Thursday, March 5, 2015

Memorial For the Deceased ( St. Paisios )

The best of all memorials we can do for the deceased is to live careful lives, and undertake the struggle to do away with our shortcomings in order to brighten our souls. This is because our freedom from material things and the passions of the soul, besides bringing us relief, it brings also comfort to our departed ancestors of all our generations. The departed feel joy when one of their offspring is near to God. If we are not in good spiritual condition, then our parents, our grandparents, and our great-grandparents of all generations suffer. "See what offspring we have made!" say the sad ones. If we are in good spiritual condition, however, they rejoice, because they helped us to be born and God somehow is obligated to help them.

Therefore, that which will give joy to the deceased is for us to strive for us to please God with our lives, that we may meet with them in Paradise and live together in eternal life. Hence, it is worthwhile to beat upon our old self to become new, to neither harm ourselves or other people, but to help ourselves and others, either living or fallen asleep.

St. Paisios


Αληθινό χθεσινό περιστατικό :

Φίλος μου από την Κύπρο βρέθηκε με ηλικιωμένο γέροντα και κουβέντα στην κουβέντα ο παππούς του ανέφερε ότι κατάγεται από τα κατεχόμενα.

Σε ερώτηση του φίλου μου "πώς τα βλέπεις τα πράγματα παππού;"
αυτός απάντησε ότι "σύντομα θα γυρίσουμε πίσω!" με αφοπλιστική βεβαιότητα!

"Και πώς είσαι τόσο σίγουρος;" τον ρώτησε πάλι ο φίλος μου.

"Άκουσε να δεις παιδί μου :
Ο εγγονός μου που είναι 10 ετών είδε στον ύπνο του σε όραμα, τον γέροντα Παΐσιο να τον παίρνει από το χέρι και να τον οδηγεί στο σπίτι μου στα κατεχόμενα, λέγοντάς του ¨εδώ θα επιστρέψεις και θα ζήσεις την υπόλοιπη ζωή σου αγόρι μου¨!

Όταν ρώτησα τον μικρό πώς ήταν το σπίτι μας, το οποίο δεν έχει δει ποτέ ούτε σε φωτογραφία, αφού μου το περιέγραψε είπε συγκεκριμένα πως ¨έχει άσπρα ψηλά κάγκελα και γύρω-γύρω μικρές τούρκικες σημαίες¨ κάτι που δεν ταίριαζε με τα κάγκελα που είχαμε αφήσει εμείς και ήταν μαύρου χρώματος.

Έτσι αποφάσισα, να πάω στα κατεχόμενα να το δω από κοντά έπειτα από πάρα πολλά χρόνια.
Όταν πήγα έμεινα κατάπληκτος αφού το σπίτι πλέον ήταν ακριβώς όπως το περιέγραψε ο εγγονός μου.
Γι' αυτό σου λέω, σύντομα θα γυρίσουμε πίσω..."

Ο ηλικιωμένος γέροντας είναι από το χωριό Κυθρέα όπου είναι κοντά σε στρατοκρατούμενη περιοχή όπου μένουνε πολλοί τούρκοι αξιωματικοί σε σπίτια Ελληνοκυπρίων.

Praying Before Icons ( St. John of Kronstadt )

When praying, do everything with understanding. When you pour oil into the lamp burning before an icon, represent to yourself that the Life-giver every day, every hour, every minute supports your life by His Spirit, and, as daily by means of sleep in bodily respects, through prayer and the Word of God in spiritual respects, pours into you the sacred oil of life, by means of which your soul and body burn. When you place a candle before an icon, remember that your life is like a burning candle, that it will burn out and be extinguished, or that some other reasons, such as the passions, surfeiting, wine and other pleasures, make it burn faster than it should.

During prayer, before the icons or without them, it is necessary to always have full hope of receiving that which we ask for — for instance, deliverance from afflictions, spiritual sickness, and sins, because we have already a thousand times experienced that we do clearly obtain mercy from the Lord or Our Lady; and therefore, not to hope to obtain that which we ask in prayer, or to doubt in the fact of our prayers being heard, would be the greatest foolishness and blindness.

It is an excellent custom with Christians, and one pleasing to God, to have an icon of the Saviour and to pray to Him before it. This is a crying necessity of our soul. The Lord Himself, with the love which is proper to Him, desires to be formed in us, as the Apostle says: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you"[1230] ; or "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith."[1231] But how can I form Christ in my heart if I do not first represent Him sensibly before my eyes? Thus we have images of the Saviour, of the Mother of God, and others. The love of Christians for them, desiring to always carry their images in their thoughts and hearts, as well as our nature, which is both carnal and spiritual, has called forth the necessity of representing Them on painted icons, placing them in the most honoured places of the house, as in our hearts or the chambers of our soul, and of reverencing them by bowing to them, first spiritually, and then bodily. And how in accordance with God's intention our veneration of icons is! Heaven itself replies to us from the icons, as the Lord in olden times replied from the mercy-seat in the Hebrew tabernacle; many of them shine by miracles.

Every place is the place of God's presence and sovereignty. Hence it is undoubtedly true that the Lord looks upon us with the eyes of the holy icons as with His own, and can speak to us by the mouths of the holy icons as by His own. Also, owing to the fact that the Lord is in every place, His cross, His name work miracles. His icons show themselves to be wonder-working, and are in every case places of His gracious presence.

An Excerpt from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt On Holy Icons, Images and Symbols.

Not the place, but the manner saves man (Elder Philotheos Zervakos )


You write, my child, that you are distressed in the world and by its vanity, delusion and impiety, sin and noise. So that I can lighten your affliction a bit I advise you to do the following: First, think that God is everywhere present, and since He is everywhere, he also is in the wilderness and in the world, in the sea and on land, He is everywhere. And He is not far from each one of us, as the Apostle Paul told the Athenians. So since my child, God is near you, leave the old world, let it do whatever it wants, you will not give account for the world. At the 2nd Coming each one will give account concerning his own self.
Second, say about those who make noise and disturb you from morning till night: They do theirjob and I let me do my job. They shout, sing, dance and bless Satan, with lewd songs, dances and foul words. I must hymn, bless and glorify God, pray and ask Him to save me, to take me with Him into paradise, as He took the thief, the prodigal, the adulteress, the publican. Is it not, my child, a great shame to us, for them to have greater eagerness than us in working for Satan day and night, for him to damn them, and us to be negligent and cold and working for God with indolence?
So I advise you, have patience and don’t abandon ceaseless noetic prayer, don’t allow God to depart from near you. Joseph was in Egypt, in the place of sin, and he did not sin because he recalled God, he had Him near him. Adam was in paradise, where sin did not exist, but because he forgot God, he disobeyed Him and listened to the devil, and he lost paradise. So it is not the place, but the manner which saves man, the divine Chrysostom used to say.

Elder Philotheos Zervakos