FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Anthony the Great
Anthony the New of the Berropas Skete
George the New Martyr of Ioannina
Theodosius the Emperor
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ἀντωνίου τοῦ Μεγάλου.
Ἀντωνίου τοῦ νέου τοῦ ἐν τῇ Σκήτῃ τῆς Βερροίας ἀσκήσαντος καί Γεωργίου νεομάρτυρος τοῦ ἐν Ἰωαννίνοις.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Matthew 11:27-30
The Lord said to his disciples, "All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 11.27-30
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου· καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ, οὐδὲ τὸν πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι.Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι, κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς.ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς καὶ μάθετε ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι πρᾷός εἰμι καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ, καὶ εὑρήσετε ἀνάπαυσιν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν·ὁ γὰρ ζυγός μου χρηστὸς καὶ τὸ φορτίον μου ἐλαφρόν ἐστιν.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 13:17-21
Brethren, obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 13:17-21
Ἀδελφοί, πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν, καὶ ὑπείκετε· αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν, ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες· ἵνα μετὰ χαρᾶς τοῦτο ποιῶσιν, καὶ μὴ στενάζοντες· ἀλυσιτελὲς γὰρ ὑμῖν τοῦτο. Προσεύχεσθε περὶ ἡμῶν· πεποίθαμεν γὰρ ὅτι καλὴν συνείδησιν ἔχομεν, ἐν πᾶσιν καλῶς θέλοντες ἀναστρέφεσθαι. Περισσοτέρως δὲ παρακαλῶ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι, ἵνα τάχιον ἀποκατασταθῶ ὑμῖν. Ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης, ὁ ἀναγαγὼν ἐκ νεκρῶν τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων τὸν μέγαν ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης αἰωνίου, τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν, καταρτίσαι ὑμᾶς ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ εἰς τὸ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ, ποιῶν ἐν ὑμῖν τὸ εὐάρεστον ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· ᾧ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.
The Reading is from Luke 6:17-23
At that time, Jesus stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 6.17-23
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἔστη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐπὶ τόπου πεδινοῦ, καὶ ὄχλος μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πλῆθος πολὺ τοῦ λαοῦ ἀπὸ πάσης τῆς ᾿Ιουδαίας καὶ ῾Ιερουσαλὴμ καὶ τῆς παραλίου Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος, οἳ ἦλθον ἀκοῦσαι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἰαθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν νόσων αὐτῶν,καὶ οἱ ὀχλούμενοι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων, καὶ ἐθεραπεύοντο·καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἐζήτει ἅπτεσθαι αὐτοῦ, ὅτι δύναμις παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐξήρχετο καὶ ἰᾶτο πάντας. Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγε· Mακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ. μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν, ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε. μακάριοι οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν, ὅτι γελάσετε. μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν μισήσωσιν ὑμᾶς οἱ ἄνθρωποι, καὶ ὅταν ἀφορίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ ὀνειδίσωσι καὶ ἐκβάλωσι τὸ ὄνομα ὑμῶν ὡς πονηρὸν ἕνεκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ σκιρτήσατε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ· κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΖ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀντωνίου τοῦ Μεγάλου.
Ἔχει τι μεῖζον οὐρανὸς καὶ τῶν Νόων,
Ἔξαρχον Ἀντώνιον Ἀσκητῶν ἔχων.
Ἑβδομάτῃ δεκάτῃ Ἀντώνιον ἔνθεν ἄειραν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου καὶ θεοφόρου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ θαυματουργοῦ Ἀντωνίου τοῦ Νέου, τοῦ ἐν τῇ Σκήτει τῆς Βερροίας ἀσκήσαντος.
Ἀντώνιον δὲ τὸν Νέον ποῦ τακτέον,
Εἰ μὴ παρ᾿αὐτῷ τῷ πάλαι Ἀντωνίῳ;
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀχιλλᾶς ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ὅπλοις Ἀχιλλεὺς τὰς κάτω πορθεῖ πόλεις,
Πόνοις Ἀχιλλᾶς τὴν ἄνω πλουτεῖ πόλιν.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Anthony, the Father of monks, was born in Egypt in 251 of pious parents who departed this life while he was yet young. On hearing the words of the Gospel: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor" (Matt. 19:21), he immediately put it into action. Distributing to the poor all he had, and fleeing from all the turmoil of the world, he departed to the desert. The manifold temptations he endured continually for the span of twenty years are incredible. His ascetic struggles by day and by night, whereby he mortified the uprisings of the passions and attained to the height of dispassion, surpass the bounds of nature; and the report of his deeds of virtue drew such a multitude to follow him that the desert was transformed into a city, while he became, so to speak, the governor, lawgiver, and master-trainer of all the citizens of this newly-formed city.
The cities of the world also enjoyed the fruit of his virtue. When the Christians were being persecuted and put to death under Maximinus in 312, he hastened to their aid and consolation. When the Church was troubled by the Arians, he went with zeal to Alexandria in 335 and struggled against them in behalf of Orthodoxy. During this time, by the grace of his words, he also turned many unbelievers to Christ.
Saint Anthony began his ascetic life outside his village of Coma in Upper Egypt, studying the ways of the ascetics and holy men there, and perfecting himself in the virtues of each until he surpassed them all. Desiring to increase his labors, he departed into the desert, and finding an abandoned fortress in the mountain, he made his dwelling in it, training himself in extreme fasting, unceasing prayer, and fierce conflicts with the demons. Here he remained, as mentioned above, about twenty years. Saint Athanasius the Great, who knew him personally and wrote his life, says that he came forth from that fortress "initiated in the mysteries and filled with the Spirit of God." Afterwards, because of the press of the faithful, who deprived him of his solitude, he was enlightened by God to journey with certain Bedouins, until he came to a mountain in the desert near the Red Sea, where he passed the remaining part of his life.
Saint Athanasius says of him that "his countenance had a great and wonderful grace. This gift also he had from the Saviour. For if he were present in a great company of monks, and any one who did not know him previously wished to see him, immediately coming forward he passed by the rest, and hurried to Anthony, as though attracted by his appearance. Yet neither in height nor breadth was he conspicuous above others, but in the serenity of his manner and the purity of his soul." So Passing his life, and becoming an example of virtue and a rule for monastics, he reposed on January 17 in the year 356, having lived altogether some 105 years.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Τὸν ζηλωτὴν Ἠλίαν τοὶς τρόποις μιμούμενος, τῶ Βαπτιστὴ εὐθείαις ταὶς τρίβοις ἑπόμενος, Πάτερ Ἀντώνιε, τῆς ἐρήμου γέγονας οἰκιστής, καὶ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐστήριξας εὐχαίς σου, διὸ πρέσβευε Χριστῷ τῶ Θεῷ, σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.
Emulating the ways of Elias the zealot, and following the straight paths of the Baptist, O Father Anthony, thou madest of the wilderness a city, and didst support the world by thy prayers. Wherefore intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Τοὺς βιωτικοὺς θορύβους ἀπωσάμενος, ἡσυχαστικῶς τὸν βίον ἐξετέλεσας, τὸν Βαπτιστὴν μιμούμενος, κατὰ πάντα τρόπον Ὁσιώτατε, σὺν αὐτῷ οὖν σὲ γεραίρομεν, Πατέρων Πάτερ Ἀντώνιε.
Thou leftest behind all earthly cares and turbulence, and leddest a life of stillness and tranquillity, emulating John the Baptist in every way, O most righteous one. Wherefore, we acclaim thee with him, O first of the Fathers, Father Anthony.
Σήμερα η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει την μνήμη του μεγάλου ασκητού της ερήμου, του αγίου Αντωνίου. Ο άγιος Αντώνιος είναι από τους λίγους πλουσίους, που άκουσαν την εντολή του Χριστού και την εξετέλεσαν πρόθυμα και χωρίς λύπη· "πώλησόν σου τα υπάρχοντα και διάδος πτωχοίς... ". Δεν έμαθε γράμματα, μα ήταν σοφός κι έτρεχαν όλοι για ν' ακούσουν τα σοφά του λόγια. Έλεγε σε κείνους που τον πλησίαζαν· "Τι πρώτόν εστι, νούς ή γράμματα; Νους ο και γραμμάτων ευρέτης". Κι εκείνο που τον απασχολούσε, όπως κάθε πραγματικά σοφό κι άγιο άνθρωπο, ήταν να γνωρίση τον εαυτόν του· αυτό και συμβούλευε στους άλλους. "Οφείλομεν προ πάντων πειράσθαι γνώναι εαυτούς". Τον βιο του αγίου Αντωνίου έγραψε ο Μέγας Αθανάσιος. - "Αντωνίου του θείου βίον συνέγραψε", καθώς λέγει ο άγιος Γρηγόριος ο Θεολόγος, κι είναι το έργο αυτό σπουδαία πηγή στην πατερική φιλολογία για τον μοναχικό βίο στη ζωή της Εκκλησίας.
Ὁ Μέγας Ἀντώνιος
Γεννήθηκε τὸ 251 στὴν Ἄνω Αἴγυπτο ἀπὸ γονεῖς χριστιανούς, ποὺ κατεῖχαν μεγάλη περιουσία. Ἀπὸ τὴν παιδική του ἡλικία ὁ Ἀντώνιος ἔδειχνε μὲ ὅλη του τὴν διαγωγὴ ἔκτακτη ἀνθρώπινη ὕπαρξη. Σὲ ἡλικία 18-20 χρόνων, χάνει τοὺς δυὸ γονεῖς του καὶ δοκιμάζει πολλή θλίψη καὶ ὀδύνη. Ὅμως, συνέρχεται γρήγορα καὶ συγκεντρώνει ὅλη τὴν προσοχή του στὴ θεία θεωρία καὶ στὴ φροντίδα τῆς μικρῆς του ἀδελφῆς. Τὸ βέλος τοῦ θείου ἔρωτα δὲν ἀργεῖ νὰ χτυπήσει τὴν καρδιὰ τοῦ Ἀντωνίου. Καθὼς μία Κυριακὴ ἄκουγε ἀπὸ τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο τὴν περικοπὴ σχετικῶς μὲ τὸν πλούσιο νεανίσκο, στὸν ὁποῖο ὁ Κύριός μας εἶπε: «Ἂν θέλεις νὰ γίνεις τέλειος, πήγαινε, πώλησε τὰ ὑπάρχοντά σου καὶ μοίρασέ τα στοὺς φτωχούς, καὶ θὰ ἔχεις θησαυρὸ στὸν οὐρανό. Καὶ ἔλα νὰ μὲ ἀκολουθήσεις», τόση ἐντύπωση τοῦ δημιούργησε, ποὺ τὴν ἐξέλαβε ἀμέσως σὰν θεία ὑπόδειξη καὶ πρόσκληση. Ἀφοῦ πρῶτα τακτοποίησε τὴν μικρότερη ἀδελφή του, ἔπειτα μοίρασε στοὺς φτωχότερους οἰκογενειάρχες ὅλη τὴν μεγάλη πατρική του περιουσία καὶ ἀναχώρησε στὴν ἔρημο γιὰ μεγαλύτερη πνευματικὴ καὶ ἠθικὴ τελειότητα. Πράγματι, ὁ ἀγῶνας του μέσα στὴν ἔρημο ἀποδίδει πλούσιους πνευματικοὺς καρπούς. Γίνεται ὁ ἀσκητὴς τῶν ἀσκητῶν καὶ ἀπ᾿ ὅλα τὰ μήκη καὶ πλάτη τῆς χριστιανικῆς γῆς ἔρχονται νὰ τὸν ἀκούσουν καὶ νὰ τὸν συμβουλευθοῦν. Μεταξὺ αὐτῶν καὶ δυὸ πολύφωτοι ἀστέρες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας, ὁ Μέγας Βασίλειος καὶ ὁ Μ. Ἀθανάσιος. Σὲ ἡλικία περίπου 105 χρόνων, ὁ Μέγας Ἀντώνιος παραδίδει πρὸς τὸ Θεὸ τὴν ψυχή του.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀντώνιος ὁ νέος καὶ θαυματουργὸς ὁ ἐν τῇ Σκήτῃ τῆς Βεροίας ἀσκήσας
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Βέροια τῆς Μακεδονίας καὶ γεννήθηκε ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς καὶ ἐνάρετους. Εἶχε μεγάλο ἔρωτα στὸν ἀσκητισμὸ καὶ νέος ἀκόμα πῆγε στὴ Μονὴ τῆς Περαίας, ποὺ τότε ἦταν σὲ μεγάλη ἀκμή. Ἐκεῖ ἔγινε μοναχός, τύπος καὶ κανόνας ἀρετῆς σ᾿ ὅλη τὴν ἀδελφότητα. Ἀργότερα, μὲ τὴν ἄδεια τοῦ ἡγουμένου του, ἀποχώρησε ἀπὸ τὴν Μονὴ γιὰ ἄσκηση ὑψηλότερης πνευματικῆς ζωῆς. Ἐγκαταστάθηκε σὲ μία σπηλιὰ παραπλεύρως τοῦ κοντινοῦ ποταμοῦ. Ἐκεῖ γιὰ 50 χρόνια μόνος πέρασε μὲ προσευχὴ καὶ ἄσκηση, καὶ ἐκεῖ τελικὰ πέθανε εἰρηνικά, ἄταφος. Κατὰ τύχη ὅμως, κάποιοι κυνηγοὶ ποὺ περνοῦσαν ἀπὸ κεῖ, ὁδηγούμενοι ἀπὸ τὰ σκυλιά τους, βρῆκαν τὸ ἅγιο λείψανό του μέσα στὴ σπηλιά. Τότε ὁ ἀρχιερέας τοῦ τόπου μαζὶ μὲ τὸ λαό, τὸ περισυνέλεξαν καὶ μὲ εὐλάβεια τὸ μετέφεραν στὴ Βέροια, ὁποῦ καὶ ἔκτισαν ναὸ στ᾿ ὄνομά του, ποὺ σῴζεται μέχρι σήμερα. Στὴ σπηλιὰ δέ, ἔκτισαν σκήτη, στ᾿ ὄνομα τοῦ Τιμίου Προδρόμου, ὅπου συγκέντρωσε πολλοὺς μοναχούς.
Ὁ Μέγας Θεοδόσιος ὁ βασιλεύς
Ἡ μνήμη του μεγάλου Θεοδοσίου ἀπὸ τὸν Ἅγιο Νικόδημο, τοποθετεῖται τὴν 17η Ἰανουαρίου, ὅταν καὶ πέθανε. σ᾿ ἄλλους συναξαριστὲς ἡ μνήμη αὐτοῦ σημειώνεται τὴν 9η καὶ 10η Νοεμβρίου (Delehaye). Ὁ Θεοδόσιος καταγόταν ἀπὸ γένος ἀξιωματούχων. Γενναιότατος στρατηγὸς καὶ ὁ ἴδιος, ἀνακηρύχθηκε βασιλιὰς τῆς Ἀνατολῆς τὸ 379 ἀπὸ τὸν Γρατιανό. Ὑπῆρξε προστάτης τῆς ὀρθόδοξης πίστης, εὐλαβὴς πρὸς τὸν κλῆρο, καὶ συγκάλεσε τὴν Β´ Οἰκουμενικὴ Σύνοδο γιὰ νὰ ἀποκαταστήσει τὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴ εἰρήνη. Πέθανε τὴν 17η Ἰανουαρίου 395. Τὸ δὲ λείψανό του, ἀπὸ τὰ Μεδιόλανα μετακομίσθηκε, καὶ κατατέθηκε στὸ ναὸ τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων. Γιὰ τὰ στρατηγικὰ του κατορθώματα, γιὰ τὶς ὑπηρεσίες του στὴν ὀρθόδοξη πίστη καὶ Ἐκκλησία, γιὰ τὴν ἠθική του μεγαλοφροσύνη, γιὰ τὴν χριστιανική του μετριοφροσύνη καὶ τὴν εἰλικρινὴ καὶ πανηγυρικὴ ἀφοσίωσή του πρὸς τὴν θρησκεία μας, ὀνομάσθηκε ἀπὸ τὴν ἱστορία μέγας, ἡ δὲ Ἔκκλησια δίκαια τὸν κατέταξε μεταξὺ τῶν Ἁγίων της.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἰουνίλλα καὶ Τούρβων
Ἄγνωστοι στοὺς Συναξαριστὲς καὶ τὰ Μηναῖα. Μνημονεύονται στὸν Κώδικα τῆς Κρυπτοφέρης Βγ ΙΝ. Ὑπέστησαν μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο στὴν Καππαδοκία, ἀπ᾿ ὅπου κατάγονταν, μαζὶ μὲ τὴν ἁγία Νεονίλλη καὶ τοὺς τρεῖς ἐγγονούς της (+16 Ἰανουαρίου). Ἡ Ἰουνίλλα λοιπόν, ἔριξε τὸ βρέφος της ἀπὸ τὴν ἀγκαλιά της, ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ἀποκεφαλίστηκε. Ὁ δὲ Τούρβων κατέστρεψε τὰ εἴδωλα καὶ διακήρυττε ὅτι εἶναι χριστιανός, συνελήφθη καὶ ἀποκεφαλίσθηκε.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀχιλλᾶς
Ἀχιλλᾶς ὁ Ὅσιος Πατὴρ ἡμῶν ἦτο ἀναχωρητὴς καὶ ἠσκήτευεν εἰς τὴν ἔρημον τῆς Αἰγύπτου, γράφει δὲ περὶ τούτου ὁ Εὐεργετινός, ὅτι ἐπῆγε ποτὲ εἰς τὸν Ἀββᾶν Ἡσαΐαν καὶ εὖρεν αὐτὸν τρώγοντα καὶ ἔχοντα εἰς τὸ πινάκιον ἅλας καὶ ὕδωρ. Ὁ δὲ Ἡσαΐας, ἰδὼν τὸν ὅσιον Ἀχιλλᾶν, ἔκρυψε κατ᾿ οἰκονομίαν τὸ πινάκιον ὀπίσω τοῦ κοφινίου τὸ ὁποῖον ἔπλεκε, διὰ νὰ μὴ σκανδαλίση αὐτόν, ἐπειδὴ δὲν ὑπῆρχε τοιαύτη συνήθεια εἰς τὴν Σκήτην. Ὁ δὲ Ἀχιλλᾶς, βλέπων αὐτὸν τρώγοντα καὶ οὐδὲν ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ ἔχοντα, ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν τί ἔτρωγεν. Ὁ δὲ Ἡσαΐας ἀπεκρίθη: «Συγχώρησόν μοι, Ἀββᾶ, ὅτι ἔκοπτον θαλλία φοινίκων εἰς τὸ καῦμα, ὅθεν ἔβαλαν εἰς τὸ στόμα μου ἄρτον ξηρὸν καὶ δὲν κατέβαινεν, ἐπειδὴ ἐξηράνθη ἀπὸ τὸ καῦμα ὁ φάρυγξ μου, διὰ τοῦτο ἠναγκάσθην νὰ βάλω ὕδωρ καὶ ἅλας, ἵνα βρέξω εἰς αὐτὰ τὸν ἄρτον μου καὶ δυνηθῶ νὰ τὸν φάγω». Τότε λέγει ὁ Ἀββᾶς Ἀχιλλᾶς· «Ἐλᾶτε νὰ ἴδητε, ὦ Πατέρες τῆς Σκήτης, τὸν Ἡσαΐαν, ὅστις τρώγει ζωμόν, εὑρισκόμενος εἰς Σκήτην». Εἶτα λέγει πρὸς αὐτόν: «Ἐὰν θέλῃς νὰ τρώγῃς ζωμόν, ὕπαγε εἰς τὴν Αἴγυπτον». Τοιαύτην ἐγκράτειαν εἶχον τότε εἰς τὰς Σκήτας.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Γεώργιος ὁ νέος ἐξ Ἰωαννίνων
Γεννήθηκε τὸ 1808 στὸ χωριὸ Τζούρχλι (ἢ Τζούραλη) τῆς ἐπαρχίας Γρεβενῶν, ἀπὸ γονεῖς φτωχοὺς γεωργούς, τὸν Κωνσταντῖνο καὶ τὴν Βασίλω. Ὁ Γεώργιος, ἐπειδὴ οἱ γονεῖς του ἦταν φτωχοί, παρέμεινε ἀγράμματος. Ὀρφάνεψε σὲ παιδικὴ ἡλικία καὶ πῆγε στὰ Ἰωάννινα, ὅπου ἔγινε Ἱπποκόμος τοῦ Χατζῆ Ἀβδουλᾶ, ἀξιωματικοῦ του Ἴμιν πασᾶ, στὸν ὁποῖο καὶ παρέμεινε γιὰ ὀκτὼ χρόνια. Κατὰ τὸν Ὀκτώβριον τοῦ 1836 συκοφαντήθηκε ἀπὸ ἐχθρούς του Τούρκους, ὅτι δῆθεν, προηγουμένως ἐξισλαμίστηκε καὶ κατόπιν ἐπανῆλθε στὴ χριστιανικὴ θρησκεία. Μπροστὰ στὸν κριτὴ ὁ Γεώργιος ἀπολογήθηκε μὲ θάῤῥος καὶ ἀπέδειξε ὅτι ποτὲ δὲν ἔγινε ἀρνησίθρησκος. Ἔτσι, ἀφοῦ βρέθηκε καὶ ἀπερίτμητος τὸν ἄφησαν ἐλεύθερο. Ἀργότερα πῆρε σύζυγο ὀνόματι Ἑλένη καὶ προσλήφθηκε Ἱπποκόμος τοῦ μουσελίμη Φιλιατῶν καὶ πῆγε στὴν πόλη αὐτή. Κατόπιν μὲ ἄδεια τοῦ ἀφέντη του, ἦλθε στὰ Ἰωάννινα γιὰ δικές του ὑποθέσεις, ὅπου τὴν 12η Ἰανουαρίου 1838, ἡμέρα Τετάρτη, κάποιος Ὀθωμανὸς τὸν συκοφάντησε ὅτι δῆθεν ἦταν προηγουμένως Τοῦρκος καὶ ξανάγινε χριστιανός. Ἔτσι συνελήφθη, φυλακίστηκε καὶ μὲ τὴν βία οἱ Τοῦρκοι προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ τὸν ἀλλαξοπιστήσουν. Ὁ Γεώργιος ὅμως, παρέμεινε ἀμετάπειστος, ὁμολογῶντας τὸν Χριστό. Μάταια λαὸς καὶ κλῆρος προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ τὸν πείσουν νὰ δραπετεύσει ἀπὸ τὴν φυλακή. Αὐτὸς ἐπέμενε νὰ μαρτυρήσει γιὰ τὸν Χριστό. Τρεῖς φορὲς ποὺ ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν κριτή, συνεχῶς ὁμολογοῦσε τὴν πίστη του. Ἔτσι τὴν Δευτέρα 17 Ἰανουαρίου 1838, ὁ Γεώργιος ἀπαγχονίστηκε στὴν ἀγορά. Τὸ λείψανό του παρέμεινε κρεμασμένο μέχρι τῆς 19 Ἰανουαρίου, ἔπειτα δωρήθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν Μουσταφὰ πασὰ στὸν Μητροπολίτη Ἰωαννίνων Ἰωακεὶμ καὶ τάφηκε μὲ τιμὲς δίπλα στὸ ἱερὸ Βῆμα τοῦ Μητροπολιτικοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀθανασίου. Τὴν 26η Ὀκτωβρίου 1971 ἔγινε ἡ ἀνακομιδὴ τῶν Ἱερῶν λειψάνων τοῦ Ἁγίου, στὸ ναὸ ποὺ ἔφερε τὸ ὄνομά του καὶ κτίστηκε στὸν τόπο ποὺ πρὶν ἦταν τὸ σπίτι του.
Our Holy Godbearing Father Anthony the Great (356).
'Saint Anthony, the Father of monks, was born in Egypt in251 of pious parents who departed this life while he was yet young. On hearing the words of the Gospel: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor" (Matt. 19:21), he immediately put it into action. Distributing to the poor all he had, and fleeing from all the turmoil of the world, he departed to the desert. The manifold temptations he endured continually for the space of twenty years are incredible. His ascetical struggles by day and by night, whereby he mortified the uprisings of the passions and attained to the height of dispassion, surpass the bounds of nature; and the report of his deeds of virtue drew such a multitude to follow him, that the desert was transformed into a city, while he became, so to speak, the governor, lawgiver, and master-trainer of all the citizens of this newly-formed city. But the cities of the world also enjoyed the fruit of his virtue. When the Christians were being persecuted and put to death under Maximinus in 312, he hastened to their aid and consolation. When the Church was troubled by the Arians, he went with zeal to Alexandria in 335 and struggled against them in behalf of Orthodoxy. During this time, by the grace of his words, he also turned many unbelievers to Christ.
'He began his ascetical life outside his village of Coma in Upper Egypt, studying the ways of the ascetics and holy men there, and perfecting himself in the virtues of each until he surpassed them all. Desiring to increase his labours, he departed into the desert, and finding an abandoned fortress in the mountain, he made his dwelling in it, training himself in extreme fasting, unceasing prayer, and fierce conflicts with the demons. Here he remained, as mentioned above, about twenty years. Saint Athanasius the Great, who knew him personally and wrote his life, says that he came forth from the fortress "initiated in the mysteries and filled with the Spirit of God." Afterwards, because of the press of the faithful, who deprived him of his solitude, he was enlightened by God to journey with certain Bedouins, until he came to a mountain in the desert near the Red Sea, where he passed the remaining part of his life. Saint Athanasius says of him that "his countenance had a great and wonderful grace. This gift also he had from the Saviour. For if he were present in a great company of monks, and any one who did not know him previously wished to see him, immediately coming forward he passed by the rest, and hurried to Anthony, as though attracted by his appearance. Yet neither in height nor breadth was he conspicuous above others, but in the serenity of his manner and the purity of his soul."
'So passing his life, and becoming an example of virtue and a rule for monastics, he reposed on January 17 in the year 356, having lived together some 105 years.' (Great Horologion)
Speaking of the demonic temptations and struggles with the passions that beset those who seek their salvation, St Anthony said: "All these trials are to your advantage. Do away with temptation and no one will be saved."
Pious Emperor Theodosius the Great (395)
He was born in Spain, became a general in the Imperial Army, and was crowned Emperor of the East in 379. He quickly made his Orthodoxy clear by decisively rejecting Arianism, which had divided Christians, troubled the Church, and confused previous emperors, for many years. He summoned the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381, which reaffirmed the doctrine of Nicaea and proclaimed the divinity of the Holy Spirit. While Constantine had outlawed the persecution of Christians and made Christianity the religion of the state, Theodosius outlawed the worship of idols within the Empire.
Theodosius was several times guilty of anger and bloodshed during his reign, but, when corrected, always expressed sincere repentance and submitted himself to the authority and discipline of the Church. He endured a long excommunication and penance from Ambrose, bishop of Milan (December 7), for a massacre perpetrated at his order. Once he was about to enact bloody punishment of the people of Antioch for a rebellion, but relented when St Placilla (September 14) and Patriarch Flavian enjoined him to be merciful. In this, he showed a humility and submission to the Church almost unknown in Christian rulers before or since.
Having reigned for sixteen years, the Emperor Theodosius reposed in peace in 395 at the age of sixty.
Our Holy Father Makarios (Kalogeras) of Patmos (1737)
He was born to a prosperous family on the island of Patmos. As soon as he was old enough to leave home, he attended the Patriarchal School in Constantinople, where he distinguished himself. He became a monk, then a deacon, but always refused to be ordained to the priesthood, though the Metropolitan of Nikomedia wished Makarios to be his successor. Instead, he returned to Patmos in 1713 and entered the Monastery of St John the Theologian, where he remained until his death.
Though he lived in great asceticism and constant prayer, Saint Makarios was moved by a concern for the salvation and education of the Orthodox people, who often lived in great ignorance, even of their own faith, under Ottoman rule. He established a school in a building adjacent to the monastery, and offered courses free of charge to any who could come. Modeling the curriculum on that of the Patriarchal School, he served more as a spiritual father than a worldly professor. The school grew steadily, partly due to generous contributions from a few wealthy Greek families and trade guilds in Constantinople. But students, many of them very poor, still had to pay for their own needs, and Saint Makarios used his own funds to aid the poorest of them. In addition, he secretly distributed any money that came to him personally to the poor on Patmos. The school at Patmos became famous throughout the Greek Church, and its head became a spiritual father not only to his students but througout the Greek nation. Bishops often asked him to write homilies; about sixty of these were published in book form as The Trumpet of the Gospel, which is still widely read today by the faithful. Having greatly edified thousands while laboring tirelessly for the salvation of his soul, Saint Makarios reposed in peace in 1737.
The Monk Anthony, a very great ascetic, the founder of wilderness-monastery life and as such the father of monasticism, is entitled "the Great" by Holy Church. He was born in Egypt in the village of Coma, near the Thebaid wilderness, in the year 251. His parents were pious Christians of illustrious lineage. From his youth Anthony was always serious and given over to concentration. He loved to visit church services and he hearkened to the Holy Scripture with such deep attention, that he remembered what he heard all his entire life. The commandments of the Lord guided him from the time of his very youth. When Saint Anthony was about twenty years old, he lost his parents, but in his care remained his sister, a minor in age. Visiting the church services, the youth was pierced through by a reverent feeling towards those Christians who, as it relates in the Acts of the Apostles, sold off their possessions and the proceeds thereof they applied in following after the Apostles. He heard in church the Gospel passage of Christ, spoken to the rich young man: "If thou wouldst be perfect, sell what thou hast and give it to the poor; and thou wilt have treasure in heaven; and come follow after Me" (Mt. 19: 21). Anthony understood this as spoken to him personally. He sold off his property that remained to him after the death of his parents, he distributed the money to the poor, he left his sister in the care of pious virgins in a monastic setting, he left his parental home, and having settled not far from his village in a wretched hut, he began his ascetic life. He earned his livelihood by working with his hands, and alms also for the poor. Sometimes the holy youth also visited other ascetics living in the surrounding areas, and from each he sought to receive direction and benefit. And to a particular one of these ascetics he turned for guidance in the spiritual life.
In this period of his life the Monk Anthony was subjected to terrible temptations by the devil. The enemy of the race of man troubled the young ascetic with thoughts, and with doubts about his chosen path, with anguish over his sister, and he attempted to incline Anthony towards fleshly sin. But the monk preserved his firm faith, he incessantly made prayer and intensified his efforts. Anthony prayed that the Lord would point out to him the path of salvation. And he was granted a vision. The ascetic beheld a man, who by turns alternately finished a prayer, and then began to work -- this was an Angel, which the Lord had sent to instruct His chosen one. The monk thereupon set up a strict schedule for his life. He partook of food only once in the entire day, and sometimes only once every second or third day; he spent all night at prayer, giving himself over to a short sleep only on the third or fourth night after unbroken vigil. But the devil would not desist with his tricks, and trying to scare the monk, he appeared under the guise of monstrous phantoms. The saint however with steadfast faith protected himself with the Life-Creating Cross. Finally the enemy appeared to him in the guise of a frightful looking black lad, and hypocritically declaring himself beaten, he reckoned to sway the saint into vanity and pride. But the monk expelled the enemy with prayer.
For yet greater solitude, the saint re-settled farther away from the village, in a graveyard. On designated days his friend brought him a scant bit of food. And here the devils, pouncing upon the saint with the intent to kill him, inflicted upon him terrible beatings. But the Lord would not allow the death of Anthony. The friend of the saint, on schedule taking him his food, saw him as though dead laying upon the ground, and he took him away back to the village. They thought the saint was dead and began to prepare for his burial. But the monk in the deep of night regained consciousness and besought his friend to take him back to the graveyard. The staunchness of Saint Anthony was greater than the wile of the enemy. Taking the form of ferocious beasts, the devils again tried to force the saint to forsake the place chosen by him, but he again expelled them by the power of the Life-Creating Cross. The Lord strengthened the power of His saint: in the heat of the struggle with the dark powers the monk saw coming down to him from the sky a luminous ray of light, and he cried out: "Where hast Thou been, O Merciful Jesus?.. Why hast Thou not healed my wounds at the very start?" The Lord replied: "Anthony! I was here, but did wait, wanting to see thine valour; and now after this, since thou hast firmly withstood the struggle, I shalt always aid thee and glorify thee throughout all the world". After this vision the Monk Anthony was healed of his wounds and ready for renewed efforts. He was then 35 years of age.
Having gained spiritual experience in the struggle with the devil, the Monk Anthony pondered going into the deeps of the Thebaid wilderness, and in full solitude there to serve the Lord by deed and by prayer. He besought the ascetic elder (to whom he had turned at the beginning of his monastic journey) to go off together with him into the wilderness, but the elder, while blessing him in the then as yet unheard of exploit of being suchlike an hermit, decided against accompanying him because of the infirmity of age. The Monk Anthony went off into the wilderness alone. The devil tried to stop him, throwing in front of the monk precious gems and stones, but the saint paid them no attention and passed them on by. Having reached a certain hilly spot, the monk caught sight of an abandoned enclosed structure and he settled within it, securing the entrance with stones. His faithful friend brought him bread twice a year, and water he had inside the enclosure. In complete silence the monk partook of the food brought him. The Monk Anthony dwelt for 20 years in complete isolation and incessant struggle with the devils, and he finally found tranquillity of spirit and peace in his mind. When it became appropriate, the Lord revealed to people about His great ascetic. The saint had to instruct many layfolk and monastics. The people gathering at the enclosure of the monk removed the stones sealing his entrance way, and they went to Saint Anthony and besought him to take them under his guidance. Soon the heights on which Saint Anthony asceticised was encircled by a whole belt of monastic communities, and the monk fondly directed their inhabitants, teaching about the spiritual life to everyone who came into the wilderness to be saved. He taught first of all the need to take up spiritual efforts, to unremittingly strive to please the Lord, to have a willing and unselfish attitude towards types of work shunned earlier. He urged them not to be afraid of demonic assaults and to repel the enemy by the power of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord.
In the year 311 the Church was beset by a trial -- a fierce persecution against Christians, set in motion by the emperor Maximian. Wanting to suffer together with the holy martyrs, the Monk Anthony left the wilderness and arrived in Alexandria. He openly rendered aid to the imprisoned martyrs, he was present at the trial and interrogations, but the torturers would not even bother with him! It pleased the Lord to preserve him for the benefit of Christians. With the close of the persecution, the monk returned to the wilderness and continued his exploits. The Lord bestowed upon His saint a gift of wonderworking: the monk cast out devils and healed the sick by the power of his prayer. The multitude of people coming to him disrupted his solitude, and the monk went off still farther, into the so-called "interiour of the wilderness", and he settled atop an high elevation. But the brethren of the wilderness monasteries searched out the monk and besought him at least often to pay visits to their communities.
Another time the Monk Anthony left the wilderness and arrived amidst the Christians in Alexandria, to defend the Orthodox faith against the Manichaean and Arian heresies. Knowing that the name of the Monk Anthony was venerated by all the Church, the Arians circulated a lie about him -- that he allegedly adhered to their heretical teaching. But actually being present in Alexandria, the Monk Anthony in front of everyone and in the presence of the bishop openly denounced Arianism. During the time of his brief stay at Alexandria he converted to Christ a great multitude of pagans. Pagan philosophers came to the monk, wanting by their speculations to test his firm faith, but by his simple and convincing words he reduced them to silence. The Equal-to-the-Apostles emperor Constantine the Great (+ 337, Comm. 21 May) and his sons deeply esteemed the Monk Anthony and besought him to visit them at the capital, but the monk did not want to forsake his wilderness brethren. In reply to the letter, he urged the emperor not to be overcome with pride by his lofty position, but rather to remember, that even over him was the Impartial Judge -- the Lord God.
The Monk Anthony spent 85 years of his life in the solitary wilderness. Shortly before his death, the monk told the brethren, that soon he would be taken from them. Time and again he instructed them to preserve the Orthodox faith in its purity, to shun any association with heretics, and not to weaken in their monastic efforts. "Strive the yet more to dwell ever in unity amongst ye, and most of all with the Lord, and then with the saints, so that upon death they should bring ye into eternity by their blood, as friends and acquaintances", -- thus were the death-bed words of the monk passed on in his Vita (Life). The monk bid two of his disciples, who had been together with him the final 15 years of his life, to bury him in the wilderness and not arrange any solemn burial of his remains in Alexandria. Of his two monastic mantles, the monk left one to Sainted Athanasias of Alexandria (Comm. 18 January), the other to Sainted Serapion of Tmunta. The Monk Anthony died peacefully in the year 356, at age 105, and he was buried by his disciples at a treasured spot glorified by him in the wilderness.
The Vita (Life) of the famed ascetic the Monk Anthony the Great was written in detail by a father of the Church, Saint Athanasias of Alexandria. This work of Saint Athanasias is the first memorial of Orthodox hagiography, and is considered one of the finest of his writings; Saint John Chrysostom says, that this Vita should be read by every Christian. "These narratives be significantly small in comparison with the virtues of Anthony, -- writes Saint Athanasias, -- but from them ye can conclude, what the man of God Anthony was like. From his youth into his mature years observing an equal zeal for asceticism, not being seduced by the avenues of filth, and not as regards infirmity of body altering his garb, nor the any worse for it in suffering harm. His eyes were healthy and unfailing and he saw well. Not one tooth fell out for him, and they only weakened at the gums from the advanced years of age. He was healthy of hand and of foot (...). And what they said about him everywhere, all being amazed at him, whereof even those that did not see him loved him -- this serves as evidence of his virtue and love for God in soul".
Of the works of the Monk Anthony himself, there have come down to us: 1) his Discourses, 20 in number, treating of the virtues, primarily monastic, 2) Seven Letters to monasteries -- about striving for moral perfection and regarding the spiritual struggle, and 3) a Rule of life and consolation for monastics.
In the year 544 the relics of the Monk Anthony the great were transferred from the wilderness to Alexandria, and later on with the conquest of Egypt by the Saracens in the VII Century, they were transferred to Constantinople. The holy relics were transferred from Constantinople in the X-XI Centuries to a diocese outside Vienna, and in the XV Century -- to Arles (in France), into the church of Saint Julian.
The Monk Antonii (Anthony) of Dymsk was born at Novgorod in about the year 1157. Upon a time once hearkening in church to the words of Christ: "Whoso wouldst to follow Me, let them deny themself and take up their cross and come follow Me" (Mt. 16: 24), the saint resolved to leave the world and take monastic vows under Saint Varlaam of Khutynsk (Comm. 6 November) at his monastery. When he was dying, the Monk Varlaam established Saint Antonii as monastery head in his place; but Antonii, shunning glory, left the monastery and settled at the shores of Lake Dyma, in the outskirts of the city of Tikhvin. Here he founded a monastery and asceticised at it until the end of his own life. According to tradition, the Monk Antonii made a journey to Constantinople and through the holy places. The Monk Antonii died in the year 1224 on 24 June (on this day is made his memory). In the year 1330 his relics were uncovered undecayed, and from that time they were glorified by many miracles.
The Monk Antonii (Anthony) of Chernoezersk founded the Mother of God monastery at BlackLake (Chernoezero) in the Novgorod holdings, not far from the city of Chernopovets. The monastery was situated on an island of the Schirsk countryside. The monastery twice suffered a complete destruction: in 1581 -- from the Lithuanians, and in 1682 -- from the Swedes. In 1764 the monastery was closed.
The Monk Antonii (Anthony) of Krasnokholmsk was initially a wilderness-dweller in the Belozersk (WhiteLake) lands. Having already the dignity of priestmonk, he arrived in the Tver' land and settled near "Pretty Hillock" ("Krasnyi kholm"), at the bank of the River Mologa, building there a chapel and cell. After the discovery of an icon of Saint Nicholas, a stone church was built and a monastery founded, headed by the monk, who taught the brethren both by word and by example throughout his life. The Monk Antonii died in the year 1481.
The Holy Emperor Theodosius the Great during the period of his reign (379-395) delivered a decisive blow to paganism: he issued a legal edict, under which any sort of service to the pagan gods was considered a transgression. The zealous proponent of Orthodoxy issued many laws in defense of the Church and against heretics. The Second OEcumenical Council (381) was convened by him.
The Monk Achilles the Confessor asceticised living the life of an hermit, and died during the V Century.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. VENERABLE ANTHONY THE GREAT
Anthony was an Egyptian and was born about the year 250 A.D. in the village of Koman near Herculea. Following the demise of his noble and wealthy parents, he divided the inherited estate with his sister, who was a minor, and provided for her with some relatives. Anthony distributed his half of the estate to the poor and, he, in his twentieth year, dedicated himself to the ascetical life for which he yearned from his childhood. In the beginning Anthony lived a life of asceticism in the proximity of his village but, in order to flee the disturbances of people, he withdrew into the wilderness on the shore of the Red Sea, where he spent twenty years as a recluse not associating with anyone except with God through constant prayer, reflection and contemplation, patiently enduring unspeakable temptations from the devil. His fame spread throughout the entire world and many disciples gathered around him whom he placed on the path of salvation by his example and words. During the eighty-five years of his ascetical life, only twice did he go to Alexandria. The first time to seek martyrdom during the time of the persecution of the Church and, the second time at the invitation of St. Athanasius, in order to refute the accusation of the Arians: supposedly that he, too, was an adherent of the Arian heresy. Anthony died in the one-hundred fifth year of his life, leaving behind an entire army of his disciples and imitators. Even though Anthony was not a scholar, nevertheless, he was a counselor and teacher of the most learned men of that time, as was St. Athanasius the Great. When certain Greek philosophers tempted him with literary wisdom, Anthony shamed them with the question: "Which is older, the understanding or the book? Which of these two was the cause of the other?" Ashamed, the philosophers dispersed for they perceived that they only had literary knowledge without understanding and Anthony had understanding. Here is a man who attained perfection in as far as man, in general, can attain on earth. Here is an instructor to instructors and a teacher to teachers, who, for a full eighty five years perfected himself and only in that way was he able to perfect many others. Filled with many years of life and great works, Anthony died in the Lord in the year 335 A.D.
2. THE HOLY EMPEROR THEODOSIUS THE GREAT
This glorious and zealous emperor in the Faith reigned from 379 A.D. to 395 A.D. Constantine the Great banned the persecution of Christians. Theodosius the Great went one step further, he outlawed the offering of idolatrous sacrifices in his realm. He assisted with strengthening and spreading the Christian Faith throughout the world.
3. THE HOLY NEO-MARTYR GEORGE OF IOANNINA
George was an Albanian. He was born in the village of Churkli, Albania of very impoverished farmer parents. The Turks used force to persuade George to embrace Islam, but he remained steadfast in the Christian Faith for which he was hanged in Ioannina on January 17, 1838 A.D. Even unto today, George is a great miracle-worker and healer.
HYMN OF PRAISE
ST. ANTHONY THE GREAT - ST. THEODOSIUS THE GREAT
ST. GEORGE THE NEW MARTYR
Above all divisions, above all classes,
The fearless God stands; the Lord above armies.
The wealthy he does not despise, nor, of the poor, is He ashamed.
Of the powerful, He is not afraid and, to the sinful, He beckons: Come!
Saints from everywhere, for Himself, He recruits
This one who begs and that one who rules
As a cherry-picker that plucks only the sweet cherries
Without concern, whether the branches are coarse or smooth,
Into one beautiful wreath, the Lord weaves all,
Only when the souls are repentant and holy.
Anthony the wonderful, throughout his life fasted,
Theodosius, the whole world, treated with Christ.
And George of Ioannina, his blood for Christ, shed -
All three, the Lord loved, eternally.The Lord does not have loathing toward His crops
Nor toward other weaknesses of the created world.
Toward all, He is the same, but toward Him, all are not,
To everyone, He is of service; to everything merciful,
Always, above everything and above all classes,
Always, the fearless God; the Lord above armies.
St. Anthony teaches: "Learn to love humility, for it will cover all your sins. All sins are repugnant before God but the most repugnant of all is pride of the heart. Do not consider yourself learned and wise; otherwise, all your effort will be destroyed and your boat will reach the harbor empty. If you have great authority, do not threaten anyone with death. Know, that according to nature, you too are susceptible to death and that every soul sheds its body from itself as the final garment." In Byzantium there existed an unusual and instructive custom during the crowning of the emperors in the Church of the Divine Wisdom [St. Sophia]. The custom was that when the patriarch placed the crown on the emperor's head, at the same time, he handed him a silk purse filled with dirt from the grave. Then, even the emperor would recall death and to avoid all pride and become humble.
To contemplate the persecution of the Lord Jesus for righteousness sake:
1. His persecution as a child by Herod;
2. His persecution as a man and Messiah by the Jewish scribes and elders;
3. His persecution as God by many of our contemporary scribes and elders both Jewish and Christian.
About two different types of wisdom
"For the wisdom of this worldis foolishness in the eyesof God" (I Corinthians 3:19).
Even this scriptural concept is one great news which Christianity proclaims to the world. One is the wisdom according to God and from God and the other is the wisdom according to the world and from the world. Wisdom, according to God, is from the Holy Spirit. The apostles were filled with such wisdom when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Wisdom, according to the world, is from the senses and from material and it represents true insanity before God if it is not seasoned and inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
All worldly wisdom which is guided only by the physical senses, without regard for the Holy Spirit, is insanity before God and before God's angels; for such a wisdom does not perceive either the spirit or the purpose of this world; rather it knows this world only as ashes from without and ashes from within; as ashes which the wind of chance piles up and strews at one moment this way and at another moment that way.
All wisdom of man which is directed only by the senses and by physical conceptions and fantasies is insanity before God and before angels and saints of God, for it does not know man as man; that is, as a spiritual being related to God, rather it knows man only as a body from without and as a body from within; as a body according to form and as a body according to essence. It is the same as if a monkey, looking at an iron locomotive, described it and said, "This is iron on the outside and iron on the inside; iron which heats it and iron which operates it, iron which gives it direction and iron which stops it!"
Brethren, who is able to be filled with the wisdom of God except him who, at first, empties himself of the insanity's of the world? With God's help, each one of us can do this. However, to our desires and to our efforts, without Faith, God's help goes to assist us. For God alone is Goodness, Wisdom and Holiness.
O Good Lord, Wise and Holy, fill us with Your Life-creating wisdom.