Clerical Articles

About the fact that the parents who are God loving people must be glad and thankful when their children are tempted for God. Moreover, they must urge them to fight and face dangers for virtue (I)

  • September 17, 2017
  1. From the story about the killing of the Holy Fathers from Sinai and Rait

The mother of that young man – who in another place [1] proved that he was famous for the nobleness of his soul – found out that her son fought with the barbarians courageously and he was stabbed in the cell where he lived his ascetic life, receiving their countless stabbings. She also found out that the robbers couldn’t make him get out of his cell or take off his robe even if they promised him they wouldn’t have killed him if he had done any of these but he resisted them and endured death courageously.

When she heard these she proved by her deed that she was his mother. She was suddenly clad in a bright robe and changed her look becoming bright. Then she raised her hands to the sky and addressed to the Savior, Jesus Christ saying: I gave my child to You my Lord and he was saved now and forever. I’ve entrusted my boy to You, as his guardian and he was kept safe indeed. Because I don’t think that he died and ended his life but  he was freed of the temptation of any sin and I don’t think either that his body was awfully ripped and he had an awful end but that he was taken as a pure soul and entrusted his pure spirit in Your hands. I count the stabbings as rewards and the wounds as wreaths. Oh, my child if only your body could have had even more wounds to receive even more rewards. Because from there you repaid me for giving birth to you with this you repaid me for the throes of childbirth with these you repaid me for nursing you.

So won’t you share your wreaths with me ? Cause I partake your strives. You fought? I rejoice with you for your fight. You endured the anger of the barbarians? I stand against the motherly nature that’s torturing me. You defied death? I ignore the pangs of my heart. You endured the pain of being stabbed without hesitation? I endure the pain of having my heart torn. My pains are not insignificant, but like yours. You gain victory with the hardness of your strife? I outrun you with its length. Cause even if your death was painful it came at once while I will drag after me a long lasting pain. But I will endure it patiently, behaving wisely: because I am assured by you that you live the pure life in God and I think that not after long you will take care of me there when this earthen vessel will be broken somehow and I will go to the age beyond.

I am a happy mother bringing such a struggler before God. And I am happy because I got courage to be proud since you had gone to Christ and you will live forever near Him partaking the endless delight.

  1. From the life of saint martyr Clement, Bishop of Anchira

When saint Clement was a child his father died. And his mother remaining without a husband and putting all her hopes after God in her child devoted herself to him arduously in such a way that she was everything for him: father, mother and teacher. And Clement living like this being raised and educated in this noble way by his loving mother when he was in his tenth year of his life she felt that her end was near. Then she gently took him closely and hurried not to make him an inheritor of the family’s fortune but of the treasure from heaven. And embracing him tenderly she beseeched him like this: `My child, my beloved child you were an orphan without knowing your father at all. But you got rich having God as a father and used the absence of your father for earning your happiness. I raised you in body but Christ gave birth to you again in spirit. Know then your Father and do not deny your name of son! Serve only Christ! Put your hope in Him! This is true immortality. This is salvation.

He descended from heaven for us and by ascending with Him he made us His Sons and gods. Who will obey this Lord will avoid all difficulties and he will not only defeat all emperors and tyrants who worship the idols but will also embarrass the demons they worship and even their head, the devil.

While speaking her eyes filled with tears and by the work of grace she had a spiritual vision: she revealed in detail in a prophetic way everything was going to happen. She said: `I beg you, my beloved child to fulfill my only wish for everything I’ve done. Because the times are difficult and the persecution of faith blows wildly I know that you will be taken as our Lord says before the emperors and governors2 for Him. Offer me this honor my child and stand bravely for Christ till the end and keep the confession firmly. I am assured by Christ that on your head will bloom a martyric wreath. Prepare yourself and urge your soul to be brave so that you won’t be taken by surprise unprepared for struggle. Cause your struggle won’t be against some insignificant persons or things. You will have to stand against the cunning one, his servants and defenders and as a reward for your struggle you will receive either eternal life and honor or shame and endless damnation. Thus you should be urged by the good or be frightened by the terrible things.

It would be shameful my child to see that the soldiers give their life for the mortal emperors who are servants like them and we won’t accept death in the same way for the eternal Emperor. The soldiers of the emperor from this world don’t receive anything to deserve such a sacrifice. Cause what gift would be as precious as life? Or how could be felt after death the gifts? But if you die for the Lord of all men, for Christ, instead of an ephemeral life you will receive life without death. Instead of earthly delights, honors and ephemeral riches you will delight yourself with the eternal happiness. How is that? If we don’t die now won’t we die anyway after a while paying the debt that’s common to all? The death for Christ shouldn’t be considered death at all. Because the good hope in what is to come triumphs over the experience of death. First of all my child you must remember how the Creator of the entire world Who created our stock made Himself a man for us and coming on earth lived among men. And why wouldn’t I say what even greater? That for such ungrateful servants like us the Lord was sentenced to death, He was slapped and in the end He died. And He suffered all these for us and for our salvation to untie the tyranny of sin and destroy the former damnation and open for us the gates of heaven. How won’t be unpardonable my son to see that although He is a Lord He endured all this for us who daringly committed incorrigible sins and we won’t endure not even slightly for Him? Think about these my child and nothing should separate you of the love of Christ.  Neither the threats of the governors, nor the pains or fear of the ephemeral emperors whose anger vanishes quickly with their pride and their fire is extinguished and their sword rusts. But find comfort in the good things prepared for the martyrs. Snce heaven itself prepared a reward for your martyrdom.

The mother strengthened him like this every day having the spirit of true wisdom that she spoke it out and the child had the wisdom of old age and needed deeper counsels. And at the end she added: Give me this in return my child because I raised you. This should be the recompense for the throes of childbirth, my dearest son. To find salvation according to the words of saint Paul 4 by giving birth to sons and be honored in the limbs of the child. Now I am dying my son – because she was feeling that due to the power of grace – and this visible light won’t ever shine over me in the morning. But you are my light and life in Christ. So I beseech you, my heart, do not disappoint me in my hopes I have in you.

Once a Jewish woman gave her seven sons to be martyred 5 and she suffered torments among their  bodies. But for me you are enough for honor. I am a blessed mother because I shall be honored through you. My child I’m going before you. And you won’t see me in body anymore with your beloved eyes but after my death be sure that my soul will always be next to yours before the throne of Christ and I will bow with you before His throne praising your struggles, being adorned with your wounds and partaking those precious wreaths and brightness.

This is what the blessed mother said before her child and she kissed his limbs saying again : I am kissing the limbs of a martyr, limbs that will be sacrificed for Christ. Embracing him and speaking to him like this she reposed happily giving her soul to God and her body to the dear hands of her child. And he as a good son buried his beloved mother and then chose to become a monk. He devoted himself to what his mother asked him to do, going away from the world for the sake of Christ and then sacrificing his life.

Since then he ate only vegetables[6], always remembering the three young men who fasted and defeated their bodies, making them be invincible towards the fire of passions and the fire of the visible oven[7].

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[1] see Everghetinos, Book 3 theme 16.

[2] Lc. 21,12.

[3] Textually: anointed him. The preparation for fight of the athletes from ancient Greece included the anointment of the body with oil for not being caught by their adversaries.

[4] 1 Tim 2,15.

[5] see 2 Mac. 7 and 4 Mac.14. It is about the mother of the 7 Maccabeans.

[6] It is a generical name given to the dished made of beans. As it is mentioned in the text it is the food chosen by the three young men with prophet Daniel for not defiling themselves with the pagan dished from the table of the king of Babylon (Dan. 1,12; 1,16).

[7] Dan 1,16-3,23.

Excerpt from EVERGHETINOS – first edition 2007  Holy Monastery Vatoped vol. I, Theme 12 –Metropolis Press, Athens, Greece, 2007