeds, on all your paths, in everything that will done by your hands. On this day I put into your hands a vessel of holy oil. Use it generously, My children! Every difficulty that arises, every word that insults you, every obstacle to your work that could elicit in you a feeling of annoyance, every revelation of your weakness and inability, shall be anointed with this oil.

Remember that every obstacle is a Divine instruction. Every sting will be dulled when you learn to see Me in everything that touches you. Therefore place the word I have declared to you today in your heart: This was from Me. For this is not an empty matter for you—this is your life.

Translator's note: Inasmuch as the above text was distributed for from hand-to-hand in samizdat form for several decades, printed versions include competing explanations of its authorship and origin. The most common attribution is to St Seraphim of Viritsa, who was said to have written it in 1937 to a certain bishop, his spiritual son, who was at the time in prison. It is almost entirely certain, however, that the author is in fact Metropolitan Manuel (Lemeshevsky) of Kuibyshev and Syzran (1884-1968). It is known that St Seraphim of Viritsa and Metropolitan Manuel were acquainted, and therefore it could be speculated that this meditation represents the latter's record of the saint's spiritual teaching.

Translated from the original Russian by Hierodeacon Samuel, Monastery of St Job of Pochaev, Munich, Germany, for the Orthodox Christian Information Center. Posted on 3/6/2008.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What? Another quote?!?!

I got this quote from Fr. Stephens blog Glory to God for All things (there is a link in the side bar if you are is a wonderful blog). I'm not sure if he wrote it, or if he got it from somewhere, but never the less, it's a great quote.

Knowing God
The Orthodox “experience” if I can use such a phrase, is the confirmation in the heart of the truth we have received as we grow in grace and in purity of heart. But the truth of the faith must be confirmed in such a living manner or it simply becomes an historical item and the Church would be a collection of antiquarians and not the living temple of God. For my knowledge of God is also my life in God. Life, light, truth, knowledge - all of these have something of a synomymous character.

Oh yes...some announcements

For anyone that is interested, there is another iconography workshop coming up May 11-17th. There are still a few spots available. This workshop is an amazing experience, and something that we are truly lucky to have here in Victoria. You learn the traditional way of painting an icon with egg tempera. For more information, and for pictures from the last workshop (November 2008) click here.

Also thought I'd mention that there is another amazing workshop, this one for Byzantine Chanting that will be held in Frezno, CA. Amazing music, amazing instructors, if you are at all interested in Byzantine music, this is a wonderful oppertunity at a very reasonable price. For more information about this workshop, click here.

Sayings from the Desert Fathers..

Evagrius once said to Arsenius, "How is it that we educated and learned men have no goodness but Egyptian peasants have a great deal?"

Arsenius answered, "We have nothing because we go chasing worldly knowledge. These Egyptian peasants have got their goodness by hard work."