Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Living places of Saint John Maximovitch (+1966)

* * *
Reminiscences of his Spiritual Daughter
by Zinaida V. Julem
The period of Blessed John’s life in France has so far been rather obscure, and not much information about it has been available. A devoted spiritual daughter of his, the author of these memoirs, Zinaida V. Julem, fills in this gap, giving us a view from the “inside” and disclosing the mystical world of perhaps the holiest man of the 20th-century. Surely a prophet of such calibre could not get by without evoking envy and hatred, just as did the prophets of old. But to conceal this righteous man from the view of the thirsting new generation would be a sin, because the glory of God, revealed in the lives of the righteous, serves to enkindle that divine fire which Christ our Lord wishes to have burning upon this earth. (St. Luke 12:49).
In anticipation of the forthcoming 20th anniversary of Blessed John’s repose, which will occur on June 19/July 2, 1986, we here present a spiritual portrait of this wonderworker who once walked among us. This account comes from a simple loving heart, guarded by the Patristic awareness of sobriety. Realizing that Blessed John was touched by Divinity and was in contact with the mind of his Creator, the author was able to peer into the mystery of his sanctity. Although her observations only give us glimpses, they offer clear testimony to the close presence of the other world for which the Holy Orthodox Church prepares its children, and to the ability of God’s saints to penetrate that realm even while on earth. That mystery, that revelation beyond our glimpses, remains hidden in God. It is opened to those who, like Blessed John, ascend on the wings of divine love for God and their neighbor. And those of us who watch from below are given renewed hope and the inspiration to increase our upward striving.
Abbot Herman of Platina
from THE ORTHODOX WORD, No. 189, pp. 176-181
There were always wars in China. The Chinese had large families with many children, and there was very little to eat. To save on food, they would get rid of newborns, placing them out on the street to freeze to death. Vladika John would pick them up and bring them to the orphanage. On these outings, the deacon of the cathedral would follow him in order to help and protect him. Once Vladika said to this deacon about a child, “Pick him up.” The deacon objected, “But he’s Chinese.” “But he is made in the image of God,” said Vladika. 

Thus the orphanage grew. Vladika John asked my mother Lydia to help in the orphanage. She was not able to, since she already had six children of her own, but she said, “I will help in other ways.” She went to the orphanage asking what she could do, and was told, “We

Monday, February 5, 2018

Saint Priest-Martyr Vasily Martysz of Alaska, Canada & Poland (+1945) – 4 May

Saint Priest-Martyr
Vasily Martysz of Alaska, Canada & Poland (+1945)
4 May
The holy New Martyr Archpriest Vasily Martysz was born on February 20, 1874 in Tertyn, in the Hrubieszow region of southeastern Poland. His father Alexander was a judge in Molczyce near Pinsk. After his retirement, he was ordained a priest and became rector of a local parish.
In 1884, at the age of ten, Vasily made a brief trip to New York with his father. His beautiful singing during a church service attracted the attention of Bishop Vladimir. The hierarch prophesied that young Vasily would become a priest, and promised that he would invite him to his diocese in America once he was ordained. After returning to his country, he remembered the bishop’s words, and decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a priest. He began his theological education at the seminary in Chelm, where the rector was Bishop Tikhon (Belavin), the future Patriarch of Moscow.
Immediately after graduating in July 1899, Vasily married Olga Nowik, and was ordained a deacon. On December 10, 1900 he was ordained a priest. That same month he left Breman for America. The young couple expected to be assigned to a parish in New York, but instead he was appointed to a parish in Alaska. Together with the newly-appointed Bishop Tikhon, he began his missionary service in the land of St Herman.
Orthodoxy had arrived in Alaska with the coming of the monastic mission from Valaam in 1794. At the start of the twentieth century, climatic and social conditions in this vast territory remained difficult. In his pastoral work, Fr Vasily met Russian settlers and indigenous inhabitants of the region, Eskimos and Aleuts. He also encountered gold rush pioneers quite often..
Fr Vasily’s first parish was extensive. He was headquartered on Afognak, but he was also responsible for the people on Spruce and Woody Islands near Kodiak. There were several small wooden chapels scattered on these islands. In 1901, as a result of his efforts, the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Virgin was built at Afognak (Although the village was completely destroyed in the earthquake and tidal wave of 1964, the church building survives to this day).
Because of the long distances and severe climate, Fr Vasily’s priestly work was extremely difficult and required many sacrifices. Often he would leave home for several weeks, in order to celebrate the services, to confess, baptize, marry the living, and to bury the dead, while traveling in a specially constructed kayak.
Even when he was at home, Fr Vasily had very little time to devote to his dear family. Besides celebrating the services in church and serving the needs of his parishioners, he taught in the parish school and worked in two church homes for the poor. His family bore the arduous conditions, especially the climate, with difficulty. His wife Olga, who had given birth to two daughters, stayed home. The older daughter, Vera, was born at Afognak in 1902. Their second daughter was born two years later, after they had moved to Kodiak.
During his missionary service in Alaska, Fr Vasily kept a diary. It has survived to this day as one of the few records of his personal life. Fragments have been translated from Russian and published in Polish.
Because of the severe Alaskan climate, which especially affected Matushka Olga, and out of concern for the education of their children, the Martysz family transferred to the continental United States in 1906. As a farewell statement from Alaska that year, Fr Vasily wrote an article for the Russian Orthodox American Messenger, “The Voice from Alaska,” in

7 Αυγούστου 2013: Δολοφονήθηκε Ορθόδοξος Γερμανός Ιερέας στην Ρωσία – ”Ο σατανάς με έβαλε” φώναζε ο δολοφόνος (+Video)

7 Αυγούστου 2013:
Δολοφονήθηκε Ορθόδοξος Γερμανός Ιερέας στην Ρωσία
”Ο σατανάς με έβαλε” φώναζε ο δολοφόνος
Video στα Ρωσικά
Το βράδυ της 5ης Αυγούστου δολοφονήθηκε στην πόλη Πσκώβ ο ιερέας Πάβελ Άντελχάιμ. Ο ιερέας δέχτηκε πολλά χτυπήματα με μαχαίρι γύρω στις 20.00 μέσα στο σπίτι του. Εκεί φιλοξενούσε μετά από παράκληση μιας ενορίτισσας έναν νεαρό για τρεις μέρες με σκοπό να τον βοηθήσει πνευματικά. Όταν συνελήφθη ο φερόμενος ως δολοφόνος ονόματι Τσελίντσεφ (γεν. 1986) φώναζε πως ο διάβολος του ζήτησε να σκοτώσει τον πατέρα Παύλο, σύμφωνα με την αστυνομία.
Ο εκπρόσωπος τύπου του Πατριαρχείου Μόσχας δήλωσε πως «σύμφωνα με τις πληροφορίες μας ο π.Παύλος έπεσε θύμα της εκπλήρωσης της αποστολής του και του ποιμαντικού του καθήκοντος να βοηθάει οποιονδήποτε έχει ανάγκη.
Ο γνωστός μελετητής της Βίβλου Αντρέι Ντεζνίτσκι δήλωσε στην πως ο π.Παύλος «ήταν πολύ γνωστός και πως τελευταία είχε γίνει”ενοχλητικός” για κάποιους. Ο π.Παύλος πάντοτε είχε σταθερές θέσεις και δεν φοβόνταν να εκφράσει ανοιχτά την γνώμη του. Δεν ξέρω εαν έχουν μείνει ιερείς στην Ρωσία που να μιλούν τόσο ελεύθερα».
Ο πρωθιερέας Παύλος γεννήθηκε στις 1 Αυγούστου 1938 και η οικογένειά του ήταν γερμανικής καταγωγής. Ο παππούς του εκτελέστηκε το 1938 από τους κομμουνιστές και ο πατέρας του το 1942. Η μητέρα του ήταν εξόριστη και πήγε να την βρει στην εξορία στο Καζακστάν. Ήταν δόκιμος στην Λαύρα των Σπηλαίων και σπούδασε στην Θεολογική Ακαδημία του Κιέβου απ’όπου τον έδιωξαν για τις πολιτικές του πεποιθήσεις. Έγινε ιερέας αφού τελείωσε το Θεολογικό Σεμινάριο της Μόσχας και του έδωσαν το 1964 μια ενορία στο Καγκάν του Ουζμπεκιστάν. Εκεί κατάφερε να χτίσει έναν ναό αλλά το 1969 συνελήφθη και φυλακίστηκε για 3 χρόνια για«συκοφάντηση των σοβιετικών αρχών”.
Το 1972 όπου ελευθερώθηκε είχε έπειτα από ατύχημα ένα ξύλινο πόδι. Το 1976 του δόθηκε ενορία στο Πσκώβ. Ήταν παντρεμένος και είχε τρία παιδιά.Είχε οργανώσει ένα ορφανοτροφείο για ανάπηρα παιδιά. Το 2003 είχε γίνει απόπειρα δολοφονίας του όταν έπειτα από ένα αυτοκινητιστικό δυστύχημα οι ειδικοί βρήκαν πως κάποιος είχε προκαλέσει φθορές στο αυτοκίνητό του.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Το “Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, ελέησον με” για Κληρικούς και λαϊκούς – π. Στέφανος Αναγνωστόπουλος


Το «Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, ελέησον με»
για κληρικούς και λαϊκούς
Κάποτε, ο άγιος Γρηγόριος ο Παλαμάς είχε μία συζήτηση με έναν σεβάσμιο Γέροντα, ονόματι Ιώβ.
Ο Άγιος υπεστήριζε ότι όλοι: νέοι και γέροι, άντρες και γυναίκες, μοναχοί και λαϊκοί, μικροί και μεγάλοι, μπορούν να προσεύχωνται αδιαλείπτως, επικαλούμενοι μέσα από την καρδιά τους τον Ιησού και μάλιστα με την καρδιακή λεγομένη Νοερά προσευχή.
Ο μοναχός Ιώβ είχε επίμονα τις αντιρρήσεις του και επέμενε ότι αυτό είναι έργο μόνο των μοναχών και ασκητών της ‘ερήμου’.
Μετά την συνομιλία τους ανεχώρησε ο καθένας στο κελλάκι του. Και θέλησε ο Ιώβ να προσευχηθεί και μάλιστα νοερά. Και να, πως ο Θεός εδικαίωσε τον Άγιο Γρηγόριο τον Παλαμά. Στέλνει, λίαν

Monday, January 29, 2018

Protection of the Mother of God

Protection of the Mother of God
The Protection of the Mother of God is one of the most beloved feast days on the Orthodox calendar among the Slavic peoples, commemorated on October 1. The feast is celebrated additionally on October 28 in the Greek tradition. It is also known as the feast of the Virgin Mary’s Cerement.
In most Slavic languages the word “cerement” has a dual meaning of “veil” and “protection.” The Russian word Pokrov (Покров), like the Greek Skepi (Σκέπη), has a complex meaning. First of all, it refers to a cloak or shroud, but it also means protection or intercession. For this reason, the name of the feast is variously translated as the Veil of Our Lady, the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos, the Protection of the Theotokos, or the Intercession of the Theotokos.
The feast
The feast day celebrates the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae (Vlaherna) in the tenth century. At the end of St. Andrei (Andrew of Constantinople) Yurodivyi’s life, he, with his disciple St. Epiphanius, and a group of people, saw the Mother of God, St. John the Baptist, and several other saints and angels during a vigil in the Church of Blachernae, nearby the city gates. The Blachernae Palace church was where several of her relics were kept. The relics were her robe, veil, and part of her belt that had been transferred from Palestine during the fifth century.
The Theotokos approached the center of the church, knelt down and remained in prayer for a long time. Her face was drowned in tears. Then she took her veil (cerement) off and spread it over the people as a sign of protection. During the time, the people in the city were threatened by a barbarian invasion. After the appearance of the Mother of God, the danger was averted and the city was spared from bloodshed and suffering.
Celebration of the feast
The Protection is commemorated most fervently in Slavic churches, probably because St. Andrei was a Slav. The first celebration of the Theotokos’s cerement in the Russian Orthodox Church dates back from the 12th century and today is celebrated throughout the Orthodox Church.
The feast day commemorating the miracle is celebrated with an All-Night Vigil, with many of the same elements as occur on Great Feasts of the Theotokos. However, this feast has no afterfeast.
Russian usage
The Russian Primary Chronicle noted that the intercession of the Theotokos was needed for the protection of the people of Constantinople when a large fleet of the pagan Rus, led by Askole and Dir, was threatening Constantinople. The invading fleet was defeated and the event remembered. Strangely, the feast came to be considered a very important feast by the Slavic Orthodox Churches but not by the Greeks.
A twelfth century Russian chronicle describes the establishment of the intercession as a special feast day honoring the event. Within a few centuries churches began being named in honor of the Protection of the Mother of God.
Among these churches two that are world famous are: in Moscow, the Cathedral of Intercession upon a Moat (Russian: Храм Покрова “на рву,” Cathedral of the Pokrov upon a moat), which is popularly known as the St. Basil’s Cathedral and in Bogolyubovo near Vladimir, the Church of Intercession upon the Nerl River (Russian: Церковь Покрова на Нерли, Tserkov Pokrova na Nerli).
The Moscow cathedral was built in the mid 1500s by Tsar Ivan IV and the Bogolyubovo church was built in 1165 by Prince Andrew Bogoliusky. In Novgorod, the Monastery of the Intercession of Our Lady (Zverin Monastery) was also built during the twelfth century.
Greek usage
In recent years, the Feast of the Protection has become associated with thanksgiving for the deliverance of the Greek nation from the Italian invasion of 1940. These events are commemorated in Greece in a national holiday known as “Ochi Day” or “No Day,” referring to the response of the Greek leader Metaxas to Mussolini’s ultimatum.
In recognition of this, and because of the many miracles of the Holy Virgin which were reported by Greek soldiers during the Greco-Italian War of 1940-1941, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece elected in 1952 to transfer the Feast from October 1 to October 28.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate also provides for this usage in its parishes in Greece and in the Greek diaspora, and it is generally observed now throughout the Greek-speaking world. The observance includes the chanting of a Doxology incorporating hymns recognizing the Protection of the Theotokos over the Greek nation, as well as the kontakion “O Champion Leader.”
About the icon
Two different events that took place four hundred years apart are combined in this one icon. Both events took place in the former Church of Blachernae in Constantinople.
The icon of the feast, Protection of the Mother of God, shows the Theotokos standing above the faithful with her arms outstretched in prayer and draped with a veil. On both sides of her are angels. On the lower right of most icons of this feast, are saints Andrew and his disciple Epiphanius who saw this vision of the Mother of God, with the twelve apostles, bishops, holy women, monks and martyrs, spreading her veil in protection over the congregation. St. Epiphanius is wearing a tunic under his cloak and gestures in astonishment at the miraculous appearance, while St. Andrew, Fool-for-Christ, is dressed only in a cloak.
Below the Theotokos, in the center of the icon, stands a young man with a halo, he is clothed in a deacon’s sticharion. In his left hand, he is holding an open scroll with the text of the Kontakion for Nativity in honor of the Mother of God. This is St. Romanus the Melodist, the famous hymnographer whose feast is also celebrated on the same day, October 1. He is with his choir attended by the Emperor Leo the Wise together with the Empress and the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Source: Orthodox Wiki

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ο Άγιος Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης (+1994) στην Αυστραλία για ένα μήνα κατά το έτος 1977 – “Η μεγαλύτερη ευλογία που δέχτηκε ποτέ η ήπειρος της Αυστραλίας”

Ο Άγιος Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης στην Αυστραλία για ένα μήνα κατά το έτος 1977
“Η μεγαλύτερη ευλογία που δέχτηκε ποτέ η ήπειρος της Αυστραλίας”
Η επίσκεψη του Αγίου Παϊσίου στην Αυστραλία έμεινε ιστορική. Είκοσι χρόνια αργότερα ένας Έλληνας μετανάστης είπε: “Όσοι Έλληνες έρχονται στην Αυστραλία, έρχονται για να πάρουν. Νομίζουν ότι εδώ είμαστε πλούσιοι· δεν ξέρουν πόσο αγωνιζόμαστε. Μόνο ένας Μοναχός, ο Πατήρ Παΐσιος, όταν ήρθε και τον ρωτήσαμε: ‘Τί θέλετε να σας δώσουμε;’, απάντησε: ‘Εμείς ήρθαμε να πάρουμε λίγο από τον πόνο σας'”. Οἱ ομογενείς των πόλεων, από τις οποίες πέρασε, ένιωσαν ότι ένας Άγιος πέρασε από τον τόπο τους και τον ευλόγησε. Σήμερα πιστεύουν ότι αυτή είναι η μεγαλύτερη ισως ευλογία που δέχτηκε ποτέ η ήπειρος της Αυστραλίας. Ο Πατήρ Παΐσιος όμως, όταν επέστρεψε στο Άγιο Όρος, είπε: “Καλύτερα να πήγαιναν στην Αυστραλία δύο Πνευματικοί παρά εγώ. Το πετραχήλι είναι αυτό που χρειάζεται κανείς εκεί μακριά, στην ξενιτειά”
Πριν από την Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή του 1977, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αυστραλίας Στυλιανός προσκάλεσε τον Ηγούμενο της Μονής Σταυρονικήτα π. Βασίλειο καθώς και τον Άγιο Παΐσιο τον Αγιορείτη (+1994), για να βοηθήσουν τους ξενιτεμένους Έλληνες, ώστε να ετοιμασθούν για το Πάσχα με μετάνοια και εξομολόγηση. Ταξίδεψαν 26 ώρες με το αεροπλάνο, και όλες αυτές τις ώρες ο Άγιος Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης δεν άφησε από τα χέρια του μία βαρειά τσάντα που είχε μέσα και εικονάκια, διότι από ευλάβεια δεν ήθελε να την ακουμπήσει πουθενά.
Κάποια στιγμή αισθάνθηκε να μπαινει μέσα στο αερπλάνο φως, ενώ παράλληλα ένιωσε και πολλή Χάρη. Ρώτησε πού βρίσκονταν και του είπαν ότι περνούσαν πάνω από την Συρία. Κατάλαβε ότι αυτό έγινε, επειδή ο τόπος εκείνος είναι αγιασμένος από τους αγώνες πολλών Οσίων και Μαρτύρων. Αντίθετα, περνώντας πάνω από την Ινδία και το Θιβέτ, ένιωσε μία δαιμονική ψυχρότητα. Για τήν Αυστραλία είπε ότι δεν είχε ακόμη αγιασθεί από τοπικούς Αγίους, αλλά θα αναδειχθούν και εκεί Άγιοι.
Τον ένα μήνα που έμειναν στην Αυστραλία, πήγαιναν στις διάφορες ενορίες, όπου ο π. Βασίλειος εξομολογούσε και ο Άγιος Παΐσιος προετοίμαζε τούς ανθρώπους για την εξομολόγηση. Η παρουσία του Οσίου απέπνεε ευλάβεια και βαθειά ταπείνωση. Περπατούσε με το κεφάλι σκυμμένο και από όπου περνούσε έκανε σε όλους μία μικρή υπόκλιση. Μπροστά στον Αρχιεπίσκοπο και τον Ηγούμενο δεν μιλούσε σχεδόν καθόλου. Όταν ο κόσμος του έλεγε: “Πές μας κι εσύ κάτι , Πάτερ Παΐσιε”, έδειχνε εκείνους λέγοντας: “Τι να πώ; Εγώ δεν ξέρω τίποτε· ένας απλός μοναχός είμαι”. Στις κατ’ ιδίαν συζητήσεις απαντούσε, μόνο όταν τον ρωτούσαν κάτι συγκεκριμένο. Οι δε απαντήσεις του ήταν απλές και σύντομες. Τόνιζε σε όλους τήν υπομονή στους πειρασμούς, την πίστη στον Θεό και την εμπιστοσυνη στη θεία πρόνοια.
Ένας νέος τον ρώτησε:
-Πάτερ Παΐσιε, η πίστη που οφείλουμε να έχουμε στο Θεό πρέπει να είναι τυφλή;
-Η πίστη μας δεν πρέπει να είναι τυφλή, αλλά φιλότιμη, απάντησε.
Και διηγήθηκε πώς του είχε εμφανισθεί ο Χριστός στο Εκκλησάκι της Αγίας Βαρβάρας, όταν ήταν 15 ετών. Μόλις δηλαδή έβαλε ένα φιλότιμο λογισμό ότι άξιζε ακόμη και την ζωή του να θυσιάσει για το Χριστό, χωρίς να θέλει κανένα αντάλλαγμα, “ούτε Παράδεισο ούτε

San Patricio ng Irlanda (+461) – 17 Marco ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Filipino


San Patricio ng Irlanda (+461)
17 Marco
Si San Patricio ay isang Kristiyanong Romano Britanikong misyonero at pintakasing santo ng Irlanda na kahanay nina Brigid ng Kildare at Columba. Noong labing-anim na taong gulang siya, nabihag siya ng mga mananalakay na mga Irlandes at inalipin sa Irlanda, kung saan namuhay siya ng anim na taon bago makatakas at makabalik sa kaniyang mag-anak. Pumasok siya sa simbahan, katulad rin ng ginawa ng kaniyang ama at lolo, naging diyakuno at isang obispo. Nagbalik siya sa Irlanda bilang isang misyonero sa hilaga at kanluran ng pulo, subalit kaunti lamang ang nalalaman hinggil sa mga pook kung saan siya nagsagawa ng mga gawaing pangmisyonero, at walang ugnay na magawa sa pagitan ni Patricio at ng anumang simbahan. Sa pagsapit ng ika-8 daantaon, naging santong patron siya ng Irlanda. Sinilang at umunlad ang sistema ng monasteryong Irlandes pagkaraan ng panahon ni Patricio at hindi pinainam ng simbahang Irlandes ang huwarang dioyesis na sinubok ilunsad ni Patricio at iba pang mga sinaunang mga misyonero.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Saint Joasaph, Saint Barlaam & Saint Abenner of India (+4th century)

Saint Joasaph, Saint Barlaam
& Saint Abenner of India (+4th century)
August 28 & November 19
Feast days
In the time of Constantine the Great (4th century) there lived in India a pagan king named Abenner, who had only one son, Joasaph (yo-sahf). Abenner was a wise administrator and fearless warrior, loyal to the Indian code of honor, courage and the hatred of Christians.
When the Prince was born, astrologers and wise men were called to prophesy the Prince’s destiny as king. All of them said the same: that he would be a wise and powerful king. But one dared to tell the truth: the Prince would become Christian and give up his throne. The King was furious. He ordered every Christian to be killed or banned from the kingdom, and he put the Prince in a private, guarded castle to shield him from any possible Christian influence.
For twenty years of his life–his entire childhood and youth–Joasaph was confined to the castle. During this time he was taught the skills of wisdom and warfare. The King visited his son often, and was pleased to find his boy qrowing into a fine, strong young man. Finally, convinced that the prophecy was false, Abenncr agreed to let the Prince see his future kingdom. The impression Joasaph received seemed mixed. The world was indeed a very beautiful place, but the sins, sorrows and eventual death of man dimmed its beauty in Joasaph’s eyes, and made him doubtful. No longer content with his luxuries in the palace, he strove to find a life that was soul-fulfilling, unlike what he felt succession to the throne would be.
At the same time, the holy monk Barlaam was told by God that he must bring the salvation of God’s word to the Prince over 1,000 miles away. In time Barlaam arrived and, disguised as a merchant with a “pearl of great price,” was able to get into the castle. Barlaam explained the Orthodox Christian faith to the young Prince, who in turn was immediately devoted and demanded to be baptized. In the months that followed the entire household was converted, including King Abenner who eventually became a hermit and a Saint of the Orthodox Christian Church.
Barlaam left, and Joasaph became king. But he was not content there and missed his spiritual father. Finally he gave his kingdom to relatives and went away to a desert monastery, doing many great things in his time.
(Compiled and illustrated by Martinian Prince, age 14: original Life in the writings of St. John Damascene)

Άγιος Φάρσεϋ (St Fursey) ο Ιρλανδός, ιδρυτής & ηγούμενος Μονής στο Lagny Γαλλίας (+648) – 16 Ιανουαρίου

Άγιος Φάρσεϋ (St Fursey) ο Ιρλανδός, 
ιδρυτής & ηγούμενος Μονής στο Lagny Γαλλίας (+648)
16 Ιανουαρίου
Τα πρώτα χρόνια
Ο Άγιος Φάρσεϋ (St Fursey) γεννήθηκε στην επικράτεια του σημερινού Connacht της Ιρλανδίας, πιθανόν ήταν γιος του Fintan και εγγονός του Finlog, παγανιστή βασιλιά της περιοχής. Η μητέρα του ονομαζόταν Gelges, Χριστιανή κόρη του Aed-Finn, βασιλιά του Connacht. Βαπτίστηκε από τον άγιο Brendan τον πλοηγό, τον θείο του πατέρα του, ο οποίος αργότερα διοίκησε ένα μοναστήρι στο Νησί του Oirbsen, που σήμερα ονομάζεται Inisquin στην περιοχή Lough Corrib. Διαπαιδαγωγήθηκε από τους μοναχούς του αγίου Brendan, και όταν έφτασε στην κατάλληλη ηλικία εισήχθη στο μοναστήρι στο Inisquin (δίπλα στο Galway), υπό τον ηγούμενο άγιο Meldan, τον πνευματικό του φίλο (anam-chura στα Κελτικά), όπου αφιέρωσε τον χρόνο του στην πνευματική ζωή. Η μεγάλη αγιότητα του έγινε από νωρίς γνωστή, και μια ιστορία λέει, πως εκεί, δια μέσο των προσευχών του, δίδυμα παιδιά ενός οπλαρχηγού τα οποία σχετίζονταν με τον βασιλιά Brendinus αναστήθηκαν. Έχτισε το δικό του μοναστήρι στην περιοχή Claran έξω από την πόλη του Headford στην κομητεία Galway και έγινε ο προστάτης άγιος της ενορίας του Headford.
Λέγεται ότι ήταν ασκητικός, φορούσε λεπτά ρούχα όλο το χρόνο. Πολλοί ήρθαν προκειμένου να γίνουν υποτακτικοί του, όμως επιθυμούσε να εξασφαλίσει κάποιες θέσεις για τους συγγενείς του στο νέο μοναστήρι. Για αυτό το λόγο πήγε στο Munster μαζί με μερικούς μοναχούς, όμως όταν πλησίαζε το σπίτι του πατέρα του τον χτύπησε μια θανατηφόρος ασθένεια. Έπεσε σε μια κατάσταση έκστασης από την ενάτη ώρα ώσπου να λαλήσει ο πετεινός, και όσο βρισκόταν σε αυτή την κατάσταση έλαβε το πρώτο του όραμα το οποίο τον έκανε γνωστό στην μεσαιωνική λογοτεχνία.
Σε αυτό το όραμα του αποκαλύφθηκε η κατάσταση ενός αμαρτωλού ανθρώπου και η ομορφιά της αρετής. Άκουσε την χορωδία των Αγγέλων να ψέλνει. Του δόθηκε μια διαταγή από τους δύο αγγέλους που εμφανίστηκαν προκειμένου να τον επαναφέρουν στο σώμα του, να γίνει ένας ποιο δραστήριος εργάτης για τον Κύριο.
Τρεις νύχτες μετά, η έκσταση επανήλθε. Τον μετέφεραν στους Ουρανούς τρεις άγγελοι που αγωνίστηκαν έξι φορές με τους δαίμονες για την ψυχή του. Είδε τις φωτιές της κολάσεως, τη διαμάχη των δαιμόνων, και έπειτα άκουσε τους αγγέλους να τραγουδούν σε τέσσερις χορωδίες «Άγιος, Άγιος, Άγιος ο Κύριος των Πνευμάτων». Ανάμεσα στα πνεύματα των

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska (+1865) – The evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo & Athabascan peoples of Alaska

Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska (+1865)
The evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo & Athabascan peoples of Alaska
July 26
Saint Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of Alaska, was a native of the Aleutian Islands who became a priest of the Orthodox Church and continued the missionary work of St. Innocent among his and other Alaskan people. His feast day is celebrated on the day of his repose, July 26.
Father Jacob was born in 1802 on Atka Island, part of the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska. His father, Yegor Vasil’evich Netsvetov, was Russian from Tobolsk, Russia, and his mother, Maria Alekscevna, was an Aleut from Atka Island. Jacob was the eldest of four children who survived infancy. The others were Osip (Joseph), Elena, and Antony. Although not well off, Yegor and Maria did all they could to provide for their children and prepare them to live their lives. Osip and Antony were able to study at the St. Petersburg Naval Academy and then were able to become a naval officer and ship builder, respectively. Elena married a respected clerk with the Russian-American Company. Jacob chose a life with the Church and enrolled in the Irkutsk Theological Seminary.
On October 1, 1825, Jacob was tonsured a sub-deacon. He married Anna Simeonovna, a Russian woman perhaps of a Creole background as was he, and then in 1826 he graduated from the seminary with certificates in history and theology. With graduation he was ordained a deacon on October 31, 1826 and assigned to the Holy Trinity-St. Peter Church in Irkutsk. Two years later, Archbishop Michael ordained Jacob to the holy priesthood on March 4, 1828. Archbishop Michael had earlier ordained John Veniaminov (St. Innocent) to the priesthood. With his elevation to the priesthood, Father Jacob began to yearn to return to his native Alaska to preach the Word of God.
Upon departing, Archbishop Michael gave Father Jacob two antimensia, one for use in the new church that Father Jacob planned to build on Atka, and the other for use in Father Jacob’s missionary travels. After a molieben, Father Jacob and his party set off for Alaska on May 1, 1828. The travelers included Father Jacob, Anna his wife, and his father Yegor who had been tonsured reader for the new Atka Church. This journey, which was always hard, took over year to complete, which was completed on June 15, 1829.
Father Jacob’s new parish was a challenge. The Atka “parish” covered most of the islands and land surrounding the Bering Sea: Amchitka, Attu, Copper, Bering, and Kurile Islands. But, he was to meet the challenge as clothed in his priestly garments, he actively pursued his sacred ministry. To his parishioners, his love for God and them was evident in
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