Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How The Divine Light of God Came and God Performed Miracles through the prayers of Elder Zosima

 There lived the elder Zosima in a monastery, and a rumor circulated that miraculous healings happened by his prayers. A lot of people came from distant places to ask for his help. Monastic brethren were proud that their monastery had such an elder. But there were also many of those who envied, thinking: “Why does God not hear our prayers no matter how much we pray? We make so many bows, but all in vain! Yet God somehow accepts the prayers of this elder…” 

Once a young novice decided to find out how Zosima performed wonders and why God listened to him. He thought that since the elder was kind, he might teach him… He came to the elder and asked: “Why do your prayers perform miracles, but ours don’t? Teach me your secrets! What if you die suddenly, who will glorify our monastery then?!” The elder looked kindly at him and said: “It’s hard to explain… I would say that I don’t pray at all… “It’s just necessary to kindle in the human heart the light similar to that of a candle or of an icon-lamp! “This light originates from love. “And one can expand this light of the soul up to immensity, like the light of the Sun!"

And then — the Great Light of the Holy Spirit appears and is ready to help! And I can see everything inside that Living Divine Light, as if there were no walls of my cell and as if there were no towers of the monastery. And inside this Light, every human body can be seen through and every soul can be understood regardless of distance. “It happens like this: I just need to start saying the words of the prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit, and It comes! The Light of God begins to flow like a river and embrace everything with Itself! 

“This Light understands the love of the heart but not the words muttered by a person! “You ask how miracles occur… When the soul merges with this Light, I stop distinguishing where my love is and where — God’s Love! “In the River of Light, there are numerous Arms. It seems that they are mine but at the same time not mine fully… “I see those Arms of God That do His Work! Just as the arms of a ploughman or cook do their work so the similar Arms of the Holy Spirit work! “It is these Arms That can heal. If the Holy Spirit wants, I can — with these Arms — cleanse filth and diseases from the bodies. But if the Holy Spirit do not want — I can’t move even a finger tip. “Inside this Light of God, I can see diseases in the body of a sick person and vices in the soul. 

“However, not every soul can be cleansed, not everyone can be helped… “The soul needs to be taught to love first! Otherwise, later it may become a debtor of God for that miracle!” … Zosima said this and smiled gently. But the young novice, in fright of the elder, fell to his knees and set his head against the floor… Then, crossing himself devoutly, he jumped out of the cell… Zosima sighed quietly: it seems that again not that man had come, whom God was talking about… This novice did not want to know about the warmth of the heart or about the spiritual heart love… So many years had passed already since Zosima began to look for a worthy disciple…

 from the Book, the Parables about the Elder Zosima 

Author: Zubkova, Anna       Vladimir Antonov (Editor) Book: Parables about the Elder Zosima 

Monday, July 22, 2013

An Angry Brother – The Advice of Elder Porphyrios

Another time, 
while I was speaking about another issue, he told me, 
“I see a brother who is very angry with you. 
He is like a beast ready to tear you to shreds.” 
(And this was truly the case but I didn't want to say it). 
“You are not to speak. We will pray and God will calm him down. Do you believe this?” 
“I believe it.” 
“God alone changes the hearts of people. No matter what we do and how many things we say, we can accomplish nothing.” 
“But he, Elder, why does he do this? Why does he act in such a way, Elder?” 
“Shh! Don’t speak. It’s not proper for me to tell you. You are to pray.”
(An Angry Brother – The Advise of Elder Porphyrios)
   From the book: The Divine Flame by Agapios, Monk published by The Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior, Milessi. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Amazing video my daughter and I made with her stunning photos - Very Inspiring pictures, music and words...

A Hope for Those Suffering - please watch until the end
Beautiful words, pictures and 
Byzantine Music © By Simonopetra Monastery , 
Words By Fr. Ted Toppses         Photos by Nicole Toppses 
I hope you enjoy this presentation, to enjoy it fully
please play it in High Definition and Full Screen.
I especially thank my daughter Nicole for her
amazing pictures, ideas and help on this video.

This beautiful presentation contains words that we hope will give Divine help and inspiration for all.
If you can not see the video please click on the direct link below:
It was set to Byzantine music by Simonopetra Monastery, please support them by buying an original cd.
This can be purchased by clicking:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Video: Saint John The Russian (Full Documentary - Greek - English Subtitles)

Saint John The Russian (Full Documentary - Greek - English Subtitles)

The Greek People celebrate this amazing saint of Orthodoxy...

The following is from http://orthodoxwiki.org

St. John the Russian

Close up of the saint's relics
The blessed John the Russian (1690-1730) was enslaved by the Turks, but lived his life in holy humility and miracles. His feast day is commemorated by the Church on May 27.
1 Life
2 Monastery of St. John the Russian (Euboea)
3 Hymns
4 References
5 External links

St John was born around 1690 in the south of Russia to pious Orthodox parents. Upon reaching maturity he was called to service in the army of Peter I, to serve as a simple soldier. During the Prutsk campaign of the Russo-Turkish war he was taken prisoner. As the case then, he ended up as a slave of the Turkish cavalry commander who took John to his home in the village of Prokopion, near Caesarea in Asia Minor.
Like all captured Christian soldiers, John was threatened, tortured, subjected to all means to convert him to the Moslem faith. John was resolute in his resistance to this inhumane treatment, bravely enduring humiliations and beatings. Noting John’s firm faith, his master’s heart softened and John was assigned to take care of his master’s stable, which also became his living quarters. Recalling the cave and manger where his Savior came into the world, John rejoiced in his small dark corner of the stable as a little paradise where he could freely pray and offer praises to the true God. Occasionally, John would leave his bed to keep vigil at the nearby Church of the Great Martyr George, and on Saturdays and Feast days receive Holy Communion.
As the cavalry commander prospered, he understood his blessings and prosperity came through his servant John, and noted this to his fellow citizens.
Foreseeing his end, John called for a priest from the church he had attended and asked to partake of the immaculate mysteries. The priest was afraid to openly bring the Eucharist into the stable. Being divinely inspired, he dug the core out of an apple and lined the cavity with beeswax and placed the communion inside. He then visited the saint at the stables and gave him Communion. After receiving communion, John fell asleep in the Lord on May 27, 1730. He was about forty years old.[1]
Monastery of St. John the Russian (Euboea)

His relics were brought from the village of Prokopion to Euboea by refugees from Ürgüp in Cappadocia, after the Asia Minor Disaster of 1922-24. For several decades the relics were in the church of Ss. Constantine and Helen at New Prokopion, Euboia, and in 1951 they were transferred to a new church dedicated to St John the Russian (within the new Monastery of Saint John the Russian). St. John's body is small, and he is clothed in a garment similar to an altar server. His face is dark and is covered by a gold mask; one of his exposed hands is also quite dark. Thousands of pilgrims flock here from all the corners of Greece, particularly on his feast day (May 27).
St. John the Russian is widely venerated on Mount Athos, particularly in the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon.

Troparion (Tone 4)[1]
He that hath called thee from earth unto the heavenly abodes doth even after thy death keep thy body unharmed, O righteous one; for thou wast carried off as a prisoner into Asia wherein also, O John, thou didst win Christ as thy friend. Wherefore do thou beseech him that our souls be saved.
Kontakion (Tone 4)[1]
The holy memory, O righteous father, of thine illustrious contests hath come today gladdening the souls of those who venerate thee with reverence and faith, O John.

↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Life of Saint John the Russian
External links

St John the Russian and Confessor, whose relics are on the island of Euboia (OCA)
John the Russian of Evia (GOARCH)
Mighty in Meekness – St. John the Russian
The Life of Saint John the Russian

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On Unceasing Prayer – by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

On Unceasing Prayer – by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Unceasing prayer was enjoined by God Himself. The Savior of the world said, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  “And shall God not avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.”  The Apostle Paul repeats the Lord’s teaching and says: “Pray without ceasing”  “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 

By the term men the Apostle means Christians who have attained to Christian perfection. Only mature or perfect Christians can pray “without wrath and doubting,” that is, in profound peace, with the purest love for one’s neighbor and without the least resentment or criticism of him, without the distraction of irrelevant thoughts and imaginations (without doubting). Such people can at all times and in all places offer prayer to God, raising and lifting up to Him holy hands, the mind and heart being purified of the passions and sanctified by the Spirit. 

It is obvious that unceasing prayer cannot be the possession of a novice; but in order to become eventually capable of unceasing prayer he must practice frequent prayer. Frequent prayer in due time passes automatically into unceasing prayer. Because the easiest way of practicing unceasing prayer is to pray the Jesus Prayer, a beginner should apply himself to the Jesus Prayer as often as possible. Do you happen to have a moment free? Do not waste it in idleness! Do not waste it by using it for some impracticable and fatuous castle-building, or for some vain and trivial employment! Use it for the practice of the Jesus Prayer. If from weakness or, more correctly, on account of your fallen nature, you happen to be distracted by alluring thoughts and fancies, do not get despondent and do not grow slack. 

Repent before God of your levity and frivolity, confess your fallen nature and your distraction, fall down mentally before His mercy, and take precautionary measures against seductive dreams and seductive thoughts. He who does not train himself to frequent prayer will never receive unceasing prayer. 

Unceasing prayer is a gift of God, given by God to a slave and servant of His of proven fidelity.  “It is impossible to draw near to God other than by unceasing prayer.” Unceasing prayer is a sign of God’s mercy toward a man; it is a sign that all the powers of his soul are bent on God.

Have mercy upon me,
O Lord, for I will call upon Thee all day.
Give joy to the soul of Thy servant,
for unto Thee have I lifted up my soul.

By Brianchaninov, St. Ignatius . from his book, The Arena: Guidelines for Spiritual and Monastic Life