The gift of mind

Once some philosophers came to saint Makarios, in the desert to see why so many people ran to hear his wise words. Apparently they were somehow envious because people did not ran after them. When they arrived in the desert, they found an elder dressed in shabby clothes, who spoke clearly and wisely. The philosophers were not very glad about that. And started to ask him:

”Makarios, have you read this book?”

”No, I didn’t read it”, Makarios answered.

”But you know what this scholar said about the world and about other things?”

And Makarios answered that he didn’t know that either. But they went on asking him many things, having in mind to embarrass him. Then, Makarios, knowing their thoughts, told them:

”Please let me ask you something.”

”Ask, father”, they said gladly.

”Tell me which one of these was the first: the mind or the book?”

After a while they answered somehow puzzled by the meaning of that question:

”It was the mind of course!”

”So don’t get upset if I have what was first: the mind.”

Then the philosophers understood that any man if he uses the gift of mind given by God may be wise with or without reading many books.

The measure of divine love

Who loves little, offers little. Who loves much, offers much. And the one who loves without limits has nothing else to offer but himself. (Pious Porphyrios the Kavsokalivite)

An elder said:

Sometimes we say that we have love, but what kind of love is this? I mean, what kind of spiritual love is this, cause I don’t speak about worldly love. How can a man consider all the other people as being his brothers and sisters? Maybe some of these are atheists or Jehova’s witnesses. However they are brothers after the flesh, but not after the spirit, as the Orthodox people are for one another. But they are still blood brothers. We should shed tears for them as well. On another hand, if an Orthodox would become a Jehova’s witness or a Catholic, how should I cry for him? Now there are millions like them. Have I cried enough? No, so I am far from having true love in my heart.

Some fathers used to pick vegetables from their gardens and they put them near the paths of the skete, which were frequently crossed by monks, pilgrims, workers, so that they would benefit from the alms offered by the fathers, taking anything they needed.

Even today, on the remote ways you may find a loaf of bread and olives for a tired traveler. It is a continuation of the Athonite hospitality from the Garden of Theotokos, where the monks see Christ in any visitor.

This is in accordance with His own words: I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in; and: whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.(Matthew, chapter 25)

In Karulia was living a Russian hermit, father Zosimas, a man of absolute love. He took care of the sick men and helped anyone in need.

During the war he fed many hermits making baskets and selling them.

Saint Gherontie, the founder of the skete of Saint Anne used to pray in this way: “God, make all the atheists, pagans, disbelievers and heretics repent, learn the truth and believe in You,  become one flock and one shepherd and glorify You, the True, Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – so that none of them will be left out of heaven, my Lord.”

An old and poor hermit said to his neighbor:

“Brother come and see what kind of love the fathers have!” “I have found bread, fruits, cheese and fish.” “They left them here for me and it was exactly what I needed.” “God be praised!” “The Holy Mother of God takes care of everything!”

Father Habakkuk had a candid and deep love which is often found in the Holy Mountain. He worked as an orderly in the Holy Lavra. For many days and night, months and years, on summer and winter, father Habakkuk spent his time washing the clothes of the sick brothers and of the laymen who were in distress, without complaining. He went from the laundry to the kitchen and vice versa, preparing dishes and feeding the sick people. Then he brought them the washed clothes, so that they would be clean all the time.

I was happy to meet and to know father Modest, who lived in the monastic community from Konstamonitu, a tireless teacher of divine love. All his preaches were based on love, the centre of spiritual life. Many times he said:

“As long as we don’t feel that all people are our brothers and sisters and we are their brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit won’t dwell in our hearts. God loves all people alike, the greatest sinner and the holiest man. In the same way we should embrace anyone in our heart. Love endures, offers, suffers. God is love.”

An elder said:

“Anyone who loves God, doesn’t love only his neighbor, but the entire creation: the trees, the grass and flowers. He loves everything with the same love.”

Dolce&Gabbana : the only family is the traditional one. The families consisting of persons of the same sex are not real families

The fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who have created one of the most powerful brands in this field, declare that “the families consisting of persons of the same sex are not real families.”

Life partners for 23 years, till 2005 and business partners till nowadays, the two fashion designers say they are against the marriage between persons of the same sex, according to www.stiripentruviata.ro

In an interview given on March, 12th for the Italian magazine Panorama, they declare: “The only family is the traditional one.” “Without any babies conceived chemically or any hired wombs: life has its natural course.” “There are things which shouldn’t be changed.” “One of them is the family.”

“Procreation must be an act of love”, says Domenico Dolce, who continues: “I call the babies conceived in tubes, synthetic babies.” “Hired wombs, sperm chosen from the catalogue”

However, unlike Gabbana, who says that he would like to have a family, Dolce declares that he doesn’t want any children.

“I’m gay, I can’t have babies. I suppose you can’t have everything in life.”

The interview was given soon after the presentation of the Dolce & Gabbana winter 2016 fashion collection, which celebrates natural family and maternity.

In the same interview, Stefano Gabbana adds:

“The family is not a caprice. It involves a supernatural meaning of belonging.”

Their position against the marriage between people of the same sex has been well known for years. In 2013, in an interview for The Telegraph the designers were asked if they didn’t want to marry each other.

“What?” “Never!” “We don’t believe in gay marriages” they answered in unison. And in 2006, Stefano Gabbana declared for Daily Mail:

“I am against the idea that a child could be raised by two gay parents.”

Their statements regarding the main political aims of the LGBT movement had as a consequence the launch of a boycott by LGBT News Italy.

Source: http://www.activenews.ro

No one can be saved if he doesn’t have love

Once a few monks from the New Skete (from the Holy Mountain) cleaned the place where was the ossuary with the bones of the reposed fathers. An elder called Daniel, who lived in the tower of the skete and helped anyone without complaining, while helping the fathers who cleaned the place, said to the bones:

“You had struggled when you were alive on earth so you received your wreaths and found your places in heaven.” “Pray for us, Holy Fathers!”

Then a voice was heard from the pile of bones:

“You must have love.” “No one can be saved if he doesn’t have love.”

Repentance must be efficacious in order to be true

Metropolitan Nektarios Antonopoulos

The Holy Fathers of our Church called repentance “the second baptism” or “the renewal of our baptism.” With our first baptism we start a journey towards the Kingdom of God. God, our Father, out of His Love, knowing our human helplessness and the eventuality of our fall, gave us the second baptism, which is repentance, the man being able by its means to get up from his fall, to heal his wounds and to continue his difficult journey. Unfortunately very few of us know what repentance truly means and which is its deepest meaning. Most of us don’t know at all what repentance is nor why we should repent.

Repentance is not, as we believe, a legal procedure which frees man of certain feelings of guilt. Nor is it a trite confession, made by someone before the great religious feasts or when facing hardships. The prodigal son’s attitude and return mean something else.

As the word shows it, repentance (metanoia) means a complete change of someone’s life, the relinquishment of all sins from the bottom of the heart, the change of mentality. Meaning to feel with all our being that the path we are going on doesn’t lead us anywhere and we have to go back. To feel that we’re living in a straw barn, outside the house of our Father and to say: “But where are we going?” “Our Father has palaces where everybody rejoices and we would stay in the mud?” And then to decide to go back, to re-enter the parental home, to reconcile with God and our brothers.

Repentance must be efficacious in order to be true. Saint Kosmas the Etolian says: Even if all the priests, patriarchs and bishops and everyone else forgave you, you are unforgivable if you do not repent in deed. Meaning that if we don’t want to move away from sin and change our life, then our repentance is not real. It is not at all a true repentance.

Many come enthusiastically for confession, pressed by their psychological problems or other troubles they have. They confess with tears in the eyes and promise that from now on they won’t sin anymore and they would change their life etc.

But something like this may not have any connection with true repentance and this should make us be quite suspicious. Because repentance is not some fireworks, it requires time, painstaking, ascesis, ascetic struggle under the grace of God and is patiently and secretly growing in the soul of man.

 As if a man should scatter seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. And the earth produces by itself.[1]

In fine, repentance is the work of the divine grace. The man living in the darkness of sin and not knowing the beauty of the divine life, cannot understand the difference between the earthly human life and the divine human life.

Only when the divine grace drops in the heart of man the seed of divine love, he will see his spiritual emptiness. Only when sunlight enters a dark room it will reveal everything. Likewise, only when the grace of God enlightens our souls we see our inner desolation, passions and sins. That is why our Saints were insistently asking God: “Give me complete repentance!” This real repentance is the safe way which leads to the kingdom of God.

[1] Mark 4, 26-28

How to be the talk of the village

In an old book is related the story of a father who was going with his son to the fair to sell a donkey. The father and his son were walking beside the donkey when they met some people who started to mock them saying: “Look how stupid they are, they are scuffing their footwear and feet for sparing the shoes of the donkey!”

Then the father mounted on the donkey and they continued their way. After a short time they met some other travelers and they scoffed them too: “What a heartless father is this man, he doesn’t have any mercy for his own son and lets him walk all this way down!”

The father dismounted and put his son on the donkey. They met some other travelers. When these people saw them they said: “Look at this child!” “How ill-mannered he is!” “His old father is walking beside him and he is riding the donkey.”

“What’s to be done with all these people?” the father said. They both mounted on the donkey hoping they would shut the mouth of the people in this way. But after they had made a few steps further they met some other men who said: “Look here, kind men!” “These two healthy and stout people ride a poor donkey.”

“Listen, son”, the father said. “We won’t ever bring this to an end with such people.” “Let’s try something else!”

They dismounted from the donkey, they took a wooden pole and tying the donkey by its feet, two by two, they lifted him on their backs and continued their way.

When they met other travelers, these started to laugh at them as if they had been mad. And the story says that the poor man got so exasperated that he threw the donkey in a precipice, in a river and they returned home without him, only for getting rid of all the talk of the village.

In whom do you trust?

A priest visited a monastery where were housed many orphans and poor children. One of the nuns who were responsible for them, overwhelmed by despondency told the priest that the victuals had alarmingly dwindled and the children began to starve. She added that they had a silver plate they had kept for the hard times to come. Now they needed food and clothes for the children.

The priest listened carefully, saw her concern and said:

“Give me the silver, to use it in the best way.”

The nun put it in his hands without any hesitation. And the priest, without saying anything opened the window and threw it as far as he could.

The nun remained stunned and gasped, without being able to utter a single word.

“Now throw all your worries to God!” the priest said.

In a short time at the monastery they received gifts from known and unknown people, food and money.

Modesty doesn’t mean at all weakness

Saint John Maximovici

In this world there are many people who don’t know the spiritual laws – but these laws exist and they prove the groundlessness of the unbelief in the spiritual world.

The man who boasts and praises himself, creates an awkward, unpleasant impression to everybody, even to the faithless people – and the more he boasts, the more pathetic he seems for those around him. This is the action of the spiritual law. And the more humble is the man, the more he is liked by everybody. The modest people are loved by all, the proud ones are disliked by all.

We clearly see that even within the faithless people acts an unflinching law – and even if the faithless people don’t appreciate modesty in themselves, they appreciate it at the others for sure.

We are not wrong if we consider modesty as one of the attributes of the human personality which offers the utmost comfort. Modesty is without doubt equal to mercy, because the modest man is already merciful towards the other men – he doesn’t harass them with his claims, he doesn’t torment them putting on airs. Deliberately or not, the man who lacks pride honors God first then he honors men, who have all their gifts from God.

Thus the modest one never loses anything in life. His talents and qualities are not diminished by his modesty; on the contrary, they grow even more.

In the same time modesty never means weakness, as some who are afraid of it believe. It is power and spiritual bravery. Even in the life of societies and peoples “pride goes before destruction.” The true cultural level is directly proportional with the social and international modesty – and that is why the Word Who created the worlds, took a life of humble man and lived a life of suffering, showing the spirit of humility as a light which guides towards the endless glory of the heavenly kingdom. Jesus Christ’s humility became a seal of truth in man.

Source: How to overcome pride. Lessons for healing pride from the advice of the Holy Parents, Sophia Publishing House, Bucharest, 2010, page

The Creation of Man

Undoubtedly man has a special place among God’s creatures. He was named crown and emperor of the entire Creation. And the Holy Scripture makes a special reference to him and describes in detail how he was created and the beginning of his life on earth. We are going to talk about this subject today because in the former homily we discussed about the creation of the world in general.

Let’s remember first how it is described the creation of man in the Holy Scripture. God, after he had created the world and in the sixth day he created the land animals, thought and said: Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.[1]

After this thought and decision of his, God made the man in His image. He made first his body from earthly dust and then with a blow in his face He gave him his soul. Thus the man came to life.

Then God took care of the man’s shelter, so that he would have a pleasant life. For this he made heaven, a beautiful garden, watered by four rivers, with all kinds of plants and nice trees, full of fruits. But there were two trees unlike all the others, due to their qualities: the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which were in the middle of the garden of heaven. God put the man in that wonderful place to live there and commanded him to protect it and cultivate it. He allowed him to eat from all the fruits of all the trees of heaven except the tree of knowledge and told him that if he had eaten from that one he would have stopped being immortal and one day he would have died.

Then God brought before Adam all the animals to give them names and this is what happened. But while all the animals had a partner, Adam had nobody to keep him company and help him. Therefore God thought and said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.[2] So God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and made a woman from it and brought her to the man. When Adam saw her he said: This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man (in Hebrew the word woman derives from the same root with the word man).That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become one flesh. [3]

Then God blessed the first couple of mankind saying: Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.[4]

Adam and his woman were living in heaven naked, without being ashamed of this. (Genesis 1, 26-28 and 2, 4-25)

In this plain and expressive way the Holy Scripture describes the creation of man and the beginning of his life on earth. In the same way he did at the creation of the world, the holy writer does not aim to give us scientific information about the creation of man, but to show us the significance of man, who created him and which is his bond with God, with his fellows and his environment. To this effect he uses anthropomorphous expressions and symbolic tales to transmit us these truths. Therefore we are trying to discover these truths which hide behind the tale.

Describing the other works of God from the Creation, the Scripture says simply: “God said…and it was done.”

In what regards the man it describes God thinking, deciding and finally working to make the man. But we should not take all these facts literally. God did not need to think as a man and work to create the man, in the way the man does for creating something. Nor was it more difficult for Him to create the man than was the creation of all the other creatures. For the man as for all the others it was enough only the will of God. And surely this is how it happened: God willed and the man was created. But the Scripture when it describes God thinking and working to create the man aims to show us the special interest God has for man. God created the man with all His Love and with special care as an artist by his love and passion gives shape to the amorphous material. And this had been shown before his Creation as well, by the fact that He had created first all the others the man was going to need (the land, the plants, the animals, the sun, the waters, etc) and continued to show this ceaselessly by his care for the keeping and prosperity of man and especially for his eternal salvation, for which he was created.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. [5]

By this image of the creation of man, the Scripture shows us the double nature of man, the material and the spiritual one. The earth from which we are told that it was made his body shows his close connection with the material world. His body is made of material elements and he needs material victuals for preserving his life. His body puts him in connection and communion with the material world and is the tool by means of which he performs all his works and he does the good or the evil. For this reason the name of the first man is Adam, which in Hebrew means ‘earthly’. But the man is not made only of earthly dust, he has also got a soul, which is spirit, like God who had given it to him. The soul is the one which gives life to the body and the capability to work and to come in connection and communion with God. 

And this is what distinguishes man from the animals. The Holy Scripture talks sometimes about the soul of the animals but it refers only at the vital powers which make them move. When the animal dies nothing remains from it, while when the man’s body dies, his soul remains immortal.

In the Holy Scripture God is presented as saying that He was going to make the man in His image and in His likeness. This shows that the man is above all the other creatures because he is the only one who has attributes which make him resemble God. Of course these attributes do not refer at his body, since God has no body, but at his soul. This is God’s image, because as we had said, it is spirit like God. The man is the one who has higher spiritual charisms, which God has first in their perfect form: reason, conscience, free will, creativity, which make him differ from animals.

But although God decided to make the man in His image and in His likeness [6], we read below that He made him only in His image [7]

Of course God did not forget His initial decision nor changed His mind. In His likeness refers at the final destination of man which is his likeness with God, his deification. God gave him the attributes in His image, meaning the high spiritual charisms, which we have just mentioned before and the capability to cultivate them and to acquire spiritual perfection, for reaching by his own will and endeavour the likeness.

It is required great attention at the way in which it is described the creation of the woman. God takes a part of Adam’s body to make the woman. This shows the close bond and resemblance between the woman and the man. He does not take a part from the head nor one from the feet, but one from the middle of the body. This shows that the woman is not higher nor lower than the man, but equal with him. They are made for each other. They have the same rights and duties one for the other and both of them towards God. This is a very important thing because it represents the foundation principle and the rule which must guide the relationships between them and especially within the family. The man cannot be as a despotical and tyrannous master for the woman and make her tremble as a slave before him and the woman must not forget the place and limits ordained for her by God and she should not attempt to become head for her husband but they should have mutual love and understanding and care one for the other and work together for solving their mutual problems.

This golden rule was destroyed by sin which had as a consequence the fact that the woman became the slave of the man and she was considered in the time of our Lord a thing without personality. The gender equality was reestablished by Christianity, preached by Apostle Paul who says that there is neither male nor female [8] For as  woman was made from man so also man is born from woman. But everything comes from God.[9]

Therefore those who sustain nowadays that they fight for gender equality have to return to the things God had settled from the beginning and our Lord, Jesus Christ restored by His perfect Law. Only then a true equality will reign.

By the prophetic words Adam said inspired by God when he saw the woman and by the blessing of God of the first created couple the marriage and family were established.

These words were to be reminded by Jesus later so that it would be shown the inseparable bound of marriage, adding firmly: What God has joined together let no man separate. [10] The man should not dare to separate the bond which God settled and blessed. However the man dared and he still does to separate and destroy in many ways the holy institution of matrimony by the polygamy of yore, by the breach of conjugal fidelity and by the facile divorce. While polygamy disappeared in the Christian countries and almost disappeared in the non-Christian ones, the conjugal infidelity is unfortunately so wide-spread and divorces are increasing at a worrying pace. Thus the holy institution of matrimony is affected and weakened. And when the family is not in a good condition we cannot expect to have a healthy and stable society, since the family is the cell of the society.

If the society is mainly composed of healthy families, it will be healthy too. Otherwise it will be sick, just like the human body is healthy or sick if the cells from which is composed are healthy or sick. Thus if nowadays our society is not healthy and presents symptoms of corruption and decay these are mainly caused by the family dissolution. And if we want to have a healthy and improved society we must support and restore the family, placing it on firm and unwavering foundations, where it had been placed from the beginning by God.

God, by blessing the first people and by means of them the entire mankind, gave them the right to rule the earth and all the creatures living on it. This dominion is seen in the description from the Scripture where Adam gives names to all the animals and birds. The history of mankind attests this dominion. The man has gradually conquered – and continues to do this – the powers God created in nature. He subdued all animals even if some of them have more physical power than him. Thus it is attested the fact that man as image of God is the only creature who has all the charisms and attributes to conquer the world and be a co worker of God. This supremacy of man is nicely described by saint John Chrysostom who says : “God made this insignificant man who is only 3 cubits tall and is inferior to the animals in physical power be above all, giving him a rational soul, thing which represents a proof of the special honor he was granted.

For with his mind the man built citadels, scoured the seas, adorned the land, invented numerous trades and crafts, he subdued the wildest animals and what’s most important of all, he came to know God, who created him and taking him by the hand guided him towards virtue and he learnt what is good and what is not. From all creatures he is the only one who prays to God. He is the only one who received divine revelations. The earth, the sun, the stars exist for him, the seasons change for him, the trees bear fruits for him,  so many plants and animals live for him. For him is the day and for him is the night, the apostles and prophets were sent for him, the angels came so many times from the skies for him …For him God’s only begotten Son made Himself man, was crucified and buried.

Therefore the supremacy of man over nature, the attributes he was given by God and everything God did and does for him are clear proofs of God’s love and care for him. For all these we owe deep gratitude and ceaseless thanks to our Creator.

[1] Genesis 1, 26

[2] Genesis 2, 18

[3] Genesis 2, 23

[4] Genesis 2, 28

[5] Genesis 2,7

[6] Genesis 1, 26

[7] Genesis 1, 27

[8] Galathians 3, 28

[9] 1 Corinthians 11-12

[10] Matthew 19, 6

 

The Creation of the World

The Creation of the World

(Genesis 1, 1-2,3)

The Holy Scripture on the first page refers at the creation of the world. The holy history starts with the Genesis. We have the duty to start with the same subject. It is well known to all of us the tale related in the Holy Scripture about the creation of the world. Let’s remember it briefly then give answers to the puzzlement and questions deriving from it.

So according to Genesis the first book of the Old Testament, God made the world in 6 days. What means the word day we’ll see in the following lines of this homily. On the first day God made the heaven and earth [1], meaning the material substance from which He was going to make after that all the beings and He separated the light from darkness. On the second day he made the sky, the atmosphere and He separated the waters which were on earth from the waters which were in the heights in the form of clouds. On the third day He separated the land from the sea and He made the first plants on earth. On the fourth day He made the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon and the stars. On the fifth day He created the sea animals and the flying birds. On the sixth day He made the land animals and finally He created the man. Thus after He finished His work of Creation, on the seventh day God rested and blessed this day and made it a day for rest. (Genesis 1, 1-2,3)

The story is very simple but by this simple story the Holy Scripture aims to teach us great, fundamental truths. That is why it relates facts simply with images which are familiar to people, so that these truth may be understood by all the people from all times.

Therefore the first and the most important truth it aims to show us is that God is the Creator of the world. How the world was created is one of the questions which have always preoccupied the man. So many philosophers tried to give an answer at this question by their theories. Some of them said that the world have always existed, others sustained that it had created itself and others said that it was born from chaos.

The Holy Scripture gives the only rational and natural answer: the world is neither without beginning nor was it created by itself, but was made from nothingness by God, the Only One without beginning and eternal. What exists, either be it a living being or a lifeless thing, had not always existed and it was not made aimlessly, but for a certain reason. Thus it is very logical to accept that the whole world has its Creator and this one is no other than the Omnipotent and Omniscient God. This truth is expressed by saint Paul who says:  For every house is built by someone but God is the builder of everything. [2]

In the account of the Holy Scripture about the creation of the world we often read: “God said…and it was done.”

We must not imagine that God speaks as we do and gives orders and commands. Many times the Holy Scripture presents God acting like a man: thinking, walking, getting angry, changing his mind. All these expressions aim to help us feel God closer to us and to understand as much as possible His works.

Thus by saying that God said and it was done [3] it aims to show us that everything was made by God’s will. His will was enough to make everything it was made. And not only then at Genesis. God’s will is omnipotent all the time.

When God wants something to be done, that thing will be surely done, no matter how hard men will oppose to it.

However nothing can be done without the will of God, no matter how hard we’d try and strive.

Genesis talks about six days in which God had created the world and we all know this from childhood and say it. But what does it mean when the Holy Scripture says day? Day and night are created by the rotation of the Earth around the Sun and around its own axis. Genesis shows that the sun appeared in the fourth day. So how had been the days delimited before? It is clear that here the Holy Scripture does not speak about days of twenty four hours but about long time intervals. With the same meaning of time interval it is used the word day in another place as well. For instance when our Lord says: I must work the work of Him that sent me while it is day[4] – it refers at the entire length of His work on earth. Anyway for God time has no relevance: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. [5] Thus when we hear about the six days of Genesis, we should not limitate the meaning of day at that one we give it today. The six days from Genesis are six huge time intervals. This does not diminish the omnipotence of God. He could have created the world just as easily even in a moment but His will was to create the world in huge time intervals. The Holy Scripture shows us this truth when it speaks about six days. This is how the Holy Fathers understood the meaning of the word day and they say that the seventh day, which started at the end of Genesis hasn’t finished yet but will continue till the end of the world. Then the seventh day will end and the eighth day will start which will never end. This will be the life of the future age, the undying day of the Kingdom of God.

After each work of Creation, the Scripture presents God looking at what He had done and making sure that it was good, perfect. “And God saw that it was good” we repeatedly read (Genesis 1, 4, 8, 10, 13, 18, 21, 25)  This iteration has a relevant significance. First of all it shows us the perfection of God’s works. It would have been unconceivable that a perfect and omniscient God could have created anything else but perfect things. The man can see the perfection of God’s works searching them: the huge universe with the countless celestial bodies; the earth with the mountains and plains, the seas and rivers, the great variety of plants and animals and finally himself. This search provokes his admiration and makes him cry with David: How great are your works, oh, Lord, you have made all things in wisdom! [6] The Scripture teaches us that God, who is good, could create only a good world. His goodness made Him create the world and especially the man. Therefore His goodness wouldn’t have allowed Him to make something bad which would have made difficult the life of the beings He created, especially that of man. And if today there is evil in the world, the cause is not God, but someone else who was created by God good by nature but he chose the evil. Thus the world is not the creation of an evil god, as some ancient religions taught us but the work of the One and Only God and it was made perfect.

Natural science formulated different theories about the Genesis of the world. Some of them seem to be in contradiction with the account of the Holy Scripture.

This causes confusion for many and makes them doubt the authenticity of the Holy Scripture. But things are not that way. The Holy Scripture give answers for some questions about the genesis of the world and science gives answers for some others. The Holy Scripture is not a scientific book, it is a religious one. Its aim is not to describe scientifically for us how the world was created, but to show us who created it and for what reason. Science does not deal with these questions, it tries to explain how the world was made and studies the laws regarding its evolution and action. The scientists have formulated till nowadays different theories about the way the world was created but these theories are mere hypotheses since no one saw the genesis of the world to make an accurate description about that. For this reason each of these theories has its adepts but also its opponents. None of them was accepted by all people. However even if we accept that the world was created in a way or another, this doesn’t impede us to accept the existence of God, the Creator. No matter how the world would have been created physically, it had been created by the will and power of God. Thus it is wrong to consider that the Holy Scripture is opposed to science and that the second one cancels and rejects the first. Each one of them follows its own path and has its own aims. But nevertheless the conclusions the science draws come to testify the orderliness and the arrangement of the creation depicted in the Holy Scripture. We shall give only two examples.

The first: The Scripture says that God made light in the first day and the sun in the fourth day. So many wondered: How could be possible to have light without sun? And they rushed to conclude that the Scripture makes some gross mistakes. But science has accepted in the latest decades that the sun is not the only source of light and in the universe there is dispersed light, resembling the polar aurora which is caused by electric phenomena. Besides this, when the Scripture says that the sun was created in the fourth day, it might be possible that it only became visible then, because before that the earth had been surrounded by very dense clouds. As on a cloudy day we don’t see the sun, but its light reaches the earth, in the same way we can  accept that even before the fourth day the sunlight had reached the earth but it had been dim.

The second: The Scriptures says that the plants had been created before the sun. And many considered this is unacceptable and rushed to say that Moses was wrong. But the mistake is theirs.

Recent studies showed that even without sunlight it is possible to have growing vegetation, as it happens in greenhouses. Thus there was a time when the earth was like a huge greenhouse with a lot of carbon dioxide which favored the growth of plants.

In this way there appeared twenty/twenty five meters tall trees, which were later buried by geological disturbances, they were petrified and formed the coal layers of nowadays. It is significant the fact that these plants don’t have in their stem the annual rings which are formed under the action of sunlight. Therefore it is obvious that they had existed before the sunlight appeared on earth.

These facts and many others made some great scientists accept the accuracy of the biblical account about Genesis and to say that Moses must have been as learned as the scientists of today or that what he wrote was inspired by divine revelation (Ampere, Bio) and  if we wanted to present briefly the conclusions of geology about the Genesis of the world, we should relate the story from Genesis (Lapparan)

Let’s end the homily from today with some observations regarding the seventh day. The Scripture says that in the seventh day God rested from all His work [7]. We usually say that God rested on the seventh day but it is not correct. God did not tire by making the world nor did He stop working.

The Lord Himself testifies this: My Father is always at His work to this very day [8]. He rested means that he ended Creation, because the work of Creation was completed. Then God continued to work for the preservation and administration of the world because the world which had been created by the will and power of God has a permanent need of His will and power for being preserved. If God stopped even for a moment to take care of the world this would turn back to non-existence, to the nothingness from which it was created. But God’s rest from the seventh day has a special significance for us. It teaches us that we must stop our works one day a week for physical rest and for worshipping God. For the Jews this day according to the commandment of God was on Saturday. For us, for Christians it is on Sunday, the day when the world was recreated by the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. God’s rest from Genesis prefigures another rest: the rest of the Son of God from the work of salvation which was done by His death and burial. This connection is explained by a chant from the Matins and Vespers of the Great Saturday. The day of today was secretly prefigured by Moses by saying: God blessed the seventh day cause this is the blessed Sabbath, this is the day of quiet and of rest on which the Only begotten Son of God rested from all His works, keeping Sabbath in the body, by means of the mystery of the dispensation taking effect in death, returning through Resurrection to what He had been and granting us eternal lifefor He alone is good and the lover of mankind.( from the church praises from the Great Saturday) 

[1] Genesis 1,1

[2] Hebrews 3,4

[3] Psalm 32, 9

[4] John 9, 4

[5] 2 Peter 3, 8

[6] Psalm 103, 24

[7] Genesis 2,2

[8] John 5, 17