Why only the Orthodox psalmodies can raise you to heaven?

The Byzantine music heals depression. It’s the music of the Church, the music of angels. The distressed soul is healed and sanctified by this.

The Church Fathers frequently emphasize in their texts the role of the Church music in the formation and cultivation of the Christian morality and exhort the Christians to praise God by means of music.

For the Holy Fathers music is a means for relieving passions, purifying souls and spiritual rejoicing.

Saint Basil the Great writes: ”Psalmody appeases souls, brings peace, stops the disturbance caused by the flood of thoughts.”

Great Athanasios also writes: ”By psalmody all the disturbance, wildness and disorder  dwelling in the soul calm down and the sorrow gets healed.”

And saint John Chrysostom says that by psalmody even the air gets sanctified. ”The mind hears the voice and changes, the chant gets in and chases away passions.”

Why do we light candles before the holy icons?

When you pray, the triune God watches you with eyes brighter and shinier than the sun!

Why do I offer material light (candles, lamps) to God or to the Mother of God or to an angel or saint? Saint John of Kronstadt wrote:”I offer material light (candles, lamps) to God, to the Mother of God, to an angel or saint so that they would give me with their prayers the light of the divine grace, the spiritual light, so that they would guide me far from the darkness of sin, in the light of the knowledge of God and virtues. I offer material light so that they would light in my heart the fire of the grace of the Holy Spirit and quench from my wretched heart the fire of passions.”

I offer light with the desire to become light myself, so as to warm and lighten all those who are in the church. This is why I light candles in front of the holy icons. These are my thoughts when I light candles and put them in the candlestick.

I confess that I put candles in front of the icons with the hope that I would receive the spiritual blessing from the saints painted on them. I confess my wish for a spiritual benefit. There is the law of reward, that of waiting gift for gift. ”With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you”1, the Lord said.

Likewise when you pray alone and your loneliness grieves you and disheartens you, you should know that the triune God watches you with eyes brighter and shinier than the sun! And your guardian angel, all the angels and saints of God do the same. You should firmly believe this. For they are all united with God. Where is God, they are with Him. Where is the sun, there are the rays.”

1 Matthew 7,2

Theotokos appeared to the president Assad in the Monastery of Saidnaya

It was one evening at the Theotokos monastery of Saidnaya, from the Kalamun Mountain in Syria.

The gates of the monastery had already been closed. An unexpected visitor knocked insistently at the gate. The nun whose duty was to stay at the gate of the monastery opened it, but not before finding out who was there. And it was indeed the president Bashar al Assad. The nuns got stunned by his unexpected and impressive presence. He greeted them respectfully and told them he had come to worship God. He only asked them to leave him alone in the church so as to pray to Theotokos undisturbed. For this reason he persistently asked them to let him be completely alone in the church. Then the nuns felt an unprecedented thrill. They assured him they would take care that his request would be fulfilled.

The president entered the church piously. The door was tightly closed after him. There, in the dim light of the church, he prayed to Theotokos…After a while the president got out of the church. He expressed his full satisfaction but told them that they did not keep their word. ” I asked you let me be alone in the church. Who was then that woman with the baby in her arms, who stayed with me in the church?” The nuns said that no woman entered the church, just as they promised. But that Lady he had seen could not have been anyone else but the Mother of God. The emotion all of them felt was extremely high…This happened during the war from Syria with so many victims.

”My children mustn’t experience the hardships I’ve been through”

 An American journalist and writer, Jim Bishop, wrote: Once I asked a psychiatrist what he considered to be the worst mistake parents make. He answered that the worst mistake most of them make is to say: ”My children mustn’t experience the hardships I’ve been through.”

”Why would this be a mistake?” I asked him. His answer is noteworthy: ”What makes you be the human you are – if you’re really human – is exactly the fact that you have encountered difficulties, that you had to overcome difficult situations, that sometimes many things were against you, that it was important to climb up, to sneak around, to crawl, for reaching the top.”

”A soul that didn’t experience any pains is of no use. (Saint Teophanus) Priest Anthony Coniaris

Source: ganduridinierusalim.com

The brick

A young man who held an important position in his company, was driving his new Jaguar with enough speed, in an area that did not have such a good fame.

He was extremely careful lest any child would come out all of a sudden in front of him from the parked cars. At a certain moment, thinking that he saw something moving, slowed down. But instead of seeing any child, a brick seriously hit the side door of his Jaguar. He braked abruptly and moving back, headed for that direction from where the brick had been thrown.

Obviously annoyed, he jumped out of his car and caught a kid who was nearby. He shoved him and thrusted him with his back on a parked car then yelled at him:

”Why did you do that? And who are you? Who the hell do you think you are? This is a brand new car and the brick you threw in it damaged it seriously. Why did you do it?”

The boy, for defending himself, said:

”Please, sir, please, forgive me, but I didnt know what else to do…I threw the brick cause nobody stopped.”

With tears flowing over his cheeks, the kid showed him a place behind  a parked car.

”He is my brother. His wheelchair toppled over on the sidewalk and he fell out of it. But I cannot lift him up.”

The boy asked the young man:

”Could you help me please to put him back in his wheelchair? He is wounded and is too heavy for me to lift him up.”

The driver stood as thunder-struck…He tried to come to his senses then quickly lifted the disabled boy, installing him back in his wheelchair. Afterwards he took a paper tissue and cleaned the boy’s wounds. He realized at a glance that the wounds were superficial and would heal in no time.

”Thank you!…God bless you!” the little boy said gratefully to that stranger. The driver, distressed, looked at the kid who was pushing  his brother’s wheelchair on the sidewalk, going home.

He returned to his Jaguar after quite a while. The damage caused to the car was not at all negligible, but the young man has never taken it to the car service. He purposefully left it as it was in order to remind him the following mesage:

”Don’t live your life at such speed so that to force the other to throw you a brick for drawing your attention.

God whispers into our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes, when we don’t have time to listen to Him, He throws us a brick…

Then it’s up to us if we are willing to listen or not…


The light of the commandment

A famous French actress, Fanny Ardant, in a recent interview given for the Greek newspaper TRIBUNE, said the following:

”Success is something you hardly understand. But in the time of a failure you can give a logical explanation. For failure brings you back face to face with yourself. I for instance don’t like compliments. A compliment is like a perfume. You use it, it smells for a while, it satisfies you. Then you get so used to it that you don’t feel it anymore. Only the others still feel it till it evaporates and then no one feels it anymore.

But an offense, no matter how unjust it would be, is like a light that shows us in the dark how we should be or what we should do. Therefore it helps more. It’s strange. I read somewhere that a singer kept only the letters that contained offensive comments on her. And I understand why she did it. Because she wanted to be vigilant all the time.”

The saints of the Church understood these things deeper and and better from their own life experience:

Once saint John Colovic was standing near the church. The brothers surrounded him and asked him about their thoughts.

Someone saw him, envied him and told him: ”John’s jug is full of poison!” Avva John answered: ”What you say it’s quite true. And you said this cause you saw only the outside stuff. But what would you have said if you had seen what’s in my soul?”

How did saint John reach so much humility that he could get a benefit (and make even others benefit as well!) from such an envious behavior? Very simply, by accomplishing Christ’s commandment: ”But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who harm and persecute you!”1

The actress’confession has a special significance for us. Cause many times we say: ”Christ’s commandments are difficult.” And when we hear about Saint John’s spiritual accomplishments we say: ”We are no saint hermits!” But we see that a wordly woman confesses – without invoking the Holy Scripture –  Christ’s commandments that were perfectly accomplished by the saints are ”Light that shows us in the dark what we should be or what we should do.”

That’s why is worth your while a thousand times to strive, stepping in the saints’ footsteps, for achieving, as much as it’s possible for us, their spiritual peace.

Archimandrite Nikos Koutsidis

Source: agiazoni.gr

1 Matthew 5, 44

Document that throws in illegality the pan-Orthodox Synod: It shouldn’t have been organized since it lacked unanimity!

In the third line of the document from above, the representative of  the Patriarch John the Xth of Antioch, his eminence metropolitan Isaac wrote by hand in Greek: ”The Church of Antioch has an adverse opinion and for this reason does not sign.”

Great fuss was made about the absence of the Patriarch of Antioch at the pan Orthodox Synod.

This absence caused the absence of the Patriarch of Moscow as well, who insisted that ”even a single absence should determine the postponement of the pan Orthodox Synod.”

The Ecumenical Patriarchy insists: if all of them signed for the organization of the pan Orthodox Synod, they should have come. The doors were open for them all.

Representatives of the Patriarchy declared that all the 14 churches signed! But did they really sign all of them? Romfea.gr reveals: NO, they did not sign! The Patriarchy of Antioch expressed its reticence from the very first moment!

”We have never signed that we would participate at the synod. We asked to be solved our requests and the Ecumenical Patriarchy postponed the dialogue till after the pan Orthodox Synod, thing that we could not agree…So, as you see there has never been the unanimity his sanctity talks about!” said  the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch for Romfea.gr.

The document published by Romfea.gr clearly shows that: in January, at Geneve, Patriarch John of Antioch by means of his representative did not give his consent to participate at the pan Orthodox Synod.

This fact led to the absence of the Russians as well, just as they have warned, so that the synod has faced several absences, like that of the Orthodox Church from Georgia and the Bulgarian Patriarchy.

Sursa: acvila30.ro

The true poor man

One day the father of a very rich family took his son on a work visit on his plantations to show him how poor the people were. They spent a few days at a farm, where lived a very poor family.

After their return from that trip of a few days, the father asked his son:

”How did you enjoy the trip, my son?”

”It was wonderful, father.”

”Did you see how poor people can be?” said the father.

”Oh, yeah”, answered his son.

”Therefore what did you learn from this trip?” asked the father.

His son answered:

”I saw that we have a dog and those people have four. We have a swimming pool that extends till the middle of the garden, but they have a brook that has no end. We put small lanterns in our garden for the night, but those have the stars of the sky all night long. Our yard stretches till that of our neighbor, but theirs stretches till where your sight can reach, till the edge of the horizon.

We have a small piece of land where to live and they have endless orchards, that you cannot cover with your eyes.

We have menials who serve us, but they help other people themselves. We buy everything we eat, while they eat from their harvests. We raised a wall, for protecting our fortune and ourselves, but they have friends who defend them.

His father got speechless.

”Father, thank you for showing me how poor we are!”

How long should you pray? (II)

I don’t recommend you to pray in bed! But if it’s not possible to pray otherwise, then don’t give up on your habit. I only think that you don’t consider it yourself so appropriate to speak with the Lord, your God and lie in bed. Not to speak of what happens with many young people who… fall asleep before they finish their prayer.

Therefore, be wise and make your morning prayer after you get dressed and the evening prayer before you undress. Then when you lie in your bed, continue with pious reflections. In this way you’ll sleep more peacefully.

Do you know that wise proverb that says: ”Nothing can succeed if it’s not blessed by God?” Thus, if you don’t start your days asking for help from God, how could you expect happiness?

Look around yourself, my son! All creatures pray in their way and praise their most wise Creator. The plants open their flowers and send their life-giving fragrance to the throne of the Creator. Who else is praised by the birds with their sweet voices, if not the Almighty God?

For Him the bee is humming. For Him the butterfly is fluttering its wings rejoicingly. He is glorified by the stars with their brightness. He is the one who is praised by the thunders with their terrifying greatness. The whole creation prays fervently to Him, even though it is not aware of what it does. And you, my son, being a man with free will, would you abandon what the speechless creation accomplishes with such a zeal?

The most beautiful sight you can see in the world is the man who prays.

The one who prays lives quite in another world. He breathes abundantly the grace of God and drinks from the sweet water of the divine presence.

I told you, my son, in the previous lines, that the whole creation prays. I wanted to refer to its metaphorical meaning, for the true prayer is a privilege for man. Only he can consciously raise his soul to God and speak with Him.

Prayer is a great honor for man indeed. And this is one more element that distinguishes the man from the other creatures.

When I pray my soul fills with divine delight. Divine feelings overwhelm me. Joy, gratitude, love. I feel them all very intensely. So how could I not praise my Lord for this precious gift?

By the wings of prayer we can ascend to inconceivable heights. We can fly up to the throne of God, far away of this world with its trivialities.

Prayer is a power source for the hard daily struggle. You could say that your soul changes when you fly up above on the wings of prayer.

Therefore, come, my son! When troubles come and hit you like storms, kneel down and open your heart to your holy Father.

You will see how changed you will be after prayer! The sky will turn bright for you and the sea will calm down. That’s why you need the grace of God and this could only be gained by prayer.

How long should you pray? (I)

Once I asked a 16 y.o boy:

”Do you love God, my son?”

”I love Him very much”, he answered spontaneously.

”Do you pray to Him regularly?”

”No”, he answered candidly.

This young man could not understand the antithesis between his two answers. For it’s quite impossible for someone to love God and not pray to Him.

If you have a friend you care so much about, don’t you try to communicate with him oftenly on various topics?

Watch these numbers I tell you, my son. They are very precise. A man who died at the age of 70 divided the years of his life as follows: he had worked for 15 years, had labored for 20 years, had eaten for 2 years, he had dressed for 1 year, had washed himself for 9 months, he had shaved for 7 months, had cleaned his nose for 4 months, had brushed his teeth for 2 months and so on.

Did you notice anything? All the above mentioned things refer exclusively to exterior activities. To body cares.

But when you stand before God, the account you have to do will be quite different. Then the Righteous Judge asks you:

”How many good deeds have you done? How many misdoings?”

”How many duties have you fulfilled and how many you haven’t?”

”How long have you prayed?”

In a year your heart beat for 36.792.900 times. From this huge number how many heart beats have you offered to God?

”But how long should I pray?”

You have to know, my son, that God does not count prayer by the clock, but by the ardour, by the good disposition of your heart. A small lively, fervent prayer values more than a flabby, typiconal, barren one , even if that takes long hours.

What draws God’s attention is the zeal and the fervent disposition of the heart. Make your morning and evening prayers. But don’t forget to elevate your heart and spirit to God many a time.

 Blessed will be that day, my son, when you would dedicate your very first thoughts to God. And your sleep will be peaceful and serene when before falling in its arms, you would turn again all your thoughts towards Him.