Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ten Point Program For Orthodox Life

Translating Orthodox Christian Ideals Into Daily Life

By living the Orthodox Life you put Christ’s commandments and way of life deep into your consciousness. You learn to deal more effectively with stress. You release reserves of untapped energies. You transform anger. You heal relationships. You leave behind painful memories and live a life fully in the present. You develop unsuspected capacities for insight and understanding. You learn to love more fully than you thought possible. You discover your unique contribution to life. You walk a path towards eternal life in Paradise.


1. Praying Daily
Have a regular prayer rule that includes morning and evening prayer.

2. Worshiping and Participating in Sacraments
Attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy receiving Holy Communion regularly as well as regular participation in Confession.

3. Honoring the Liturgical Cycle of the Church
Follow the seasons of the church and participate in the fasts and feasts of the Church.

4. Using the Jesus Prayer
Repeat the Holy name whenever possible throughout the day or night.

5. Slowing Down and Ordering Your Life
Set priorities and reduce the stress and friction caused by a hurried life.

6. Being Watchful
Give full attention to what you are doing at the moment.

7. Taming the Passions
Overcome your habits, attachment to your likes and dislikes, and learn to practice the virtues.

8. Putting Others First
Free yourself from your selfishness and find joy in helping others.

9. Spiritual Fellowship
Spend time regularly with other Orthodox Christians for support and inspiration.

10. Reading the Scriptures and Holy Fathers
Be inspired by the lessons of the Holy Scriptures, the wisdom of the Holy Fathers and the lives of the Saints of the Church.

Why Don’t You Fast?

The Prophets Fasted
Moses: When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone...I was in the mountain forty days and forty nights, I ate no bread and drank no water. Deuteronomy 9:9 (LXX)

Prophet Jonah: It was by fasting among other things that the people of Nineveh were saved from his prediction of peril. Jonah 3:7 (LXX)

Prophet Joel: “Now, says the Lord your God, turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting and with wailing, and with mourning. Joel 2:12 (LXX)

Prophet Daniel: And I set my face toward the Lord God, to seek him diligently by prayer and supplication, with fastings and sackcloth. And I Prayed to the Lord my God, and confessed... Daniel 9:3-4 (LXX)

Jesus Fasted:
Immediately after His Baptism, what did He do?
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungry.
What was His instruction for Apostles in the case of the epileptic boy whose demon the Apostles could not cast out?
This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
When challenged by Pharisees about His disciples what did He say?
Can the children of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
The Lord Himself gave instructions for fasting:
But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; That you appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret. Matthew. 6:17-18
Why did he say this?

Apostles fasted:
In the Acts of the Apostles we read: As they ministered (liturgical rite) to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work where unto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

They coupled fasting with liturgical acts:
Paul: Apostle Paul describes his own spiritual life as one of sacrifice, vigils, thirst, and fasting lived “in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”
He also refers to fasting in the context of marriage saying that by mutual consent husband and wife abstain from marital relations periodically while fasting and prayer.
The first century - Didache:

“The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”
Your fasts must not be identical with those of the hypocrites. They fast on Mondays and Thursdays; but you should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The fasting referred to here was a complete abstention from both food and drink until sundown.

Church Fathers fasted:
Ecclesiastical writer Tertullian (220) notes that spiritual growth requires confession and prayer fed by “fasting, ...not for the stomach’s sake, ...but for the soul’s.
St. Gregory (391) - practice of receiving the Eucharist after fasting.
Saint Basil (379) wrote much on fasting.
St. John Cassian (435): Therefore, fastings, vigils, meditation on the Scriptures, self-denial, and the abnegation of all possessions are not perfection, but aids to perfection: because the end of that science does not lie in these, but by means of these we arrive at the end.
St. Athanasius (373) - Fasting is more than just food. ...let us vie with each other in observing the purity of the fast by watchfulness in prayers, by study of the Scriptures, by distributing to the poor, and let us be at peace with our enemies. Let us bind up those who are scattered abroad, banish pride, and return to lowliness of mind, being at peace with all men, and urging the brethren unto love. Letter XIV.
St. Athanasius describes the benefits of fasting:
It “...cures ills and dries up bodily humors, casts out demons and turns away evil thoughts; it makes the mind brighter, the heart clean, and the body holy; and it presents man before the Throne of God.”
Modern Saints Fasted:
St. Nectarios of Aegina (1920) Fasting is an ordinance of the church, obliging the Christian to observe it on specific days. ...He who fasts for the uplifting of his mind and heart towards God shall be rewarded by God, Who is a most liberal bestower of divine gifts, for his devotion.
...unless one lifts his mind and heart towards God through Christian--not Pharisaic--fasting and through prayer, he cannot attain a consciousness of his sinful state and earnestly seek the forgiveness of sins.. Prayer and fasting--Christian fasting-- serve as means of self-study, of discernment of our true moral state, of an accurate estimation of our sins and of a knowledge of their true character. (Vol 7 of Modern Orthodox Saints, 2nd ed., p 178)
The purpose of fasting is chiefly spiritual: to provide an opportunity and preparation for spiritual works of prayer and meditation on the Divine through the complete abstinence from food, or the eating of uncooked food or frugal fare.
However, fasting is no less valuable for physical health, since self-control and simplicity of life are necessary conditions of health and longevity, as dietetics tells us.
Canons of Church require fasting:
If you do not honor the Wednesday and Friday fast you are to be excommunicated.
Must fast prior to taking Communion.
Strict fast during entire Lenten period.
Do not fast on Sunday and Saturday.
If ill or weak relaxation of guidelines appropriate.
Always been essential part of Orthodox Christian Life.
Necessary discipline to combat the passions and open the door to the renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Why don’t you fast?
Fasting foods should be simple and plain and not extravagant.
The more effort that goes into their creativity and preparation, the more its value is reduced.
They should not be prepared to satisfy our craving for certain tastes.
• Break from our automatic response to food,
• Give thanks to our Lord,
• Increase our self-control.

"Μεταλαμβάνετε συχνά, προσεύχεστε θερμά, υπομένεται και θα δείτε χέρι δυνατό να σας κρατά". ( Γέροντας Αμφιλόχιος Μακρής )

"Μεταλαμβάνετε συχνά, προσεύχεστε θερμά, υπομένεται και θα δείτε
χέρι δυνατό να σας κρατά".

Γέροντας Αμφιλόχιος Μακρής.

Η χαριτωμένη υπακοή ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης - Νουθεσίες περί υπακοής

Η υπακοή χαρίζει αμεριμνία, διότι η μέριμνα είναι μια πνευματική φυματίωση, που σιγα–σιγά, σαν μικρόβιο φυματιώσεως συνεχώς δηλητηριάζει τη ζωή του ανθρώπου, της ψυχής και του σώματος και σταδιακά φέρνει το θάνατο. Έτσι και η μέριμνα του βίου σαν ένα άλλο μικρόβιο φθείρει τον άνθρωπο, την ψυχή του και τον πεθαίνει ψυχικά.

Η υπακοή αναφέρεται στο Χριστό και όχι στον άνθρωπο που υπακούει κανείς. Και όταν ο υποτακτικός υπακούει χωρίς παράσιτα, αλλά για την αγάπη του Χριστού και μόνο, τότε η υπακοή του είναι σωστή μπροστά στα μάτια του Χριστού. Να υπακούμε για την αγάπη του Χριστού και μόνο και έτσι ο δρόμος μας γίνεται σταθερός και ίσιος για το Χριστό.

Ποιος άνθρωπος πάνω στη γη δεν έκανε σφάλματα και δεν τραυματίσθηκε στην πάλη με τους δαίμονες, τα πάθη και τον κόσμο; Δε μιλάμε γι’ αυτά τα τραύματα, αλλά μιλούμε ότι πρέπει να βλέπουμε συνεχώς τον προορισμό μας. Με τις δύο αρετές, της υπακοής για την αγάπη του Χριστού και της προσευχής να πετύχουμε την αγάπη του Χριστού. Κι όταν η αγάπη του Θεού έρθει μέσα στην ψυχή μας, τότε ο δρόμος μας πλέον δέχεται φως. Τότε η αγάπη του Χριστού εξουδετερώνει κάθε δυσκολία και νιώθουμε τη ζωή πάρα πολύ ευτυχισμένη.

Η υπακοή ταπεινώνει τον άνθρωπο και η ταπείνωση εξουδετερώνει κάθε πειρασμική ενέργεια. Όπου ταπείνωση, εκεί ο διάβολος χάνεται. Όπου υπερηφάνεια κι εγωισμός, εκεί η παρουσία των δαιμόνων, οι πειρασμοί και τα πάθη. Γι’ αυτό η υπακοή είναι πολύ χαριτωμένη αρετή, επειδή οπλίζει με τόση ταπείνωση τον άνθρωπο όταν υπακούει εν γνώσει, για την αγάπη του Χριστού.