The Greek Secret: Φιλότιμο -Philotimo

Elder Paisios once said that “Greeks may have a pile of faults, but they also have a gift from God, philotimo and leventia; they celebrate everything. Other peoples do not even have these words in their dictionaries.”

These two expressions are almost untranslatable in English. Philotimo, according to Elder Paisios, means “the reverent distillation of goodness; the radiant love of the humble man bereft of himself, but with a heart full of gratitude to God and his fellow man; because of his spiritual sensitivity he tries to repay even the slightest good that others do to him.” While Leventia means courage, honesty, generosity of heart, directness, manliness and in general the willingness to lay down one’s life for others.

This video encaspulates the essence of the term

Father Paisios gives an example of philotimo

Elder-Paisios-teaching

Father Paisios told me an incident from his childhood years:

“When I was a child and my soul was still pure, I loved Christ very much. I used to walk in the woods carrying a cross in my hands, chanting and praying and wishing to become a monk. My parents told me that I should first grow up and then leave to go to the monastery. One day, as I was taking my usual walk in the woods, I met a fellow villager. When he saw me carrying the cross, he asked me; “what is this?” “The Cross of our Christ,” I replied. Since he did not have any positive thoughts in his mind, he said to me, “Arsenios, you are silly. You don’t mean to say that you believe in God. He does not exist. These religious stories are made up by some priests. We have evolved from the monkey. Christ was simply a man like all of us.

When he finished, he got up and left. His twisted thoughts filled my innocent soul with black heavy clouds. Being alone in the woods, I began to think that maybe God does not exist. As I was feeling confused, desperate and extremely asked, I asked Christ to give me an indication of His existence, so I could believe in Him. But He did not respond. Feeling exhausted, I lay on the ground to rest. Suddenly, a positive thought, full of philotimo (responsive gratefulness), entered my innocent soul; “Hold on for a second! Wasn’t Christ the kindest man ever on earth? No one has ever found anything evil in Him. So, whether He is God or not, I don’t care. Based on the fact that He is the kindest man on earth and I haven’t known anyone better, I will try to become like Him and absolutely obey everything the Gospel says. I will even give my life for Him, if needed, since He is so kind.

All my thoughts of disbelief disappeared and my soul was filled with immense joy. The power of my grateful thought (philotimo) dissolved all the ambiguous ones. When I started believing in Christ and decided to love Him as much as I could, solely out of philotimo (responsive gratefulness), I experienced a miracle that firmly sealed my grateful thought. Then, I thought, “I do not care any more if someone tells me that God does not exist!”

As the story of the Elder regarding his grateful thought did not completely satisfy me, I asked him with a certain curiosity to tell me about the miracle he experienced I the woods. Father Paisios was found in a difficult position and replied that he could not tell me about it. This way, he indicated that I, too, should not look for miracles, but rather trust my feeling of philotimo (responsive gratefulness), as it is the key which opens the door to every good.

Later on, Father Paisios told me that he had seen the Lord.

He had this to say about Philotimo:

“The righteous Christian does not practice good acts for his own benefit, i.e. in order to be rewarded or to avoid hell and gain paradise, but rather because he prefers good to evil. Everything else is a natural consequence of the good that fills our soul without having asked for it. This way, good has dignity; otherwise, it originates from the cheap attitude of “give and take.”

Read more about Philotimo at the Orthodox Wiki

A Hidden Saint

Archbishop of Athens, Damaskinos

By Elias Levy

Damaskinos OXIDamaskinos, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, served as the Primate of the Autocephalous Church of Greece during the Second World War. Born in the village of Dorvitsa in Greece in 1890, the nephew of the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Koroni, he served in the Greek Army during the Balkan wars, and was ordained to the holy Priesthood in 1917. He was later elected by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece as Archbishop of Athens in 1941. Before his appointment as Archbishop, he was, among other things, instrumental in setting up the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After the war, he was also Prime Minister and Regent of Greece until the return from exile of King George II.

While these are certainly achievements in their own right, he is venerated by many people for his courageous stand against the treatment of the Jewish Community in Greece by the Nazi occupiers, even risking his own safety and being under threat of execution by the Germans, but he stuck to his principles. When threatened by the Nazi authorities, he stood up for what he knew to be right. If only more people had such courage! There are many anecdotes about the heroism of the Holy Archbishop, and it is therefore all the more surprising that he is not as well-known as he really ought to be. One such story can be found in the testimony of a holocaust survivor from Greece, Dr Lily Molho, who tells of how her brother, Saul, escaped from the Nazis because Archbishop Damaskinos allowed the use of his official car to transport Jews into safety in the mountains1.

Although, very sadly, nearly 90% of Greece’s Jewish population were murdered during the Second World War, the fact that this figure is not much higher is largely as a result of the actions of Damaskinos.

He instructed the Greek clergy to supply false baptismal certificates to Jews in order to protect them, and to ask the congregations to hide their Jewish neighbours. Many did indeed do this, at tremendous risk to themselves. Of course there is no doubt that many such acts of bravery would have happened without the prompting of the Archbishop. However, Damaskinos was the only Christian leader of such standing openly to speak out. One can only imagine what might have happened if other leaders had followed his example.

Perhaps the best known of his actions is this public letter, which he wrote condemning the treatment of the Jews:

Mr Prime Minister

The Greek people were rightfully surprised and deeply grieved to learn that the German Occupation Authorities have already started to put into effect a program of gradual deportation of the Greek Jewish community of Salonika to places beyond our national borders, and that the first groups of deportees are already on their way to Poland. The grief of the Greek people is particularly deep because of the following:

According to the terms of the armistice, all Greek citizens, without distinction of race or religion, were to be treated equally by the Occupation Authorities.

The Greek Jews have proven themselves not only valuable contributors to the economic growth of the country but also law-abiding citizens who fully understand their duties as Greeks. They made sacrifices for the Greek country and were always on the front line in the struggles of the Greek nation to defend its inalienable historical rights.

The law-abiding nature of the Jewish community in Greece refutes a priori any charge that it may be involved in actions or acts that might even slightly endanger the safety of the Military Occupation Authorities.

In our national consciousness, all the children of Mother Greece are an inseparable unity: they are equal members of the national body irrespective of religion or dogmatic differences.

Our Holy Religion does not recognize superior or inferior qualities based on race or religion, as it is stated: “There is neither Jew nor Greek” (Gal. 3:28) and thus condemns any attempt to discriminate or create racial or religious differences.

Our common fate, both in days of glory and in periods of national misfortune, forged inseparable bonds between all Greek citizens, without exemption, irrespective of race.

Certainly, we are not unaware of the deep conflict between the new Germany and the Jewish community, nor do we intend to become defenders or judges of world Jewry in the great sphere of world politics and economic affairs. Today we are interested in and deeply concerned with the fate of 60,000 of our fellow citizens, who are Jews. For a long time, we have lived together in both slavery and freedom, and we have come to appreciate their feelings, their brotherly attitude, their economic activity and, most important, their indefatigable patriotism. Evidence of this patriotism is the great number of victims sacrificed by the Greek Jewish community without regret and without hesitation on the altar of duty when our country was in peril.

Mr Prime Minister,

We are certain that the thoughts and feelings of the Government on this matter are in agreement with those of the rest of the Greek nation. We also trust that you have already taken the necessary steps and applied to the Occupation Authorities to rescind the grievous and futile measure to deport the members of the Jewish community of Greece.

We hope, indeed, that you have clarified to those in power that such harsh treatment of Jews of other nationalities in Greece makes the instituted measure even more unjustifiable and therefore morally unacceptable. If security reasons underlie it, we think it possible to suggest alternatives. Other measures can be taken, such as detaining the active male population (not including children and old people) in a specific place on Greek territory under the surveillance of the Occupation Authorities, thereby guaranteeing safety in face of any alleged danger and saving the Greek Jewish community from the impending deportation. Moreover, we would like to point out that, if asked, the rest of the Greek people will be willing to vouch for their brothers in need without hesitation.

We hope that the Occupation Authorities will realize in due time the futility of the persecution of Greek Jews, who are among the most peaceful and productive elements of the country.

If, however, they insist on this policy of deportation, we believe that the Government, as the bearer of whatever political authority is left in the country, should take a clear stance against these events and let the foreigners bear the full responsibility of committing this obvious injustice. Let no one forget that all actions done during these difficult times, even those actions that lie beyond our will and power, will be assessed someday by the nation and will be subjected to historical investigation. In that time of judgement, the responsibility of the leaders will weigh heavily upon the conscience of the nation if today the leaders fail to protest boldly in the name of the nation against such unjust measures as the deportation of the Greek Jews, which are an insult to our national unity and honour.

Respectfully,

DAMASKINOS

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece2

The Archbishop published this letter openly, despite being threatened by Jürgen Stoop, the local SS Commander, with execution by firing squad. He replied to this threat with words which have become legendary; “According to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hanged, not shot.” He was, of course, referring to the murder of Patriarch Gregorios V by a Turkish mob in 1821 in Constantinople, and making known his view that were the German commander to carry out his threat, he would be acting in a way just as vicious and barbaric as that violent mob.

Archbishop Damaskinos was posthumously awarded the honour of “Righteous among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, the Israel Holocaust Memorial Authority, and is relatively well known and respected by the Jewish community, but seems to be a complete stranger when it comes to the Orthodox, at least here in the UK. To me, this is a real shame. He is someone who should be recognised more widely, and who can be held up as an example to us all as a genuinely Christian way of behaving, especially given the recent rise in anti-Semitic sentiment in Greece.

Damaskinos is, of course, only one example of an Orthodox leader standing up for the principles of justice and truth. There are many, and, indeed, we will never learn of the great majority. Even in the dark days of the holocaust, the holy Archbishop of Athens was not the only Hierarch to make his voice heard. Metropolitan Chysostomos of Zakynthos, is known for having been asked, together with the local Mayor, to deliver a list of all the local Jews to the Nazi occupiers – and responded by sending a document containing only his own name and that of the mayor.

The late Patriarch Kirill of Bulgaria (d. 1971) was Metropolitan of Plovdiv during the war, and quite literally stood on a rail line in front of a train to stop the deportation of Bulgarian Jews. There are many other examples which I could give.

The most important message which we must take from the example of Archbishop Damaskinos is this: We must always stand up for what we know to be the truth of our Orthodox Christian faith. We must also remember, and this is particularly important in these times of hardship and mistrust, the words of the Apostle, quoted in the above letter; “οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος,οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ”. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”3.

The saintly Archbishop of Athens understood this phrase and followed it with bravery and action, which led to thousands of lives being saved.

May His Memory Be Eternal!

————

1. Oral Testimony of Dr Lily Molho, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

2. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/greekbishop.html

[accessed 13/11/13]3. Letter of St Paul to the Galatians, 3:28

Source: Thyateira November 2013

On Friendship – St Gregory the Theologian

“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
They who find one find a treasure.
A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
those who fear God will find them.”
Wisdom of Sirach 6:14-16

Three Saintly Friends: Dmitry Shkolnik
Three Saintly Friends: Dmitry Shkolnik

St Gregory the Theologian wrote the most beautiful words of praise on friendship. These can be found in different speeches dedicated to his two dear friends, St. Basil the Great and his brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa.

“Nothing at all in the world  can compare to a faithful friend, and his beauty knows know bounds. A faithful friends is a strong protection, and a fortified kingdom. A faithful friend is a living treasure. A faithful friend is more precious than gold and many precious stones. A faithful friend is a enclosed garden and a sealed spring, that open from time to time to be visited and enjoyed. A faithful friend is a refreshing harbour.

If he is more sensible than you, how much more so? If he is also highly educated, and widely so, of our own education and that which was once ours, how much more brilliant is that? . If he is also a son of Light (Jn 12: 36; Eph. 5:8), or a man of God ( IV Kings 1:9) or who approaches God (Ezekiel 43:9) or a person who desires the best (Dan 8:23) or possess what is recognized as worthy , such as used by Scripture to honour those who are full of God, are high up, and belong to the upper part, this is already a gift from God and is clearly higher than our own worth. ” (Oration 11)

What are the characteristics of a deep and lasting friendship such as the one St. Gregory the Theologian enjoyed with St. Basil the Great? St Gregory echoes Aristotle when he says “We seemed to have one soul,  inhabiting two bodies. ” He continues, “After that we were all in all to one another, living together, eating together, of one mind, looking towards the same goal, each one encouraging the others  aspirations, so that they would become more fervent and permanent. ” (Oration 43)

True friendship should be a “godly and wise love” free of all sin. St Gregory write, “Bodily love, since its objects are fleeting, is as fleeting as the flowers of spring. Neither does a flame survive, when the fuel is spent, but is lost with what fuels it is gone, nor does desire exist when the kindle is gone. However, since divine and prudent love has a steady basis, for that very reason  not only is more lasting, but, the fuller its vision of beauty grows the more it binds the lovers to it between themselves, That is the law of our own love.” (Oration 43)

A strong friendship is born when the friends fight a common cause and compete to gain the heights of virtue. St. Gregory talks about this common cause with St. Basil when he says, “The common ambition of us both was virtue and living for the hopes to come…Having this ambition before we directed all our life and actions, we were led by the commandment and we sharpened our virtue upon each other and we became,  if this is not a great thing for me to say, being a rule and standard to each other, for the distinction between what was right and what was not.”

True friendship is founded upon the words of the apostle “Love does not seek its own” (1 Cor, 13:5) and “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Roms 12:10) The holy fathers put this into practice, “We both struggled, not each to gain the first place for himself, but to yield it to the other; for we considered each other’s good reputation to be our very own… you must be convinced that we lived in each other and with each other. And the best of all is that we formed a fraternity that he (Basil) guided and instructed by him as the leader with common pleasure, except that I ran along on foot  beside that Lydian chariot (i.e. the fastest Chariot), following wherever he took us”

True friendship is united in common principles and views. St Gregory writes, “I think nothing is of value unless it leads to virtue and improves a person. Others bear different names either from their father, or from their family, or from their occupation or actions. However, we have the great honour and reknown to be and to be called Christians. This is our boast.”

Great friendship is shown through tenderness, sensitivity, care and brotherly love. This is shown by St. Gregory calling his friend, “my very own Basil”. This denotes selfless friendship, pure and bathed in the light of Christian love and virtue.

Think about the example of  St Gregory towards his friends Basil and Gregory. Is it something we can put into practice in our own lives? If we try maybe we can form stronger and longer lasting friendships.
Holy Father Gregory, pray to God for us.

Sources used

Oration 11 “To Gregory of Nyssa on his Ordination”
Oration 43  “Funeral Oration on Basil the Great” 

Give Thanks to St Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain

St-Nicodemos-the-Hagiorite-255x300

  • Have you heard about the Jesus Prayer and the tradition of Prayer in the Heart ? Well, thank St. Nicodemos!
  • Have you been encouraged to take communion frequently and often? Thank St Nicodemos
  • Have you learnt about confession and gone to a good confessor? Thank St Nicodemos.
  • Have you read the Lives of the Saints? Thank St Nicodemos.
  • Have you heard about the Desert Fathers? Thank St. Nicodemos

St Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain is a perfect example of what a person with no special title or position of authority can offer the church. St. Nicodemos  was never a bishop, or a priest, just an ordinary, simple, yet educated, monk. He came from a tiny island, of humble origins, lived a life of scholarship and prayer and was one of the greatest teachers the Orthodox Church has to offer. He is one of the most important Orthodox authors of the modern era, and did his utmost to make the strong hesychastic and liturgical tradition available to all. A prolific writer and anthologist, yet the common thread in all of his work is to encourage the ordinary Christian to go deeper and deeper into the life in Christ.

It is not my purpose here to write a full life of St Nicodemos, but I will refer to it briefly. St Nicodemos was born in 1749 on the island of Naxos, receiving the baptismal name of Nicholas.  (His family name was Kallivourtsis). It was  on Naxos that he was first educated. He completed his studies at the Evangelical School in Smyrna a famous centre of learning at the time. As well as receiving a classical education in Greek, he also learnt, Latin Italian and French, and excelled in all his subjects.

However, the Russio-Turkish wars intervened, and following the defeat of the Ottoman Turks at Chesme, Orthodox Christian population of Asia Minor was punished with reprisals. St. Nicodemos, therefore.  returned to his native island of Naxos and and served as secretary and assistant to the Metropolitan of Paros and Naxos, Anthimos Vardis. It must be noted that throughout his studies and service to the Church he was noted for his purity of life, his depth of scholarship, but also his deep humility.

It was on Naxos that he met the Athonite monks Gregory, Niphon and Arsenios, and on the neighbouring island of Hydra that he met Macarios of Corinth, who had been exiled from his see by the Turks. They told him of the monastic life and the tradition of prayer in the heart.
These contacts inspired him to leave for Mount Athos. He entered Dionysiou monastery on Mount Athos in 1775. There he renounced the world, was tonsured a monk and was given the monastic name Nicodemos.

This was when St. Nicodemos really started to revive and teach the traditional Orthodox practices and patristic literature.

St Nicodemos touched upon every aspect of theological learning.

He wrote commentaries on all of the Epistles, the Book of Psalms,and even all the canon law of the Church, which he codified and commented upon in his groundbreaking tome called “The Rudder”

He also wrote a guide for confessors known as the Exomologitarion or Manual of Confession. He wrote a pamphlet encouraging frequent communion and thus spearheaded the Kollyvades movement. 

He wrote commentaries on the canons of Hymns sung on Feasts of Christ, and  of the Mother of God, as well as a whole host of other hymns, such as the Ninth Ode to the mother of God, the Hymns of Ascent sung in Matins etc.

St Nicodemos wrote out the Lives of the Saints, in a new Synaxarion, with a volume for each of the 12 months of the year. He also wrote a New Martyrologion, which catalogued all the new martyrs created under the Turkish yoke. Added to this were services written for many saints, including the new martyrs, as well as hymns to the Mother of God in the New Theotokarion.

St Nicodemos wrote a book on ethics called “Christoethia” , moreover his great work examining the human being and the state of the soul called the Handbook of Spiritual Counsel, or on guarding the five senses. He also reworked the book Unseen Warfare and wrote a book called Spiritual Exercises, pehaps taking the impetus from Western writers, but setting the ideas out wholly from a traditional Orthoodox perspective.

He reminded us again of the Desert Fathers with the publication of the Evergetinos. Most important of all was his work on the Philokalia . A marvellous anthology which weaves its way through the history of the Jesus Prayer from the time of St Anthony the Great to the great exegesis of this hesychastic tradition found in St. Gregory Palamas.

However, St Nicodemos writings were also a reflection of his own way of life. His biographer writes that many wounded by sin left bishops and confessors and ran to St Nicodemos.

His fame spread, and many Orthodox and non-Orthodox visited him to receive advice and spiritual guidance. Patriarchs, metropolitans, and lay officials such as John Kapodistrias, who later became the first prime minister of Greece, visited him

They were amazed to see a man dressed in rags – he had only one cassock – with plain sandals; old, without teeth, exhausted from the fasting and the hardships of his strict monastic life. St. Nicodemos’ lived a life of utter simplicity renouncing all the pleasures of he flesh. His food consisted of rice boiled in water, honey diluted with water, olives soaked in fava beans, and bread. He rarely ate fish. He practiced xerophagy  (i.e. eating uncooked food mainly bread, raisins, and nuts) in the true sense of the word. His eyes were full of flame and his mouth did not cease speaking the word of God. He was ready to explain the Scriptures to everyone, and then he would bend his head to the left side and say secretly the famous Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus, save me.” He spoke of himself as “a monster,” “a dead dog,” “a nonentity,” unwise,” “uneducated.” Yet, those who knew him said that he lived the life of an angel. He was humble, sweet, meek, and without possessions.

On July 5, 1809, he suffered a stroke leaving him paralysed on his upper right side. He did not speak much thereafter.

Early in the morning of July 14, 1809, as the earthly sun rose, the spiritual sun of Christ’s Holy Church was set, yet the rays of his teachings still shine upon us today.

In our Father amongst the Saints, Nicodemos, we truly have plenty to be thankful for. O Holy Father Nicodemos, pray to God for us!

St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (fresco)

Apolytikion of St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain – Third Tone
Thou hast been shown to be a godly clarion of holy oracles, teaching us righteousness. Thou wast adorned with wisdom’s grace, O Father, Saint Nicodemus For thou didst present to all thy pure life as a paradigm, pouring forth enlightenment by the wealth of thy godly words. Thy teachings of salvation illumined as light the whole world, O righteous Father.
   

 

Resurrection – St Gregory the Theologian

Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us—you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died.
St. Gregory the Theologian

Christ is Risen!

People rejoice, nations hear:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Stars dance, mountains sing:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Forests murmur, winds hum:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Seas bow*, animals roar:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Bees swarm, and the birds sing:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!

Angels stand, triple the song:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Sky humble yourself, and elevate the earth:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Bells chime, and tell to all:
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!
Glory to You God, everything is possible to You,
Christ is risen, and brings the joy!

The words are from a poem by St. Nicholas Velimirovic.

Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom

If you are devout and love God, enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival. If you are a grateful servant,enter, rejoicing, into the joy of your Lord. If you followed the fast, receive your payment now.
If you worked from the first hour, receive today your just reward. If you came after the third hour, you are welcomed to celebrate. If you arrived after the sixth hour, have no doubt; for you suffer no loss. If you delayed until the ninth hour, come near with no cause to hesitate. If you arrived even at the eleventh hour, do not be fearful of the lateness; for the Lord is generous and accepts the last as He does the first.
He gives rest to him of the eleventh hour, as to him who worked from the first hour. He shows mercy to the last and attends to the first. To the one is given and to the other is granted. He accepts the works and welcomes the volition. He honours the act and praises the intention.
All of you, therefore, enter into the joy of our Lord; both first and last, receive your reward. You richand poor, with one another dance. You who are abstinent and you who are indolent, honour this day.
You who have fasted and you who have not fasted, be glad today. The table is richly laden; all of you,feast sumptuously. The calf is plentiful; let no one depart hungry. All of you partake of the banquet offaith. All of you enjoy the wealth of goodness.
Let no one deplore his poverty, for the Universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one lament for transgressions, because forgiveness has dawned from the Tomb. Let no one fear death, for the death of the Saviour has set us free.
He subdued it when it took hold of Him. He despoiled Hades when He descended into Hades. He embittered it as it tasted of His flesh. And anticipating this, Isaiah cried out, “Hades was embittered when it encountered You below.”
It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was mortified.
It was embittered, for it was dethroned.
It was embittered, for it was enchained.
It received a body and came upon God. It received earth and met up with heaven. It received what it saw and stumbled upon what it did not see. Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown.
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen.
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen, and life rules.
Christ is risen, and not one is to be found dead in the tomb.
For Christ rising from the dead has become the First to awaken among those who are asleep.
To Him be the glory and the power to the ages of ages.

Amen.

Lenten Concert: O My Sweetest Springtime

Image
Wednesday 9 April 2014, 19:00 p.m.

The Hellenic Centre

16-18 Paddington Street,

London W1U 5AS

The Education Office at the Embassy of Greece in London and the Cyprus Educational Mission (K.E.A.) in cooperation with The School of Byzantine Music of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain present an evening of Orthodox Christian Hymns of Great Lent and Holy Week.

The School of Byzantine Music Choir will perform selected hymns and contemporary Greek poems set to music. The programme also includes reading of poems, prose and hymns.

Entrance free. Booking essential on 02075639835 or at press@helleniccentre.org
Sponsored by The Hellenic Centre.

You are welcome!!!

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

Originally posted on Monastery of Ypseni:

What is “the Great Canon of St. Andrew” ?


The Great Canon is a long chanted hymn in the form of a poem. It consists of four parts, each divided into nine odes like a regular canon, but there are more troparia (stanzas).
The refrain is  “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,” and a full prostration is performed.

What’s “Great” about it?


The Church decided to call it the Great Canon not so much for its length (250 troparia, or verses), as for the quality and power of its content.

When was it written?


It was written in the Seventh Century. When St. Andrew traveled to Constantinople for the 6th Ecumenical Council, in the year 680 AD, he brought with him and made public both his great composition and the life of St. Mary of Egypt, written by his compatriot and teacher, Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem…

View original 690 more words