Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Let’s ease the pain of your sadness and disperse the thoughts which formed this cloud!
What makes your heart clench, what saddens and torments you ? Are you upset because the storm that hits the churches is wild and darkens everything, that the night is without moon, that everything was stopped, that it raises up day by day and causes terrible shipwrecks and the disaster of the world grows bigger?
Nobody has a different opinion. And if you like, I shall present to you the picture of what happened for a better understanding of the tragedy. We see a sea that opened its deep floodgates. Some of the sailors are floating dead on the waters and others are ready to drown; the planks of the ships are detached, the sails torn, the masts broken, the oars missing the hands of the oarsmen.
The helmsmen instead of standing at the helm, sit on their sheets with their hands crossed on the knees; helpless in the face of circumstances, they moan, cry, shed tears, complain; they don’t see the skies nor the sea. Everywhere is pitch impenetrable darkness that they don’t see even those who are near them; the roar of the waves is high and the beasts of the sea snap from all corners against those who are floating. But until when will I follow things I cannot touch? Any image I would try to find for the present evils, the word leave defeated.
However despite the fact that I see all these I don’t lose my good hopes, because I think of that One who leads this universe. He doesn’t need the skill of the helmsman to defeat the storm. He stops the commotion with a sign. But He doesn’t stop the evil from the beginning – this is His habit – only when it grew, when it reached the end, when despair conquered almost all. Then He makes the miracle showing His power and teaching patience all those who endured the evil.
This is how the Church was founded; through trials and times of worry; those who stumbled before straightened their walk later, those who got lost returned on the good path and what it was destroyed it was built again more grandiously.
That is why when saint Paul asked from God to preach the Word in peace, the Most Wise and Almighty God did not answer to his disciple and despite his repeated prayers, He did not allow that and said: `My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in weakness.`
If you want to take into account the good deeds beside the evil ones taking place in these times, you will see, if not signs and miracles, many facts similar to miracles, unspoken signs of the great care God has for us and of His help. But for not learning everything easily from me, I leave this part to you, to gather by yourself and watch the wonderful deeds of God from nowadays and the facts that bring sadness. And busying yourself with these matters chase away from your soul all sadness. Much comfort you shall gain from this.
from “Pious Olimpiada the deaconess: A life – a friendship – a correspondence”
Deisis Publishing, Sibiu 1997