Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors

LIFT up your gates, ye princes; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in. Who is this king of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is this king of glory.

Psalm 23:9-10 LXX


The Cherubic Hymn
Old Bulgarian Chant, sung by the Optina Choir.

WE who stand as mystical images of the Cherubim,
and sing unto the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn,
let us now lay aside all earthly cares
that we may receive the King of all,
attended beyond our sight by angel hosts.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


THIS mystery turns earth into heaven for you.

Just prise open the gates of heaven, and peer within (or rather, not of heaven, but the the heaven of heavens), and you will see there what I am talking about.

For what I shall show you lying here on earth, is there the thing more precious than everything else.

What is most revered in royal palaces is not the walls, or golden roofs, but the physical person [lit. body] of the King, sitting on the throne. The physical person of the King is the most revered thing in heaven too.

But this is what you are now permitted to see on earth!

I am not showing you angels, or archangels, or the heavens or the heaven of heavens, but I am showing you him, the Master of them all.

Do you see, how you are looking, on earth, at what is more precious than everything else?

And not just seeing it, but getting to touch it. And not just getting to touch it, but eating it.

St John Chrysostom, Homilies on St Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians, No. XIV (on 1 Cor 10:14). My translation, from Migne. Compare CCEL.


6 thoughts on “Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors

  1. the mystery of faith did so many great things in my life! God was purely merciful when He revealed the mystery to me when He did. It was the only medicine that could save my about-to-go-insane mind. I do not deserve such kindness and grace, but He poured out His love abundantly!

  2. You share these things so generously, and it must surely inspire many others to look for, and find, that mercy in their own struggles.

    The Orthodox tradition likes to see Christian spirituality as medicinal, which as you may guess appeals enormously to me. If I learn nothing else from my own experiences, that is something priceless in itself. I wonder if you have come across Hierotheos Vlachos at all? He is bishop of Nafpaktos, and rather specialises in what he calls Orthodox Psychotherapy.

  3. I will have to read his books! I do think that one of the major responsibilities the Church needs to take more seriously is the ministry of healing. Non-Christians do not see church as a place where healing miracles take place.. but there are so many miracles happening every day, everywhere!

    Before I became a believer, I used to go to those new age healing therapies.. such as hand-on therapy, and chakra therapy.. Those turned out to be very, very destructive and harmful. The church needs to draw more people like me into their safety. I don’t know Orthodox that much, and I am only learning by reading your posts, but so far, I agree on all of its teachings and view points.

  4. You take the words out of my mouth. Lots of people go to such things for perfectly understandable reasons, and not least because many churches seem to have given up on offering people the mystery, the wonder, the sense of the invisible, and the attention to the hurting person, that new-age now offers them. Finding Bp Vlachos’s books was a major step forward for me. So too was discovering the Service of Holy Oils, or Euchelion, which is regularly celebrated for whole congregations as well as sick individuals. As it happens, I was planning to post from it soon.

    Oh, and while I’m rather cheekily recommending things (I hope you don’t mind), do you know about Elder Thaddaeus and “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives”? He had several nervous breakdowns, and his book tells you how he dealt with them, and became an inspiration to thousands. I really like him. I think it helps to be focused on people rather than ideas, on the accumulated wisdom of strugglers who have left their experiences and their prayers to us marked with their own distinct personalities.

  5. I so understand what he means by the repetition of mental prayer to receive abundant grace from God. The prayer really runs itself within like a power engine, and it’s like I am flying on auto-pilot mode! I greatly enjoyed watching the video clips. What was the cause of his nervous breakdowns? I will have to read his book for the cure!

  6. You have experienced something very precious! as Paul says in Rom 10:6-9. As I understand it, Fr Thaddaeus was always nervously sensitive, and frail as a child, and he also suffered a lot at the hands of the Nazis. But the book title says it all really: our thoughts determine our lives. Thaddaeus found that if he cultivated wholesome, loving thoughts through the Prayer, he could take back control of his life, and things and people around him no longer made him anxious or hurt. I find the way he comes over in that video truly inspiring – one of the things that opened my eyes to what Orthodoxy is really about.

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