Friday, February 10, 2023
St. Ioannikios, Father Confessor of the Dormition Holy Mountain Hermitage. Hieromartyr Haralambos, Bishop of Magnesia in Thessaly, and Martyrs Porphyrius, Baptus and three women Martyrs (202). Synaxis of the Hierarchs of Novgorod, buried in the Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom (Sophia) in Novgorod: Joachim (1030), Luke (1058), Theodore (1077), Herman (1096), Arkádii (Arcadius)—(1163), John (1185), Gabriel (1193), Martyrii (1199), Anthony (1231), Easily (Basil)—(1352), Moses (1362), Simeon (1421), Evfim (Euthymius)—(1458) and Aftonii (Aphtonius—1652). Rt. Blv. Princess Anna of Novgorod (1056). Ven. Prokhor (Prochorus) of the Kiev Caves (Near Caves—1107). Ven. Lóngin (Longinus) of Koryazhemsk (Vologdá—1540). Virgin Martyrs Ennatha, Valentina and Paula, of Palestine (308). The “AREOVINDUS” Icon of the Mother of God.
Before Reading the Holy Scripture
Illumine our hearts, O Master Who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing unto Thee. For Thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, Who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
1 John 2:7-17
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Greetings in the Lord Jesus, my dear Brothers and Sister in Christ!
Now that we have entered the period of the Triodion, I thought would be good for us to concentrate on the Spirit-filled teachings of St. John of Kronstadt, from his book: Season of Repentance. You may purchase a copy from Holy Trinity Monastery Bookstore, in Jordanville, NY. They did the translation. On the Publican and the Pharisee, there will only be two days of teaching (T hese two will be longer than usual.), since we only started them at the end of this week. Please pray that St. John forgives me for having to splice together so many different sections of his powerful teachings on this parable. May our Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercessions of our Most Beloved Panaghia, grant to us all a repentant, self-emptying, and Grace-filled journey to His awesome Passion and glorious Resurrection!
SEASON OF REPENTANCE, by St. John of Kronstadt
The Season of Repentance
On the Publican and the Pharisee
[Part 1 of 2]
“Pharisees and tax collectors – not in name, but according to their deeds – exist even in our time. The passion of self-exaltation and self-praise, to this day, reigns today among the children of fallen Adam … From where does this passion come? It comes from the same source where all of our sins originate: from the first ancestral sin … Self-exaltation, or pride, is a passion that is spiritually fatal to man. It makes him hostile towards God and contemptuous towards his neighbors… The Pharisee, in his blind conceit and pride, has forgotten who he is and to Whom he addresses: the sinner imagined himself to be a righteous man; the sinner forgot that he speaks with the All-seeing, All-righteous God…
“How can I, during prayer, remember my few good deeds, when I have incomparably more wicked deeds? No. It is better for me to shed tears of contrition for my sins — better ‘to pour out my ardent prayer to the Lord, and to reveal to Him my sorrow, because my soul is filled with evil, and my life draws closer to hades ’ [Irmos, 4th Plagal Tone, 6th ode].”
Orthodox Agape by papademetrios
Never Converse With Demons
In 1986 I spent fourteen days in retreat at Saint Tikhon Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. Staying in the monastic quarters, I had two weeks of wonderful fellowship with the monastics, worshiping in their temple, eating with them in trapeza, walking the trails through their forest, praying in their large Orthodox cemetery, and visiting the seminary bookstore.
One night I was awakened around two in the morning by a knock on the door of my cell. Startled out of a sound sleep I realized my name was being called in unison by three voices, in a mocking tone. The voices then started calling my name from the outside wall of my room. Frightened, I reached out in total darkness, grabbing my prayer rope from the night stand and started praying the Jesus Prayer as the voices continued calling out, “Father Tryphon, Father Tryphon, Father Tryphon”. These voices then moved to a wall opposite my bed, and then continued from the outside wall.
I said nothing, for I immediately realized the voices were demonic, and mocking me by calling with three voices, since Tryphon means, “three voices”. I was too frightened to get up, but continued praying the Jesus Prayer for about an hour. Once the voices stopped, I managed to reach for the light next to the door, got up to light a lampada before the icons, and returned to bed, where I continued the Jesus Prayer.
Following the morning service, I went outside to see if there was a tree branch that had been tapping against the outside of my room. There were not only no trees, but there were no footprints in the snow which had fallen the day before.
During trapeza that next afternoon, I told the assembled monks what had happened, and my recounting was met with silence. I spent the rest of the day thinking they all thought poor Father Tryphon must be mentally ill.
Later that evening while sitting with one of the monks in the kitchen, eating a microwaved potato, he brought up the subject. He said the silent response from the monks was the result of shock, for it had happened to the last monk who had stayed in that cell. He went on to tell me that the cell next to mine had been used as a storage room for years, following an exorcism service that their bishop had performed a number of years earlier.
I share this experience in order to remind my readers that demons do exist, and they are the enemies of God, and the enemies of humankind. They use trickery and deception to bring us down, for they serve the devil, who is the great deceiver. It is important that we never enter into conversation with them, and never answer them, whether they speak to us directly as happened to me, or tempt us through evil thoughts. They can have no power over us unless we give it to them. Our God is more powerful than the devil and all the fallen angels, and they can be dispersed by calling upon the Holy Name of Jesus. When those demons called out to me, had I responded, they would have gained power over me. By remaining silent, and calling upon the Name of Jesus, they left me. We blessed my room with holy water that evening, lit the lampada before the icons, and they were gone.
With love in Christ,