Category Archives: Stories of Faith

Revelation of Axion Esti

Feast Day ~ 11 June

It is truly meet and right to bless you, O Theotokos,
Ever-blessed and most-pure mother of our God.
More honourable than the Cherubim,

And beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim,
Who without corruption gave birth to God the Word,
True Theotokos: we magnify you.

Axion Estin is also the name given to the icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God) before which, according to tradition, the hymn was revealed. It stands in the high place of the altar (sanctuary) of the katholikon (main church) of Karyes on Mount Athos.

According to tradition, an Elder and his disciple lived in a cell on Mount Athos. One Saturday night the Elder left to attend the All- Night Vigil in Karyes. He told his disciple to chant the service alone. That evening an unknown monk who called himself Gabriel, came to the cell, and they began the Vigil together. During the Ninth Ode of the Canon, when they began to sing the Magnificat, the disciple sang the original hymn “More honourable than the Cherubim…” and afterwards the visiting monk chanted it again, but with “It is truly meet…” preceding the original Irmos.

As he sang, the icon began to radiate with Uncreated Light. When the disciple asked the visiting monk to write the words of the new hymn down, he took a roof tile and wrote on it with his finger, as though the tile were made of wax. The disciple knew then that this was no ordinary monk, but the Archangel Gabriel. At that moment the Archangel disappeared, but the icon of the Mother of God continued to radiate light for some time afterward.

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Orthros and Divine Liturgy for Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

17 May 2020
Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, John 4: 5-42

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Just Reach Out in Humble Faith

7th SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 8: 41-56

Even in a small parish like ours, it is not hard to see that people are different from one another in many ways. We have different interests, personal backgrounds, and opinions on all kinds of things. We do not all look or dress alike. But what we have in common as Orthodox Christians is far more profound than any of that. Our salvation is not in any conventional human characteristic or endeavor, but in the healing mercy of Jesus Christ.

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Too Many Worries Make People Forget God

3rd SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 6: 22-33

– Geronda (spiritual elder in Greek), does worrying about too many things take us away from God?
Look, let me try to explain. When a little child is playing and is all absorbed with his toys, he s not aware that his father may be next to him caressing him. If he interrupts his play a bit, then he will become aware of his father’s caresses. Similarly, when we are preoccupied with too many activities and are anxiously concerned about them, when we worry too much about worldly matters, we cannot become aware of God’s love. God gives but we do not sense it. Be careful not to waste your precious energy on redundant worries and vanities, which will turn to dust one day. When you do this, you not only tire your body, but you also scatter your mind aimlessly, offering God only your fatigue and yawns at the time of prayer – much like the sacrifice offered by Cain. It follows that your inner state will be like that of Cain’s, you will be full of anxiety and sighs provoked by the devil standing by your side.

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A Love story

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Ah the beauty of God’s creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work. As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me. He asked me, “Do you love me?”

I answered, “Of course, God! You are my Lord and Saviour!”

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The Widow’s Offering

Emperor Nicephorus (Botaniates) of Constantinople reigned from 1078 until 1081. He had decided to build a cathedral that would be almost as grand as St. Sophia. When it was ready, the patriarch of Jerusalem, the patriarch of Alexandria as well as the patriarch of Constantinople were all invited to consecrate the beautiful new church built by the emperor. Announcements had been made about the consecration for several months in advance so that everyone would have time to travel to the great city of Constantinople; remember that during that time there were no cars, planes or trains. Continue reading

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The Ascetic and the Thief

There was an ascetic elder and anchorite, who had been leading an ascetic life in a desert place for seventy years, in fasting, chastity and vigil. Although he laboured for God for so many years, he was never accounted worthy to receive a vision or revelation from God. Thinking about this and bearing this in mind he said, “Perhaps my ascesis is not pleasing to God for some reason I do not know, and my work is unacceptable; and on account of this I am not able to receive a revelation or behold any mystery.” Continue reading

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Sunday Homily for 6th Sunday of Matthew – Healing of the Paralyzed Man

6th Sunday of Matthew, Matthew 9: 1-8

I affirm in your presence this day that we’re witnesses of a beautiful miracle this morning: through the living word of the Gospel, we see a paralyzed man who cannot walk on his own, healed of his paralysis by God, He who had made his legs in the first place and given this man his first heart-beat in his mother’s womb. For, as the Psalmist David says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 138). Christ God, as the Logos (Word) of God, through whom all things were made, knew this man and loved this man with a fatherly love even before he was presented to him. Continue reading

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Sunday of the Samaritan Woman – The Courage to Face the Truth

SUNDAY OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN – John 4: 5-42

Christ is Risen!

It is strangely appealing to define ourselves by our failures, especially when others know that we have stumbled and treat us poorly as a result. As well, our own pride often causes us to lose perspective such that we obsess about how we do not measure up to whatever illusion of perfection we have accepted. People are often their own harshest critics in ways that are not healthy at all. Continue reading

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Trusting God’s Timing

I want to talk to you today about “Trusting God’s Timing.” It is interesting in the New Testament, before Christ would heal someone, often times He would first ask them how long had they been experiencing this difficulty? For example, He asked the crippled man at the pool of Bethsaida, “how long?” The man responded, “for 38 years.” Or the woman who was bent over, she responded, “for 18 years.” Or how about the young man who was blind, his parents responded, “from his birth.”

Why was God so interested in the length of time someone had been ill? Friends, it is because God wanted us to know that no matter what struggles we are facing today, no matter how long we have been in that situation, it is not PERMANENT. St. Paul writes, “for in our light affliction, which will only last a moment, joy is coming in the morning.” Notice, that our struggles will only last a moment and that joy is coming in our way. Why don’t you turn over everything to God. Don’t allow worry, stress, depression to take away the joy of the day. Trust in God knowing that He is constantly at work in your life.

Understand that trusting in God is not having it YOUR way, it is having GOD’s way, and that it is just a “matter of time” in which He will turn that TEST into a TESTIMONY.

Fr. Nicholas Louh


 

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