Faith, experience and manifestation
After a profound spiritual
The material is put together by Simon,
am the light which has come into the world" St.
- (from the Greek word hesykia - conscious
resting in God) Christian orthodox asceticism using the inner, incessant
Jesus prayer, "the prayer of the heart", together with particular
breathing exercises, to overcome one's lower, self-centred nature
and regain identity with God.
"I am the light which has come into the world" St. John 12:45, "I am the light of the world" St. John 8:12
I read in the fifth book of Moses 4:9- ”Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life:but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; (10) Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God…”
Therefore I write the following; when taking my daily rest at the afternoon at my 33rd year of life I experienced someone calling me by name. I got up and looked around both inside and outside the house I was living in, but there was noone to see, still I knew that this calling came from within myself! After some time I heard the same voice calling my name again, now two times in whereupon the voice said ”I am Lux”! ….. Hesitative I wrote these words on a piece of paper and found later at the library that ”Lux” means ”light”. I wept quietly and knew that this had to do with the Truth and Reality of God. (Later in life Christ’s teaching when saying: "I am the light which has come into the world"…"I am the light of the world" came to mean the utmost to me.)
Again some time passed and suddenly I experienced a whole night of dreams and visions about what I had experienced earlier in life, and about life in all, and just before dawn and awakening I was standing “among mountains at the very egde of the earth where the absolute darkness and silence of eternity began”. At a meadow nearby holy men in white cloths were sittting around a table, but my intense attention and longing desired what was hiding in this total darkness of eternity. The day came and went, and at falling to sleep I was in the same situation and at the same place as the night before. Suddenly I hear the voice calling my name from the darkness, now three times, and then a bright, radiant, intense light rise above me intensifying. Within this light a bright shining man with white cloths is standing. I fell to the ground with reverence and amazement. I didn’t understand what I was experiencing, though I had a feeling that this would get unexpected consequences in my life….. For some time I was unsure of how to relate to this experience. I saw light around me, often so intense that my normal eye sight ceased for a while and I saw nothing but light.
Once again I was at the library and I searched among books about different religions, I was at that time since long done with christianity as I knew it through the poor religiousness of the Swedish lutheran church, the orthodox church were still unknown to me, but I had a good relation to the catholic christianity through a catholic monk, whom I used to visit in his monastery. I stand in the library, suddenly holding a picturebook in my hands from the monk republic Athos in Greece looking at a page where I see an icon of ”the Transfiguration of Christ”, and immediately recognize this sight from my own experience the other night, this I had experienced, ”the Transfiguration of Christ”. At the next page was a wonderful text about how God can let humans experience Him in and through this light. I knew that this was true, and that this was what I had experienced, and understood that this divine wisdom is treasured by the hesycasts of the orthodox church. The orthodox church! I started to get myself aquainted through reading books. I got a culture scholarship and went to the former Soviet Union to visit monasteries and churches, among them St Sergius’ relics at the holy Trinity monastery. It was on Metropolitan of Moscow’s advise I went there, he said: ”fall on your knees by the relics of St Sergius and pray for anything your heart desires and it will be given to you”, I did so, and it was given to me. Therefore I choosed the name Simon, from the Hebrew name Symeon, which means ”he whos prayers have been answered”, when I converted to the orthodox faith.
I saw light, read the instructions of the holy fathers, and went to St Anna’s orthodox congregation on their different services in Swedish, and there I was taken up into the holy orthodox church through confession and myrrh chrism.
I longed intensely to also see this Divine light manifested in a revelation outside myself, and I searched for years a place looking like the one I had experienced in my vision at night. On a grey day in February when walking on the ice of a lake I saw a bright light on top of the mountain by the shore. I looked intensely at this place, heading straight towards it. Getting there I felt that this was my choosen spiritual place for prayer. I cut some birch twigs, brought them home, cut small pieces, and thread them on to a tarred string, which I used as a prayer rope out on that mountain. I went there at dawn every morning during a long period and prayed the Jesus prayer according to the ”art of arts”, which is particularly described in the book “The Way of a Russian Pilgrim” . After that I let the prayer continue by itself inside of me together with breath and heart in my prayer life before the holy face of God.
All this culminateed after some more years when I was brought into this great and intense fire, and I can’t find no words to describe what I was experiencing there. Just absolute fire, like in a stove, that noone normally would survive. When I was let out of it I was convinced that noone would recognize me after this experience, but to my great surprise was there no change to see, though I was aware of how I had been enclosed in a fire that did not burn me.
In these experiences I am now deeply rooted, and I know that everything else is not reliable, while these experiences have a totally different, spiritual and for me eternal value.
There is also another opposite tradition where among holy fathers God is being praised as Light and partaken of God’s uncreated energies and rejoicing over the Spiritual secrets of life and God being everywhere present and filling all things with His wonderful light and life. I deeply trusting join this later tradition.)
The Birth of Jesus
Day, the 25th of December, fall in most of the orthodox countries, according
to the Julian church calendar,
on the 7th of January, 13 days later.
Orthodox conception of Church is based on the primary idea, that Jesus
Christ founded only one and visible Church. He gave it the power to
announce His truth to the end of time
some time a part of the Christian organization made an addition to the
eastern (the Orthodox) Church doesn’t except any additions or
renounces from the given form of the contents of the Christian faith;
the truth is one and eternal and indivisible. Accordingly must the Church
strive to carefully preserve the truth of Christianity and to express
it without deviation.”
Orthodoxy lay claim to be global – not exotic or oriental, but
simply Christianity. The word 'orthodoxy' has the double meaning 'right
faith' and 'right worshipping'. Therefore the claim of the orthodox’
may seem surprisingly high. They consider their Church the Church, which
preserves and teaches the true faith in God, worshipping Him in the
right way. It’s no less than the Church of Christ on earth.”
The Baptism of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ
When in the Jordan Thou wast baptized, O Lord,
the worship of the Trinity was made manifest:
for the voice of the Parent bare witness unto Thee,
calling Thee His beloved Son,
and the Spirit, in the vision of a dove,
confirmed the certainty of the word.
Thou that hast appeared, O Christ our God, and dost enlighten the world,
Glory to Thee.
The first saint in Sweden
St. Anna of Novgorod
The National saint of Sweden
February 23 (10)
shone forth from the West like a star of heavenly radiance,
thou wast vouchsafed to receive the Orthodox Faith;
and having brought forth right glorious fruit for the Russian land therein,
O holy right-believing Princess Anna, thou didst love Christ with all thy heart,
keeping His statutes and laws.
Wherefore, celebrating thy most holy memory today,
through thy supplications we receive remission of sins."
was born around year 1001; she was daughter to Olof Skötkonung,
the first christened Swedish king, who was baptized year 1008. She was
married to Grand Duke Jaroslav of Novgorod/Kiev, with whom she gave
birth to 10 children. She was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church
and given then name St. Anna of Novgorod. St. Anna
died year 1050 as Grand Duchess of Kiev. Her day of celebration is the
23rd of February.
Princess, Christian saint", by Rune Edberg, translated by Mrs
3rd Sunday of Great Lent
Adoration of the Holy Cross
The resurrection of nature – Life is stronger than death
the Russians are witnesses to the resurrection of nature. After half a
year of lifeless stillness the life is returning to the Russian country.
With victory fanfares the rivers and lakes are breaking the ice, which
has kept them captivated for several long months. Grass and flowers can
during only one night spring forth on the ground, which has for 1ong been
covered with a thick, white mantle; the birds begin to sing, the air is
seasoned with scents, and humans and animals are feeling enlivened and
as if born again. Life has once again proved to be stronger than death.
… Through centuries have in Russia not only a few pious humans,
but the nation as a whole prised and thanked God for the Resurrection
of Christ. The Easter night’s service is an experience, which has
no parallel in the religious life of other countries."
Text translated from the Swedish book "Den Ortodoxa kyrkan", (literally "The Orthodox Church"), by Nicolas Zernov
Lent - the time of fasting
in the East on a Sunday night, which is called the Sunday of Forgiveness.
After Evensong the priest solemnly asks his parishioners to pardon all
his shortcomings and offences, and they in return ask him to forgive them.
Then the members of the congregation address a similar request to each
other, and the same thing is done afterwards at home. Thus, reconciled
with everybody, Christians of the East enter upon the period of fasting
and mortification. Lent makes a profound impression upon the life of all
Church members; their food is altered, their Church services, music, and
vestments are radically changed. The rules of fasting are severe: meat,
fish, milk and eggs are forbidden for seven weeks: the services are long
and mournful, and include many prostrations. It is a time of purification,
and reparation for evils committed in the past.
Eastern Christians choose usually one of the weeks of Lent for what is called in Russian Govenie. There is no corresponding word in English; Govenie means a period of self-examination, prayer and fasting, which ends with confession and communion. A person who starts Govenie I expected to spend his time as in retreat, though he usually remains at home. He attends all the daily services; he fasts rigorously, reads books of spiritual edification, gives alms, and seeks reconciliation with those with whom he has quarrelled. Govenie usually lasts for a week and it involves real bodily privation. The Lenten services take at least five hours a day, and regular attendance means standing or prostrating oneself for the whole of that period. If Holy Week is chosen for Govenie, this involves even longer hours spent in church. The severity of bodily mortification is, however, mitigated by the supreme beauty of the Lenten services, by their unique dramatic quality, and by their musical appeal. Some of the highest achievements of religious poetry and music are found in the hymns of Holy Week, and many of the more lax Christians who only seldom go to church, choose this time, since it is difficult to remain unmoved by the power and beauty of the Lenten worship."
"He endured the Crucifixion,
He hath destroyed death by death"
St John; verses 17-20
| "Lent ends abruptly on Easter Eve, the greatest feast of the Eastern
Orthodox Church. The midnight service has often been described, for it
has no parallel in the experience of other Churches. Matins begins by
a procession, which leaves the church, goes round the building and returns
singing the triumphant hymn “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling
down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life.”
Each worshipper procures beforehand a candle, and as soon as the procession
starts the first candle is lit, its bearer then lighting that of his neighbour,
and so on until the whole church is a blaze of light and warmth. There
is no reading, and everything is sung to what seem almost like dance tunes,
and the whole service is full of movements, life and joy. At its close
the priest greets each parishioner with the threefold Eastern kiss, and
the same greeting is exchanged between the members of the congregation.
On their return home the Russian Christians have their Easter meal, with
its special dishes served only for that feast.
Easter Sunday is unlike any other day in the year. There is no service in the morning, all ordinary customs and habits are brushed aside, and instead of usual greetings, everyone is welcomed with the words “Christ is risen”, and the Easter kiss is exchanged with everybody that one meets.
Because of the glory bestowed upon human nature by our Lord’s victory over death, Russian Christians do not kneel in church during the period between Easter and Pentecost. Easter is the culminating point of the whole Church’s year; all other Sundays are mere stepping-stones leading up to that unique day, and they are all therefore dedicated to the commemoration of the Resurrection. In fact, the Russian word for Sunday is “Resurrection”."
Text from "The Church of the Eastern Christians" by Nicolas Zernov.
Picture from the book "Kniga o tserkvi" (The book about church), published by Palomnik Moscow -98.
day of Resurrection!
Let us be illuminated, o ye people!”
“The fest of feasts and the triumph and triumphs – the Holy Easter. The Orthodox churches are filled with worshippers. All are received by the Risen Christ and the Holy Church gives everyone a chance to partake of the great feast of faith.
The entire Earth celebrates and rejoices at the Resurrection of Christ. Everyone who comes to Easter service, seeking the Risen Christ after the manner of the myrrhophores, puts on his best festal garments. Easter the beautiful…
”Now are all things filled with light”. The light of the Holy Easter penetrates the darkness of night and that night itself is called 'radiant'. The light of candles filling the crowded church, the light of quiet paschal joy illuminating the faces of the congregation, the sunshine of the first Easter morning, the glittering vestments of the clergy in the Easter procession…
death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?’
and life reigneth!”
"Christ is risen from the dead
trampling Death by death
and to those in the tombs
He hath granted Life!"
St John; 20:1-24
40 days after Easter
"And I will send out upon you
what was promised by My Father. But you wait here in the city until
you are clothed with power from on high.'
St Luke 24:49-53
10 days after Ascension into Heaven
you love Me,
St John 14:15-21
"I am a beam of the light of truth"
"Solitaire, not involved with the world,
he is constantly communicating with God alone.
Seing he is seen, loving he is beloved,
light, unspeakable gleaming, he has become."
Simeon the new teologian
writter prayer about the putity of the soul through the Holy Spirit;
Release O Lord our suffering world, from the deeds of the darkness,
Let the light of truth shine into all mankind, and preserve the purity of our souls through the Holy Spirit.
art Thou, O Lord;
teach me Thy statutes.
The Choir of the Saints have found the Fountain of Life
and the door to Paradise.
May I also find the right way,
through repentance and conversion,
I have failed in my life;
Call me, O Saviour, and save me."
”God, how wonderful You are in Your saints.”
These are two texts of many of the hymns of the Orthodox Church. The spiritual meaning of these texts indicates that one who is baptized to Christ by free will and consciously should purify himself from worldly habits and let himself become sanctified. Since the Baptism often is performed 40 days after the birth of the child, it is the godparents duty to make sure that this turning to Christ and identifying with Him is done. The christened child ought to learn listening to the inner, through the Baptism active Christ-identity, and in this way practise to realize God’s will in her life. By man being a true expression of God’s holiness, God can once again recognize His Creation through Christ within man, just like He once created man for His Paradise. This is the only way to be able to pronounce with apostle Paul:
*Father Damascene, Russian monk, from “The orthodox Word” no. 221, page 277. Se also “The Saints lives in Christ”, page 262.
”...Let there be light, and there was light.”
Lord Jesus said:
”I am the Light which has come into the world”
St. John 12:45
am the Light of the world...”
St. John 8:12
as a consequence of your christening;
”Christ shines as a radiant light deep inside of me”
This light came fully to expression through Lord Jesus from Nazareth at
”The transfiguration on the mount Tabor”
and at the
The Seven Holy Sacraments (The Mysteries)
Baptism to Christ.
Unction with Chrizm (Confirmation).
Holy Orders (Priesthood), only for married men or monks.
Matrimony between woman and man.
Unction with oil (Extreme Unction).
"Meditations on the Divine Liturgy"
This book is printed by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York.
P.O. Box 36
Jordanville, NY 13361
Tel: (315) 858 0940
(The Divine Liturgy is written by Johannes Chrysostomos. He was born year 347 in Antioch, Asia Minor, and died the 14th of December year 407. He was first working in Antioch in Syria, but in year 398 he became a patriarch in Constantinople.)
Picture from the book "Kniga o tserkvi" (The book about church), published by Palomnik Moscow -98.
shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul,
and with your whole mind"
shall love your neighbour as yourself"
Sergej and German
of Valamo monastery, Karelia
Day of celebration; July 11 (June 28)
shining stars You rose above our Northern dark sky.
With the light of faith and sacred struggle,
You lit our country and taught us how to pray appropriate to God,
and to listen only for Him, and to serve Him with work and with hymns.
founders of Valamo monastery
REJOICE, fathers of Christ followers
REJOICE, You who preach conversion and improvement in our lives
REJOICE, You who did rise as examples in the struggle against the temptations
REJOICE, You who guide to the secret of God's Kingdom
REJOICE, You counsellors to the presence of Christ
REJOICE, You blessed fathers Sergej and German"
A part of the akatist
Mother of God
"We remain created beings but can still come to unity with God, like Christ in His taking shape as a human throughout the incarnation preserved His divine nature. The created and perishable world is filled with God's creating force, like an uncreated and eternal light; the everywhere present God."
of celebration; August 1 (19 July)
Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one
and longing to work for Him alone
thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labour.
With penitent heart and great love for Christ
thou wast favoured by the Mother of God.
Wherefore we cry to thee:
Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.
“The light of Christ”
“To receive and behold in the heart the light of Christ, one must, as far as possible, divert one’s attention away from visible objects. Having purified the soul beforehand by repentance and good deeds, and with faith in the Crucified, having closed the bodily eyes, immerse the mind within the heart, in which place cry out with the invocation of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and then, to the measure of one’s zeal and warmth of spirit toward the Beloved, a man finds in the invoked name a delight which awakens the desire to seek higher illumination.
through such a practice the mind enters into the heart, the light of Christ
shines, illuminating the chamber of the soul by its Divine radiance, as
the Prophet Malachi says: ‘But unto you that fear My name, the Sun
of justice shall arise (Mal. 4:2)’.
a man beholds the eternal light interiorly, his mind is pure and has in
it no sensory representations, but, being totally immersed in contemplation
of uncreated goodness, he forgets everything sensory and wishes not even
to see himself; he desires rather to hide himself in the heart of the
earth, if only he be not deprived of this true good – God.”
"I shall not leave you as orphans; I shall come to you. In a little while the world no longer see Me; but you will see Me, for I live, and you, too, will live. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me and I in you. He who has my orders and observes them loves Me, and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I, too, shall love him and show Myself to him."
St John 14:18-21
The Light of God
the Transfiguration of Christ
August 19 (6)
This light belongs to the non-created
divine reality, but is for those blessed by God something fully possible
to experience and literally see, be a part of,
"THE RADIANT BEAUTY"
beauty as the criterion of truth of the Orthodox Church in
'The Pillar and Ground of the Truth"
"The spiritual beauty can only accrue to the ascetic*, the one absolutely pure in heart. Only the ascetic can be transparent so that the radiant beauty of the Trinity God can shine through him."
is the asceticism necessary? It removes the veil of the sin, makes the heart
pure: 'Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God'. It restores
the human being to her origin as the image of God, radiant with beauty.
It makes community with God, and uniting with the whole creation possible,
prepares the coming of the Holy Spirit, that crowns the ascetic with beauty."
" What characterizes, according to Florensky, the beauty itself? 'Beauty, as a certain manifestation or disclosure of that which is objective, is essentially connected with light, for everything is precisely light. (…) Thus if beauty is precisely manifestation and manifestation is precisely light, then I repeat, beauty is light, and light is beauty. Absolute light is absolutely beautiful. It is Love in its perfection (…).'
Florensky, who worked in the Russian religious environment where the hesychasm was common, names it of course as the light of Tabor. It is the light of the Trinity God, The light of Truth, lit in the world with the birth of Jesus.
The whole liturgy and a great number of hymns testify about this, he points out, and adds that the holy liturgy where created by deeply spiritual people with experience of the light of God. The light is in itself beautiful, yet it makes everything illuminated beautiful. The light of Tabor transforms the body of the saint and makes it radiant."
"From the ascetic the veil caused by sin is removed, so that he is able to see the original, undestroyed, perfect creation – which Florensky calls Sofia** - radiant beautiful. Therefore he loves everything created: the human being and her physical body, the animals, nature and cosmos. He finds himself full of burning love for all living beings, and with an intensive compassion to them, he cannot stand any harm or pain being inflicted on anything created."
"The pure-hearted man has through asceticism restored the image of God from within, and has become a reflection of the radiant beauty of God."
their radiant beauty the great ascetics, saints and starets reveal the
“true church”, the mystery of the life of church."
* Asceticism – methodical practising to overcome one’s lower self-centred nature to regain identity with God.
** (Teo) Sofia – (God’s) wisdom.
Extract from a research work of Anna Smidhammar, who also has translated the book “Salt of the earth”, of Pavel Florensky, into Swedish.
Picture from the book "Kniga o tserkvi" (The book about church), published by Palomnik Moscow -98.
Orthodox Church tries to give its members a definite view of life. One
can sometimes hear people say it’s passive and ignorant of the world;
but that is a misunderstanding of the essence and doctrine (teaching)
of the Orthodox Church. The Church doesn’t reject this world –
it is in a living way engaged with it, and invite it’s members to
take part in the subjects for rejoicing. The priests‘ home life,
with their often large families, the large and well-tended estates of
the Russian monasteries and convents, and the starets'* awake interest
in the actual problems of the people looking for their guidance, the official
services including all human life and work, and the blessing the Church
gives to all kinds of food except for meat – all these
things show how well the Church recognize the goodness of all created
and gladly participate in all gifts of life upon earth."
* Starets – Spiritually experienced and conscious guide in spiritual matters.
sisters and brothers
I have participated in meals in congregations and in monasteries where priests or managers have requested blessings in the name of Lord Jesus Christ over food consisting parts of animals of all sorts. When we today are very well informed about the condition in slaughter-houses, chicken factories and pig farms etc. etc. etc. how can one even think that a merciful and loving Creator and Father of all beings would bless this infernal treatment man gives these innocent and suffering animals for no other reason than keeping up mans lower and sinful character. Man's richest, and from God Himself given, nourishment is to find among vegetables in the wonderful nature, where crops does not just contain everything man needs for his physical life, but is also called "food for health".One could not imagine slaughter-houses, terrible roaring with agony of death, or the smell of blood in God's Paradise! This kingdom of God that we are invited to seek and manifest first of all, to make it come true we pray "...Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..." St. Matthew 6:10. How will this ever happen on earth if we don't let God's will be realized in our lives?
The interest for vegetarian food increases today rapidly among young people defending the rights of animals and man to a worthy life, while many Christians still live as meat-eaters of no other reason than their habit.
be two different tables for the social gathering in churches and monasteries,
one for vegetarian food, that are to be blessed*, and another table for
* "...the blessing the Church gives to all kinds of food except for meat..." Translation form the Swedish "Den ortodoxa kyrkan" (The orthodox Church) by Nicolas Zernov
gospel of St. Luke 5
"Junk food for the soul"
By archbishop Lazar
Junk food is by artificial means flavoured and
coloured, exceedingly sweetened and to a great extent habit-forming. It
is harmful to the physical and mental health and the consumption of it
counteract or even puts the beneficial and healthy nutrition out of order.
Recently it was shown in the movie “Supersize me” (a film
which runs down Mc Donalds) that junk food even causes diabetes.
Translation from a swedish text. Originally from
Canadian Orthodox Message, which is published by OCA’s episcopate
the life of innocent Adam in Eden"
Holy Pavel of Obnora in peaceful company with the wild animals in the forest.
Put together and translated Philokalia into the Slavonic language
Day of celebration; Novmber 28 (15)
|O Paisij, the joy of Russia, the boast of Athos and the wonder of Moldavia, by thy divinely inspired teaching, thou dost direct us to the found of wisdom and salvation. And now enjoying in heaven the vision of Christ God, entreat Him to grant us His great mercy, and save our souls.|
"Starets Paisij sent his disciples from Secu to Bucharest in order to study the Greek language. To two such disciples...the elder wrote a letter of warning because they were being persuaded, with the blessing of a bishop, to eat meat. The elder wrote to them thus:
'It seems to me that, in accordance with the correct understanding and ordinance of the Holy Orthodox Church, one should not obey even an Angel in this matter. After the Flood the Lord, because of human weakness, permitted the eating of meat, but the order of monastic life corresponds to the life in Paradise, where there was no eating of meat. And although at the beginning of monastic life there was in places a falling away from this order, especially in large cities, nevertheless St. Sabbas the Sanctified confirmed the non-eating of meat; and such become the general order in all lands. Therefore, one cannot say that the non-eating of meat is only a local custom; and this cannot be left to the free choice of everyone, and it is not true that abstaining from meat harms the health. One should not be put under constraint by those who eat meat, but one must please God rather than men; and those who tempt you, when they see your firmness, will themselves praise you.' The Elder referred his disciples to the work of the Elder Basil of Merlopolyany on the monastic tradition of not eating meat,* and reminded them that the brethren of the monastery and the desert-dwellers would be scandalized and grieved if they knew that these brothers had begun to eat meat.**"
"* Slavonic text of this work in the Optina Life of Blessed Paisij, pp. 134-157.
** This paragraph is from Chetverikov, vol. II, pp. 45-46."
Text from "Little Russian Philokalia, vol. IV: St Paisij Velitchkovsky", page 145.
“You, then, are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”
Genesis 1:26 "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."
1:27 "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."
1:29 "And God said; 'Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."
From “the Orthodox Word” no. 162, page 48.
"Teaching from the Bishop Ioan, hermit and hesychast* in the mountains at the Agaia monestary in Moldavia.
About the importance of the food for the true christian
In the Karpat Mountains
in Moldavia bishop Ioan lived around the 1940’s, as a hermit. Father
Theodulus, who was
In one of these conversations
father Ioan was teaching among other things about the vital importance
A. Carnivores, who always eat meat. These are in the lowest degree of fasting, even if they sometimes restrain themselves from food. They are never able to advance in prayer.
who never eat meat, but only milk, cheese, eggs, and all kinds of boiled
C. Vegetarians, who eat only vegetables and boiled or raw legumes. This arrangement forms the third degree of fasting, and the most zealous monks of the common life keep it.
From here on
begin the strictest degrees of fasting, which are usually kept by hesychast
D. Fruit-eaters, who eat bread and uncooked fruits once a day, without otherwise ever tasting food. He who attains this degree of fasting is able to master his body and thoughts without difficulty and can advance rapidly on the path of prayer.
comprise the fifth degree of fasting. To this degree belong monks –
especially hesychasts* and
F. Dry food is the sixth degree of monastic fasting, which is usually attained only by the most zealous desert-dwellers. Those who live in this harsh asceticism eat only dried bread soaked in water, with salt or a little vinegar, once a day and by measure. This is how the hesychasts of the Nile valley lived.
G. Divine food or
manna is the last and highest degree of monastic fasting, which is attained
by very few ascetics after prolonged asceticism, being strengthened by
the grace of the Holy Spirit. These are satisfied with the Most Pure Mysteries
alone, that is, with the Body and Blood of Christ, which they receive
once or twice a week, without tasting anything else but water only.
Father Theodulus continues; 'I noticed then that this great hesychast* did not want to talk long, so as not to interruped the Jesus Prayer which he had in his mind and heart, I thanked him from my heart for the counsels and profitable words he had given me. I made a prostration to him, kissed his hand and asked his blessing to leave. And the holy Bishop Ioan blessed me with the sign of the holy cross and said to me': 'May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and forgive me'."
* The inner continous Jesus Prayer is characteristic of the hesychast (from Greek hesykia, state of piece, resting in God) spiritual activity of the eastern piety and mystery.
17 “Whoever has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna...”
"The Fathers, being kindled spiritually, naturally did not need much of material food with calories. Their usual food was nuts, dried fruit and honey. They never ate meat, eggs, milk, butter or cheese, nor food cooked with oil...and they were very healthy.
Even for Easter instead of eggs they boiled potatoes and dyed them red."
From "Elder Hadji-Georgis The Athonite 1809-1886"
and Man - A state of blessedness"
"Animals Sanctified: A Spiritual Journey."
both by Joanne Stefanatos D.V.M.
Order from: St. Paisius Abbey, P.O. Box 130, Forestville, CA 95436
when the words
coming from my mouth
is the same as the life
I live in the presence of God
in relation to human beings,
animals and nature;
the holy creation of God
live without hurting.
To live with compassion
sympathy and respect
for everything created,
the emanation of God,
1:27 "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female ceated He them."
19:2 "...Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy."
20:7 "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord which sanctify you."
20:26 "And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine."
5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Letter in time of fasting
God as Love and as devouring fire
and about egocentric sexuality, perversion, and abnormity
Human sexual perversion
is given much attention today, with success even in some western churches,
which take sides for this behaviour. One even calls it “love”.
Not even the sexuality between woman and man is in itself love.
If we believe that “God is love“, this love should not be used for the satisfaction of our egocentric lusts and instincts, but he who is baptised to Christ ought to give his answer to God’s love back to God through purifying himself from every impurity, and with that from all sexual perversion.
and in this love is purity and creative force for the sake of light and
happiness, for our children, and for the society we live in, and for the
Christian religion, which to a large extent does not know anymore to be
in the service of God, but rather use their sacred rooms for cultural
gathering than holy liturgy and making oneself available to God.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
“for the temple of God is holy, and you are such a temple.”
Russian patriarchate breaks the relation
with the Swedish Lutheran church"
"MOSCOW (27th Dec. 2005 Interfax) The Moscow patriarchate has broken the relation with the Swedish Lutheran church, since it decided to adopt a ceremony for blessing homosexual couples.
'We have with great disappointment and sadness received the news that the Swedish Lutheran church does not oppose so-called homosexual marriage, but has even decided to adopt an official blessing ceremony', said the holy synod of the Russian Orthodox church in a pronouncement at its conference in Moscow today.
The members of the synod consider the decision of the Swedish Lutheran church to be contrary to the apprehension about family and marriage of the Bible 'and the testimony of the holy Scriptures leave us without doubts that homosexuality is comprehended as sinful and delusion', as it is said in the pronouncement.
'The Christian church has always considered the marriage between man and woman as a sacrament, while it is a union that gives rise to new life', as one can read in the declaration.
The attempt to interrupt this tradition 'and present the distortion as a norm' is 'an open resistance to God’s will, offence to the order of the holy Scriptures and the old church’s traditions', as one can read in the declaration.
The acceptance of homosexual marriages is a serious destruction of the system for European spiritual and moral values 'formed with influence by Christianity', says the declaration. 'This kind of modern ideas undermine the moral ground of the Europe civilisation and inflict irreparable harm on its spiritual influence with the world', is there to read in the declaration."
Translation from a Swedish Orthodox magazine “Ortodox tidning”, no 2, 2006, p. 28.
|Picture from a Swedish Orthodox magazine "Ortodox tidning".|
"The difference between
life and death,
the present and eternity
heaven and earth
come to an end in Christ.
God becomes physical,
man becomes divine.
The opportunity is given man
not just spiritually
but fully physical
to become irradiated,
as a person
to be absorbed in the Light."
Blessing of the priest, from the orthodox book of prayers
"Christ, the true Light, who enlights
and sanctifies every person coming into the world, let the light of Your
face shine on us, so that we can see the unattainable light, and lead
our steps so that we can fulfil your statues, through Your most pure and
blessed Mother and through all the saint's prayers."
"In Your light, we see light"
Christmas icon and troparion
About the disticntive character of the orthodox Christianity
Teofania, icon and troparion
St. Anna of Novgorod, icon and information
Adoration of the Holy Cross
Annunciation, the Magnification
The Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ
Ascension into Heaven
O, Heavenly King", icon and prayer
About sanctification in the original church, text by Simon
"Meditations on the divine Liturgy", by Nikolai Gogol
The commandments of love
Holy fathers Sergej and German from Valamo, icon and a part of akatist
Father Serafim of Sarov, icon and a short text by him
The Transfiguration of Christ, icon and text about God's light within
"The radiant beauty", text about Pavel Florenskij by Anna Smidhammar
The view of life by the orthodox church, text by Nicolas Zernov
A letter to all Christians about the importance of the choice of food
"Junkfood for the soul", article written by archbishop Lazar Puhalo
Protection of the Mother of God, icon
Short text by Isac the Syrier
Instruction of Paisij Velitchkovsky
"Rejoice, O Virgin, Birth-giver of God", icon and prayer
Reminder by Simon
Letter in time of fasting about God as love, and overcoming one's lower lusts and instincts
The Russian patriarchate breaks off the relation with the Swedish Lutheran church
Short text by Tito Colliander
Blessing of the priest
Pictures from the hermitage,
we did return frequently from the "the world"
during the period when we lived in the big city
to live in stillness, meditation, reflection and fasting
then we have moved to our permanent heremitage in the middle of Sweden,
see picture at the bottom of the site.
"...the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it..."
Our friends in Christ
Natalia, Nikolaj and Andreas
We give thanks to God for everything!
"Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death,
till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom."
"And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God
should come, He answered them and said 'The kingdom of God
cometh not with observation,
Neither shall they say, Lo here!, or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom
of God is within you."
"I assure you, whoever fails to recieve the kingdom of God like a little child,
will not enter it at all."
soul, my soul arise, why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near...
(Kontakion of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete)
"It is later than you think" Serafim Roose
A church model.
in commemoration of the enlighters of the Karelia land
Greetings in Christ from the new heremitage -07
where we moved for permanently living
Pictures from year 2009
|1.||Church model for the heremitage.|
|2.||The place for the church, picture montage.|
|3.||Simon and Nikolaj is cutting down wood for the church building.|
|4, 5, 7.||Cottage is being built for govenie; stillness, meditation and reflection.|
|6.||Hilding-Emanuel is helping with hammer and nail.|
|8.||Anna is working in the garden.|
|9.||Nikolaj, Natalia and Andreas on recreation trip in the canoe.|
|10.||Nikolaj is getting down some flowers for tea (quite high above the ground).|
|11.||Natalia in the eremitage. Where the cross is placed, the church will hopefully be built.|
|12.||A new member of the family, Signe-Elina, born on July 12th 2009.|
Donations for the building of the church is gratefully accepted, contact through e-mail:
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