My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord and God and Savior JESUS CHRIST,



Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Mode 4.

THOU ascended in glory, O Christ our God,
after Thou filled the Disciples with joy, by
promising to send them the Holy Spirit, and
Thou blessed them and established their
faith, that Thou are the Son of God, the
Redeemer of the world.

Entrance Hymn. Mode 2.

God ascended with a shout, the Lord with the
sound of trumpet. Save us, O Son of God,
Who were taken up in Glory to Heaven from

Kontakion Hymn. Mde pl. 2.

When Thou had fulfilled the dispensation for our
sake, and united things on earth with the things
in heaven, Thou were taken up thither in glory, O
Christ our God, going not away from any place,
but continuing inseparable, and to them that love
Thee crying out: "I am with you, and there is,
therefore, none against Thee.


FORTY DAYS after His Most Glorious Resurrection Christ ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, where He had been previously, according to His Own words to the Disciples before His Passion: "Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?" (John 6:61-62). Of course, this does not mean that Christ, as God, was not in heaven during the time of His incarnation, but that He would go up even with His human flesh. Moreover, His coming down from heaven is meant as Divine condescension and NOT AS A CHANGE OF PLACE.

In the time between His Resurrection and Ascension, He appeared many times to His Disciples, to whom He revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, according to the words of Saint Luke: "to whom he also presented himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during FORTY-DAYS, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).

The Feast of the Lord’s Divine Ascension has great meaning and importance for the Christian and spiritual life because IT IS CONNECTED WITH THE DEIFICATION (THEOSIS) OF EVERY PERSON. In what follows, presenting the central Christological points of this Great Feast of the Lord. The Old Testament makes prophecies about this Great Event, and the New Testament presents it. Just as we have prophecies about all the happenings of the Lord in the Old Testament, this is true for the Divine Ascension as well. The Prophet Ezekiel saw a vision, which certainly refers to Christ’s Ascension: "Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the Cherubim. And the Cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight" (Ezekiel 10:18-19).

Christ’s Ascension is mentioned many times in the New Testament. We should look at this at three particular points:

First, in the teaching of Christ Himself. In His speech to the Disciples before His Passion, He said the following: "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world, Again, I leave the world and go to the Father" (John 16:28). And in another situation, Christ gave assurance: "No one has ascended to heaven but the one who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of man who is in heaven" (John 3:13).
Secondly, we see the Ascension in the stories of the Evangelists, who refer to this Event. Concretely, it is told by the Evangelist Mark (Mark 16:19) and by Saint Luke, both in his Gospel (Luke 24:50-53) and in the Acts of the Apostles, which he himself wrote: (Acts 1:3 and 9-11). The details of the Event of the Ascension and of the way in which it happened are described in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.
Thirdly, there are many Apostolic passages that show the Apostle’s assurance about this Event. Especially in the early Church, the Ascension constituted one of the characteristic points of the Symbols of the baptistries, that is to say, they comprised the confession of faith before the Baptism. The Apostle Paul, referring to the central points of the Divine Economy, also includes the Ascension: "God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by the Angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). Referring to the power of the Father, he says that it "worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:20). Elsewhere we have said that the power of the Father is also the Son’s power. After Christ cleansed us from sins "he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3), and indeed Christ gave the promise to all who were united with Him that they too would sit on the throne of His Father: "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Revelation 3:21).

From these passages which have been cited it is very clear that the Church attaches great meaning to the Event of the Divine Ascension.

Although many resurrections and ascensions have taken place, we celebrate none of them as we do the Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension, because WE NEITHER HAVE NOR EVER SHALL HAVE ANY SHARE IN THOSE OTHERS. All we gained from them was to be led towards faith in our Savior’s Resurrection and Ascension, in which WE ALL SHARE NOW AND IN THE FUTURE. His Resurrection and Ascension ARE TEH RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION OF OUR HUMAN NATURE, AND NOT JUST OF OUR HUMAN NATURE, BUT OF EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN CHRIST AND SHOWS HIS FAITH IN WORKS (cf. James 2:18). Christ was Unbegotten and Uncreated according to His Divinity and it was for our sake that He became man. He lived as He did because of us, teaching us the path that leads back to True Life. Everything He suffered in the flesh He suffered for us TO HEAL OUR PASSIONS. On account of our sins, He was led to death, and FOR US HE AROSE AND ASCENDED, PREPARING OUR OWN RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION FOR UNENDING ETERNITY. For all the heirs of Everlasting Life as far as possible the pattern of His SAVING WORK ON EARTH.

The Greek word for ‘ASCENSION’ is ‘ANALIPSIS’. This word is used to point to the Ascent of the Godman to heaven where He sits with God the Father. He was always sharing the Throne of His Father, but now He is INCARNATE sharing the Throne. Observing Christ’s Ascension to heaven, WE ARE LOOKING AT A "PECULIAR RACECOURSE", BECAUSE THE CREATOR OF THE WORLD BORNE UP IN A HUMAN CHARIOT (Saint Epiphanios of Cyprus).

Christ IS THE FIRST AND ONLY ONE WHO HAS GONE UP TO HEAVEN WITH THE BODY WHICH HE ASSUMED FROM THE PANAGIA (The All-Holy Virgin and Theotokos). On this subject, we have assurance from Christ Himself Who said: "No one has ascended to heaven but the One Who came down from heaven, the Son of Man Who is in heaven" (John 3:13). The word ‘NO ONE’ does not permit of any doubt, because it came from the undeceitful mouth of the Lord. To be sure, according to the interpretation of the Holy Fathers of the Church, the Panagia (Theotokos) too ASCENDED TO HEAVEN WITH HER BODY, BUT THIS HAPPENED AFTER CHRIST’S ASCENSION, PRECISELY BECAUSE IT WAS FROM HER BODY THAT CHRIST BECAME INCARNATE. But even in this case, the body of the Panagia (Theotokos) receives deification (Theosis), while Christ’s Body IS A SOURCE OF UNCREATED GRACE. [Source: The Feasts of the Lord and St. Gregory Palamas, The Homilies)

(To be continued)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine Ascension,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


Arrogance, Conceit, Ego, Pompasity, a Sense of
Superriority= PRIDE.

THE WORLD. If anyone loves the world, the love
of the Father is NOT IN HIM.
For all that is in the world–the lust of flesh, the
lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of
the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:16-17).

"So He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Are you thus without
understanding also? DO YOU NOT PERCEIVE THAT
BUT HIS STOMACH, and is eliminated, thus purifying
all food?’ And He said, ‘What COMES OUT OF A MAN,
DEFILE A MAN" (Mark 7:18-23).

"All these evil things" (v.23) are NOT what God created. We will them; we produce them; THEY ARE OUR SINS COMING FROM WITHIN US. They are a perversion of what God has made.

"PRIDE" is one of "these evil things," according to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pride is the quality of being arrogant. However, to be prideful is to properly value oneself, one’s labor, or one’s dignity. We are proud of our accomplishments in life, of our family, of our children, of our friends, of our profession, of our country, of our Church, etc. However, we must extremely careful not to be possessed with an unfettered kind of pride which is evil. The holy Apostle Peter exhorts us: "…All of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed WITH HUMILITY, FOR ‘GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE" Therefore, HUMBLE YOURSELVES under the mighty hand of God, THAT HE MAY EXALT YOU IN DUE TIME" (1 Peter 5:5-6). "HUMILITY" is the foundation of virtue, and it is learned through submission and obedience to godly "elders." In submitting to one another, we "humble" ourselves "under the mighty hand of God."

According to Saint John Climacus, "PRIDE" is a denial of God, an invention of the devil, and contempt for men. It is THE MOTHER OF CONDEMNATION, the offspring of praise, a sign of barrenness. It is a flight from God’s help, the harbinger of madness, the author of downfall. It is the cause of diabolical possession, the source of anger, the gateway of hypocrisy. It is the fortress of demons, the custodian of sins, and the source of hardheartedness. It is the denial of compassion, a bitter pharisee, a cruel judge. It is the foe of God. It is the root of blasphemy.

Pride BEGINS WHERE VAINGLORY LEAVES OFF. Its midpoint comes with the humiliation of our neighbor, the shameless parading of our achievements, complacency, and unwillingness to be found out. It ends with the spurning of God’s help, THE EXAULTING OF ONE’S OWN EFFORTS, and a devilish disposition… I have seen people who speak about their thanks to God but WHO IN THEIR HEARTS ARE GLORIFYING THEMSELVES, something demonstrated by that Pharisee with his "O God, I thank Thee" (Luke 18:11).

Saint John Climacus also reminds us, "Pride and nothing else CAUSED AN ANGEL TO FALL FROM HEAVEN. And so one may reasonably ask whether one may reach heaven by humility alone without the help of any other virtue." According to Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, "Pride is a most abominable sin, but hardly anyone recognizes it since it is hidden deep in the heart. Not knowing one’s self IS THE BEGINNING OF PRIDE. This ingnorance blinds a man, and thus BECOMES FULL OF PRIDE… Bud mand is so wretched that HE DOES NOT SEE and know his misfortune and wretchedness…

"Pride is known by its deeds as a tree is known by its fruits. But let us see what are the fruits of the bitter seed of pride:

1. A proud man seeks honor, glory, and praise by every means. He always desires to appear as something, and to direct, command, and rule others. But he is powerfully angered and embittered at whoever may prevent his desire.
2. He complains, he is displeased, and he curses when deprived of honor and leadership. "What have I done wrong? Why am I at fault? Is this what my labors and service merit?"
3. He begins labors that are beyond his strenth.
4. Our of his self-will he interefers in the affairs of others.
5. He boasts of himself shamelessly and exalts himself.
6. He looks down on and humiliates other people.
7. He does not submit, he does not obey his authorities and his parents.
8. The goods that they have they ascribe to themselvs, to their own efforts and labors, and not to God.
9. He greatly dislikes reproach and admonition. He thinks himself pure, though he be all-sullied.
10. He is impatient, is displeased, complains, and often even curses when in destruction, in contempt, in misfortunes, and calamities.
11. He displays haughtiness and is somewhat pompous, etc, in word and deed.

The virtue OPPOSED TO PRIDE IS HUMILITY… When pride retreats from a man, HUMILITY BEGINS TO DWELL IN HIM, AND THE MORE PRIDE IS DIMINISHED, SO MUCH MORE DOES HUMILITY GROW. The one gives way to the other as to its oppostie. Darkness departs and light appears. PRIDE IS DARKNESS, BUT HUMILITY IS LIGHT…

Blessed Christians! Let us know our misfortune and wretchedness, and "HUNBLE YOURSELVES therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:6). Let us know, beloved, that we Christians are Christ’s, Who is meek and humble of heart. It is a shameful thing, and very unbecomingof Christians, to be full of pride when Christ, God Great and Exulted, HUMBLED HIMSELF. It is a shmeful thing for servants to be proud when their Master is humble. There is nothing as unbecoming and indecent of Christians as pride, and nothing shows a Christian AS MUCH AS HUMILITY.

From HUMILITY IT IS KNOWN THAT A MAN IS A TRUE DISCIPLE OF JESUS, MEEK, AND HUMBLE OF HEART. If we wish to show evidence that we are true Christians, let us learn from Christ to be humble as He Himself enjoins us, "LEARN FROM ME; FOR I AM MEEK, AND LOWLY OF HEART" (Matthew 11:29). Let us engrave and deepen in our membory the saying of the Apostle now explained, "FOR GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD, AND GIVETH GRACE TO THE HUMBLE" (1 Peter 5:6). [Journey to Heaven. Counsels on the particular duties of every Christian by Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
-Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy and Most Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Fathe George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord JESUS CHRIST,


Virginity and the Value of Virginity

Saint Ambrose elaborates on virginity: "The days shall come when they shall say: "Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare" (Luke 23:29). For the daughters of this age are conceived, and conceive, but the daughter of the Kingdom refrain from wedded pleasure, and the pleasure of the flesh, that she may be holy in body and in spirit. I do not then discourage marriage, but recapitulate the advantages of holy virginity. This is the gift of few only, that is of all… I am comparing good things with good things, so that it may be clear which is the more excellent. Nor do I allege any opinion of m own, but I repeat that which the Holy Spirit spake by the Prophet: "Blessed is the barren that is undefiled" (Wisdom 3:13). First of all, in that which those who purpose to marry desire above all things, that they may boast of the beauty of their husband, they must of necessity confess that they are inferior to virgins, to Whom alone it is suitable to say: "Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured on thy lips" (Psalm 44:2). Who is that Spouse? One not given to common indulgences, not proud of possessing riches, but He Whose Throne is forever and ever."

Contemporary Orthodox authors have observed: "Marriage is an image of the union of Christ with the Church," whereas, "monastic life does not constitute an image, but it itself is the mystical marriage of the soul with the Heavenly Bridegroom."

Saint Methodios said that virginity walks on earth but "here head touches the heavens," and is the "most brilliant and glorious star of all Christ’s charisms." He also said that nothing is superior to chastity in its power to return mankind to Paradise.." Virginity is the most precious offering and gift and the greatest vow that a man may make To God. The embrace of virginity is the key way one moves from being God’s image to being God’s likeness, and quickly causes violent passions to wither away."

Saint John of Sinai compares the virginal life with the Angelic life: "Purity means that we put on the Angelic nature. Purity is the longed-for house of Christ and the earthly heaven of the heart. Purity is a supernatural denial of nature, which means that a mortal and corruptible body is rivaling the celestial spirits in a truly marvelous way. He is pure who expels fleshly love with divine love, and who has extinguished the fire of passion by the fire of Heaven."

Saint John Chrysostom states: "Is virginity a good [thing]? Yes, I fully agree. But is it better than marriage? I agree with this, too… Virginity is as much superior to marriage as heaven is to earth, as the Angels are to men, and, to use far stronger language, it is more superior still. For the Angels, though they do not marry and are not given in marriage, are not a mixture of flesh and blood. They do not pass time on earth and endure trouble from passions… But mankind, inferior in its nature to blessed spirits, forces its own nature and, in so far as it can, vices eagerly to equal the Angels… Do you grasp the value of virginity? That it makes those who spend time on earth live like the Angels dwelling in heaven? It does not allow those endowed with bodies to be inferior to the incorporeal powers and spurs all men to rival the Angels… What, then does Saint Paul say under the inspiration of the Lord? ‘Now for the matters you wrote about, A man is better off having no relations with woman’ (1 Corinthians 7:1).

Saint Jerome wrote: "I praise wedlock, I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins. I gather the rose from the thorns, the gold from the earth, the pearl from the shell… ‘Concerning virgins’, says the Apostle [Paul], ‘I have no commandment of the Lord’ [1 Corinthians 7:25]. Why was this? Because his own virginity was due, not to a command, but TO HIS FREE CHOICE… What is freely offered IS WORTH MORE THAN WHAT IS EXTORTED BY FORCE… When he is discussing continence and commending perpetual chastity, he uses words, ‘I would that all men were even as I myself.’

Saint Symeon the New Theologian said: "Many regard the monastic way as the most blessed way. For my part, however, I would not set my way above the others; nor would I praise one and depreciate another. BUT IN EVERY SITUATION, IT IS THE LIFE LIVED FOR GOD AND ACCORDING TO GOD THAT IS ENTIRELY BLESSED."

Another point worth pondering is that since married life is more difficult, perhaps it would not be unreasonable to deduce that it also has a greater reward when successfully lived in a God-pleasing manner. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of blessed memory wrote in his introduction to the Ladder: "It is a great thing, says Saint John, to achieve stillness in the isolation of a hermit’s cell; ‘but it is incomparably greater to have no fear of turmoil, and to remain steadfast under its assault with a fearless heart, living outwardly with men but inwardly with God."

Christ taught that true chastity is not just external but INTERNAL. "Whosoever looketh a woman to lust after hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Elaborating on this precept, the Holy Fathers taught THAT VIRGINITY THAT IS MERELY EXTERNAL IS INSUFFICIENT. Saint Basil the Great taught, "Virginity is a help to such devotion, for those who pursue this gift [of being in the likeness of God] in a spiritual manner. Merely abstaining from the procreation of children does not constitute the gift of virginity. On the contrary, the whole of one’s life and character must be virginal, illustrating in every action the integrity required of the virgin. For it is possible to commit fornication in speech and adultery with the eye, to be polluted through the hearing, to receive defilement in the heart, and to transgress the bounds of temperance by lacking control in partaking of food and drink. …Anger, jealousy, bearing a grudge, falsehood, arrogance, unseasonable talking, sickness in prayer, desire for goods one does not possess, negligence in observing the Commandments, ostentation in dress, vain regard for one’s appearance, meetings and conversations beyond what is necessary and fitting–all these must be most carefully avoided by one who has dedicated himself to God by virginity because yielding to one of them is almost as committing an expressly forbidden sin."

Saint Isaac the Syrian taught that reading and prayer are what assist chastity: "If you love chastity, banish shameful thoughts by exercising yourself in reading and prolonged prayer; then you will be inwardly armed against their natural causes. But without reading and prayer, purity cannot be present in the soul."

The Christian is engaged constantly in spiritual warfare. Our enemy the devil and his angels explore us individually, looking for our weaknesses. tempts us unceasingly and seeks our destruction. He uses all our senses, passions, desires, ambitions, greed, vanity, vain glory, pride, ego, thoughts, imagination, slothfulness, acedia, possessions, sexuality, curiosity, and all the vices against us. The enemy the devil offers appealing visions to our eyes, music to our ears, to each of our senses setting forth whatever might tempt us to sin. He arouses the tongues to speak evil about others and urges our hands to injure them. When he is unable to tempt us, he brings forth a threat of persecution so that fear may cause us to betray the faith. Thus we must always be alert and vigilant for his many-faceted attacks ready to resist him at every turn.

We all need to realize that this is an all-out war. The enemy is cunning and dangerous. "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shot your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (evil) one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:13-17).

The secular world in which we live uses every evil vice to undermine all Christian values, virtues, chastity, purity, innocence, decency, dignity, goodness, and wholesomeness. Our secular society hates everything that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has taught us and desires to destroy Christianity altogether. However, this has been taking place throughout the two thousand history of Christianity throughout the world. The enemies of Christ have attempted again and again to declare war from without and when it has not been successful to infiltrate the Church and attempt to subvert her from within through heresy, schisms, and division but have always failed. The Christian Church is Christ Himself, the God-Man Who is God and the Head of His Church both in Heaven and on Earth.

The genuine and practicing Christian will never apostatize or fall into heresy. The Holy Church has a powerful army with unlimited resources and with God on her side she will never be defeated by either the evil one, his angels, or his minions. The faithful Christians will always remain stand fest and will never cower to the numerous threats. The myriads of holy Martyrs men, women, and children adorn the Church and are a living testament of great faith and love for our Savior Jesus Christ. Open persecution against Christians will occur now and in the near future but Christians are always ready to suffer and sacrifice their lives for the only Savior and God Who shed His Precious Blood on the Cross to save us from evil and death. (Source: The Angelic Life. A Vision of Orthodox Monasticism)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Most Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,



"But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in
secret; and your Father Who sees in secret, will Himself reward
you openly" (Matthew 6:4).

"Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves
another has fulfilled the law. For the Commandments, ‘You shall not
commit adultery, ‘You shall not murder, ‘You shall not steal, ‘You
shall not bear false witness, ‘You shall not covet, and if there is any
other Commandment, are ALL SUMMED UP IN THIS SAYING,

The Holy Fathers attached utmost importance to brotherly love. Abba (Father) John the Dwarf said: "It is not possible to build a house from the top down; one must build it from the foundations to the top." ‘What does this saying mean?’ his disciples asked him. The Elder replied: ‘The foundation IS YOUR NEIGHBOR, whom you must win over to Christ BY YOUR LOVE (AGAPE)–and this must be done first; for on him depend all the Commandments of Christ."

As Saint Anthony put it: "Life and death depend on our neighbor: for if we win over our brother, we win over God, but if we offend our brother, we sin against Christ." Elder Aimilianos wrote for his nuns: "The touchstone of authenticity for the sisters shall be the love they bear towards the others, which is what the Lord requires above all else. The heart of each shall be open, full of simplicity, sincerity and affection, admitting all the others, with love that is deep, strong, manly, and spiritual." Saint Efthymios taught: "If your brother calls you while you are occupied with your manual work, make haste to see what he wants and work with him, leaving aside your own work." For example, among the Desert Holy Fathers

"there was a certain solitary who had another solitary as his disciple. The latter lived in a cell ten miles away from him. One day, his thoughts said to him: ‘Summon the brother to come here and receive his bread.’ But then he reflected: ‘Am I going to make my brother trek ten miles for the sake of bread? No, I will take the bread to him myself.’ So he took the bread and set off to visit his disciple.
While on his way…an Angel appeared before him…saying: "The very steps that you take for the sake of the Lord are counted and are reckoned worthy of great reward in the sight of God." Then, giving thanks to God for the words of the Angel, the ascetic went on his way, rejoicing. He arrived at the brother’s cell, bearing the loaves of bread, and recounted to him the love for mankind that God had shown to him. After giving him the bread, he returned to his own cell.
On the following day, he again took some loaves of bread and went to visit another monk. It so happened that the latter was coming towards him at the same time for the same purpose, and they met each other on the way. The one who was going said to the one who was coming: ‘I had a treasure, and you sought to robe me of it?’ The other monk replied to him: ‘Does the narrow gate have room only for you?’ Allow me to enter it together with you.’ And at once, as they were speaking, an Angel of the Lord appeared to them and said: "This ‘quarrel’ of yours has ascended to God as an odor of sweet savor."

Helping our fellow man is a labor of true agape. Agape for others is not to be understood as an obligation but as a divine act. Our love for our neighbor is love for Our Lord and God Jesus Christ. One of our Saints was riding his horse to the city center and as he came near it he witnessed people running in different directions and frightened and in a panic. He then spotted a man in rags and immediately realized that he was not only a beggar but a leper. When he approached him, he dismounted from his horse and walked over to him, and embraced him lovingly. O, the Wonder! immediately the poor leper transformed into our Lord Christ Himself. Our love for those who need our love and compassion ought to be love without any reservations or conditions to be truly genuine love.

In our contemporary world, there are countless good Christians and good people who work tirelessly to help others without any recompense and always secretly. They form a chain of goodwill souls that seek always to bring hope, love, and kindness to those who are suffering, to the poor, to the sick, to the refused, the neglected, or rejected in the world. Our All-Loving God has indeed numerous devout and faithful workers and servants, who are blessed and are able to make a real difference in our cosmos. Humanity is never abandoned by our Creator and God Who gave us His Only-begotten Son to save all of mankind. Everyone has a God-given talent to use for the glory of God and for the good of others.

Goodness and Holiness can never be overtaken by hatred and evil. Our Lord and Savior will never allow that to ever happen. There is an infinite power to goodness and love. No one should ever underestimate the power of love. God is AGAPE, LOVE. Where there is love, God is present. "Therefore be merciful as your Father also is merciful" (Luke 6:36). Then He said: "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the sons of the Most High; for He is kind into the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Then He adds another compelling reason to keep this commandment: if you love those who love you, you are like the sinners and the Gentiles; but if you love those who do evil to you, YOU ARE LIKE GOD, Who is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." Which do you desire, to be like sinners, or to be like God? Do you see the Divine teaching?

An Orthodox Christian seeks opportunities to serve with sincerity and affection and to help the sorrowful, those in pain, and the forgotten. There is no greater reward than to come to the aid of another human being, another precious soul. We are on this earth for only a brief time and it is the commandment of Our Lord, God, and Savior to "do unto others as we would have them do unto us" (Luke 6:31). The attitude "That’s your problem, not mine," should never be said by a Christian.

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
-Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape In His Divine and Most Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,



"And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep
and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He
had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple,
with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’
money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who
sold doves, "Take these things away! DO NOT MAKE MY

Jesus cleansed the temple twice, at the beginning and again at the end of His public Ministry. By this cleansing, Jesus vigorously protects the PURITY OF WORSH9P AGAINST COMMERCIALISM. Likewise, He zealously desires His Church TO BE A HOLY, PURE HOUSE OF PRAYER. From His actions, we clearly understand that the House of God, the Church, must be respected at all times and should be used only for worship and adoration of Him.


Go off with all the rest to the Office and stand in the church as though you were in the company of Angels in heaven, with trembling because you regard yourself unworthy even to stand there with your brethren. As you stand pay heed to yourself so that you do not look around you with curiosity at the brethren, how each of them stands or how he sings, but pay attention to yourself alone, to the psalmody, and to your sins. Remember also the prayer that you offered and do not carry on any conversation or speak, do not sit down even for the reading, but listen standing. Listen as though it were God Himself speaking to you through the reader, God Who "is above all" (Romans 9:5).

Nothing should disrupt or damage the harmony and the solemnity of the divine worship in church. The faithful should be prompt and reverent when they enter the church at any time. They should worship as a family, and all the members of the family, which includes children, should be on their best behavior upon entering the church and during the Divine Liturgy. No one should be the cause of any distraction and/or be responsible for violating the peace of those present who are absorbed in the divine service. Saint Ambrose of Milan stated: "The virtue of silence, especially in the Church, is very great." And Saint Anthony the Great exhorts us to "Take care not to speak at all in church."

It is important that the faithful COME ON TIME to church. Elder Dorotheos related an incident about an elder who saw an Angel setting a holy seal on the brethren in church:

The man in bright raiment said to him: "I am an Angel of the Lord, and I have been given a command to seal
with the sign of the Cross all those who are in Church from the BEGINNING OF THE SERVICE, on account of
their eagerness, diligence, and good intentions."
The Elder replied, saying, "Why, then, do you make the sign of the Cross over the
place of some of those who are missing?"
The holy Angel answered him: "Those brothers who are diligent and of good intention, but out of some need or illness
are missing with the blessing of their spiritual Father, or who, in obedience to some command are busy somewhere else
and not in attendance for that reason–these, despite their absence, I seal with the sign of the Cross, since in spirit are with
those who are chanting the service. Only those who would otherwise be able to be present, but because of their laziness
are absent, am I commanded not to seal with the sign of the Cross, for they are made unworthy thereof by their own actions."

Saint John Chrysostom explained the reason for not speaking in the church:

"When someone is talking with the earthly king, he contrives every possible way to
display great reverence for him. For this reason, by the position of the head, with the
tone of voice, clasped hands, joined legs, and control over the whole body, he chooses
his words from among those the latter desires… You are standing before the Heavenly
King before Whom the Angels tremble as they stand. You have abandoned your
conversation with Him and are talking about the dung and dust and spider webs."

The church is a consecrated ground, a holy place, a sacred space, and it must not be treated disrespectfully by those entering it. See how Jesus respected His Father’s House and how He treated those who abused and disrespected it. He literally threw them out with force and righteous indignation. Gerontissa Makrina gave the following rules to her nuns: "Inside the church, we should walk very quietly with our head down, with great reverence and the fear of God. With the same reverence, we should stand during the services. Laughter and talking are forbidden." Saint Jerome recommended: "Let the servant of God sing in such manner that THE WORDS OF THE TEXT RATHER THAN THE VOICE OF THE SINGER CAUSE DELIGHT." Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain wrote: "The chanting, or psalmody, that is done in churches is in the nature of begging God to be appeased for our sins. Whoever begs and prayerfully supplicates must have A HUMBLE AND CONTRITE MANNER; BUT TO CRY OUT MANIFESTS A MANNER THAT IS AUDACIOUS AND IRREVERENT."

Furthermore, how one dresses is also very important. The person’s garb does not have to be costly just simply clean and modest. For women to dress provocatively in church is a sin, because it is not only disrespectful and offensive, but scandalizes men and women alike. People dress differently and appropriately for attending a specific event i.e., shopping, weddings, funerals, theater, opera, political rallies, a royal function, a monastery, the beach, etc. The church must always be treated with dignity, reverence, humility, meekness, the fear of God, and with the full knowledge that when one enters this holy space they are in the presence of their Creator and Savior. [Source: The Angelic Life.  A Vision of Orthodox Monasticism]

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
-Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape In His Divine and Most Glorious Resurrection,

The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


The Focus and Aim of All Christians is to Love God WITH ONE’S HEART, SOUL, AND MIND, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS ONESELF (Luke 10:27). The central role of agape (love) is even more pertinent for monastics, who are called to be exemplary Christians. This is why Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain declared: "The whole work of a monk is love." Elder Aimilianos said: "What kind of life is monastic life? First of all, as we live it and feel it, it is a life of love." When Elder Paisios of Sihla was asked: "How must monks live in order to save their souls?" he replied, "Live in love, for the Savior says, "By this shall all men know that ye are My Disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

Saint Paul warned: "Even if we speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, have the gift of prophecy, know all mysteries and all knowledge, have all faith to move mountains, give away all our possessions, and surrender our body to be burned but have not love, WE ARE NOTHING" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). In the same way spirit, Saint Athanasios the Great said: "No matter how hard a person labors, if he lacks love for this neighbor he has labored he has labored in vain," and Saint Maximos the Confessor taught: "Every ascesis lacking love is foreign to God." Saint Achard of Jumieges (in the 7th century Gaul) on his deathbed warned his monastic disciples: "You have borne the yoke of penance and are grown old in the exercise of religious duties in vain if you do not sincerely love one another." Saint Sophrone of Esex remarked: "If in our monastic life, we do not learn to love, how can the meaning of monasticism be esteemed?" Thus the most serious accusation we could ever hear–assuming the accusation has some basis in reality, of course–IS THAT LACK OF LOVE, WHETHER COLLECTIVELY OR INDIVIDUALLY.

Since we are called not only to love God with our whole heart but also to love our neighbor as ourselves, a monastery not only should be dedicated to worshipping God, but also should care for others: by offering advice and hospitality to pilgrims, by giving material and spiritual alms to the needy, and especially by PRAYING FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD. For as the Theotokos revealed, a monk is someone "who prays for the whole world."

Abba (Father) Moses taught: "The aim of our [monastic] profession is the Kingdom of God…but our [temporal] objective is a clean heart, without which it is impossible for anyone to reach our aim." Thus, our primary work is to attain a clean heart by uprooting the passions and cultivate the virtues: AGAPE, OBEDIENCE, HUMILITY, CHASTITY, PRAYER, FEAR OF GOD, SILENCE, REPENTANCE, PATIENCE, WATCHFULNESS, FASTING, SELF-DENIAL, AUTHENTICITY, DETACHMENT, SIMPLICITY, SERIOUSNESS, FORCEFULNESS, ZEAL, TRANSFORMING ANGER, SELF-REPROACH, REMEMBRANCE OF DEATH, etc.

Saint Basil the Great taught: "The ASCETICAL LIFE has one aim–THE SOUL’S SALVATION–and all that can contribute to this end must be observed with much fear as a Divine Command." Thus, the purpose of a monastery IS THE SALVATION OF SOULS.

What is a Monk?

Saint John of Sinai explained: "A monk is one who holds only to the commands of God in every time and place and matter. A monk is one who constantly constrains his nature and unceasingly watches over his senses. A monk is one who keeps his body in chastity, his mouth pure and his mind illumined. A monk is a mourning soul and both asleep and awake is unceasingly occupied with the remembrance of death. Likewise, Saint Efthymios the Great taught: "Brethren, strive for what brought you out here, and do not neglect your own salvation. You must at all times stay sober and awake. As Scripture says, "Keep awake, and pray not to enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). …[Monks] must always await and ponder the hour of death and the Dread Day of Judgment, fear the threat of eternal fire and desire the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven. Saint Nilus of Ancyra wrote: "It is said that a monk is an altar on which and from which pure prayers are offered to the Most High God." Similarly, Saint Maximos the Confessor stated: "A monk is a man who has freed his intellect from attachment to material things, and by means of self-control, love, psalmody, and prayer cleaves to God."

Saint Paisios Velichkovsky gave the following definition of a monk:

"What is a monk? A monk is a fulfiller of hte Commandments of Christ, a perfect Christian, an imitator of and
a participant in the Passion of Christ, a daily Martyr, a voluntary dead man who willingly dies in spiritual
struggles. A monk is a pillar of patience, a depth of humility, a fount of tears, a treasury of purity, one who laughs
at all that is considered splendid, sweet, glorious, and attractive in this world. A monk is a soul that is pained,
constantly meditating on the memory of death, both in wakefulness and in sleep. A monk is one who constantly
forces nature, and who guards his feelings without weakening. A monk is of the order and condition of the fleshless
ones, though preserved in a material body, having in mind at all times, in every place, and in every work, only what is

Saint Nektarios of Aegina described the monastic life as follows:

"A monk’s way of life consists of ceaselessly seeking God’s countenance, yearning
for Him, possessing a strong love for Him, and perpetually hastening toward Him. The
monk offers his heart as a sacrifice to Him alone–an offering that is holy, pure, and
perfected in love. Truly, he does not live for himself, but for the Lord, and the Lord visits
him mystically; He mystically reveals Himself to the eyes of the soul of the monk who is
devoted to Him, and such a monk receives the betrothal of the grace of the future vision
of the Lord’s Countenance."

Several Saints emphasized the necessity of withdrawing from the world in order to be a monk. For example, Saint Isaac the Syrian said, "A monk is he who remains outside the world and is ever supplicating God to receive future blessings." And Saint Efstathios of Thessaloniki wrote: "A monk is primarily he who has formed (or rather renewed) his heart in solitude and understood all the works of God. This deep understanding is a manifestation of his theoretical training and virtuous life.

Saint Efstathios also gave the following advice to a monk to remind him of his calling:

"Bear in mind that you are an angel of light even though you are wearing black. You have been appointed to stand
beside the True Light. You are ow a close friend of God Himself and have vowed to acquire various virtues. Therefore,
you have a great obligation, O magnificent monk, so do not delay in fulfilling your duty."
A monk holds a torch from the Father of Lights, and from there he radiates a light that shines and illumines, if not
the whole world as the Apostles did, then at least many places on the earth. This is what is typically accomplished by
lanterns perched in high places. They emit light that warns of any enemy onslaught, or as a lighthouse, they show
where rocks lie beneath the surface so that people avoid dangerous reefs, and they do other such salvific things.
A true monk is a citizen of heaven, not of the earth, even though he dwells on the earth. His way of life is ethereal,
he is celestial since he flies above everything earthly." (Source: The Angelic Life)


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Most Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

Let Us Arise in the Deep Dawn, and Instead of Myrrh-Offer A Hymn to the Lord By Saint John Maximovitch

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


Let Us Arise in the Deep Dawn, and
Instead of Myrrh-offer A Hymn to
the LORD.
By Saint John Maximovitch [Pascha, 1940]

We forestall the rising of the sun and hasten in the depth of night to meet the Sun of Righteousness.

The present night is not an ordinary night! Brighter than day, it fills our souls with light! The rays of the Sun of the world illumine us and the whole universe, enlightening all who come to His Light. The warmth poured out through His rays penetrates all our members, filling our souls with deep peace, even healing our bodily illnesses. This warmth melts away our sorrows, and our passions are burned away as by fire. Enmity and hatred disappear from us, we forget our bitterness, and we do not feel our impoverishment.

The whole world becomes different on this holy and only night! All nature is changed, and everything is filled with warmth and light. Just as birds of prey hide at the rising of the sun, and wild bears disappear into their dens, so does evil flee from every heart illumined today by the Light which radiates from the tomb. Like the morning dew, now are our tears dried away! As blossoms unfold at the onset of the day, enlivened by the sun’s rays, so do virtues return to us as the Sun rises upon us this morning. Let us strive to be wholly illuminated by this Wondrous Light!

When spring comes, we open all the windows and doors of our homes, so that the warmth may enter and dry the darkness within. Now the Divine Light can also enter, but it cannot shine within souls that have closed themselves and do not want to be illumined by that Light. Let us open our souls and hearts! Let us hasten with the myrrh-bearers, let us come bearing our lamps to Christ. Who has come forth from the tomb! Even if you are burdened by sins, do not turn away; for today even those in the bonds of hell hasten to the Light with joyful feet. Even if you are poor and have not the means to buy candles and myrrh, do not turn away. Let our hearts and souls burn in place of candles. There is impoverishment in the world!

In these past days, we were all called to bring our material offerings and bodily ascetic labors as myrrh. Now we all are called to partake of spiritual joy . This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Instead of myrrh and material offerings, let us bring a hymn to the Lord. Let us sing the praise of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God!

Let us open now the doors and windows of our souls and hearts, that they might be warmed by the rays of the Sun of Righteousness! "From the outermost border of Heaven is His going forth, and His goal is to the outermost part o Heaven, and there shall no man hide himself from His heat" (Pss. 18:6). Now all things are filled with light: Heaven and earth and the nether regions" (Ode 3 of the Paschal Canon). Only we are impenetrable if we do not want Him! If you do not feel this radiant joy today, seek the reason within yourself only.

It would be insane for a man to claim that the sun does not exist, only because he does not see it from within his tightly closed and shuttered dwelling. Pitiable is the blind man who keeps telling everyone that there is no such thing as light, only because he does not see it! It would look very foolish for a man to insist that spring has not come, only because no warmth has penetrated into his locked cellar!

We praise the gentle Light, the Holy Glory of the Immortal Heavenly Father–the Resurrected Lord, crying out to Him from the depths of our souls, "MEET IT IS FOR THEE AT ALL TIMES TO BE HYMNED!"

Then the Light of Christ that enlightens all will enlighten even us, and we shall behold Christ the Sun of Righteousness,
Who shines upon all life!

Christ is Risen!
[Source: Orthodox Heritage]


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Most Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


Decrees of Spiritual Perfection
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

The most important work of the Church IS TO CURE MAN. Therefore, the Orthodox Church IS A HOSPITAL, AN INFIRMARY OF THE SOUL. This does not mean that the Church disregards other domains of pastoral activity since she AIMS AT THE WHOLE OF MAN, consisting of both BODY and SOUL. She cares indeed for the physical, economic, and social problems as well, yet the main weight of her pastoral service is put on the SOUL’S THERAPY, for when man’s soul is cured then many other intractable problems are solved.

Some people accuse the Orthodox Church of not being very much involved in social problems. However, the Church does care about all matters which concern man. This is evident in the content of her prayers during worship services as well as in the work and teaching of the Holy Fathers. But just as a medical hospital is primarily interested in the treatment of the body–and through this therapy it gets involved with the rest of a person’s problems–so it is in the Orthodox Church. She cures the core of human personality and through this, she heals THE WHOLE PERSON. That is why even during times of social upheavals when all governmental mechanisms are virtually brought to a halt–even peoples’ external freedoms are disrupted–the Church maintains its work: TO TREAT AND CURE THE PERSON.

Healing of man’s personality is in fact his progress TOWARD PERFECTION which is actually identified as THEOSIS, for in Patristic Theology THEOSIS and PERFECTION are synonymous terms. And this therapy is absolutely necessary, because man’s fall, effected in the person of Adam, constitutes the sickness of man’s nature.

In Paradise, before the Fall, Adam was IN A STATE OF CONTINUOUS THEORIA (VISION) OF GOD. The study of the Book of Genesis reveals that Adam was IN COMMUNION WITH GOD; however, it was necessary for him to remain in that state,, by VIRTUE OF HIS VOLUNTARY STRUGGLE, IN ORDER FOR HIM TO BECOME MORE STABILIZED AND REACH PERFECT COMMUNION AND UNION WITH HIM. Saint John of Damascus describes this state of primordial "JUSTICE" characteristically. Adam WAS PURIFIED AND NOURISHED AT THE SAME TIME BY THE VISION OF GOD. His NOUS was ILLUMINED, and this signifies above all THAT HE WAS A TEMPLE OF THE Holy Spirit, and was EXPERIENCING UNCEASING REMEMBRANCE OF GOD. [NOTE:  The word NOUS has various uses in Patristic teaching.  It can indicate either THE SOUL or THE HEART or EVEN AN ENERGY OF THE SOUL.  Yet, the NOUS is mainly THE EYE OF THE SOUL; THE PUREST PART OF THE SOUL; THE HIGHEST ATTENTION.  It is also called NOETIC ENERGY and it is  NOT  identified with reason.]

"Ancestral" [Gk. Propatorikon Amartema] ("Original") sin CONSISTS OF THE DARKENING of the NOUS and THE LOSS OF COMMUNION WITH GOD. This, of course, had other repercussions, as well: MAN WAS CLOTHED IN THE FLESHLY GARMENTS OF DECAY AND MORTALITY. The NOUS experienced a DEEP DARKNESS. In other words, MAN LOST THE ILLUMINATION of his NOUS; IT BECAME IMPURE, IMPASSIONED and his body bore CORRUPTION and MORTALITY. Thus, from the day of our birth, we bear within us corruption and death. Hence, because of the Fall, we experience universal malady. Both SOUL and BODY are sick and, naturally, since man is the SUMMATION OF ALL CREATION, –THE MICROCOSMOS WITHIN THE MEGACOSMOS–CORRUPTION ALSO BEFELL ALL OF CREATION.

"My mind is wounded, my body has grown feeble, m spirit is sick, my speech has lost its power,
my life is dead, then end is at the door. What shalt thou do, then, miserable soul, when the
Judge comes to examine thy deed?" (Great Canon).

In fact, when we speak of Ancestral sin and its consequences, we mean three things: First, the malfunction of the NOUS, since the NOUS ceased to work properly; Secondly, the identification of the NOUS with reason (and to a certain extent, deification of reason) and Thirdly, the NOUS’ enslavement of the passions, anxiety and the conditions of the environment. And this CONSTITUTES MAN’S REAL DEATH.

He experiences TOTAL DISORGANIZATION; HIS INNER SELF IS DEADENED–HIS NOUS IS OVERCOME BY DARKNESS. And just as when the eye of the body is hurt, the whole body is obscure, so also when THE EYE OF THE SOUL–the NOUS–SUFFERS BLINDNESS, THE SPIRITUAL SELF AS A WHOLE BECOMES SICK. It falls into the deepest darkness. This is what the Lord is referring to when He says: "IF THEREFORE THE LIGHT THAT IS IN THEE BE DARKNESS, HOW GREAT IS THAT DARKNESS!" (Matthew 6:23).

In addition to the disruption of the soul’s inner workings, Ancestral sin resulted also in the disorganization OF MAN OUTWARDLY. He now confronts his fellow men, God, the world, and all of creation in a different way. The NOUS is unable to encounter God; so reason undertakes the effort. Thus IDOLS of God are created leading to PAGAN RELIGIONS and even HERETICAL DEVIATIONS.

Incapable of seeing man AS AN IMAGE OF GOD, the NOUS encounters him under the influence OF THE PASSIONS. He ambitiously exploits his fell man, THROUGH HIS LOVE FOR PLEASURE AND MATERIAL GAIN. He regards him as a vessel or instrument of pleasure; at the same time, he idolizes all creation, which is what the Apostle Paul describes in his Epistle to the Romans: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the Uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (Romans 1:22-23).

Therefore MAN NEEDS TO BE CURED, that is to be PURIFIED, TO REACH THE ILLUMINATION OF THE NOUS–Adam’s state BEFORE THE FALL–AND THEN ATTAIN THEOSIS (DEIFICATION). This is achieved precisely through CHRIST’S INCARNATION AND THE ENTIRE WORK OF THE Divine Economy and of the CHURCH. It is within this frame of reference WE MUST SEE MANY LITURGICAL texts according to which Christ is characterized A PHYSICIAN AND HEALER OF SOULS AND BODIES. Moreover, in the same framework, various Patristic texts should be studied, where it is apparent that the work of Christ IS FIRST AND FOREMOST A THERAPEUTIC ONE…


In Orthodox spirituality PURIFICATION, ILLUMINATION, AND THEOSIS ARE NOT STATES OF ANTHROPOCENTRIC ACTIVITY, BUT RATHER ARE RESULTS OF THE UNCREATED ENERGY OF GOD. When the Divine grace (energy of God) purifies man from passions, it is called purifying when it illumines his nous it is called illuminating, and when it deifies man it is called deifying. The same grace and energy of God is given various names according to its effects. (Source: Orthodox Heritage)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Most Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


Sentenced to Immortality (Part II)
By Saint Justin Popovic

If a man fights with sins and passions, this demonstrates that he INDEED BELIEVES IN THE Risen Lord; if the fight with them, he fights for life eternal. If he does not fight, his faith is in vain. If man’s faith IS NOT A FIGHT FOR IMMORTALITY and ETERNITY, than tell me, what is it? If faith in Christ does not bring us to resurrection and life eternal, than what use is it to us? If Christ is not risen, that meant that neither sin nor death has been vanquished, than why believe in Christ?

For the one who by faith in the Risen Lord fights with each of his sins there will be affirmed in him gradually the feeling that Christ is indeed risen, has indeed vanquished the sting of sin, has indeed vanquished death on all the forms of combat. Sin GRADUALLY DIMINISHES THE SOUL IN MAN, DRIVING IT INTO DEATH, TRANSFORMING IT FROM IMMORTALITY TO MORTALITY, FROM INCORRUPTION TO CORRUPTION. The more the sins, the more the mortal man. If man does not feel immortality in himself, know that he is in sins, in bad thoughts, in languid feelings. Christianity is an appeal: FIGHT WITH DEATH UNTIL THE LAST BREATH, FIGHT UNTIL A FINAL VICTORY HAS BEEN REACHED. Every sin is a desertion: EVERY PASSION IS A RETREAT; EVERY VICE IS A DEFEAT.

One need not be surprised that Christians also die bodily. This is because THE DEATH OF THE BODY IS SOWING. The MORTAL BODY is sown, says the Apostle Paul, and it grows, and IS RAISED IN AN IMMORTAL BODY (I Corinthians 15:42-44). The body dissolves, like a sown seed, that THE HOLY SPIRIT MAY QUICKEN AND PERFECT IT. If the Lord Christ had not been risen in body, what use would it have for Him? He would not have saved THE ENTIRE MAN. If His body did not rise, then why was He incarnate?

Why did He take on Himself flesh, if He gave it nothing of his Divinity?

If Christ is not risen, then why believe in Him? To be honest, I would never have believed in Him had He not risen and had not therefore vanquished death. Our GREATEST ENEMY was KILLED AND WE WERE GIVEN IMMORTALITY. Without this, our world is a noisy display of revolting stupidity and despair, for neither in Heaven nor under Heaven is there a greater stupidity than this world WITHOUT THE RESURRECTION; and there is not a greater despair than this life without immortality. There is no being in a single world more miserable than man who does NOT BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. It would have been better for such a man never to have been born.

In our human world, death is the greatest torment and inhumane horror. FREEDOM FROM THIS TORMENT AND HORROR IS SALVATION. Such a salvation was given the race of man by the Vanquisher of death–the Risen God-Man. He related to us all the mystery of salvation by His Resurrection. TO BE SAVED MEANS TO ASSURE OUR BODY AND SOUL OF IMMORTALITY AND LIFE ETERNAL. How to attain this? By no other way than by a theanthropic life, A NEW LIFE, A LIFE IN THE Risen Lord, in and by the Lord’s Resurrection.

For us Christians, our life on earth is a school in which we learn how to assure ourselves of resurrection and Life Eternal. For what use is this life if we cannot acquire by it Life Eternal? But, in order to be resurrected with the Lord Christ, MAN MUST SUFFER WITH Him, and live His life as his own. If he does this, then on Pascha he can say with Saint Gregory the Theologian: "Yesterday I was crucified with Him, today I LIVE WITH HIM, yesterday I was buried with Him, TODAY I RISE WITH HIM" (Troparion 2, Ode 3. Matins, Pascha).

Christ’s Four Gospels are summed up in only four words,

In each of these words is a Gospel, and in the Four Gospels is all the meaning OF ALL GOD’S WORLD, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE. When all knowledge and all the thoughts of men are concentrated in the cry of the Paschal salutation, Christ is Risen!, then IMMORTAL JOY EMBRACES ALL BEINGS AND IN JOY RESPONDS: INDEED HE IS RISEN! (Source: Orthodox Heritage)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in the Resurrection of Our Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


Sentenced to
By Saint Justin Popovic

Man sentenced God to death; by His Resurrection, He SENTENCED MAN TO IMMORTALITY. In return for a beating, He GIVES AN EMBRACE; for abuse, A BLESSING; for death, IMMORTALITY. Man never showed so much hate for God as when he CRUCIFIED Him; and God NEVER SHOWED MORE LOVE FOR MAN THAN WHEN He arose. Man even wanted to reduce God to a mortal, but God by His Resurrection made man immortal. The crucified God is Risen and has KILLED DEATH. DEATH IS NO MORE. IMMORTALITY HAS SURROUNDED MAN AND ALL THE WORLD.

By the Resurrection of the God-Man, human nature has been led irreversibly onto the path of immortality and has become dreadful to death itself. For before the Resurrection of Christ, DEATH WAS DREADFUL TO MAN, BUT AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, MAN HAS BECOME MORE DREADFUL TO DEATH. When man lives by faith in the Risen God-Man, he lives above death, out of its reach; it is a footstool for his feet:

"O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades,
where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).

When a man belonging to Christ dies, HE SIMPLY SETS ASIDE HIS BODY LIKE CLOTHING, IN WHICH HE WILL AGAIN BE VESTED ON THE DAY OF Dread Judgment. Before the Resurrection of the God-Man, death was the SECOND NATURE OF MAN: life first, death second. But by His Resurrection, the Lord has changed everything: IMMORTALITY HAS BECOME THE SECOND NATURE OF MAN, IT HAS BECOME NATURAL FOR MAN; AND DEATH–UNNATURAL. As before the Resurrection of Christ, it was natural for men to be mortal, so after the Resurrection of Christ, IT WAS NATURAL FOR MEN TO BE IMMORTAL.

By sin (Gk. amartia), MAN BECAME MORTAL AND TRANSIENT; by the Resurrection of the God-Man, HE BECAME IMMORTAL AND PERPETUAL. In this is the power, the might, the All-Mightiness of the Resurrection of Christ. Without it, there would have been no Christianity. Of all miracles, THIS IS THE GREATEST MIRACLE. All other miracles have it as their source and lead to it. From it grow FAITH, LOVE, HOPE, PRAYER, AND LOVE FOR GOD. Behold: the fugitive disciples, having run away from Jesus when He died, return to Him because He is risen. Behold: the Centurion confessed Christ as the Son of God when he saw the Resurrection from the grave. Behold: all the first Christians became Christian because the Lord Jesus is risen because death was vanquished. This is what no other faith has; this is what lifts the Lord Christ above all other gods and men; this is what, in the most undoubted manner, shows and demonstrates that Jesus Christ IS THE One True God and Lord in all the world.

Because of the Resurrection of Christ, because of His Victory over death, men have become, continue to become, and will continue BECOMING CHRISTIANS. The entire history of Christianity is nothing other than the history of A UNIQUE MIRACLE, NAMELY, THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, WHICH IS UNBROKENLY THREADED THROUGH THE HEARTS OF CHRISTIANS FORM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT, FROM YEAR TO YEAR, ACROSS THE CENTURIES, UNTIL THE Dread Judgment.

Man is born, in fact, not when his mother brings him into the world, but HEN HE COMES TO BELIEVE IN THE RISEN CHRIST, FOR THEN HE IS ORN TO LIFE ETERNAL, whereas a mother bears children for death, for the grave. The Resurrection of Christ IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL, THE MOTHER OF ALL CHRISTIANS, THE MOTHER OF IMMORTALS. By faith in the Resurrection, MAN IS BORN ANEW, BORN FOR ETERNITY. "That is impossible!" says the skeptic. But you listen to what the Risen God-Man says: "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE FOR HIM THAT BELIEVETH" (Mark 9:23). The BELIEVER IS HE WHO LIVES, WITH ALL HIS HEART, WITH ALL HIS SOUL, WITH ALL HIS BEING, ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL OF THE RISEN LORD JESUS.

FAITH IS OUR VICTORY, BY WHICH WE CONQUER DEATH; Faith in the Risen Lord Jesus. Death, where is your sting? The sting of death IS SIN. The Lord "has removed the sting of death." Death is A SERPENT; sin IS ITS FANGS. By sin, DEATH PUTS ITS POISON INTO THE SOUL AND INTO THE BODY OF MAN. The more sins a man has, the more bites, through which death puts its poison in him.

When a wasp stings a man, he uses all his strength to remove the sting. But when sin wounds him, this sting of death, what should be done? One must call upon the Risen Lord Jesus IN FAITH and PRAYER, that He may remove the sting of death from the soul. He, in His Great Loving-Kindness, will do this, for He is overflowing with mercy and love. When many wasps attack a man’s body and wound it with many stings, that man is poisoned and dies. The same happens with a man’s soul WHEN MANY SINS WOUND IT WITH THEIR STINGS: IT IS POISONED AND DIES A DEATH WITH NO RESURRECTION.

Conquering sin in himself through Christ, man OVERCOMES DEATH. If you have lived the day without vanquishing a single sin of yours, know that you have become deadened. Vanquish one, two, or three of your sins, and behold: YOU HAVE BECOME YOUNGER THAN THE YOUTH WHICH DOE NOT AGE, YOUNG IN IMMORTALITY AND ETERNITY. Never forget that to believe in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ means to carry out A CONTINUOUS FIGHT WITH SINS, WITH EVIL, WITH DEATH. (Source: Orthodox Heritage)

(To be continued)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George