I don't think the image of ice, water, and steam is a good one to teach the Holy Trinity. St. Patrick used the image of the three-leafed clover - three distinct leaves that form one plant. Ice, solid, and water are just forms of the same substance, not distinct, co-existant objects.
Yes, I do agree with you that Saint Patrick’s example very nice, but I believe that this one is good too. Also, it is the proposal of an Orthodox Priest. Another nice example is the one with the three candles!
An image that can be used with kids in teaching the Trinity is an ice cube in a pan of boiling water. The ice is solid, the water is liquid and the steam is gas but they are all H2O. All three things are separate, but they are all the same thing and all at the same time in the same place. For very young children, this is a concept they can grasp easily, and although it is simplistic, it is sufficient for them.
I asked God to take away. My habit. God said, No. It is not for me to take away, But for you to give it up. I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary. I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; It isn’t granted, it is learned. I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No. I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you. I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from Worldly cares and brings you closer to me. I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful. I asked God for all things That I might enjoy life. God said, No. I will give you life, So that you may enjoy all things. I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.. God said…Ahhhh, Finally you have the idea.
The goal of reading is the application, in our lives, of what we read. Not to learn it by heart, but to take it to heart. Not to practice using our tongues, but to be able to receive the tongues of fire and to live the mysteries of God. If one studies a great deal in order to acquire knowledge and to teach others, without living the things he teaches, he does not more than fill his head with hot air. At most he will manage to ascend to the moon using machines. The goal of the Christian is to rise to God without machines.
The Ark of Salvation and the Pirate Ship of Zealotism
"… Sailing alongside the Ark of the Church are certain pirate ships. The largest one has the Pope as its captain, who has been trying to take over the Ark of Orthodoxy and become captain by expelling Christ. Next to it are other pirate ships and rafts. Among them there is a string of 5-10 small fishing boats (that is how many its larger groups are), then there is the rotten ship of Zealotism with its black flag that says "Orthodoxy or Death" on it. The Zealots’ profession is fishing, which is why it has to take place in the dark and is therefore always nocturnal. The fish that they catch are those who slip out of the Ark of the canonical Church. They become dizzy from the tempests caused by the scandals of the Church; they lose their balance and fall into the water. Then the trawler that is tailing them fishes them out. It promises them that it will take them directly to Paradise and that it was a stroke of good fortune that they had fallen out of the Ark of the Church.
Excerpt from the book “The Crisis of the Church in Greece: The Trap of Zealotism”, by Monk Michael.
"Amazed, I lifted my gaze and at the head my bed I saw the Mother of God, clothed in white, vivid, real. She was without her child. Her presence seemed material to me. The Mother of God was actually beside me. I was happy. I forgot everything. Time seemed endless. Then she said to me:
‘I am your love! Don’t be afraid. Don’t doubt. My Son will be victorious. He has sanctified this place now for future life. The powers of darkness are growing and will frighten the world still more, but they will be scattered. My Son is waiting for people to return to faith. Today, the sons of darkness are bolder than the sons of light. Even though it may seem to you that there is no more faith left on earth, nevertheless, know that deliverance will come, albeit through fire and devastation. The world still has to suffer. Here, however, there is still much faith and I have come to encourage you. Be bold, the world belongs to Christ!’”
According to Sacred Tradition and the history of our Church, the Most Holy Theotokos three days after she reposed she rose from the dead and ascended bodily to the heavens. During her ascension, she gave her Holy Belt to the Apostle Thomas. Thomas, along with the rest of the Holy Apostles, opened up her grave and didn’t find the body of the Theotokos. In this way the Holy Belt is proof for our Church of her Resurrection and bodily ascension to the heavens, and, in a word, at her metastasis.
The Holy Belt, according to tradition, was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself with camel hair. Originally it was kept in Jerusalem and later in Constantinople. During the reign of Emperor Arcadius (395-408), the precious Belt of the Mother of God was brought from Zela of Cappadocia to Constantinople, and placed in the Church of the Theotokos in the section of Chalcopratia. In 458 it was transferred by the Emperor Leo VI the Wise to the Blachernae church. The Empress Zoe, wife of Leo VI the Wise, out of gratitude for a miraculous cure, embroidered the Belt with gold thread, as it is found today, but divided it in three pieces. During the 12th century under Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180) an official holiday for the Belt was established on August 31st; previously it had shared the Feast of the Vesture of the Virgin on 1 July.
HEREyou can find 29 miracles of the Holy Belt of the Theotokos
"The Divine Liturgy, what a splendor indeed! Man has been honored by God in such a way that He Himself comes down to earth with His Angelic Orders every time there is a Liturgy, in order to nurture man with His Most Holy Body and His Most Precious Blood! For He has given us everything. Is there anything physical or spiritual, perishable or everlasting, that has not been offered to us? None! Is there anything superior to His Most Holy Body and Blood, which is given to us on a daily basis? There is certainly not. God has enabled man, who is full of soil and dirt, to serve the Divine Liturgy. So priceless is the Divine Love that just a tiny drop exceeds any earthly, physical and secular love."
-Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, preface to Experiences During the Divine Liturgy by Protopresbyter Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos
There are two fundamental things about the Holy Spirit:
1.) He is understood in Scripture and Tradition as a Person, not just an impersonal force. Christ is obviously a person. It is not as obvious with the Holy Spirit, but he is a person in the experience of the Church. Note Ephesians 4.30: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” Impersonal forces do not feel grief, do not feel love. You may love your computer, but your computer does not love you. Our sins, selfishness, and lack of love cause the Holy Spirit grief. He weeps over it.
2.) The Holy Spirit is equal to the other two Persons of the Trinity. From the Creed: “Worshipped and glorified together with the Father and the Son.” Together, not below. Also, “Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” all on the same level.
Taiwanese Orthodox Missionary's Letter to the Greek People
These are some excrepts from Pelagia Wu’s letter. So touching..
…In Greece, I visited many churches, I participated in the Divine Liturgy, and when I received Holy Communion it reduced me to tears even though I did not understand the Greek language, because the Orthodox faith is the same, no matter what the language.
…I cry for me and my compatriots, because instead of Holy Communion, we eat and drink food sacrificed to idols…
…I would have liked to be born Greek, so that my hands could touch the holy icons, the holy relics of the Saints and be filled with the love of Christ.
I cry for me and my compatriots, whose hands touch the idols and the things sacrificed to them, but who in reality are holding on to nothing…
…I cry for me and my compatriots, because, although we have eyes, we are blind.
…I was searching for the Truth, using more than 30 different publications of the Holy Bible, which unfortunately, were all full of errors (translated by non-Orthodox).
I would have liked to be born Greek, so that I may read the Holy Bible in its original form!
God loves man very much; He knows very well the problems of each one of us, and wishes to help us before we ask Him to do so. Since God is omnipotent, there are no difficulties which He cannot overcome, except one. The difficulty God faces, and I repeat, it is the only one, is that He “cannot” help us when our soul is not humble. God “feels sad” because, while He sees His creature suffer, He “cannot” offer any help. Whatever help He offers, it will harm the person because he lacks a humble mindset.
Do you know St. Luke Archbishop of Simferopol the Surgeon? The miracles performed by St. Luke are many. So, if you know someone who is sick or if he’s going to be operated or his health is at risk, or if you are the one who needs help, St. Luke is a great doctor! He’s a great helper! You can ask his intercession … Just pray to Saint Luke and Trust in God …
Why do you make the sign of the cross backwards? And why so often?
In order to understand why Orthodox Christians make the sign ‘backwards,’ imagine holding a pencil. Now draw the Cross. Naturally, this action is done top-to-bottom, left-to-right. If then we turn this natural action of drawing a cross upon ourselves, it appears to go right-to-left, but the action is identical to that of drawing a cross on a piece of paper.
This image is also useful for understanding why Orthodox Christians cross themselves so often. By “drawing” the Cross upon themselves, the Orthodox Christian is marking themselves as belonging to Christ and His Kingdom. Thus, it is a means of prayer and a way that Orthodox Christians involve their body and their sense of touch in their worship of God.
A nurse on the pediatric ward, before listening to the little ones chests, would plug the stethoscope into their ears and let them listen to their own hearts. Their eyes would always light up with awe, but she never got a response equal to four-year old David’s comment. Gently she tucked the stethoscope into his ears and placed the disk over his heart. "Listen", she said….."What do you suppose that is?" He drew his eyebrows together in a puzzled line and looked up as if lost in the mystery of the strange tap - tap - tapping deep in his chest. Then his face broke out in a wondrous grin and he asked, “Is that Jesus knocking?”
"And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said…” (Luke 1:41)
If you live to see that time, rejoice, for at that time the faithful who possess no other virtues will receive wreaths for merely remaining steadfast in their faith, according to the Word of the Lord, “Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will confess before My Heavenly Father”. Fear the Lord, my son, and don’t lose this wreath so as to not be rejected by Christ into the utter darkness and eternal suffering. Bravely stand in faith, and if necessary, joyfully endure persecutions and other troubles, for only then will the Lord stand by you…and the holy Martyrs and the Confessors will joyfully watch your struggle.
…But God is more powerful than the devil, and will never abandon His servants. There will always be true Christians, till the end of time, but they will choose lonely and deserted places. Do not fear troubles, but fear pernicious heresy, for it drives out Grace, and separates us from Christ, wherefore Christ commanded us to consider the heretic and let him be unto thee as a heathen man and publican.
If during your prayer you shed fountains of tears, do not pride yourself that you are above many others. This is not your accomplishment; it is assistance for your prayer from the Lord, so that you will be able to thus confess your sins willingly and appease Him.
Hold on to our faith which is eternal and definite
Can scientific study tell us how the great prophet Isaiah foretold the most important events in Christ’s life 700 years before His birth? Can it explain the saints’ gift of clairvoyance and tell us through which natural methods they acquired this grace and how they were able, as soon as they saw someone, to understand their heart and read their mind? Without waiting for a question from their visitor, they would give them an answer to what was troubling them. Let them explain to us how the saints foretold great historical events that later took place exactly the way they had prophesied…
…Do not be scandalized when you hear what is said against our faith, since the ones that say these things do not comprehend its essence… Always remember the fundamental principle that the first Christians knew well. They considered miserable the man who had knowledge of all the sciences but had no knowledge of God. Contrarily, they considered the one who knew God blessed, even if he knew nothing of what pertains to man.
Guard over this truth as if it were the greatest of your heart’s treasures. Proceed forward and do not look to the right or to the left. Let not what is heard against our faith make us lose our way. Let us keep our faith which is an eternal and definite truth. Amen.
-Teachings of Saint Luke of Crimea, Edition ‘Orthodoxos Kypseli’, Thessaloniki
A couple that was married for ten years (a Greek family from Germany) tried many times to have a child, but were unable (even with in vitro fertilization). They heard of St. John the Russian, and came and entreated him to grant them a child. The woman left her wedding ring on the Saint’s relic and returned to Germany. After a few months, they learned that she was pregnant, and she brought into the world a perfectly healthy little girl, who however, had a small hand disability. After churching the child after forty days, they performed surgery, and the doctors saw in astonishment that in the baby’s palm was the wedding ring that the woman had left the Saint!!!
The day of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist is commemorated by the Holy Orthodox Church on the 29th of August (11 September NS) and is called the Beheading of John the Baptist. A strict fast is prescribed on this day in order to remind us of the strict life of St. John the Baptist for which he was blessed by God and to avoid the excesses of Herod which led to such a terrible sin. The Holy Church teaches that St. John the Forerunner is the greatest of all saints after the Mother of God.
Note: See the Gospels of St Mathew 14:1-12; St Mark 6:14-29; and St. Luke 9, 7-9.
"…many have doubted. And there have been those who felt obliged to refute their doubt with reasons. But these reasons backfire and foster a doubt that gets stronger and stronger. Why? Because demonstrating the truth of Christianity does not lie in reasons but in imitation: what resembles the truth… Without a life of imitation, of following Christ, it is impossible to gain mastery over doubts. We cannot stop doubt with reasons. Those who try have not learned that it is wasted effort. They do not understand that imitation is the only force that… can break up the mob of doubts and… compel them to go home and hold their tongues."
A) The “kat’ evdokian” will of God, implemented as “Akriveian”, and
B) the “kata parahorisin” will of God, carried out as “Economy”.
The preposition “Kata” means “according to”.
A) The term “Evdokian” means deep, revered pleasure, divine contentment, sacred satisfaction, and is usually implemented and referred to as “Akriveia” = accuracy, but not austerity with the extreme harshness, biased meaning of the word. “Akriveia” means correctness, exactness, precision in wanting to do the right thing, the right way. “Akriveia” means truth, truth means Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy means Christ Himself.
B) The term “parahorisin” means divine concession, condescending grant, tolerating compromise. In other words it simply means, Gods does not really want something, but allows it to happen, for educational and salvational reasons that we cannot ever see or perceive.“Economy” or “Oikonomia” is dispensation, exemption, leniency. It discloses a sense of compromise and should be executed under rare reasons and critical cases. “Economy” is divine philanthropy, a special allowance of forgiveness, a holy grant of compassion and sympathy. “Economy” should never be carried out at the expense of “Akriveia” = accuracy, or at the tragic sacrifice of dogma, nor should it ever be cunningly practiced as the norm, the usual, or become the standard way of doing things.
God, if He wishes to, can make with one of His miracles everybody instantly believe. However He does not do so, because He does not wish to exercise force on man’s free will; man will then end up believing in God, not out of gratefulness or due to God’s excessive kindness, but due to His supernatural power.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous,it is not inflated, it is not rude,it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
A brother came to an old man, troubled by the temptation of lust. The old man said, “Be like him who passes through the marketplace in front of an inn and breathes the smell of cooking and roasting. If he enjoys it, he goes inside to eat some of it. If not, he only inhales the bad smell in passing and goes on his way. It is the same for you. Avoid the bad smell. Wake up and pray, saying, ‘Son of God, help me!’ Do this for other temptations also. For we do not have to uproot the passions, but resist them.”
Fight always with your thoughts and call them back when they wander away. God does not demand of those under obedience that their thoughts be totally undistracted when they pray. And do not lose heart when your thoughts are stolen away. Just remain calm, and constantly call your mind back.
St Moses the Ethiopian was a former gang leader, murderer, and thief in ancient Africa. However, he became a model of transformation. His is one of the most inspiring stories among the African saints.
Moses, an escaped slave, was the leader of a group of 75 robbers. He was a large and powerful man, who with his gang terrorized the entire region. Moses was transformed after he and his group attacked a monastery, intending to rob it. He was met by the abbot, whose peaceful and warm manner overwhelmed him. He immediately felt remorse for all his past sins, sincerely repented, and begged to remain at the monastery.
Moses was tortured by his past and for years was tempted to return to his old ways. One day, as he was confessing his sins to St. Macarius, an angel appeared with a tablet full of his sins. As he confessed, the angel began wiping the tablet clean. The more he confessed, the more the angel wiped, until by the end it was completely clean. After meeting St. Macarius and St. Isidore, he completely left his old ways behind him and became a monk.
Later, St. Moses was ordained to the priesthood — a rare honor among the Desert Fathers — and founded a monastery of 75 monks, the same number as his former group of thieves. He was known for his wisdom, humility, love, and non-judgment of others. Once a brother had been caught in a particular sin, and the abbot asked St. Moses to come to the church and render judgment. He came reluctantly, carrying on his back a leaking bag of sand. When he arrived, the brothers asked him why he was carrying such a thing. He simply said, “This sand is my sins which are trailing out behind me, while I go to judge the sins of another.” At that reply, the brothers forgave the offender and returned to focusing on their own salvation rather than the sins of their brother.
In 405 A.D., at age 75, St. Moses suffered a martyr’s death, when his monastery was attacked by a group of barbarians. He is remembered on the 28th of August. He is the patron saint of our brotherhood.
The only purpose of this blog is when someone opens his dashboard to see nice inspirational, encouraging messages. I strongly believe that even if you aren’t interested in what I’m writing here, there is a possibility that something here can touch your soul. Maybe a quote of a Desert Father or something else may be the motive for a deap relationship with God. You never know how God can touch your soul and make you believe in Him. Maybe this is a chance to strengthen your faith.
The holy, glorious and right-victorious Great-martyr Phanourios (also Fanurius, Fanourios, Phanurius, Phanourius) the Newly Appeared of Rhodes, the Miracle-Worker, is commemorated by the Church on August 27. There is no literature available in the church prior to discovering his little church in Rhodes so not much is known about St. Phanourios’s life other than the images of his martyrdom on his icon.
The only literary evidence that supports a historical date, relating to this saint, is documented in the book Lives of the Saints, which testifies that the icon in Rhodes was discovered, around 1500 AD. Some sources support the opinion that the icon was discovered in Cyprus and not in Rhodes. A recent research paper on folklore suggests that there are two manuscripts. The first is the mention of a miracle included in the Cod. Vat. Gr. 1190 (dating from 1452 and written in Crete) and was published in the Acta Sanctorum. The second manuscript originates from Heraklion, dating from 1600-1640 (Vassilakes-Mavrakakes 1980-81, p. 226). Both of these manuscripts describe a miracle that took place in Rhodes which caused the saint’s fame to spread from Rhodes to Crete.
In the Church we have the tradition of patron saints. St. Phanourios has become famous for assisting the faithful in revealing lost or hidden spiritual matters of the heart, objects, directing or revealing actions that should be taken, restoring health and similar situations. He is then honoured by the faithful through a symbolic cake, called the “Phanouropita” which can be brought to the church, at any time, for a blessing.
When perfect love has driven out fear, or fear has been transformed into love, then everything that has been saved will be a unity growing together through the one and only Fullness, and everyone will be, in one another, a unity in the perfect Dove, the Holy Spirit.