Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
An arab wise man before dying made his will where he wrote the following: I locked all my fortune in the great safe from my study. I give everything it contains to the happiest man on earth.
After his death ten thousands men ran to the judge to convince him that they were the happiest men on earth and they had the right to inherit that fortune. The shouts and quarrels broke out. For avoiding something worse the judge hurried to declare that he was the happiest man on earth and he deserved the fortune. So he ran frantically opened the safe and what he saw? Instead of a treasure there were only a few stones wrapped in a paper where it was written: If you had been indeed the happiest man on earth you wouldn’t have needed my money.`
Love of money is a disease. It is a passion that enslaves the man and throws him in the most terrible bonds of passions. In order to make everyone realize how great is the evil made to us by the love of silver we will tell you two short stories.
On a ship among the travelers were two money lovers. The ship suffered a shipwreck and the people ran for their lives leaving their belongings in the cabins of the ship. The two money lovers tried to use the situation in their advantage even in that moment of the shipwreck. Thus one of them ran through the cabins of the travelers to steal what he founded more valuable and the other sitting in his cabin took a sheet of paper to inventorize his fortune. When they understood the situation it was already too late. They sank in the depths of the sea with their passion.
The second story talks about a technique used by the Africans. For catching monkeys alive they hang a small bag with rice in a tree. The rice is the favourite food of the monkeys. But the bag has only a small opening to let the hand of the animal in. When the monkey takes a hand of rice it is impossible to take her hand out. The animal goes to the tree, thrust her hand in the bag to take her favourite food. When she figures out that he can’t take it out anymore she starts to twitch, to be nervous, to squirm, to bustle. But all is in vain. Then the African comes and catches the monkey easily.
If the monkey had opened the hand leaving the rice she would have found back her freedom but she prefers slavery and death instead of leaving its plunder.
In the night of the Big Thursday when in the churches is sung the Matins of the Big Friday we hears from our psalters:
`Today Judas leaves his Teacher and joins the devil. He is blinded by the love of money and falls from the light…` Judas loved money. His passion turned into madness (Big Thursday) and darkened his mind. In the time of this darkening Christ is betrayed and caught and he gives Him the kiss of betrayal. The result is well known: Instead of following the path of repentance he follows the path of despair and suicide. He clings to one of the two masters. And this can happen to anyone of us. But you can’t serve two masters. Thus everyone should choose in the fear of God what is useful for him.
Source: „Vimata”, periodical edition for youth of the Holy Metropolitan of Kerkyra, Paxon and the Diapontic Isles