My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE
On the 14th of July, the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates
the holy Martyr PETER THE NEW, whose feet were cut off. Also,
the God-bearing Father NIKODEMOS the Hagiorite.
Nikodemos, a most wise teacher of the Church and proponent of virtue, is celebrated on the 14 July. Virtue, verily, is great and a heavenly practice having its source and beginning in God. It is an activity that honors and glorifies her friends and workers. By means of virtue the holy Prophets have been esteemed; the holy Apostles, who conversed with God, have been magnified; the gloriously triumphant Martyrs have performed heroic deeds, the godlike hierarchs have been made vigorous and illustrious, and the God-bearing Fathers have been made intimates with God. It is through virtue that the Saints in their love for God have wrought strange and extraordinary Wonders (Miracles) in the world. The righteous have been shown to be many-lighted luminaries emitting the "word of life." Their words and deeds have illuminated tose sitting in "the region and shadow of death," from the "rising of the sun and unto the setting of souls. Virtue renders a man happy and blessed. It makes an angel on earth, full of divine light whether one is silent or speaking or just being seen. Such a one is A LIVING TABLED, whereon is inscribed everything good and advantageous, as one who is a child of God–on the one hand an heir of God, on the other hand, a joint-heir of Christ who suffered with Him that he might also be glorified with Him.
A genuine friend of virtue, a true laborer, a teacher initiating others into mysteries, and an interpreter and expounder–in both "deed and word" –was the God-bearer Nikodemos. This great and learned teacher of the Church, who was the wonder among the monastics of Athos and the radiant morning star of heavenly wisdom and of the life in Christ, shone forth in these latter days. His godly-wise writings have enlightened people to the uttermost ends of the inhabitant earth. He has proven to be a sonorous trumpet of the Holy Spirit. His mellifluous and most wise tongue explained, clearly and concisely, the words of life eternal and the meaning of the Fathers. His speech and preaching were in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, not in persuasive words of human wisdom. While he exhibited himself to be a practical interpreter of the Ascetical life, he also was a godly writer of sacred mysteries of spiritual ascents and revealer of sacred illuminations. He became a "pillar and stay" of the Orthodox Church and her special boast. For he was shown to be a most mighty demolisher of every heresy and dissonant teaching. This, herein, is the account of a man who by many means and in various ways glorified God, for which he has been accounted worthy to be glorified by God, even as it is written: "I will glorify them that glorify Me."
The blessed man, Father Nikodemos, was engaged in desirable stillness. He gave himself over entirely to great spiritual struggles according to the sacred philosophy of Christ, that is, he meditated upon the law of God day and night, and he studied the books of the God-inspired Holy Scriptures and the godly wise Fathers of the Church. This occupation filled him with divine gladness. He came to know the mysteries of God, as one living on high, beyond what is seen with the material eyes. Who can relate the sacred struggles and wearisome toils of the blessed Father from this time? He denied himself completely. He deprived himself of every material necessity. He mortified entirely the carnal mind by means of vehement fasting. He abided watchful prayer without ceasing. He participated in the rest of the hardships associated with the laborious life of asceticism. Nevertheless, these exercises rendered him wholly radiant and sanctified.
From this point onward, as another God-seer like unto Moses, Nikodemos ascended the mountain of the virtues. He entered into the super radiant darkness of contemplation in the Spirit. He beheld, as far as it is possible for man to see, the invisible God. He heard ineffable words. He was vouchsafed the enhypostatic illumination of grace. He received the immaterial illumination and inspirations of the Paraclete. He was an angel with a body. He was a God-inspired mystic of heavenly knowledge. He was a precise revealer of the life in the Spirit. He acted as a transmitter, making clear to us "the word of His grace," as well as its fruits, and its blessing, of which Nikodemos was full.
In consequence of having been filled with "grace and wisdom," he received from on high gift of teaching. He, at length, was shown to be most radiant lamp of the universsal Orthodox Chuch, a great teacher of Christendom, and the most excellent champion against all heresy and heterodox teaching. His teachings were as water springing forth into Everlasting life and delight, een as David once wrote: "The torrent of Thy delight shalt Thou make them to drink." Torrents of words of grace flowed from his mouth. Revers of Nikodemos’ teachings have refreshed and irrigated so many–not only the monks of the Holy Mountain but also the rest of Christ’s Holy Orthodox Chuch. Nikodemos’ sacred hand penned a multitude of sacred writings and holy books, as well as an abundance of spiritual and sweet hymns and odes for the services honoring a divsersity of Saints. Indeed, he compiled a whole library of sacret texts on variegated themes: theological, dogmas, expository, and moral. Within his collection there is manifest the sublimity and the depth of every kind of Divine and human wisdom, but largely heavenly wisdom. The God-bearing Nikodemos took a mystical of pangs, in the sweat of his brow, recording day and night the sacred teachings, for the benefit of his neighbor and the enrichment of Our Holy Orthodox Church which he so illumined and adorned in these latter times. [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George