What else do we know about the Christians from Syria?

In the „Black Book on the condition of Christians in the World”, coordinated  by the French journalist Samuel Lieven, it is mentioned that 150 millions of Christians are persecuted nowadays in the world. „Center for the study of Global Christiany” estimates that over Christians are killed annually for their  faith, meaning one at every five minutes. The wars of the last years and the recent development of the Islamic State in Irak and Syria are followed by strong persecutions against Christians.

Two Syrian high ranking clerics from Aleppo, the Orthodox metropolitan Paul Yazigi, the brother of the Patriarch of Antioch, John the X-th, and the Coptic metropolitan John Ibrahim, have been kidnapped since 2013 and nothing has been found out about them. A Lebanese Arab wondered: „In Irak and Syria Christians are persecuted, killed, the churches are bombed and burnt. All this is happening and the free world is heedless to their agony and pain. So I am asking: aren’t they human too? Don’t they deserve to be helped by the organizations for human rights and the states that support them? It seems that the world sides with the mighty, not with the righteous.”

What do we know about the Christians from Syria? What are we doing for them? In the following lines there are some sequences from the life of some Orthodox monasteries, related by a nun from Syria.

The Jihadis occupied a village with 200 families of Christians. I went to the Muslims and told them: „Patriarch John helps all the refugees, Muslims and Christians alike. Help us to liberate the people of the village”. These men talked with the Jihadis and the people were saved. They let them leave their houses just with the clothes they had on them.

The Muslims from Persia (Iran) are educated and there aren’t so many fanatics. But the Muslims from other countries, where women are not even allowed to drive are fanatics. They believe that whoever kills the non Muslims, will go straight to heaven. They threaten you: either you become Muslim or I kill you. They cut even the heads of the children who refuse to become Muslims. They kidnap girls and keep them for themselves or sell them in the market.

They declare that the war is jihad (n.n. – in Arabic the term means fight, resistence and refers at the religious duty of any Muslim to fight till the entire mankind would become Muslim or under the authority of the Muslim state).  The husbands discuss this matter in the family, the man decides to go to war. He says: „Run, do whatever you want. I go to the holy war”. The governmental army knows from what villages are coming the Jihadis and attacks them. Then the families of the Jihadis are forced to leave their villages and ask for help from Christians. They have many children. They all come to the holly abbess to ask for help.

When they kidnapped the nuns of the monastery from Maloula, for ten days a mullah went to them and talked to them about Islam, trying to persuade them to become Muslim. He told them: „Maybe your parents forced you to become nuns. If you become Muslims and marry, you are free”. The nuns didn’t say anything. Because they couldn’t convince them, then they sent some women to persuade them. The women told them: „Bring the Bible and the Koran to compare them”. But the nuns didn’t say a word to them. They stayed ten days more with the women and afterwards they were kept in some houses for three months and a half.  When they were kidnapped, the Jihadis took from the monastery the books, the icons and the money. When they took them to those houses, they gave them back their money, but they didn’t give them back the icons and books. How could the nuns pray without the prayer books? Every day, for three months and a half they said only the prayers they knew by heart. After they were liberated, the nuns went to Lebanon.

They burnt the church of the monastery from Maloula. At saint Tecla’s grave they took out the ground. The home for orphans and the cells of the nuns escaped. Now the government rebuilds the monastery and the Patriarch hopes that in three months the nuns could go back.

At Cherub Monastery the army came before arrived the Jihadis and defended the area, so the monastery was not occupied. But now there isn’t any more monk there, just the army.

We have electricity two hours per day. We have a power generator, but we don’t have any fuel. In February we didn’t have diesel fuel for the car. There are many thieves who steal, taking advantage of the entire situation – the people are poor, they have to steal in order to survive.

Who helps us with money? The holy mother of God. We cultivate flowers and send them to Lebanon and they are sold there. In this way we are able to aid the people who come and ask for our help. We couldn’t receive in the monastery all the families that came here. We preferred to pay rent  for them in houses from the villages, otherwise they would have created big disorder within the monastery. We must keep our monastic ordinance. A man is sick with diabetis and he doesn’t have a fridge to keep the insulin for the injections there. We gave him the fridge we had. Nobody can afford buying a washing machine or a fridge now, cause they cost much more.  The nuns are kind-hearted and they give to the poor all they have in the monastery.

A family from Aleppo that was rich before, now took shelter in our area. The woman came and asked for only two plates, two spoons and two knifes. But two of the nuns went to see how they live. They live in a very poor house : without floor or beds, there is nothing in it. The nuns came back and said what they saw and they were crying. We gathered a carpet, a bed and other things and took them to that family.

Every Sunday the nuns go by car and pick up all those who want to come to the Holy Liturgy, then drop them back home. We take care that all of them find work.

We don’t get out of the monastery. After sunset we stay with a big fear. We don’t send nuns in the city by car. Every night, the nuns hold a vigil for those who fight in the war. They send us letters: „Do pray for us, please! Light a candle. They came against us”. Once we gave small icons with The Holy Mother of God, Trihierusa. A soldier put it on his chest, he was shot there, but he didn’t die.

We feel sorry to leave the monasteries. We see young people who put all their hopes in us: „Here is a monastery, they pray for us”, they say. It means an aid, a hope for them. We cannot leave. Many put their hopes in our prayers. The Muslims who go in the army come and ask for our blessing: „Pray for us! We are not Christians, we are Muslims, but do pray for us, please!”.  When they get a two days leave from the front, they don’t go straight home, they come to us. They make the sign of the cross, even the Muslims, then go to their homes and back to the war. In the memorial prayers there are so many names of soldiers! They ask us to mention them in our prayers daily. Mothers come, cry and ask us to pray for their sons.

A young soldier told us: „I can’t kill anybody – he could be my neigbour”. He doesn’t use his gun. He goes to war because it’s compulsory. God has been protecting him for three years. He neither killed anyone, nor was killed.

The fakir’s „miracle” and the Jesus Prayer

Eye witness of the case described below,  archimandrite Nicolae Drobianzkin is one of the countless martyrs from the revolutionary times of Russia. In his wordly life he had a brilliant career, being IInd rank captain in the military marine and alongside with this he got deeply involved in occultism, editing the occult magazine Rebus. After being saved by saint Seraphim of Sarov from a certain death in the sea, he planned a pilgrimage to Sarov. Coming back from his pilgrimage, he gave up on his career and on occultism and became a monk. He was ordained priest and served as a missionary in China, India and Tibet, ministering at different churches and being adviser  for some monasteries. After 1914 he lived at the Lavra of the Caves from Kiev. He ceaselessly spoke to the young people who went to him in those times about the influence of the occultism upon the facts happening on the political scene of Russia. In the autumn of 1924, at a month after he had received the visit of a gentleman called Tonholz, the writer of the book „Black magic”, he was killed in his cell by some „unknown men” with the obvious consent of the Bolsheviks. The murder weapon was a knife with a special handle, having the shape of an occult symbol.

The happenstance related here by father Nicolae, reveals the true nature of the spiritual phenomena found in various Eastern religions. It took place shortly before 1900, it was recorded around the year 1922 by the doctor A. P. Timofenghievici and published by him in a Russian magazine from the diaspora („Orthodox Life”, 1956, nr.l).

One wonderful tropical morning, our ship cut its way through the Indian Ocean approaching the island of Ceylon. The lively faces of the travellers, in their majority Englishmen, who were going with their families to their jobs or business from the Indian colony, were turned towards the horizon, looking about the fascinating island that was for almost all of them linked with so many stories and interesting, mysterious descriptions of the travellers.

Before they saw the island, the ship began to be more and more intensely veiled in a smooth and ravishing fragrance brought by each waft. Finally a long, narrow shape of dark blue color showed up lying on the horizon. Its dimensions grew bigger as the ship was approaching it swiftly. You could already distinguish on the shore the wide-spread buildings, hidden in the green of the majestic date palms and the colorful crowd of natives who were waiting for the arrival of the ship. During the journey, the passengers befriended very easily. They stayed on the deck where they talked and laughed heartily, admiring the amazing view of the magical island which unfolded before their eyes. The ship made some slow maneuvers, preparing to anchor at the quay of Colombo harbor.

There it had to station for stocking with coal, that’s why the passengers had enough time for descending on the shore. The day was so hot that many passengers decided to stay on the ship till the afternoon. A nice chill replaced the burning heat of that day. A group of eight people that I joined myself, chose  colonel Elliot as their guide. He had lived before in Colombo and knew well the island and its surroundings. Then he made us a tempting proposal:

  • Ladies and gentlemen, would you like to go a few miles away of the city and visit a magician fakir? I think we are going to see something interesting.

We all accepted enthusiastically his proposal.

The evening had already fallen when we left behind us the noisy roads of the city and stepped on an enchanting path that was crossing the jungle. On our right and left side were glittering millions of dragonflies. To its end, the path widened unexpectedly and we found ourselves in the middle of a small clearing surrounded by the jungle. At one of its edges, under a big tree, it was something like a hut and near it was burning a small fire. An old, thin man, with a turban on his head was sitting down, cross-legged and with his gaze focused on the fire. Despite the noise caused by our arrival, the old man continued to stay absolutely motionless, without paying any attention to us. From somewhere out of the dark showed up a young man, who approached the colonel and asked him something in a whisper. After a short time he brought some small chairs and our group sat in a semicircle close to the fire. A thin, scented smoke raised to the sky. The old man continued to sit in the same position, showing that he didn’t pay attention to anything. The full rising moon somehow drove away the darkness and at its pale light all things took bizarre shapes. They all became silent and waited to see what was going to happen.

  • Look! Look there at the tree!, whispered uneasily miss Mary.

We all turned our heads towards the tree. And indeed, all the  huge foliage surface of the tree under which was sitting the fakir it was like waving quietly in the pale moonlight, while the tree started to fade away slowly and lost its shape. So to speak more precisely, I could say that an invisible hand threw over it a thin veil, which in time became thicker and thicker. In a short time, in front of our amazed eyes it appeared the waving surface of the sea. With a slight roar, the waves were coming one after another, forming a white foam. Bright clouds were floating on a sky that  turned blue. Stunned, we could not take off our eyes from that amazing sight.

Then a white ship showed up at the horizon. A heavy smoke was coming out of its two big flues. It swiftly drew cloer to us, cleaving the water. In great amazement, we recognized our ship, that had brought us to Colombo. A murmur of astonishment crossed the audience, when we read on the stern of the ship, written with golden highlighted  letters, the name of our ship: LUIZA. But what caused our biggest amazement was the fact that up, on the deck we saw ourselves. Let’s not forget that in those times the cinema had not been invented yet and it was impossible for someone even to conceive something similar to it.  Each one of us saw himself on the deck of the ship, among the people who were talking and laughing. What was absolutely amazing it was that I saw not just myself, but the entire deck of the ship, in its slightest details, like in a panoramic plan – thing which, of course, is impossible in reality. At a certain moment I saw myself among the passangers, I saw the sailors who were working in the other end of the ship, the captain in his cabin, I saw even Nelly, the monkey we all loved, who was eating bananas up, on the main mast. In the same time, all my companions, each one in his own way, were getting terribly excited because of the things they saw and they externalized their feelings by quiet exclamations and anxious whispers.

I had completely forgotten that I was a hieromonk and for sure I had no reason to attend such a show. Seduction was so powerful that both mind and heart had got silenced. Then my heart started beating so fast, like a warning signal. All of a sudden I felt like losing my control and a fear overtook my entire being. My lips started to move and utter: „My Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me the sinner!”. I immediately felt a relief. It was like some mysterious chains were falling down from me. The prayer became more and more intense and together with it, peace came back into my soul. I continued to look at the tree and suddenly, as if driven away by a wind, the image blurred and disappeared. I was not seeing anything else except the big, moonlit tree and the quiet fakir sitting near the fire. My companions continued to externalize their feelings, looking at the sight that for them had not disappeared.

Then it happened something with the fakir too, cause he lost his balance and fell on his side. The young man ran to him scared. The spiritual gathering interrupted all of a sudden.

Deeply influenced by their experience, the viewers got up, sharing passionately their impressions, without understanding why everything  interrupted so abruptly and unexpectedly. The young man attributed this to the exhaustion of the fakir who was sitting at that moment like before, with his head bent and without paying any attention to the people around  him.

Our group, after generously rewarding him, by means of the young man, for having the chance to witness such an amazing sight, got quickly ready for going back. At departure, involuntarily, I turned back to look again, in order to infix better in my memory all that scene. Suddenly I startled, having a bad feeling. My gaze met that of the fakir, who looked at me with such a hate. That lasted just a moment, then he resumed his usual posture. But that look opened the eyes of my soul for ever and I realized immediately whose power was that which caused such a  „miracle”.

LORD JESUS CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON ME!

 

source: „ATHONITE WITNESS”, Quarterly magazine of the Holy Monastery Xiropotamu, no. 5

The most beautiful day from my life as a taxi driver

It’s 10 pm and I am in the Peramata area. A girl stops me and tells me:

–   Omonia Square, please!

–   We’re going! I told her, but there was something in her voice I did not like.

The girl sat beside me. Right after we left, she asked me:

–   May I smoke?

–    You may.

She took a cigarette from her pack and while trying to find her lighter, the cigarette fell down. I switched on the light so that she could see. Before switching it off, my gaze fell on her hands. They were full of stings!

I can’t tell you what I felt in those moments. How painfully sorry I was for that girl!Oh Lord! How I wished I could help her! God, please put in my mouth Your Words, to tell her!

–   I need someone to talk to, I told her.

–   And you found me? she asked me surprised.

–   Yes, I want to talk to you.

In the meantime I stopped the car. We started talking about the difficulties I encounter due to my job. And little by little I steered the talk around her own life. I won’t tell you what we discussed, how big and serious was her problem, for not tiring you, but I am  telling you what she promised me: she gave me her word that she would start the rehab. And to be honest, I didn’t believe her.

We arrived in Omonia. When she took out the money to pay, I did not accept it. I just told her:

–   I won’t take it for I want you to remember what you promised me.

–   Be sure I won’t forget youy, she said and got down.

It passed about a year from that day and I forgot that encounter. One afternoon, I was in Aharnon, heading for Perama. I took a lady in the taxi as a passanger. We discussed about many various topics. At a certain moment I saw two kids waving to make me stop. I stopped.

–   We’re going to Perama. Are you taking us?

–   Come, kids! That’s right where we go.

The boy sat beside me. Looking at him, I realized he was taking drugs.

–   May I ask you something? I told him.

Before he answered – you may, he said straightly:

–   Yes, I was taking drugs!

–   And you’re not taking anymore?

–   No, I started the rehab together with my girlfriend.

–   Bravo, kids, congrats! Kids, you reminded me of a girl from Perama. I took her in my taxi about a year ago and after a long talk, she promised me she would start the rehab. May she be in good health, that sweet, afflicted girl, anywhere she would be!

Suddenly I heard the girl from the back sobbing heavily.

–   What’s the matter, girl? Can I do anything for you?

–   No, she answered among sobs. But I am the one you were talking about…I kept my promise.

–   Is it you?

–   Yes, it’s me!

I got down from the taxi  and after she got down too, we hugged one another and were both crying.

–   Thank you, thank you, my darling dear! I kept on telling her. To be true, I was not expecting you to keep your promise.

–   You gave my such strength that it was impossible to fail doing that. I thank you for taking out some of your time for me, when I got in your taxi. I found a confessor as you told me and I go to the church.

This was the most beautiful day from my life as a taxi driver

Antidoron

†Jeremiah, metropolitan of Gortina and Megalopoli

  1. Christian brothers, in my brief preach from today I shall speak to you about the gift we receive at the end of the Divine Liturgy. It is called antidoron („instead of gifts”), as in Greek and we take it instead of the Eucharistic bread. We call the Holy Communion the Consecrated Gifts . In the Holy Communion Christ gives us His body and blood as a gift, without deserving them. Therefore, the antidoron was spared for those who for certain reasons cannot take the Eucharist and  instead of it, instead of the consecrated gifts, they receive the blessing of the antidoron.
  2. And indeed great is the blessing of the antidoron, my brothers. It is a blessing because it is „permeated” by the holy prayers from the Proscomidy. During this holy service, from the prosphora made by the blessed hands of the pious women, the priest removes its core where is written: „Jesus Christ, NI, KA”, and puts it on the Holy Disk. Do you know what it symbolizes the remainder? It symbolizes the Holy Virgin’s womb. This is what saint Germanos, the patriarch of Constantinople says. Cause just like from her womb came out Christ, in the same way from the „womb” of the prosphora comes out, by the hands of the priest at The Holy Proscomidy, the core part with „JESUS CHRIST, NI, KA”. During the Divine Liturgy this part by the blessing of the priest – what a great miracle! – will become Christ, will be transformed into the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. The remaining part from the prosphora that symbolizes the Holy Virgin, just as I said, it is cut for antidora. Isn’t it a great blessing to receive this piece from the prosphora and eat it? In ancient times people called the antidoron „Holy Virgin’s Ascension”. They called it in this way cause the priest indeed raises the bread to his forehead when Proskomedia begins, saying a special troparion: „You redeemed us from the curse of the Law…”. And we call it like this because as I said the antidoron symbolizes the Holy Virgin’s womb.

As you may realize, Christian brothers, for being able to eat the antidoron, you must not eat anything before. For the reason that the antidoron „passed”  through the Proscomidy, that’s not like the Lity, where we eat the bread even if we have eaten before. And Proscomidy is the divine service related to the Divine Liturgy and named by some people „Liturgy in embryo”.

  1. Dear Christian brothers, in the same time with the antidoron you receive one more special blessing. Listen! How much you wish to enter the Holy Altar and worship the Holy Table! But this is not allowed to you, laymen, being especially forbidden to women. Although it is not allowed to you as laymen to enter the Holy Altar for kissing the Holy Table, by receiving the antidoron you kiss the priest’s hand that touched it. You may say that even on the road you may kiss the priest’s hand and receive the same blessing. No! Take heed! When you receive the antidoron, you get a special blessing from the priest. Because this is done right after the Divine Liturgy, when the priest’s hand touched the Holy Gifts and there is still some holy blood dripping from Christ’s blood, it is a hand from which is dripping the holy blood. So by kissing the priest’s hand when you receive the antidoron it is like you would kiss the Holy Table itself, if not even more. In order to receive this final blessing that I said you get when taking the antidoron, it is well understood that you must take it right from the celebrant priest’s hand and not from its vessel with your own hand.
  2. In the end I recommend you not to eat all the antidora you receive on Sunday from the priest (or even to ask for some more), but keep a little for eating it every day at home. Every morning take a small crumb (on an empty stomach) with little holy water, blessed at the beginning of each month. But first take the antidoron then the holy water, because the antidoron is from the Divine Liturgy. I repeat that according to the liturgical ordinances, the real antidoron is that which is cut from the consecrated prosphora, blessed by the priest; that from which is taken out the piece with „JESUS CHRIST, NI, KA” and is put on the Holy Disk and not the one which is cut from other prosphoras.

 

With a lot of blessings,

† Jeremiah, Metropolitan of Gortina and Megalopolis

The woman who died of cancer because of an iridologist

A woman with a benign tumor in the had  died because she followed the advice given by an iridologist, instead of going to hospital and be treated by doctors.

The two daughters of that woman relate what happened.

Everything started with a cyst. The woman decided not to go to the doctor and to see an iridologist instead.

Iridology is a pseudoscientific practice that diagnoses health problems and recommends treatments based on the analysis of  a person’s iris.

 Yes, you read it right. Someone looks at your iris and tells you what diseases you have and how to treat them.

No matter how absurd it may be, unfortunately there are people who believe that is a useful method.  This was the case  with the woman I am telling you about.

One of the woman’s daughters says that she was asked to PROMISE that she would not go to the doctor. The other  girl says that the woman treated the iridologist as if he were a priest, she believed everything he said, without asking any questions.

The iridologist recommended all kinds of queer healing methods, like the slight tapping of the forehead with the fingers or the repetition of certain „positive statements”. Moreover, he promised the woman to cure her of cancer in 3 months if she followed his advice.

Obviously the advice of the iridiologist didn’t work and in the end the disease evolved till the moment when the woman died.

Now let’s look objectively at iridology.

In the first place…

Most of the doctors do not approve iridology. Because it does not work and there is no evidence to support it. The iridologists are NO doctors.

Iridology has a name with scientific resonance. But it is not a science. It’s quite the opposite of science and of the medical treatment used in hospitals.

It is a form of alternative medicine, like acupuncture or homeopathy (these by the way don’t work either).

Iridologists are not doctors, they did not graduate any medical school. They just attended some courses (unacknowledged by the scientific community) and received a certificate of practice.

This is what’s important for you to understand now: iridology sounds like a science, but it isn’t. Just it sounds like it.

Now let’s see what the studies tell us…

The department of science:

An analysis from 2000 of all the research upon iridology reveals the fact that it’s an ineffective method when trying to detect liver or heart problems, asthma, psoriasis or ulcer (Ernst, 2000).

A study realized in 2005 clearly shows that iridology is ineffective when is used for detecting cancer. There were used 110 subjects (68 subjects with various forms of cancer and 42 healthy subjects). All these people were examined by an experienced iridologist, who didn’t know what patients suffered of cancer and who were healthy. He could choose between 5 forms of cancer or say that the patients were healthy.

The iridologist gave the right diagnosis for only 3 subjects. 3 subjects out of 110! Proof that iridology is ineffective in detecting cancer (Münstedt et al., 2005).

In conclusion, iridology is a pseudoscience, based on groundless data, that only sounds scientifically and that in situations resembling  with the case we presented you today may estrange people from efficient medical treatments and lead to tragedies.

 

I’m looking for God to tell me…

father Meletie Aivazelis

Once a peasant heard the priest in the church saying that if you give alms, you get back a hundredfold from God. When he went back home, he agreed with his wife to give the only ox they had and God would give them 100 oxen for this good deed. He did not hesitate to give his ox, having complete confidence in God.

So he gave his ox and waited for the reward from God. The time passed, but the oxen didn’t come. One morning he decided to climb the neighbouring mountain to find God and ask Him when he would give him the 100 oxen, as he heard in the priest’s preach.

While climbing the mountain, he met a hermit who asked him:

„Where are you going?”

„I’m going to meet God and ask Him when he gives me the 100 oxen for my almsgiving.

„When you meet Him ask Him about me too. Tell Him that I’ve been living for 40 years in the mountain in absolute reclusion. Have I gained the kingdom of heaven?

„Of course I will”, said the peasant and continued his way.

A bit higher he met an old man with a white beard who asked him:

„Who are you looking for?”

„I’ve heard in the church that if I gave alms I would get back one hundred times more from God. And now I’m looking for Him to ask when he gives me the reward for my almsgiving.

„Go back to your house and dig under the tree from your yard. There you will find a jug full of money. Don’t say a word about it to anyone, but continue to help people and you won’t be in need of anything all your lifetime.”

„Thank you, gheronda, but I still have something else to tell you. While I was coming to find you, I met a hermit who told me to ask you if after 40 years of ascesis and spiritual endeavours he has finally got the kingdom of heaven.

„Tell him that even if he stayed 40 years more in the mountain, he would  never gain the Kingdom of heaven. I’ve given him a rusk every day for 40 years and today I gave him two, one for himself and one for you, knowing that you were coming. However, he instead of giving you one kept them both for himself, without trusting Me. But you didn’t hesitate to give your ox, believing in what you heard in the church.”

Isn’t your bag heavy enough?

I cannot forget a teacher I knew in my childhood. May he be in good health, anywhere he would be!

So, I remember that once we discussed about how important is not to keep within ourselves resentments and to try to get rid of that.

And he made us see this in practice.

  • Tomorrow, he told us, everyone of you must bring at school a plastic bag and a small sack with potatoes.

We looked at him dumbfounded, but we had learnt that he did not joke with such matters. So, the next day everybody had what he asked.

  • Every time when you decide not to forgive someone, take a potato, write on it that person’s name and put it in the plastic bag.

It did not pass long time and some of the bags were quite heavy. He also told us that anywhere we would go, we had to carry with us that bag. On the road, in the car, at school, at shopping, everywhere.

Do you understand why he did this?

In this way he wanted to show us that we should not forget about the weight we were carrying. We should have become aware of it in every moment.

To have it with us in places that are somehow…the way they should be. Just imagine to see someone having a bag full of potatoes at the birthday of a friend!

Imagine it too that many of these potatoes have begun to decay. In order to remind us the respect we deserve for the refuse and pain from within ourselves, when we don’t want to forgive.

Many times we think that by forgiving our neighbor we make him a favour. I would dare say that it’s quite the opposite: we make this favour to ourselves. Because we get rid of an unnecessary weight.

Therefore, next time when it would be difficult for you to forgive someone, remember: „Isn’t your bag heavy enough?”.

In a Catholic cathedral are performed yoga exercises

by Nikos Heiladakis

            Pan-religion and globalisation with the support of the papal church in all its magnificence.

            At the initiative of Marc Andrus, Catholic bishop of San Francisco, from the United States of America and with the contribution of the „great” yoga masters, Pujya Swami, Chidanand Saraswati and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati from the ashram Parmarth Niketan, it was organized a yoga seminary in the Catholic cathedral of the city and there were promoted some classic exercises of this sect, which has become very fashionable lately.

            The Catholic bishop has even held a speech, emphasizing the great significance of this initiative, because this movement, according to his statement, will spread love and peace among religions.

            What do you think, are we going to witness such „loving” phenomena in our country too? Let’s remember that some time ago, a hierarch of a Greek  Orthodox metropolitanate published and distributed… the Koran in his church, saying that it is a… holy book.

            Woe to us!

The shepherd who went to heaven

„We called this shepherd who went to heaven, Mavrogheni, (Black Beard), because he had a black beard and lived away from the world with his wife and sheep. And he went down in the village only when he had to sell the cheese and buy what he needed”, Procopie began to say.

            „One day, while he was in the village for his business, he went to the church to light a candle, cause he was a God fearing, kind hearted man. In the church, the priest was speaking to the villagers, telling them about the right path of God, that leads us straight to heaven if we don’t swerve to the right nor to the left. We must go straight ahead and be compassionate with every man when he is in need. This meaning we should have a kind heart and be merciful, cause that’s what God does himself, being merciful with everyone, helping them live and go forward. And He dearly loves the one He sees that does the same like Him and takes him to heaven, where is never ending life.

            This is how the priest spoke and this is how it must be, in my opinion. Our Church tells no lies. And why would it tell?”.

            We all listened to the humble man, who was speaking in his own idiom and repeteadly wiping his moustache – have no idea why – cause he didn’t show any difficulty in expressing himself genuinely and confessing his faith.

            My friend, who had got elated, during a short break made by  Procopie while telling the story, asked him:

  • And what happend afterwards? How did he go to heaven?

„When he went back to his hut, he gladly told his wife this good news, adding that the next day he would go to meet God. And this is what he did.

The morrow he took some bread and cheese with him, bade farewell to his wife and started for heaven. He took the straight path and walked over plains, without  swerving to the right or to the left, exactly how he was told by the priest.

In the evening he lied down under a tree and slept and the next day he continued  his way to heaven.

He ate all the bread and cheese he took with him and continued to walk on the third and on the fourth day. He climbed a mountain, then descended from another. On the fifth day he starved and thought what he could do to find something to eat. While climbing a mountain that was ahead, he saw on the other side a monastery. He continued his journey, rather dragging his feet than walking and the monastery being in his way, he reached the gate and knocked. They opened for him and took him to the church, telling him to wait there until they brought him something to eat.

Remaining alone, he looked around at the holy icons and marvelled. They all seemed alive to him, only they didn’t speak. When he turned his gaze and saw Christ, naked and full of blood, crucified on the Holy Cross, he cried:

  • Alas, poor young man, they hurt him, bastards! And they are still keeping him crucified!

In that moment, a monk brought him some food, put it in the church porch and told him to eat”, continued Procopie. „But when he entered the church, the monk heard him talking with the Crucified One and that’s why he asked him:

  • Were you talking to someone, brother?

Black Beard, suspecting the monk was one of those who crucified Him, did not say a word. After the monk left, he called the Crucified One:

  • Hey, young man, can you get down from there and come to share together the food that it was brought? Shall I come and help you get down?
  • No, I can do it on my own. Here I come!

So, the Crucified One descended, sat down beside the shepherd, ate and started to talk with him. The shepherd proposed to the Crucified One to accompany him on his way to  God.

  • Do you want to take you with me? God is kind and will have mercy on you and will put you in heaven too. That’s why I’m going to Him. What do you say? Are you coming with me?

The Crucified One did not have the time to answer, cause He heard the monk coming back. So he hurriedly climbed back on the Cross and remained there with open arms. Getting in, the monk said to the shepherd:

  • Don’t tell me you were not talking to anyone. I’ve heard you with my own ears. Say, who were you talking to?

At the beginning the shepherd was afraid, hesitated, but in the end he told the monk that he talked to the Crucified young man, being moved with compassion for Him and called Him down to eat together. Then he said to the monk:

  • Do not persecute me, holy father, cause I want to go to heaven. The priest from our village told us to go on the straight path and have a merciful heart. Do you get that? That’s why I felt sorry for that young man and called Him to take a piece of bread. Did I do anything wrong?
  • No, no! You did right! You should always have compassion for the ones in need, answered the monk, amazed when hearing what he was told by the shepherd.

He left him and ran to the abbot of that monastery and told him everything he saw and heard.

And the abbot came right away in the church with all the monks and they all made bows before the shepherd who had eaten with Christ the Crucified. Then asked him to say a good word for them to God, when he would meet Him.

  • If I see God, I will tell Him about you. But why are you keeping that young man crucified? Take Him down to eat and get dressed, cause he is naked and hurt. And if you don’t want that, I will take Him with me.

The monks were stunned seeing Black Beard’s kindness and innocence. And after they gave him everything necessary, they accompanied him for a while on the straight path he was walking. Then they stopped and saw that the man was not walking on earth  but over it, till he disappeared from their sight.

This kind man, in my opinion, reached heaven for sure, because he had compassion for all the wounded, just like God. I am not literate, to recount nicely, but I remember my grandfather, Haralambie, told us that everything you do in this life, you would be done the same in the other. And I believe it.

This is the story I’ve heard”.

From the book ~Heaven Loving People~ by P. M. Sotirhou, Astir Publishing House.

The Carpenter

An old carpenter was about to retire and he told his employer about his plans to leave and live more rested with his wife. Of course he was not going to earn as much money, but he had to retire.

No sooner said than done. But his employer saddened, thinking that  he was going to lose such a highly skilled worker and he asked the carpenter, as a personal favor, to build him another house. The carpenter agreed, but in the course of time it was not hard to notice that he didn’t work with all his heart. He used low-class materials and was doing a botched job. It was the worst way to end a career full of dedication and achievements.

When the carpenter finished the house, the employer took the house keys and gave them to the carpenter, saying:

„This house is yours. It’s a gift for you from me.”

The carpenter remained speechless. What a pity! If he had known that he was building his own house, he would have made it completely different.

The same happens with us. We build our life, day by day, often not doing what’s best for what we are building. Then we get like thunder-stricken when we find out that we must live in the house we built.

If we could make it once again, we would build it quite differently. But we cannot go back…

You are the builder of your own house. Every day you hammer a nail, you add a plank or raise a wall. Your intentions and choices from today build your house for the morrow.

Therefore build wisely!

Ask the Lord to be the master of your life. He will show you how to make a solid foundation, for building afterwards the house of your life.

If you hurry to see that the world becomes better, start from yourself.

It is the shortest path.