Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy (51)

Friday, 17 July 2015 07:36

The Life of a Saint: Saint Elijah

Saint Elijah
Feast Day: July 20

Elijah, or Elias as he was also known, unlike other men, did not die the death of a mortal man. Instead, he was raised up into Heaven by the hand of God. Elijah is believed to have been a prefiguration of either Jesus Christ or Saint John the Baptist, and although most commonly known as a prophet, is venerated as a Saint. He was a man of God, a wonder-worker, who communed with God and is venerated on equal grounds as the mighty Moses. During the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, it is noted that as Christ's face shone like the Sun and His garments became as white as snow, that there appeared Moses and Elijah, talking with Him. (Matthew 17:2-3)

Saint Elijah lived in the eighth century B.C. and was from Tishbe of Gilead, during the reigns of Ahaziah and Ahab. During that time, the tribes of Israel had started to forget God. Instead, they began worshipping the false god Baal, that was introduced by the wife of Ahab, Jezebel. She brought forth idolatrous priests, erected temples to Baal, and began converting the people to the worship of it. Elijah stormed against the evils of the priests of Baal, who were contaminating the pure worship of God and demoralising the land. Elijah did not stop fighting against this evil at every opportunity, and preached the word of God with great passion and eloquence, bringing many who had strayed, back to God. After being discredited by Elijah, the false prophets of Baal returned to Jezebel for additional strength and the influence of the throne.

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David of Thessalonike
Feast Day: June 26

It was during the fifth century in Thessalonike that a man named David was found. Thessalonike, at that time, was isolated and required a certain self-sufficient lifestyle. As a result, the men from this land were known for their hardiness, resourcefulness, and depth of faith.

David was a very handsome man, however, his gentle manner, pious sincerity, and deeply religious conviction, meant his place was with God. So having heard his calling to the monastic life, he abandoned the world, and took up the tranquillity at a nearby monastery. This monastery was dedicated to the martyrs Theodore and Merkurios, and while he held them in reverence, it was St Symeon Stylites, the indestructible saint who sat on top a sixty-foot pillar to remind passers-by of the salvation of man through Jesus Christ, that he revered more.

David progressed through the monastic life fairly quietly until one Summer day when he climbed up an almond tree to escape the heat. While there on the limb of the tree, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his hero, St Symeon. He selected a stout limb and made a resolution to stay in the tree until God called him down. After startling a passing monk below, David asked that he be given sustenance for as long as required, just like St Symeon.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2015 13:30

A Simple Story from a Humble Monastery

Let me share with you a story. A story that while is not long, will leave you with a sense of peace.
My story occurs at a monastery on Mount Athos, one afternoon, during the Fast of the Apostles. I was standing on the pier, gazing at out the sea. I could feel the warmth of the Sun, and hear the calming sounds of the waves. It was as if any stress or problems that still existed within me were being washed away.
I made many friends during my time there. One friend in particular, was spending the afternoon fishing, using some fishing wire, a hook, and dough for bait. He was there for almost an hour without a catch but that in itself was of no concern to him. We were at peace. Then all of a sudden, the waters were stirred up by something beneath. I never did manage to see what was beneath but at that moment, hundreds of fish started going crazy. They leaped through the air at heights of about a metre and all raced towards the pier. The pier was then covered with fish.
I couldn't help but laugh to myself at my friend's unfortunate situation. Having fished for so long, without a catch, and then all of a sudden to have the fish surrender themselves. It created a few chuckles. The monks too were amazed but thankful for this gift from God. They retrieved some buckets and began collecting the fish, that they may be as food for the monastery.

How amazing is this! Just a demonstration of God's providence. Just like when Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt and they began to grow hungry. God sent them manna from heaven every day, and commanded that they only take enough for the day. In all things God provides for us. As Jesus says:

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Monday, 04 May 2015 08:00

The Life of a Saint: Saint Irene

Saint Irene
Feast Day: May 5

During the fourth century in Persia, Christians were under persecution by various enemies and struggled to lead peaceful lives. Irene, whose name in Greek means peace, was one woman who, despite being in hostile land of great evil, endured to the end with Christ, in a manner that brought her sainthood.

Irene was born in the Persian city of Magydus, during the reign of Constantine the Great. She was the daughter of Licinius, governor of that region, who ruled with an iron will. She was raised in an ornate palace and at the age of eight, began studies, that lasted ten years, under the tutelage of Apelanios, who was renowned for his wisdom and intellect.

Apelanios was also Irene's biographer, and records that when Irene was a young woman, an angel of the Lord appeared to her in a dream. The angel told her that she had been chosen to be the voice of the Messiah among her own people. When she told Apelanios her dream, he stood in awe, and warned her that the road ahead would be difficult and filled with obstacles. Even still, Irene knew that her faith would sustain her.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015 09:00

The Miracle of Carthage

The Miracle of Carthage
Feast Day: April 28

The "miracle of Carthage," although known to few, has left people questioning its validity. However, with medical evidence supporting the testimony of those who have been "clinically dead," only to be brought back to life, there is no reason to doubt this remarkable incident that took place in the seventh century, displaying the power of the Lord.

It was a venerable ascetic named Anastasios, who lived a pious and studious life in the monastery of St Catherine's at the base of Mt. Sinai, who authored this amazing story. He made known this remarkable occurrence during the reign of Emperor Heraklios (A.D. 625) only after careful scrutiny of the truthful tale that shows the power of good over evil.

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Sunday, 05 April 2015 15:45

Holy Week Meditation and Study Guide

Having entered Holy Week, the Great Feast of Holy Pascha approaches. To help you in your understanding of what each day of Holy Week commemorates, we have made available a handy "Holy Week Meditation and Study Guide."

Please click here to download the file, or alternatively, pick one up from our Church as you come to join in the services with us.

 

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 08:00

The Life of a Saint: Gerasimos of Jordan

Gerasimos of Jordan
Feast Day: March 4

The story of Gerasimos, a pious monk who formed an attachment with the acknowledged king of beasts, the lion, has suffered greatly through fictional accounts over the years. It is important to note the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, which extends all things visible and invisible. This account of Gerasimos and his unusual relationship with a lion is proof of that.

Born in the seventh century, in the province of Lycia, Asia Minor, lions roamed the region, as in the account of Sampson from the Old Testament. Having come from a family of leisure-class wealth, it is difficult to believe that he would one day walk away from this life for the simple self-denial that comes from monasticism. Yet, he did just that when he felt the call to the service of Jesus Christ, and left the comfort for the confines of a cloister of the desert. He dedicated himself totally to the Saviour.

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Monday, 23 February 2015 16:34

Great Lent 2015 - A Few Words

Today is known as Clean Monday and is the day following Cheesefare Sunday. This day marks the beginning of Great Lent and is when we begin preparing ourselves for the Great Feast of Holy Pascha. Great Lent is the forty-day period that begins on Clean Monday and ends on Holy Pascha, which is the most important Feast of the Christian year. As a result, a strict fast is observed today.

During this period of Great Lent, we are instructed to fast from both meat and cheese products but more importantly, we are also instructed to fast spiritually. Spiritually fasting is the taming of our thoughts, words, and actions. By fasting from foods, we train our bodies in discipline and self-control. We also do away with the many evils that take advantage of us in this weak state and cause us to sin. Fasting from foods aids us in our spiritual fast and so prepares us for Holy Pascha.

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Tuesday, 03 February 2015 17:00

The Life of a Saint: Saint Charalambos

Saint Charalambos
Feast Day: February 10

Charalambos was a priest who suffered inhuman tortures and martyrdom at the hands of pagan tormentors, greater than any other martyr. Despite possessing divine courage and steadfastness of faith, placing him among the Saints, he was still human; the sharpness of pain that he felt, was the same as that of an ordinary man. We venerate him as a Saint in the highest tradition of a martyr for his steadfast refusal to renounce the Lord.

Growing up in the town of Magnesia, Asia Minor, during the second century, Charalambos was ordained a priest at an early age. He served his home town in a province fiercely hostile to Christians. Thanks to his reputation as a preacher and man of God, he was placed as a leader of the tiny Christian body that grew steadily, despite the odds. He brought the light of the Lord's love to everyone in the community, subsequently bringing upon himself the envy and wrath of those in power.

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