Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ταμάρα Χιρτ, Οντάριο, Καναδάς: Θεραπεία καρκίνου από τον Άγιο Ιωάννη Μαξιμοβιτς

ST JOHN MAXIMOVITCH OF SAN FRANCISCO
CANADA OF MY HEART
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Ταμάρα Χιρτ, Οντάριο, Καναδάς:
Θεραπεία καρκίνου από τον Άγιο Ιωάννη Μαξιμοβιτς
«Γιά τόν Ἅγιο Ιωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς ξέρω μονάχα ὅσα γράφονται στό περιοδικό σας. (Ἀναφέρεται στήν Ἀδελφότητα τοῦ Ἁγίου Γερμανοῦ τῆς Ἀλάσκα πού ἐκδίδει τό περιοδικό Orthodox Word). Τόν περασμένο χρόνο, μετά τήν 20η Ὀκτωβρίου, ἡ μητέρα μου βρισκόταν στό νοσοκομεῖο μέ ὀξύ πόνο στό στομάχι. Ἤμουν πολύ ἀναστατωμένη, φοβούμενη μήπως εἶχε καρκίνο. Καί τότε, τό βράδυ ἀκριβῶς πρίν μοῦ ἀνακοινώσουν οἱ γιατροί τά ἀποτελέσματα ἀπό τίς ἐξετάσεις της, εἶδα ἕνα ὄνειρο: πολλοί ἄνθρωποι στέκονταν γύρω ἀπό μία μεγάλη, λευκή ἐκκλησία μέ ρωσικούς τρούλους. Ἕνας γέροντας, ντυμένος στά λευκά καί κρατώντας τή ράβδο του, βγῆκε ἀπό τήν ἐκκλησία, διέσχισε τό δρόμο καί ἦρθε κατευθείαν μπροστά σέ ἐμένα καί τή μητέρα μου. Ὅταν μᾶς πλησίασε τόν ἀναγνώρισα ἀπό τίς φωτογραφίες: Ἦταν ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς! Εὐλόγησε ἐμένα καί τή μητέρα μου καί τότε ἀμέσως ξύπνησα. Δέν ἀνησυχοῦσα πιά γιά τή μητέρα μου. Πράγματι, τά ἀποτελέσματα ἔδειχναν ὅτι ἔπασχε ἀπό ἔλκος στομάχου, τό ὁποῖο γρήγορα θεραπεύτηκε. Ἀπό τότε σκέφτομαι συχνά τόν Ἅγιο Ιωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς!».
 Ταμάρα Χίρτ
25 Ἰουλίου 1975
Σάρνια, Ontario, Καναδάς
 Πηγή:
Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς, Ἐπίσκοπος Σαγγάης καί Σάν Φρανσίσκο, ὁ Θαυματουργός
ἐκδ. Ἱ. Μονῆς Ἁγ. Νεκταρίου Φωκίδος
Τρίκορφο 2009

Video: Πέρα εκεί που το χαμόγελο κρατάει πιο πολύ – Ομιλία του π. Ιωάννη Κωστώφ

ORTHODOX HEART
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Πέρα εκεί που το χαμόγελο κρατάει πιο πολύ


Ομιλία του π. Ιωάννη Κωστώφ

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Preparing for Confession – Fr. Alexander Elchaninov, Russia (+1934)

HOLY CONFESSION OF YOUR HEART
RUSSIA OF MY HEART
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Preparing for Confession
Fr. Alexander Elchaninov, Russia (+1934)
“This day is good, it is the day of purification.” This is a time when we can set aside the heavy days of sin, break the chains of iniquity: “to raise the tabernacle that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof” within our souls, and see it renewed and bright. But the path to this blessed purification is not easy.
We have not yet approached confession, and our soul already hears voices of temptation: “Should I wait instead? Am I well-enough prepared, don’t I partake of Communion too often?” We must firmly reject such doubts. “If you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal” (Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 2:1). If you have decided to make confession and partake of Communion, many obstacles will arise, internal and external: but they will vanish as soon as you express firmness in your intention.
In particular, the question of making confession too frequently: One must make confession much more often than is customary; at least once during each of the Lenten periods. We who are possessed by

Friday, September 16, 2016

Video: Saints Ethenea (Ethna) & Fidelmia (Fedelma) of Ireland (+433) – ORTHODOX IRELAND

IRELAND OF MY HEART
SMILE OF IRELAND
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Saints Ethenea (Ethna) & Fidelmia (Fedelma) of Ireland (+433)

Η μεταστροφή ενός Αμερικανού από τον από τον Βουδισμό στην Ορθοδοξία – Από τα Βουδιστικά μοναστήρια του Θιβέτ, Μοναχός στα Ορθόδοξα Μοναστήρια της Αμερικής

WHAT ABOUT YOGA
USA OF MY HEART
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Η μεταστροφή ενός Αμερικανού
από τον από τον Βουδισμό στην Ορθοδοξία
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Από τα Βουδιστικά μοναστήρια του Θιβέτ,
Μοναχός στα Ορθόδοξα Μοναστήρια
της Αμερικής
TRUTH TARGET
«Βρέθηκα περιστοιχισμένος ἀπ’ τίς πέντε ψηλότερες κορυφές τῶν Ἱμαλαΐων, στά 14.000 πόδια ὑψόμετρο. Χάζευα τήν ὀροσειρά Annapurna καθώς ἀνέτειλε πάνω της ὁ ἥλιος. Τό ταξίδι μου στό Nepal εἶχε ἀρχίσει πρίν λίγες ἑβδομάδες καί τό ἀποκορύφωμά του ἦταν αὐτό. Στεκόμουν ἔκθαμβος ἑνώπιον τῆς ἀδιάφθορης ὁμορφιᾶς πού ἁπλωνόταν πάνω ἀπό μένα, ὅταν μιά σκέψι τρύπωσε στό νοῦ καί δέν ἔλεγε νά φύγη: “Αἴ καί, λοιπόν, ποιός ὁ σκοπός;”. Ὁ ἐγωϊσμός μου ἀμέσως ἀνταπάντησε στό τυχαῖο αὐτό σχόλιο: “Ποιός ὁ σκοπός; Τί ἐννοεῖς, ποιός ὁ σκοπός; Ὁ σκοπός εἶναι πώς ἔκανες τόση πεζοπορία γιά νά

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Η Θεία Λειτουργία, ο Άγιος Μηνάς της Ρουμανίας & τα πτηνά του ουρανού – Εμπειρίες κατά τη Θεία Λειτουργία

SAINTS OF MY HEART
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ORTHODOXY IS LOVE
Ζούσε σ’ ένα μοναστήρι της Ρουμανίας, ένας κεχαριτωμένος ιερεύς, ό πατήρ Μήνας, ό μετέπειτα Όσιος Μηνάς. Αυτός, μετά τη Θεία Λειτουργία, για να ξεκούραστη, έβγαινε στο δάσος, διότι το μο­ναστήρι ήταν μέσα σε δάση, κι εκεί έψελνε και δοξολογούσε τον Θεό με αναστάσιμα τροπάρια καίμε πολλά άλλα.
Τότε μαζεύονταν τα πουλιά του δάσους γύρω του: στο κεφαλάκι του, στους ώμους του, στα χέρια του, αυτός δε τρυφερά τα χάιδευε. Τις περισσότερες φορές, όταν ό πατήρ Μηνάς έψελνε, τα πουλιά βουβαίνονταν και τον άκουγαν.
Επειδή οι Λειτουργίες άρχιζαν νύχτα και τελείωναν με το χάραμα, ώσπου να κάνη Κατάλυσι και να ξεντυθή, ξημέρωνε, έβγαινε ό ήλιος κι έτσι έβγαινε έξω πρωί- πρωί μέσα στο δάσος και χαιρόταν τη φύση και την παρουσία των πουλιών. Κι εκεί Όλοι μαζί αινούσαν και δοξολο­γούσαν τον Θεό.
Παρατηρήθηκε, λοιπόν, στα τελευταία χρόνια της ζωής του, ότι, όταν είχαν πανηγυρική Θεία Λειτουργία και αργούσε να τελείωση, και μάλιστα αργούσε πολύ μετά την ανατολή του ηλίου, τα πουλιά μαζεύον­ταν πάνω στην ‘ Εκκλησία! Την ώρα της Μεταβολής των Τιμίων Δώρων, πού ό ιερεύς έλεγε “τα Σα εκ των Σων”, τότε όλα τα πουλιά πάνω στην Εκκλησία βουβαίνονταν! Και στο “έξαιρέτως της Παναγίας, Άχραντου…”, στα Ρουμανικά βέβαια, και ενώ ή χορωδία έψαλλε το “”Άξιον εστί”, τότε πάλι τα πουλιά άρχιζαν να κελαηδούν!'”
Παρόμοιο γεγονός μου αφηγήθηκε κάποιος πιστός, πού συνέβη και στον Ναό της Παναγίας της Εκατονταπυλιανής στην Πάρο, κατά την Θεία Λειτουργία της παραμονής των Θεοφανείων του έτους 1998.
Δεκάδες σπουργίτια και άλλα πουλιά, φτερουγίζοντας μέσα κι έξω από τον Ναό, από τα ανοικτά παράθυρα του τρούλου, κελαηδούσαν και τιτίβιζαν ζωηρά. Την ώρα, όμως, του Καθαγιασμού των Τιμίων Δώρων βουβάθηκαν και ακινητοποιήθηκαν όλα, για να ξαναρχίσουν μετά το “Έξαιρέτως της Παναγίας Άχραντου…”.
Πηγή:
π. Στέφανος Αναγνωστόπουλος
Εμπειρίες κατά τη Θεία Λειτουργία
εκδ. Γκέλμπεσης
Πειραιάς 2006

Holy Confession: Confidentiality

AMERICA OF MY HEART
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Holy Confession: Confidentiality
ORTHODOXY IS LOVE
From “Guidelines for Clergy” (Orthodox Church in America):
“The secrecy of the Mystery of Penance is considered an unquestionable rule in the entire Orthodox Church. Theologically, the need to maintain the secrecy of confession comes from the fact that the priest is only a witness before God. One could not expect a sincere and complete confession if the penitent has

Αύγουστος 2016: Ορθόδοξη Θεία Λειτουργία στο εκκλησάκι του Saint Oran της Νήσου Iona της Σκωτίας

GREAT BRITAIN OF MY HEART
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Αύγουστος 2016:
Ορθόδοξη Θεία Λειτουργία στο εκκλησάκι του Saint Oran
της Νήσου Iona της Σκωτίας

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Q&A – Father Zacharias of Essex Monastery, England – Video

GREAT BRITAIN OF MY HEART
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Q&A – Father Zacharias of Essex Monastery, England
Archimandrite Zacharias is a disciple of Elder Sophrony (of blessed memory), who was a disciple of St. Silouan of Mount Athos.
Presently, Fr. Zacharias is the abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Essex, England founded by Elder Sophrony.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Αφιέρωμα της Νορβηγικής εφημερίδας Dagen: Νορβηγικοί ύμνοι για το Άγιον Oρος

NORWAY OF MY HEART
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Αφιέρωμα της Νορβηγικής εφημερίδας Dagen:
Νορβηγικοί ύμνοι για το Άγιο Oρος
«Το Άγιον Όρος είναι το πνευματικό κέντρο της Ορθοδοξίας. Η μοναστική πολιτεία και χερσόνησος της Μακεδονίας είναι ένας βαθύτατα πνευματικός τόπος, πλήρης σημείων και θαυμαστών γεγονότων», αναφέρει η εφημερίδα «Dagen»
Με τίτλο: «Θαύματα στο τελευταίο προπύργιο της Ρωμαϊκής Αυτοκρατορίας», η καθημερινή εφημερίδα «Dagen» της Νορβηγίας, δημοσιεύει πολυσέλιδο αφιέρωμα – ύμνο στη μοναστική πολιτεία του Αγίου Όρους. «Απαράλλακτο για περισσότερα από 1.000 χρόνια. Συχνά απροσπέλαστο στο γενικό κοινό. Το Άγιον Όρος είναι το πνευματικό κέντρο της Ορθοδοξίας. Η μοναστική πολιτεία και χερσόνησος της Μακεδονίας είναι ένας βαθύτατα πνευματικός τόπος, πλήρης σημείων και θαυμαστών γεγονότων», αναφέρει στην εισαγωγή του αφιερώματος ο αρχισυντάκτης της εφημερίδας Bjørn Olav Hammerstad, επισημαίνοντας με νόημα:
«Δεν επιχειρούμε με αυτό το αφιέρωμα να τεκμηριώσουμε θαύματα. Διηγούμαστε απλώς, λίγες από τις συγκλονιστικές ιστορίες που συνδέονται με τον βίο της πνευματικής αυτής χερσονήσου».
Η εφημερίδα Dagen κυκλοφορεί από το 1919 στο Μπέργκεν και είναι καθημερινή, ενώ έχει και διαδικτυακή έκδοση. Ο διευθυντής έκδοσης, Vebjørn Selbekk, είναι ένας αφοσιωμένος υπέρμαχος της

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Personal Story of Fr. George Johnson – by Fr. George Johnson

USA OF MY HEART
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The Personal Story of Fr. George Johnson, USA
by Fr. George Johnson
Source:
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
I am a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, serving in the cathedral of St John the Baptist in Washington, D.C. There are some almost uncanny parallels between our lives, even down to the grumpy choir directors. I was (and sometimes still am) the grumpy choir director, however.
I became interested and involved in Anglicanism through a singing job in a “high” church in 1968. At the time, my focus was primarily musical. My parents were devout Southern Baptists, and, while I now appreciate their humility and devotion, in my youth I did not so much. The Episcopal Church offered an escape from the music and worship of the Baptists, which, shall we say, were not to my taste.
The Western liturgical tradition as carried on by the high-church Anglicans seemed to me to be just the right combination of grandness and sobriety justly suited to worship. Having just come from the Baptists, the intellectual and spiritual confusion which at length gave rise to tradition-destroying innovations did not concern me for a long time. I chalked it up to our fallen state, for which God was making accommodations which I did not understand. I thought I could press on for the sake of art and faith, and pray that everything would come out alright. It was going to take a great deal to make me want to throw away Tallis, Byrd, Weelkes, Purcell, …, RVW, Walton, Britten, … , not to mention all the great hymns and tunes, and the gorgeous language of the (old) Prayer Book and Psalter.
A great many things happened, but I’ll cut to the chase. In 1984 or 5, a lesbian member of our parish who sang in my choir asked me to be a member of a committee to help her explore a calling to the priesthood. Needless to say, I begged off. But I did not have the courage to tell her that the thought of her as a priest made me sick. You may be familiar with the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”. From time to time, Tevier has to accommodate himself to faits accomplis, and he gives voice to his process, alternating his objection with:”But, on the other hand…”. Finally, he is forced by his convictions to say:
“There IS no other hand!”
I came face to face with something that could not be integrated with my convictions, nor could it be subsumed under any idea of divine economy. If the Scriptures meant anything, then her “calling” could be nothing but an abomination. I still said nothing, however, even to my wife. We did not talk about it. We just knew I couldn’t have anything to do with it.
From around the same time, in reaction to some dramatic personal events, we gradually became more devout. Our faith in God became more precious to us. We began to devour spiritual literature. In the course of our reading, we came upon a speech delivered by Alexander Solzhenitsyn when he was given the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. His theme and tone spoke to us like one of the prophets. The fact of his Orthodoxy did not impress itself greatly upon us then. His faith did.
Solzhenitsyn said that our terrible spiritual condition was because
“men have forgotten God.”
He said that the fiercest attacks of the communist revolution had not managed to uproot Christianity from the Russian people. Again, at the time, this seemed to be attributable to fervour of faith stimulated by persecution and in no way connected in our minds to any idea of Orthodoxy being especially distinct among the “parts” of the Christian Church.
We came upon another book called “Russia’s Catacomb Saints”. The experience was overwhelming. We thought we knew what devotion was, but came to know that we had not even begun. We realized that our faith was virtually non-existent compared with that of the numberless crowd of those who in Russia had cheerfully given their lives, blessing their tormentors the while. What was this fountain that gave them strength to “endure to the end”?
We looked around at our church situation. Would the agenda of the leadership of the Episcopal Church, which seemed to consume the hearts of clergy with whom we were acquainted, be worth dying for? Where did it come from? The newspaper? In our church context, we were viewed as near-fanatics, cases to be “handled”. Please understand. We were not lifting our hands in church and saying “Praise Jesus”; we weren’t speaking in tongues, we weren’t transcendentally meditating or anything weird.
We simply took seriously what was said in the Bible, Prayer Book and hymns.
We heard a chord resound in our hearts with the faith of the Russians, and we wanted to find that faith in the flesh.
Right about this same time, I was having a casual after-rehearsal conversation with one of my choir members who was interested in things Russian, in fact, he spoke Russian. (He taught me how to say “Ya ni gavariu pa Russki“) I had commiserated with him before about “difficulties” I was having, which he and I shared to some extent. In the course of the talk, I mentioned the book that we had read. In that book, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was mentioned as having retained the traditional Orthodox faith and carried it throughout the world since the time of the revolution. He said that he had once gone to a church made up entirely of those who had not bowed the knee to the Bolsheviks. His expression to describe their worship:
“a bunch of little old men standing around in the dark”.
I know that doesn’t sound very appealing, but something leaped inside me which said “check this out!”
ASAP, my wife and I attended a Saturday night vigil service at St John’s. Within 10 minutes, we knew we were home. Everything about the situation cried out: “
This is what the Church is all about! This answers our need!”
Our impression was solidified by two people who talked to us for an hour and a half after a long (3-hour) vigil service. These two, Father Leonid Mickle and Tatiana Vsyevolodna Prujan, became our Godparents.
After that, conversion was a matter of time. We never looked back. My wife, my son and I were baptized on August 24th, 1986. Our first communion was on the Dormition of the Mother of God.
This description is obviously greatly foreshortened. I wish to emphasize that we were more drawn into Orthodoxy than we were repulsed by the confusion and corruption which we left. And I don’t want to convey that it has all been peaches and cream since then. No. But, God’s grace has been sufficient for us, just as it was for Saint Paul, just as it suffices for the life of the Church for ever. This awareness lightens and enlightens difficulties. The spiritual struggle begins to take on the quality of an adventure to be entered into with gusto, rather than a great burden to be borne.
Beside the richness which is in traditional Orthodox Christianity, the difficulties pale. The ethnic component? Sure, it’s there. We have been in this parish, of which I am now the assistant pastor, for 9 years. I still haven’t learned Russian. By the grace of God, I can serve tolerably well in Slavonic. We have services in English 2 or 3 times a month. I serve all of those. My wife directs the (English) choir. (Poor dear has to put up with my grumpiness even now.)
I can (and would) go on and on. I think there is a conventional limit on windiness which I’m sure I’ve over-topped. Please forgive me. I imagine that I’m one of those blind men with the elephant who suddenly regains his sight and sees the enormity of the whole. But no amount of talk can convey what it’s like to be in the Church. I look forward to talking to you, but even more I look for the day when you make the step to become part of that One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The thing described in that formidable phrase contains wealth untold and endless, or as the Lord says:
“pressed down, shaken together and running over”.
Anything that would keep you out of the Body of Christ is from the deceiver.
Pray fervently. Pray for us.
In Christ, unworthy Priest George
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