A wonder is thy mother, O Lord

A WONDER is Thy Mother.

The Lord entered her, and became a servant:
the Word entered her, and became silent within her:
thunder entered her, and His voice was still:
the Shepherd of all entered her; He became a Lamb in her, and came forth bleating.

A miraculous icon of the Theotokos, Panagia Glykophilousa, at the Philotheou monastery on Mount Athos

A miraculous icon of the Theotokos, Panagia Glykophilousa, at the Philotheou monastery on Mount Athos

The Rich went in, He came out poor:
the High One went in, He came out lowly.
Brightness went into her and clothed Himself, and came forth a despised form.
The Mighty went in, and clad Himself with fear [i.e. human fear] from the womb.
He that giveth food to all went in, and gat hunger.
He that giveth all to drink went in, and gat thirst.
Naked and bare came forth from her the Clother of all.

St Ephrem the Syrian, Rhythms on the Nativity, No. 8.

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THOU art my strength, O Lord, and my power also, thou art my God, thou art my joy, who leaving not thy Father’s bosom yet visitedst our poverty. Therefore with the Prophet Habakkuk I cry to thee: glory to thy power, thou that lovest mankind.

THOU didst bear in thy womb, O immaculate Lady, God the Word of God, who with infinite wisdom brought to fulfilment the most noble plan of salvation for world. Therefore we all rightly sing thy praises, as thou intercedeth with him, that we be redeemed from diseases and from perils of all kinds.

Prayers selected from today’s liturgy. Source.

The martyrs live on to heal and do wonderful things

Saints Menas (or Minas), Eugraphos, and Hermogenes received the crown of martyrdom in the year 235, at the hands of the Roman Emperor Maximinus. See Daily Orthodox Readings.

St Menas is called the Most Eloquent, because of his gift for convincing others of the truth of the Christian faith.

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THESE are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Apocalypse 7:14-17

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St Menas Kallikelados

St Minas Kallikelados (+235)

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BURNING with God-given zeal, high-minded Hermogenes and Menas extinguished the fire of godlessness, and by faith they appeared like lamps of devotion shining all around, kindling light for all men.

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WHEN the Virgin and pure Lady thy mother saw the the utterly lawless people nail thee unjustly to the tree, as Simeon foretold her tender heart was run through. O Panagia, nursing us in thine immaculate embrace, in which thou didst hold God, shelter us from every violent impulse, pure Theotokos, the world’s hope.

Or this Cross-Theotokion.

WHEN thou wast crucified thou didst make the whole world shake, long-suffering Lord, but thou didst firmly establish the souls of the faithful. Therefore, we also sing praises, and worship with longing love, thine incomprehensible power.

These hymns are sung to the same melody, proper to this hymn:

THOU didst arise on the third day, O Christ, as it is written, raising up with thee our forefather: therefore the race of men giveth thee the glory, and singeth the praises of thy Resurrection.

Friday in Renewal Week. Source.

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Apolytikion.

THROUGH self-mastery mortifying the smouldering urges and stirrings of the passions, the martyrs of Christ receive grace to chase away diseases from the sick, even living on after their deaths to do marvellous things – truly a wonder of wonders! for their bare bones blossom with cures. Glory to thee, our only God.

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LET us cry out unto Christ our God, the Son born of the Father before the ages, and in these last times incarnate from a Virgin without seed: Holy art thou O Lord, who exalteth our horn.

Prayers at Vespers and Matins for December 10. Source.

Elder Paisios: The Panagia attends to the smallest details

Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain is one of the most beloved of all the monks of the Athonite revival. He was kind, patient, and understanding.

ELDER, why does the Panagia sometimes give me what I ask for straightaway, and other times not?

WHENEVER we are in need, the Panagia always answers our prayer straightaway; when we are not, she leaves us be, so that we can acquire a little bravery.

Once, when I was at the Philotheou Monastery, immediately after the vigil of the Panagia [the Feast of the Dormition, August 15] the Rector sent me on an errand with a letter for the Iveron Monastery.

As it turned out, I had to go down to the seashore at the monastery and wait for a little old monk who came by boat, to accompany him to our monastery – a half hour’s journey on foot.

Elder Paisios the Athonite (1924-1994)

Elder Paisios the Athonite (1924-1994)

I was just coming off a fast and a vigil. Then, I used to separate the fast of the Dormition [August 1-15] into two: until the Transfiguration [August 6] I didn’t eat anything at all, I would eat on the day of the Transfiguration, and after that until the Dormition again I wouldn’t eat anything.

So, I left immediately after the vigil and it never even occurred to me to take so much as a few nuts. I got to the Iveron Monastery, I handed over the letter, and went down to the seashore to wait for the boat [there’s a picture of the coastline at the Iveron here]. He was to come at four in the afternoon, but he was late arriving.

Meanwhile, I started to get faint. A little way off, there was a pile of tree trunks, like telegraph poles, and I said to myself, “I’ll go and sit there where it is a little out of the way, and no one will see me and start asking questions about what the matter is”.

When I had sat down, the idea came to me that I might say a prayer rope to the Panagia to fix something for me.

Immediately though I rebelled against this idea and said, “Wretched fellow, are you going to bother the Panagia with such nothings?!” Then I saw in front of me a monk. He had a round loaf, two figs and a big bunch of grapes. “Have these” he said, “to the glory of our Lady the Panagia”, and vanished.

Oh, then I fell apart. Weeping took hold of me, and I didn’t want to eat any more… Dear oh dear! What a mother she is! That she should think of such tiny details!

Source.

Let us like Davids sing songs to Luke

MY heart has uttered a good matter: I declare my works to the king: my tongue is the pen of a quick writer.

The queen stood by on thy right hand, clothed in vesture wrought with gold, and arrayed in divers colours.

Instead of thy fathers children are born to thee: thou shalt make them princes over all the earth. They shall make mention of thy name from generation to generation: therefore shall the nations give thanks to thee for ever, even for ever and ever.

Psalm 44:1, 9, 16-17 (LXX)

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An icon of St Luke painting the first icon, of Mary. From Wikimedia Commons. Licensed for reuse.

An icon of St Luke painting the first icon, of Mary. From Wikimedia Commons. Licensed for reuse.

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COME all creation, let us praise in songs Luke, famous in song, who is truly a spiritual physician, and disciple of the Saviour.

For he it was that healed the disease of godlessness by the ointment of Christ’s baptismal font; and wherever men live, he has poured forth from his mouth rivers of the Gospel, in streams welling up from God.

Therefore, as prophesied his sound hath gone out into the whole world [Rom 10:18, Ps 18/19:4], and he maketh intercession that our souls may be saved.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

YE faithful, let us gather and like Davids cry out in songs to Luke, mystical orator of the Word.

Thy tongue hath been shewn to be the pen of a ready writer [Ps 44/45:1].

Thou didst supply for the nations’ search for knowledge the fairest eyes, fit for that divine understanding by which thou didst proclaim the Gospel, and record the Acts of thy fellow Apostles.

Therefore, as thou standest before God, the Trinity, intercede for our souls.

Now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Theotokion.

ACCEPT, O Lady, the prayers of thy servants, and redeem us out of every necessity and trouble.

At Matins on the Feast of St Luke the Evangelist (October 18). Source.

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PHYSICIAN most wise, initiate of mysteries, Apostle Luke, thou wast appointed to be the supreme painter from life of the Mother who bore God; thou, blest saint, didst write words through the divine Spirit, thou gavest understanding of the highest condescension of the presence of Christ. Therefore, intercede that our souls be saved.

Never failing storehouse of healings that have no price

CRUEL illnesses test me, and passions most damaging,
help me, I beseech you, O Virgin, aid me, all-blameless one,
for I know you to be
the inexhaustible treasure,
never failing storehouse, of healings that have no price.

Little Paraklisis. Source.

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The Church of the Panagia Evangelistria on Tinos. © Hans Peter Schaefer, Wikimedia Commons. Licensed for reuse. Click for original.

The Church of the Panagia Evangelistria on Tinos. © Hans Peter Schaefer, Wikimedia Commons. Licensed for reuse. Click for original.

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From Agioritiko Vima.

Six Miracles In One Day

EVERY year on August 15, when the church of Tinos has its feast day, one or more miracles cannot fail to happen.

In 1969, six miracles happened.

The first three were described by the newspaper Ethnos of 16/08/1969 as follows.

“Two paralysed people and a deaf person unable to speak recovered their health yesterday in Tinos.

She who is Full of Grace (the Megalochari) cured a twenty year old girl who had been bedridden for years, a four year old boy born paralysed, and a deaf person who was also unable to speak.

At night-time the day before yesterday, about 18,000 spent the night around the Church of the Megalochari, or slept on the cobblestone streets, awaiting the procession of the Icon of the Panagia.

Thousands of people joined their prayers with their relatives of those who had been cured, once the miracles were made known.

Vassiliki A., 21, was bedridden, paralysed in the lower limbs for seven years after an accident. Yesterday, at the moment when the icon of the Megalochari passed over her,
she got up and walked.

The four year old Argyris M. was born paralysed. Yesterday he too, at the time when passing the icon over him, got up and walked.

Deaf and unable to speak for years, Eugenia, wife of Nicholas B., came to the island from Hulm in Germany, to beg the Megalochari to find her health again for her. Mary indeed gave back to her that most precious blessing.”

The next day, the newspapers wrote about another three miracles, that followed on from the others. The newspaper Ethnos of 18/08/1969 wrote:

“And fourth miracle happened on Friday, on the feast of the Megalochari of Tinos. The 4-year old Argyris Emmanuel M. was paralysed in both legs. The doctors at PIKPA [a children’s hospital in Athens] had pronounced him incurable.

But … on 15th August, the time of procession of the icon of the Panagia, he spread himself out in the middle of the road where the Litany was to pass, and just as the wonder-working icon passed over he immediately rose up and began to walk quite normally.

He ran full of happiness, and spread himself out again on the road, so the icon would pass over him a second time. At last little Argyris, after four years, walks normally today.

These miracles happened in front of tens of thousands of people, before judicial and military and police authorities.”

Source. Slightly edited.

Official Website of the Panagia of Tinos Church.

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Most holy Mother of God, save us.

River of mercy

The Service of Holy Oils is one of the treasures of the Orthodox tradition. Nowhere is it more clear, that the sinner is not a criminal cowering before a frowning judge, but a sick man being tended by a physician whose heart is wrung with pity, with medicines which it cost him his lifeblood to prepare.

Designed of course for single sick individuals, “the full office” as Fr Ephrem (Lash) tells us “is commonly celebrated in church on the Wednesday of Holy Week, and in some places, particularly in monasteries, on the equivalent day before Christmas, when large numbers of people are anointed, and also for whole families in their homes”.

BRETHREN, we do not want you to be ignorant of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.

Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; he delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11. One of the Epistles at the Service of the Blessing of Oils. Source.

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The chrismation of the faithful during Holy Euchelaion

The chrismation of the faithful during Holy Euchelaion

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Theotokion.

Look favourably from on high, O Mother of the Maker of all, and do away with the bitter illness of the sick by your prayers.

Kathisma. Tone 8. The song of shepherd pipes.

As you, O Merciful, are a divine river of mercy, an abyss of great compassion, show us the divine streams of your mercy, and heal us all; pour out unstintingly the springs of your wonders, and cleanse us all; for ever hastening fervently to you, we implore your grace.

Another. Tone 4. Lifted up on the Cross.

Physician and helper of those in pains, deliverer and saviour of those in sickness, Master and Lord, give healing to your sick servants; have pity, have mercy on those who have often stumbled, and deliver them from their falls, O Christ, that they may glorify your divine power.

From the Service of the Blessing of Oils. Source.

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HOLY Bride of God, make me holy, sanctified and sober, meek, still, well-ordered, upright and  devout, true, courageous, prudent, long-suffering, good, fair and measured, blameless, unblemished and without censure, and beyond all these a partaker in Paradise.

Weekday Vespers, Tone 1. Source.

A blossom of healing, a testament of resurrection

TODAY is the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, who gave us assurance of the resurrection of Jesus.

I KNOW that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.  (Job 19:25-26)

For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.  (1 Corinthians 15:20)

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[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtU1c5JZf0k%5D

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THROUGH self-control the Martyrs of Christ put to death the assaults and movements of the passions; they received grace to chase diseases from the sick, they live on even after their end to do wonders. Truly a strange wonder! For bare bones have blossomed with healings. Glory to our only God.

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Vespers, Saturday, Plagal of the Fourth Tone. Source.

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The Flowers of St. John the Theologian – Marmaketos, Lasthiou, Crete

EVERY year, the people of the small village of Marmaketos in Crete (50 inhabitants), gather local wild flowers to decorate the Epitaphio of Christ on Holy Friday. On Holy Saturday, they gather the flowers and hang them throughout the church on string, where they dry out.

On May 8th, the feast of St. John the Theologian, during the reading of the Gospel in the Divine Liturgy, these dead flowers miraculously show new flowers and green shoots. They are gathered by the people and placed near their icons for a time of need. When someone is sick, the weather is troublesome, etc., they place these flowers in the censer instead of incense and this works many miracles.

This happens every year as a testament to Christ’s Resurrection and the grace of Christ’s Beloved Disciple. The following link shows two (Greek) video clips of the villagers explaining the miracle, recording of the service, and showing the miraculous flowers after the service: http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2009/05/blog-post_17.html.

From Full Of Grace And Truth.