WEEKLY PROGRAM | BULLETIN in Greek & English
Category Archives: Readings
WEEKLY PROGRAM | BULLETIN in Greek & English
“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”
“It is not possible to represent and to think of the cross without love. Where the cross is, there is love. In church you see crosses everywhere and on everything, in order that everything should remind you that you are in the temple of the God of love, the temple of love crucified for us.”
St. John of Kronstadt
Never and nowhere, in any false religion or human philosophy, has anyone ever given any thought – whether seriously or in jest – that it could ever be possible to vanquish the most undesirable intruder in man’s life and our worst enemy – death – which is undoubtedly the supreme form of anguish in the present lifetime.
Christ’s Resurrection, which had abolished Death, has the common resurrection of all the dead as its immediate outcome. This is a truth that is genuinely Christian. It was not coined by the Disciples of Christ – those simple fishermen who obviously were not predisposed for philosophies and theories. Victory over death is not a human invention; it is the work and the revelation of the Holy, Glorious, Triune God for the sake of fallen mankind.
Never has anyone in antiquity – from the wisest, the most intellectual, scientific, fanciful, romantic, to the most naive, lying, story-telling individual – ever considered that it would be possible to defeat death. It has never been mentioned – not even in fairy tales. It didn’t even exist as nostalgia, and not because people would not have desired it – quite the opposite. Quite simply, they regarded it as something so elusive, that they never dared to desire it or to even think of it. And we all know how in life we usually desire those things that we have some – even if only the slightest – possibility of attaining, or have seen others attain them…
Christianity is not a mere teaching; it primarily involves tangible and secured facts, from within which automatically springs forth the truth, without words – at least of its core teaching regarding God, mankind, the world, etc.. In the present instance, the Resurrection of Christ will have as its consequence the resurrection of the dead. Since Christ had foretold that He would rise from the dead and did in fact rise, and He had also said that we too would be resurrected, then, given that the former was realized, it is certain that the latter will also take place, since both are humanly impossible.
The Resurrection of Christ is doubly secured: both by prophecy and by history, therefore it is the most certain of facts in mankind’s history. That is why, over and over again, many times, Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen!
~ Archimandrite Arsenios Katerelos
For Orthodox Christians, life is the experience of entering ever more deeply into the many and eternal banquets of Christ. The banquet of His love that we feast upon when we discover and convert to Him in our hearts. The banquet of repentance, where the Father makes merry when we return to Him, we prodigal sons and daughters. The banquet of His Holy Body and Blood that is offered to us every Sunday, the Lord’s day – His banquet that we are called to weekly. The banquet of the fasts and feasts of the Church. And the greatest banquet of all! The feast spread out at the table of Christ’s Second Coming when we will enter into the eternal feast of Paradise and when the righteous anger of the Householder will call to account those who rejected His invitation. Continue reading
On December 2 the holy Orthodox Church commemorates the recently-glorified God-bearing elder of our times, St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyiva, who reposed on this day in 1991. He was known as a humble ascetic with the gift of foresight who always served the Divine Liturgy with compunction. In his memory we offer below his final letter, as well as an audio recording of his heartfelt serving of the Divine Liturgy.
While at the Holy Skete of Kavsokalyvia on Mt. Athos, the Elder Porphyrios had given orders for his grave to be dug. Through a spiritual child of his, he dictated a farewell letter of advice and forgiveness to all his spiritual children.
Here is the letter as it was sent to the site Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries from the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Saviour. It was found amongst the monk’s garments that were laid out for his burial on the day of his departure. This letter is a profound example of the humility of the saints who have acquired the likeness of God through their humble ascetic offerings.
My dear spiritual Children,
Now that I am still in charge of my faculties, I want to give you some advice.
Ever since I was a child, I was always in sin. When my mother sent me to watch the animals on the mountain, (my father had gone to America to work on the Panama Canal for us his children, because we were poor), there, where I shepherded the animals, I slowly read, word by word, the life of St. John the Hut-dweller and I loved St. John very much. I said a lot of prayers, like the young child that I was, twelve or fifteen years old, I don’t remember too well. I wanted to follow his example. So, with a lot of difficulty, I secretly left my parents and came to Kavsokalyvia on the Holy Mountain. I became obedient to two elders, the true brothers, Panteleimon and loannikios.
They happened to be very devout and full of virtue, I loved them very much and because of that, with their blessing, I gave them absolute obedience. That helped me a lot. I also felt great love for God and got along very well. However, because of my sins, God allowed me to become ill, and my elders told me to go to my parents in my village of St. John, Evia. Although I had sinned a lot from when I was a small child, when I returned to the world I continued to commit sins which, today are very many. The world, however, thought highly of me, and everyone shouts that I’m a saint.
I however, feel that I am the most sinful person in the world. Of course, whatever I remembered I confessed, and I know God has forgiven me. But now I have the feeling that my spiritual sins are very many and I ask all those who have known me to pray for me, because, for as long as I lived, I humbly prayed for you, too. Now that I’m leaving for heaven, I have the feeling that God will say to me, “What are you doing here?” I have only one thing to say to him, “I am not worthy of here, Lord, but whatever your love wills, it’ll do for me.” From then on, I don’t know what will happen. I however, wish for God’s love to act.
I always pray that my spiritual children will love God, Who is everything, so that He will make us worthy to enter His earthly uncreated Church. We must begin from here. I always made the effort to pray, to read the hymns of the Church, the Holy Scriptures and the Lives of the Saints. May you do the same. I tried, by the grace of God, to approach God and may you also do the same.
I beg all of you to forgive me for whatever I did to upset you.
Kavsokalyvia, June 4/17 1991