Going to the church should become a holiday for the children

The children must get used to going to the church on every Sunday and religious holiday and behave suitably. Going to the church must become a holiday not a rare event. For not becoming a burden the parents who come to the church with their children will attend only a part of the holy service.

For instance we can leave from the Vespers after the anointment and we can come to the Liturgy of the believers increasing gradually the time spent at the church attending the holy service. It is good to tell the children about certain icons but being careful not to overload them with to much information. It is rather desirable to let them ask about the icons, the church and the moments of the holy services whenever they want. In order to get this result we must do everything is possible to make our stories attractive for them. Making a child understand the meaning of the prayer and of the church in the life of man depends a lot on the attitude the parents have towards these.

From priest professor Gleb Kaleda, The church from home,  Sophia Publishing, Bucharest, 2006, p. 65-66

The Decalogue of the Orthodox husbands

  1. Do not be like a teacher lecturing your husband. The best way to teach him is to love him as you love yourself to respect him and live fully the Orthodox faith.
  2. Marriage is a continous beautiful adventure helping us to discover our true self, the inner world of our husband and to know God humbly in the church from our house.
  3. We should accept our husband as he is, with his weaknesses and caprices not as we would like him to be. Family is like an arena, a place of struggle for our souls and the antechamber of heaven for the believers.
  4. Try to understand your husband. Don’t forget that the man think with his brain and is driven by a narrow logic while the woman thinks with her heart and is driven by feelings.
  5. Don’t try to impose your opinion and correct your husband. Better take care to correct yourself. Love exists harmonizing opposites and forgiving. Don’t get nervous, don’t get angry and don’t argue with each other.
  6. All the hardships of this ephemeral life are addressed and defeated with faith, patience and love.
  7. The worst enemy of the conjugal life is selfishness and debauchery. We are saved only by fighting against our selfishness and debauchery.
  8. The best example for our children is when the father loves their mother and their mother loves their father and when they see going together to the church and praying.
  9. The secret of the peace within the family is when someone is able to forgive, to love and confess his sins frequently.
  10. Marriage is a high sacrament that starts in the Church and is renewed by confession, by participation at the Holy Liturgy and the other sacraments of our Orthodox faith.

`Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.`

The Christian of nowadays

Monk Moses The Athonite

Nowadays the man seems to have forgotten and he doesn’t see anymore the deep meaning of life. He is much more interested in finding his daily bread and knowing the fluctuation of euro.

In these hard times we’ve talked and written about the main thing is the deep faith in God who gives to His believers trust, courage, comfort and hope. In the same time the fair interpersonal relationships based on a sincere friendship, peaceful conversation, generous zeal, kindness and compassion strengthen the man and they don’t let him drown in loneliness and be stricken by the storm of despair.

The troubled man needs not only his bread, he also needs to taste freedom, peace and love. It’s not a matter of moderated humanism and altruism but of expressing Christian sacrificial love.

I think that the needs of the human soul never cease. But these needs are not satisfied by an improvised preach, by routine well known advice said in a rush. That’s why the youth react and estrange of the Church. They don’t say they don’t want and reject its message, but are bothered by its aphoristic manner. And thus they become introverted and seek joy where they can never find it.

In this situation the young people become languid and they don’t want to raise, sometimes they don’t even want to have an elementary talk, because they were terribly disappointed. The church seems very strict and isolated, ready only to order, to forbid, to cause frightening guilts, to constraint and never listen to them. They come to reject the Church because it lacks understanding and is severe. The shameful troubles faced by some Church leaders make enough Christians estrange even more, especially the youth with good intentions.

There are enough men of the Church who avoid systematically the necessary self criticism and prefer cheap criticism instead. They compare themselves with the worst and they feel satisfied with themselves. They don’t take into account and don’t analyze the reasons why most of the people don’t listen to their preaches. I think that the main problem is not represented by the others but by ourselves.  It is quite necessary to descend from the top and speak friendly without looking too much at the watch. We should not be afraid of any questions and we should tae care what answers we give.

Un fortunately the Christian of nowadays hides within himself a great opinion about himself. He considers himself better than the others. But he is not that upright, sincere, pure and humble to think that about himself. Of course even today there are heroes of Christianity. They may be a minority but they exist for sure in the world and in seclusion. The Christian of nowadays will better help his fellow men by their living example, not by empty words without any content. The world changes. The times are demanding. The role of the Christian in our chaotic societies is extremely important. Let us not disappoint the world.

Paternity is love

Somebody said that there are no perfect parents. I don’t know if I can agree with this statement. They rather can’t be found. I remember the exclamation of the pagan philosopher Libanius who spoke about the education of the children in the Christian families frm the times of saint John Chrysostom: `what good mothers the Christians have!`

Saint Josephn and the Most Holy Virgin Mary were perfect parents. Saints Joachim and Ana, saints Zacharias and Elisabeth were perfect parents. Perfect is the parent who sacrifices himself for his child in the name of God.

Thus perfect is that paternity which raises the children in the spirit of love for God. Faith in God and love are a glue that sticks together tightly all the bricks that form the solid house of a strong family. And those bricks are: self sacrifice, protection, responsibility and accountability, care, attention, teaching, life habits, polite communication, good manners and many others. All these will form an unshakeable wall only if they are built on the foundation stone represented by Christ.

Parenting of nowadays that became viral in the EU tends to use all these bricks but replacing the glue and the foundation stone with the `democratic politically correct values`. That why I am sure that the wall built in an anti Christian and atheist society will fall as the Babel tower.

Behavioral psychology that represents the groundwork of parenting is derived from Freud’s theories who analyzes the consequences of the childhood traumas. They may be justified partially because the psychological trauma has indeed serious consequences in the life of man. The behavioral consequences depend on the physiology of the brain that develops till full age.

The most significant development of the human brain takes place in the first year of life. We know that a new born baby doesn’t have his senses well developed, he doesn’t see well, he doesn’t hear as we do, he doesn’t react as we do. All these appear during the development of his brain and they depend very much on the love and his interaction with his parents or guardians.

I say guardians because not all the babies have the luc to stay with their mummies and daddies after their birth.This is probably the first and the most painful blow from their life – the separation from their mother who carried them below her heart during pregnancy.

I read somewhere a story about a mother who came to a famous teacher and asked him for advice for raising and educating her new born baby and the teacher answered: `Dear, we’ve been 9 months late.` However I dare say that the education of a child doesn’t start from the moment of his conception but it stretches during the development of the whole mankind from Adam and Eve till now. I understood this fact when I watched the behavior of my children. I realized they are me in a miniature. I was the same way at their age. Sometimes this thought made me despair – I would give my life if they wouldn’t be the way I was and I am sometimes. However if it were to see the full side of the glass not the empty one, then we would understand that we could educate our children only if we educate ourselves!

The children inherit the features of the adults because many hereditary behaviours are explained by the complexity of the chemical substances produced by the human body. The doses of the happiness or sadness, of fear and hate hormones are closely tied up with the activity of the human brain. Serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, oxytocin are only a part of the most common hormones widely known by the people who are not specialized in the structure of the human body. The production of hormones is caused by the functioning of the brain, the most complex organ of our body.

The scientists came to the conclusion that the terminations of the human brains determine the function of the cerebral zones responsible for the various functions of the body. For example there is a close relation between high chronic stress and the man’s incapacity to memorize, to think, to keep his emotions in balance, to temper his reactions.

These discoveries made the scientists confirm what Christian faith has been stating for ages – love is the engine of a harmonius life and of an adequate behavior.

The atheist society wants to replace God with notions like empathy, tolerance, patience, trying to avoid the notion of love. But at least atheism is consistent and understands that love means God. Thus the atheist in his consistency opposes firmly the wisdom of apostle Paul who says:  `Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. (hymn of love – I Cor. 13;1-8)

Dear parents give LOVE to your children and all the others shall be added!

Priest Constantin Cojocaru

Source: ortodox.md

Luck and bad luck

Monk Moses the Athonite

Are there lucky and unlucky men ? Would that be unfair? What is luck? For the Orthodox Church there is no luck. There is no fate, what is written for you, the prescribed destiny of the man. In the whole hagiographic and patristic teaching there is no reference to luck. People think that luck gives them incredible wealth, the benefit of a promotion in a higher position, that saves them of certain dangers.

It is a proven fact that there is nowhere and it has never been any superior force to be called luck. And it wouldn’t be of any help any object, amulet or blue ball. We think that people were deluded by some amateur conjurors. What seems casual tp people has for sure a more profound meaning. There is no destiny.

The idol Moloch called the God of Luck to whom were brought human oblations, especially children, was thought to offer prosperity in change.

Democritus said that men made the idol of luck as a justification of their own recklessness. Wise Solomon says: Do not trust in luck. Luck is not something you should trust, says Hilton. Of course there are some old and new writers who believe in luck. Aristotle considers luck master of circumstances. Seneca says that luck is afraid of the brave one but scares the fearful.According to Hugo luck is the diminutive of providence. Einstein says that luck is the sum of many various coincidences.

We think that all the ups and downs from our life are caused by a discrete noble and uncontraining providence of the most kind God. In an anthropomorphic way we could say that God is worried for our salvation. For this reason He gives us the good things to thank Him and praise Him. He offers us some bitter things as well, not as a cruel and offended God, as a revenger and punisher but as a perfect teacher guiding us towards repentance and improvement. God takes care, protects each man because we are His creatures and His care for us will never cease. He doesn’t leave His children without food and care. He doesn’t leave them in the care of luck. The one who feeds the birds of the sky and the wonderful flowers of the field, will He leave the man be drawn by fate? There is no fate, no predestination in the life of men. There is a profound and essential reason for what happens, for the good and the bad ones from people’s lives. There is a certain reason in the various things and events that take place and there is also a good distant aim.

My beloved there is a divine plan for the world and for each man. Of course the freedom of man’s will is absolutely necessary and when it doesn’t exist, the grace of God who works in many ways for everyone doesn’t intervene.

God gave the man the freedom of will, because he doesn’t want to have some deaf and dumb servants or powerful followers, acclamators and agitators. The hidden and personal bond of the man with God is an amazing mystery. The one who uses his freedom given by God is responsible for that. So there is no luck. Thus we can say that there are no lucky and unlucky men.

However even nowadays even some educated people believe in luck and run with money to many fortune tellers to predict their fate, luck and future. We talk about magicians with diplomas, sly astrologers, fortune tellers, false psychologists. They deceive the deluded, make fortunes exploiting the naivety of some unfortunate men. The blessing of some of these is: `May you have good luck!` A sly, evil, cunning man, a liar, a crook is lucky. The honest man, the poor, the sincere, the faithful full of kindness is not lucky. In the end truly lucky is the one who has a pure conscience, who has a peaceful sleep, who found the salvation for his soul.

We end humbly saying from the heart that we are really lucky to have such a kind God.

Christianity should not change to the spirit of each epoque

Saint Teophanus the Recluse

I cannot agree at all with your opinion…as if Christianity could change its dogmas, canons, holy services answering to the spirit of each epoque and adjusting to the changing tastes of the sons of this age as if it could be possible to add or remove something from it. Christianity must remain unchanged for ever without depending on or being directed by the spirits of the times.

On the contrary, Christianity is the one that leads the spirit of the time for every man who follows its guidance. We preach the teaching of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, of the Holy Apostles and of the Holy Church guided by the Holy Spirit. In the same time we take care by all means possible to preserve this teaching complete and unaltered in our minds and hearts. We express every thought and use each word carefully so that we won’t shadow in any way this bright divine teaching. Nobody can do otherwise.

For the whole period of time from His first coming into the world till His second Coming, Christ gave to the Holy Apostles and to their disciples the following law:

`Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.` (Matthew 28,19). This means not to teach them in accordance with the personal way of thinking but in accordance with the commandment of Christ and this till the end of times. The He adds:

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28, 20).

The Apostles received this law and they sacrificed their life to keep it. And they answered to those who tried to stop them preaching it threatening them with death:

`Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard` (Acts 4,19-20).

This law was given by the Apostles to their disciples, it was received by these and has an eternal value in the Church of God. Due to this law the Church is the pillar and the foundation of the truth. You see how steady it is? Then who is so shameless to change something from the Christian dogma and law? How could somebody be so impudent to cut the law of Christ when this thing leads to the destruction of both parties, of the pastors and of their flocks?

The saving power of the Christian law does not depend on us at all but on the will of God on the fact that God ordained wisely the well settled path of salvation. There is no other way out of it and it won’t be possible to exist. Therefore it means that any man who teaches something different deviates from the true path and destroys himself and his followers.

The pope changed many dogmas, spoiled the sacraments, annulled the canons referring at the ecclesiastical order and at the amendment of of the morals. From that moment on everything began to follow a path against the will of God and became worse and worse.

God save us of the broad path! It is preferable to love all misfortunes ordained by God for our salvation. We should love the Christian dogmas and get our mind used with them forcing it not to think at others. We should love the Christian moral and get our will used with it forcing it to raise the light yoke of the Lord humbly and patiently. We should love all the holy services which guide, correct and sanctify us. We should accustom our heart with them urging it to leave the earthly ephemeral affairs and choose the eternal heavenly ones.

If you fully understood this do not get upset when something from this teaching seems difficult. The only thing you should seek is to make sure it is something from the Lord. After you make sure that it belongs to the Lord, receive it whole-heartedly, no matter how difficult and severe would be. Do not wish to make any change of the dogmas and the morals but stay away of this as you stay of the fire. Those who think of such things and draw after them the weak ones cannot escape of this fire. Amen.

You write : `Somebody speak continuously about our Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for salvation. He speaks enthusiastically. We enjoy listening to him, it is very appealing to us. Did you see if he is an Orthodox or of another confession? Maybe you thought that if he speaks about Christ the Saviour enthusiastically he must be one of us, being in the truth and preaching the truth. You were drawn by these and you were led into delusion.  He might have been Orthodox but he fell out of it. He is a heretic!

He may preach the salvation in Christ but not as it was taught by Christ and the Holy Apostles. It is a sure fact that those who are astray think they hold the truth.

The Catholics who were the first to separate from the Church think that the Truth belongs to them exclusively. The Protestants who criticized the faith of the Catholics in many respects instead of coming back to the truth went even more astray than the Catholics. The Englishmen did not like German Protestantism and made one of themselves in accordance with their measure, their opinions and not with the eternal truths revealed by God. From Anglicanism and Protestantism appeared many ramifications and the heresies multiplied.

While in the West many different kinds of religions appeared continuously in the East the Orthodox faith, the true Church remained unchanged as a safe box containg the divine truth. There passed so many centuries and the truth was preserved unaltered and unchanged in Orthodoxy till it reached us as it was preached by the Lord and His Apostles. We find salvation in Jesus Christ with the benevolence of the Father and with the grace of the Holy Spirit. We have the duty to believe in the things God wanted to reveal to us, without any additions and cuts as they are preserved by the Holy Orthodoxy.

The faith alone is not enough for salvation. It must be accompanied by a holy life in accordance with the commandments of God: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 7, 21) And the will of God is expressed by His commandments:

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. (Ioan 14, 21-23).

According to the word of God faith and deeds have an equal importance. No one f them has any primacy. In order to have a just faith and some holy deeds it is needed to have divine grace. (Ephesians 2,8) The sacraments are rivers of the divine grace that pour living water over the believers.

There is no other way, no other means for someone to receive the divine grace. Whoever preaches another way is of another faith and he is astray. Necessary for salvation are faith, a life lived in accordance with the divine commandments, the divine grace – given through the Holy Sacraments – and the clergy ordained by the Lord.

The true Christians have always felt in all times till nowadays that they lived in communion with the other believers, united with the Church. We consider the Church as our mother. And it is true the word that says for whom the Church is not a Mother God is not a Father.  And if God is not his Father then who else?

The participation at the life of the Church and the accomplishment of salvation within it imply certain duties from every believer: to believe as the whole Church does and has done it since the beginning till nowadays, to search each thought he has or those that are strange to him in accordance with its criteria and not allow the slightest disagreement with the teaching of the Church as long as the Church is the pillar and the foundation of the Truth. (Timothy 3, 15)

Simplify your life!

The laymen say: Happy are those who live in palaces and have all comforts. But happy are those who could simplify their life and get free from the chains of this worldly progress, of the too many facilities that are rather difficulties and who escaped from the terrible stress of our times. If the man does not simplify his life he torments himself while if he simplifies it he won’t have this stress.

Once in Sinai a German said to a Bedouin child who was very smart: `You are smart, you can learn in school.` `And after that?` the child asked him. `Then you will open a car service.“And after that?` `After that you will expand it.“And after that? `After that you hire some others to work for you and you will have more workers.`

Meaning that he would have got a headache then he would have given that headache to someone else and then to some more. But isn’t it better when I have no headache? The greatest headache comes from thoughts like these: `Let’s do this, let’s do the other one.` If the thought had been spiritual the one who had had them would have felt spiritual relief not headache.

Even at laymen I insist on simplicity because many of the things that are done are not absolutely necessary and they are affected by stress. I speak to them about temperance and struggle. I cry all the time: `Simplify your life and the stress will disappear. Most of the divorces begin from here. The people have many chores to do and they get dizzy. Both the mother and the father work and they leave their children unattended. Painstaking, nerves, small problems cause big scandals then there comes a divorce without a reason. There they go. If they had simplified their life a little they would feel tranquil and happy. This stress is a disaster.

Once I was in a very luxurious home. Talking with its owners they said:

`We live in heaven while others live in poverty.`

`You live in hell` I told them. `You, fool, tonight your soul will be taken` the Lord said to the rich man.

If Christ asked me: `Where do you want to live, in a jail or in a house like this, I would answer: `in a dark jail, because the jail would help me. It would remind me of Christ, of the holy martyrs, of the hermits who lived in the cracks of the earth, it would remind me of monasticism.

The jail would look a bit like my cell and I’d be glad about that. But what would your house remind me or how would it help me? That’s why the jails give me more comfort than a worldly parlour or a beautiful cell of a monk. I’d rather live in a jail than in a house like this.

Once being hosted in the house of a friend from Athens the host ase me to receive a Christian before daybreak because that man could not come at another hour.

That man came rejoicingly and praising God without cease. He was very humble and simple and he asked me to pray for his family. This man was about 38 yo and had 7 children. His parents stayed with hi family. They were eleven persons overall and they lived in a single room. He told me with his whole simplicity: `The room has enough space for us only when we stand but when we have to go to sleep it is overcrowded because it is a bit narrow. But glory to God I made a kitchen and I solved everything. Father, we have a roof over our heads while others live in the open air. He worked as a whetter. He lived in Athens and left before daybreak to arrive in time in Pireus where he worked. Because he stood up for so long and walked such a long way he had varicose veins and this hurt him but his love for his family made him forget the pains and suffering.

He humbled himself saying that he had no love because he didn’t do any good deeds as a good Christian and he praised his wife for doing such deeds because beside the children and his parents she took the laundry of the old neighbours and washed them, she tidied up their houses and cooked them some broth. On the face of this Christian was reflected the divine grace.

He had Christ inside himself and he was full of joy and his room was full of heavenly joy. While those who don’t have Christ inside themselves are full of anxiety. Even if there are only two persons like these they don’t have enough space not even in eleven rooms while those men who had Christ inside themselves had enough space in a single room.

You see that even some spiritual men do not find enough space for themselves no matter how much room they had because Christ did not enter completely inside them. If the women from Farasa had seen the luxury from nowadays found even in monasteries would have said: `God will burn us with fire, God will leave us.` Those women did their chores slowly. In the morning they had to take out the goats for grazing then they had to clean the houses. Afterwards they went to the churches from the neighbourhood or gathered in caves where one of them who knew the letters read the life of the saint from that day. Then they made bows and said the Jesus prayer. They toiled and toiled. The woman had to know how to sew all the clothes from the house. They sew them by hand. The sewing machines were very few and those only in towns, not in villages. In Farasa there was only one sewing machine. They sewed the clothes of their husbands that were more comfortable than those from today and they knitted their socks. They had taste, zeal and they still had some time left because they did everything simply.

The women from Farasa didn’t look at details. They lived the joy of monasticism. And if the blanket was not well stretched and you had told her straighten the blanket she would have answered: `does this impede you in your prayers?`

The people of nowadays don’t know this joy of monasticism. They think you should not live in poverty for not suffering. If the men had a more monastic way of thinking, if they lived in a simpler way they would be more peaceful. Now they torment themselves because they have in their souls anxiety and despair. `Someone succeeded in life because he built two blocks of flats for himself or learnt five foreign languages. And I have no flat of my own and don’t know any foreign language. Oh, I’m lost!` One has a car and he begins: `Someone else has a better car. I should buy one too.` He takes a better one but he is still not satisfied with that because there is another one who has a much better one. So he buys the much better one and afterwards he finds that some people have personal planes and he torments himself again. They never cease with that while one who has no car praises God and rejoices. `Glory to God` he says,`it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a car, I have two good feet instead and I can walk. How many people are there without legs who cannot walk but they need someone to serve them while I have my own!` Even a lame one is glad when he says: `There are others who don’t have any leg.` Discontent and insatiability are a great evil. The one who is fond of material goods is always controlled by sadness and anxiety because on one hand he is afraid not to lose those material things and on the other not to lose his soul.

One day a rich man from Athens came to me and said: `Father, I lost the connection with my sons. I lost my sons.` `How many children do you have?`I asked him. `Two` he answered. `I raised them with boules de neige. They had everything they wanted. I bought them even cars. From the discussion it came out that he had his own car, his wife her own and their sons their owns.

`Blessed man, you instead of reducing your problems, increased them. Now you need a large garage for these cars, a mechanic to pay him four times more to fix them and you put your life in danger all of you while if you had simplified your life your family would have been united, you would have understood each other and you wouldn’t have faced such problems. Your sons are not guilty, you are the guilty one because you didn’t care to give them another education.

A family, four cars, a garage, a mechanic, etc. What happens if one goes later? All these facilities cause difficulties.

Another time another family man came to my hut – there were five members in his family – and he said : `Father, we have a car and I intend to buy two more. They will be useful for us`

But have you thought how many problems they will cause? I asked him. You put one in a small place but where to put three? You will need a large garage and a storeroom for fuel. You will be three times in danger. It is better to have only one and limit your drives. Then you will have enough time to take care of your children. And you’ll have peace. Simplicity is everything.

`I didn’t think about that` he said.

`Father, someone said that two times he couldn’t stop the car alarm once because there was a fly and afterwards because he got in the car in a wrong way.`

Their life is real martyrdom because they don’t simplify their life. Most of the facilities cause difficulties. The laymen are drowned in a multitude of things. They got facilities over facilities and they made their life difficult. If the man doesn’t simplify his life then any new facility may case him a new series of difficulties.

When we were small we made from a reel a wonderful plaything and we were happy about it. The children are much happier with a toy car than any of their parents when they buy a Mercedes. If you as a girl: `what do you want, a doll or a block of flats?` you’ll see she is going to answer `a doll`. Thus the children know the vanity of this world.`

`Father what helps someone more in knowing this joy of temperance?`

`To seize the deep meaning of life. Seek first the kingdom of God. From there comes simplicity and any right approach of the matters.`

Theotokos, the model of the Christian woman

Eve’s guilt was the spindle of the Christian faith, Jesus mission on earth being to put an end to disobedience to God. If Eve had sinned and then urged Adam to do the same, Theotokos was the first person from the whole history that received and accepted Christ as a Saviour. Theotokos remains the undeniable model  of every Christian woman.

Paul Evdokimov says that the new Eve in Christ, virgin Mary brings the truth about human nature. The Church calls her ever Virgin, meaning virgin in her essence and by this Mother. In an excerpt of an old liturgical text referring at the Most Holy Virgin Mary they say: `You gave birth to the Son without a father, to this Son Who was begotten by the Father before times without a mother.`

 The analogy, although it is not perfectly adequate for the great divine realities is however suggestive in the meaning that the Virgin becomes the human expression of the divine paternity, a bridge of an intimate closeness to God. `If paternity is the category of the divine life, maternity is the religious category of the human life.`

Theotokos, the ever Virgin, the perfect model for all the women keeps her virginity. The face of Theotokos shows us first the face of a woman. The first gift given to us by Christ, the first and the most profound discovery of His teaching and call is given to us in the form of a woman’s face.

Christianity never marginalized the woman, but this happens nowadays exactly cause of the feminist movements. The woman is marginalized, she marginalizes herself when she gives up on her call, not wanting to be what she is anymore, renouncing to bear her cross and wanting to be like the man. Any woman will discover the meaning of life in a marriage and then in the gift and responsibility of being a mother. The Christian woman distinguished herself as a teacher in all societies and ages raising herself at the height of the Christian ideal of the time that could be more missionary, more sacrificial, more ascetic and higher.

In the history of apostleship the woman played an important role as an agent of evangelization. The precious aiders of saint apostle Paul and of other missionaries were frm the start active and worthy spreaders of the Christian ideas. Many times the woman converted before her husband and then converted him and their children.

The image of the Virgin on earth

The Holy Virgin Mary is the absolute model of devotion and sacrifice and of innocence and holiness as much as Eve is the model of decline.

Professor priest Ilie Moldovan said that in what regards the woman her cult for Theotokos may mean the inner influence of an immaculate virgin and of a perfect mother. Thus is embodied the thirst for plenitude and holiness and the zest for giving. The role of the woman is great because she has a special gift in sensing and understanding the mystery of the other one. She seems to be closer to God by her comforting love.

All the holy services are good and useful but the best part a woman can choose is to be a vigil light of the faith in God, first in her own family then in the middle of the society where she lives especially because there are two powers in the world: God in the sky and the mother on earth! It’s everything Christ waits from us, this is the example of the first heralds of the Lord’s Resurrection and the example for a countless number of Christian mothers.

The glory of a man

The woman according to saint apostle Paul is the glory of the man  (I Corinthians 11, 7). In her bright purity she is like a mirror that reflects the face of the man, revealing it to himself and by this thing she predisposes him to unite with God.

In this way the help given to the husband is that of making him understand himself, of becoming aware of his destiny in the world and in the same time of fulfilling together a destiny of Christian life.

Alexander Schmemman shows that the Virgin Mary is the image of boundless humbleness and purity, full of beauty and strength, the image of love and of love’s triumph.

Moreover, by the Virgin Mother the woman is lifted at the dignity of being a vivid image of Mary on earth, chaste and loyal wife, devoted and loving mother, in the image of the divine Mother.

The dignity of a woman

The Christian woman in her quality of wife and mother can have an important role in the salvation of her husband, children and many other people. There are many examples of women, mothers and wives, who had an important role in the salvation of other people.Ana, Samuel’s mother, Rut, Obed’s mother, Eunice,  Timothy’s mother, Ruf’s and Paul’s mother (Romans 12,13). Even nowadays there are many mothers and wives who have a strong influence on their husbands and children and are unknown to us but they will be revealed and made known to all in heaven.

Giving birth to children is a pious service brought to God. The woman participates at Christ’s sacrifice for the sanctification of the children received from God by holy prayer: `For them I sanctify myself that they too may be truly sanctified.` (John, 17, 19).

The Church by its teaching given by Christ the Saviour and transmitted until nowadays through the Holy Tradition raised the woman at the highest dignity she could be raised. The woman, the Christian image of feminity, Virgin Mary became the Mother of God, who received the boundless One in her womb. No man enjoyed such a dignity and no man can stand on the same height with the Mother of God. That’s why we can say following the thread of the divine revelation that the sin entered the world through the woman, but through the woman came the salvation of the world as well.

She doesn’t ask for anything, but she has everything.

The barber and God

Once a man went to the barber to cut his hair and shave him. Immediately after the barber started his work, they started talking. They talked about many things and after some time they touched the subject of religion and God.

The barber said at once :

`I don’t believe there’s any God.`

`Why?` asked the client.

`It’s so easy. Go out in the street and you’ll understand why there is no God. Tell me if God exists why are there so many perverts, so many abandoned children? If  God had existed there wouldn’t have been any pain and sorrow. I cannot imagine a God who loves and pities but allows all these things.

The client thought for a while but he didn’t answer anything because he didn’t want to see the talk taking the wrong way. In the end the barber finished his job and the client left. But when he went out he saw a man with long curled hair and a big unshaved beard. He looked very dirty and shabby. In that moment he went back to the barber’s shop and said to the barber:

`You know something? There are no barbers.`

`How can you say something like this? the barber asked amazed. Don’t you see that I am one? What do you mean?`

`No, the client kept on saying. If there had been any barbers then there wouldn’t have been any men with long dirty uncombed hair like the guy who is outside.`

`But this happens because they don’t come to me.`

`Exactly, said the client. Here’s the point. God exists too but those facts mentioned by you happen because the men don’t go to Him to ask for His help. That’s why there’s so much pain and sorrow in the world.`

Blessed is the Christian Family

A pagan writer famous in his time, professor Libanius, amazed by the mothers of the Christians and especially of saint John Chrysostom`s mother exclaimed:

`Oh what mothers have the Christians!` What special mothers are in the Church of the Christians!`

So how should the Christian mother and woman be?` By sapience and by all the gifts she was adorned with by God she should know how to reach and attract the beautiful living, the high living in Christ!

In the parental home the mother was the one who always urged the others to fast and she drew their attention saying: `man or child see that the candle light went out. Light it `And if there was no one else in the house she lit it. Thus the Christian woman, the Christian mother has a special role in the life of our Church, society and people. And you see my dears that today there are these so-called probation marriages which are nothing else than sins over sins, debauchery added over debauchery. And so many things of this kind appeared.

`Well, but what would you like to do with the others ? Do you want to kill them?`

And you see the mother of nowadays is not anymore that saint Christian mother of yore. It is noticed a decline. The mothers don’t give birth to babies at the right time. It was said that lady Maria Brancoveanu had 11 children. We know families with 16-17 children. Someone will say: `Oh, God, so many?` But what would you like to do with the others? Do you want to kill them? Don’t they have the same right to live as you have it? They have this right too. That is why happy is the mother who knows how to give and spread around herself light and joy. Happy is the Christian family! Let us thank to the Most Kind God for this gift: that we were born Orthodox Christians. And take care with all our might of the holy Christian family. And compel those who lead us to protect the holy Christian family. Let us spare no effort and do everything is in our might by word, by deed by prayer.

Archimandrite Melchisedec Velnic, the abbot of Putna Monastery