Archive for December, 2008

We magnify the holy Hierarch Nicholas

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

We magnify thee, / O holy hierarch Nicholas, / and we honor thy holy memory; // for thou dost entreat Christ God in our behalf.


St Nicholas’ day is Friday this week. In order to celebrate our patron, we will try to post something about St Nicholas every week.


  • Vigil for St Nicholas: Thursday 6:30 PM
  •  Divine Liturgy and festal lunch (fish allowed) Friday 9 AM 



 Truly, the church magnifies holy Nicholas because of our experience.

The hymn above, called the “Magnification” is sung at Matins shortly before the Gospel is read. All magnifications begin with “We magnify…” and follow with a very short hymn of praise. This is sung at all Feasts of the Lord (save Pascha, which has many special exceptions to our usual services), the Theotokos, and particuarly celebrated Saints.


The hymn is first sung by the priest and other serving clery before the icon in the center of the church, then the choir repeats it, with verses from the psalms being interspersed until the priest finishes censing the icon, altar and entire church, before returning in front of the icon in the center to sing the magnification one last time.


Usually the clergy sing the first and last time; in our church, since I have good (well, okay) and bad musical days, sometimes I gesture to the choir to sing the last time. The poor choir director never knows what I am going to do, and has to keep a lookout. There is always mystery in our services!


If you listen closely to the magnification, you will hear clear dogmatic truth expresssed, in this case, that because of St Nicholas being the “righteous man”, his “effectual fervent prayer accomplishes  much.[1]  


A underlying theme of all services extolling the saints is that their prayer for us accomplishes much. We ask for their intercession precisely because they are righteous, and they hear us. For instance:


The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, / an icon of meekness and a teacher of temperance; / therefore thou hast achieved the heights by humility, / riches by poverty. / O Father and  Hierarch Nicholas, / intercede with Christ God, // that our souls be saved.   Troparian, Tone 4


Dwelling bodily in Myra, / thou wast truly shown to be myrrh, / having been anointed with noetic chrism, O holy Nicholas, / hierarch of Christ; / and thou dost perfume the faces / of those who with faith and love / ever celebrate thy most glorious memory, / freeing them from misfor­tunes, perils and sorrows // by thy prayers to God, O father. Service to St Nicholas, Lord I have cried, Stichera 1


O father Nicholas, the shrine of thy relics, / like a phial, enricheth Myra with myrrh. / And, appearing to the emperor in a vision during sleep, / therein thou didst free from death, fetters and prison / those unjustly held condemned. / And now, as then, do thou ever appear in vi­sions, // praying for our souls. Service to St Nicholas, Litia, Stichera 2


The latter hymn, above, illustrates in large part why we have so much confidence in praying to holy Nicholas. Our experience has shown us that he has appeared at various times in various places. Yesterday we posted about his appearing in Russia in the winter to save a man from a firing squad. He is not dead, but alive, as all the saints are[2], and just as God send angels to spiritually and physically help us, so too, are the saints sometimes His angels.


How do we know that Saint Nicholas has appeared and continues to appear in the world? Beause of the experience of the church. Some of this experience is recorded in our service texts.


It is a shame that even some who are educated, and in positions of authority cannot believe the simple truths expressed in our services. We can only understand the services if we worship in them and then do what is said in them. Christian truth can only be understood by experience, when this experience leads one to moral change. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.


O holy Nicholas, pure in heart and bold before the throne of God, interced for us that our hearts may become pure.



[1] The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  (James 5:16)


[2] I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mat 22:32  )




Abraham and the Holy Trinity, vigil, St Philaret, and us.

Monday, December 15th, 2008


Emulating Abraham the hospitable, O Philaret,

thou didst honor the life-creating Trinity,

which did not manifest Itself to thee in the guise of three strangers,

but in the guise of a multitude of the wretched

to whom thou didst zealously minister.

St Philaret the Merciul, Dec 1. Matins Canon, Ode 4

We remembered St Philaret the Merciful this Sunday (Dec 1/14). As is always the case, the vigil contained many "pearls". These are precious moments, when something "hits you", and you feel deeply a theological and moral truth, usually accompanied by a fervent desire to do better in one’s life. Other times, a deep consolation is felt, and a quiet confidence that indeed, one can become good, and have the strength to do all that is necessary in this difficult life.


These moments are short, and often few and far between, but they thoroughly nourish the soul. "Without vision, the people perish". We need to feel truth deeply, viscerally, in order to be strengthened to act. I believe with all my heart that vigil is absolutely essential for our spiritual well-being, because of the moments God gifts us with during the long service. Oh! if we could only preserve the warm pious feelings we have but for a few moments!

I can not even say accurately what this hymn meant to my soul when I heard it chanted, even though, even at this time over a day removed from hearing it, I know exactly what it meant to me. Pious feelings cannot be fully explained.

An inaccurate summary: We have the privilege of encountering God and entering into the life of the Holy Trinity whenever we act morally, with kindness to another person. We were born for this. At no other time are we more alive, and closer to God, and know God, than when we are being kind. What a privilege it is to participate with the Holy Trinity in God’s economy!

From the village of Amnia in Paphlagonia, Philaret was at first a man of some substance, but, as a result of his constant almsgiving, he became utterly destitute. He was not afraid of poverty, and went on with his charitable works with trust in the Lord who has said: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’, paying no attention to the disapproval of his wife and children. Once, when he was ploughing in his meadow, a man came to him with the news of the death of his ox in harness, and of his inability to plough with only one ox, so Philaret unhamessed his own and gave it to him. He gave away his remaining horse to a man who was called away to battle, and the calf from his remaining cow – and, when he saw how the cow pined after her calf, gave the man the cow as well. And so the aged Philaret was left hungry in an empty house. But he prayed to God, entrusting himself to Him. God does not abandon the righteous man, allowing him to be shamed in his hope. At that time, the Empress Irene was on the throne with her young son Constantine and, in accordance with the custom of the time, the Empress sent men through the whole Empire to find the best and most distinguished maiden to wed her son. By divine Providence, these men happened upon Philaret‘s home and beheld his very beautiful and modest grand-daughter Maria, the daughter of Hypatia, and they took her to Constantinople. The Emperor was well-pleased with her and took her to wife, and brought Philaret and all his family to the capital, showering honour and wealth upon them. Philaret did not become proud in this change of fortune but, with gratitude to God, performed still greater deeds of charity than before, remaining thus for the rest of his days. At the age of ninety, he called all his children to him and, having blessed them and instructed them to cleave to God and His Law, foretold to each of them how their lives would develop, just as our forefather Jacob did aforetime. When he had done this, he went to a monastery and there gave his soul into God’s hands. At his death, his face shone like the sun and a sweet fragrance arose from his body, and miracles were worked over his relics. This righteous man of God went to his rest in 797. His wife and all his children and grandchildren lived and died in the Lord.


From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK



A Miracle Wrought By St. Nicholas In Kiev In The 1920s

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

St Nicholas’ day is Friday this week. In order to celebrate our patron, we will try to post something about St Nicholas every week.


Vigil for St Nicholas:

Thursday 6:30 PM Divine Liturgy and festal lunch (fish allowed) Friday 9 AM 


It was nearly half a century ago that I first heard of this miracle wrought by St. Nicholas. Never had I chanced to read anything about it in the writings of the Church. I would not want this case of the saintly bishop’s help to depart to my grave with me.

During the mid-1940s (I can’t recall the exact date), I had to spend the night in the city of Munchen [Munich] in West Germany. The city was in ruins after the war, and I would be forced to spend the night outside. Fortunately, there chanced to be a "Good Samaritan" church-house in the city, and I was provided with its address.

There were two of us in the room. Myself, and a man unknown to me, some 40-45 years of age. We introduced ourselves, each to the other. I do not remember either his name or his surname–and they probably would not have been "real," anyway. We had to sleep on wooden benches and chairs. So, in order to pass the night more quickly, we fell to talking. I can’t remember why, but my co-locutor, for some reason or other, asked me whether I was acquainted with the miracle of St. Nicholas that took place in Kiev in the 1920s. I did not know of it, and he related the following tale to me.

In Kiev, at Podol (the northern section of the city), there dwelt an elderly widow with her son and daughter. The old woman dearly loved St. Nicholas and, in all cases of difficulty, would go to his church to pray before the image [obraz] of the saintly bishop [sviatitel’], always receiving consolation and the easing of her misfortune. Her son, seemingly a student, became an officer.

The governments of the city changed frequently: Whites, Reds, a Hetman, a Directory, Poles, Germans, etc. All former officers were arrested on the spot, the old woman’s son among them. His sister rushed about from one "department" of the time to another. She ran her legs off, but achieved nothing. But the old woman ran off to St. Nicholas. Long did she pray before his ikon; then she returned home, consoled–the saintly bishop will help. She sat down to have a spot of tea, while her daughter’s hands simply fell to her sides. O, woe! her brother had vanished!

The son returned home at dawn of the following day. Famished, beaten, dirty, weary. According to him, a large group of officers under a strong convoy of guards was being led off to Pechersk. This is the hilly section of town, opposite from Podol, by the Kiev-Caves Lavra. There was a large hippodrome there, where horse races were held. Beyond it, there was a grove, and rampart-trenches which had been dug in Peter I’s day, as a defense against the Swedes. It was in that grove, by the rampart-trenches, that the shootings took place.

They had come up to the hippodrome when, suddenly, some little old man or other stepped out from around a corner. He approached the convoy-commandant and asked: "Where are you taking them?"

The commandant replied, rudely: "To Dukhonin’s H.Q.!" (which meant, in the jargon of the time, "to be shot"). "Go away, old man!" The old man left, but, in doing so, he took the old woman’s son by the hand and said: "Let him go. I know him."

Neither the commandant nor the escort-guards replied with even so much as a single word, nor did they hinder him. The little old man led the young fellow out around the corner and, saying, "Go on home to your mother," vanished away somewhere.

The old woman was overjoyed and immediately set off to thank St. Nicholas. The son wanted to do nothing more than to lie down and have a good, long sleep, but his mother took him along with her to the church. He had probably been there on previous occasions, but had been but little interested in anything.

The little old woman led him up to a huge image of the saintly bishop. The son turned ashen-pale and began to tremble. He could only whisper: "Mother, dear, but that’s the very same elder who led me to freedom…"

Wondrous is God in His Saints.

Many of the details of this tale were precise and animated. Who had my co-locutor been? Perhaps he had been speaking of himself? I don’t know…

— N. P. F.

California 1993

[Translated from the Russian text appearing in ~Pravoslavnaya Rus’~ ("Orthodox Rus’"), No. 13, 1997 by G. Spruksts, English-language translation copyright (c) 1997.]English-language translation copyright (c) 1997 by the St. Stefan Of Perm Guild, the Russian Cultural Heritage Society and the Translator. Used with permission.


26th Sunday 2008. the Harvest of the Rich Man. Two kinds of men, and redeeming the time.

Sunday, December 14th, 2008


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Ephesians 5:9-19 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Luke 12:16-21 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.


Other Homilies on this Sunday:
26th Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
Harvest Of A Rich Man
26th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)

26th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Parable Of The Rich Man Whose Ground Brought Forth Plentifully
An Urgent Question We Must Answer; What Shall I Do
Ephesians 5:9-19, Luke 12:16-21
26th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Harvest of the Rich Man
Two kinds of men, and redeeming the time.
Ephesians 5:9-19, Luke 12:16-21


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Gleaings:Sin compared to despair

Friday, December 12th, 2008

"It is more serious to lose hope than to sin. The traitor Judas was a defeatist, inexperienced in spiritual warfare; as a result he was reduced to despair by the enemy’s onslaught, and he went and hanged himself. Peter, on the other hand, was a firm rock: although brought down by a terrible fall, yet because of his experience in spiritual warfare he was not broken by despair, but leaping up he shed bitter tears from a contrite and humiliated heart. And as soon as our enemy saw them, he recoiled as if his eyes had been burnt by searing flames, and he took to flight howling and lamenting."

St. John of Karpathos.

Thoughts and distractions

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Those who want to pray with a cleansed mind (nous) must not concern themselves with the latest news from the newspapers, or read books that are irrelevant to our spiritual life – especially those books that arouse the passions – and they must not strive to learn out of curiosity whatever pertains to the lives of others. All these things bring foreign thoughts to mind, and when a person attempts to elucidate them, they confound his mind even more.


fsof05Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov


Gleanings:An explanation of why the bride and groom wear crowns

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008


Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?

St John Chrysostom, Homily IX. on 1 Timothy ii. 11–15 (


In Slavic churches, metal crowns are worn, whereas the Greeks use flower garlands. The meaning is the same. This homily was one of the ones of St John’s that applies to todays readings.



Nov 25/Dec 8.Holy Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome.

Monday, December 8th, 2008


Short life and excerpts of Epistles.

 Our holy father Clement was a contemporary of the Apostles, and was mentioned by St Paul:


“And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Philippians 4:3 KJV) . 


He was one of the early Popes of Rome (92-101), probably succeeding Saint Linus (67-79), and Saint Anacletus (79-91).  He was drowned on the orders of  Emperor Trajan in 101. his life may be found in the recommended “Menologion” program, which has the scripture readings, troparia and kontakia and lives of the Saints (Synaxarion) for every day of the year, no matter what year it is.


We have two of his Epistles, both to the Corinthians. They are an exhortation to holiness, and a response to the disorderly state of the church in Corinth, much like the Epistles of St Paul to this church. They are very important, because they give us the mind of the church just  after the ministry of the Apostles. St Clement is one of the so called “Apostolic Fathers”, those who knew the Apostles.


A few excerpts for St Clement’s writings follow. All of the Epistles are very good, but in the interest of brevity, I have only selected a “few” passages, sometimes with short commentary following.



Chap. VII. — An Exhortation to Repentance.

These things, beloved, we write unto you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us.


Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling.


Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us.


Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world.


Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. (Gen_7:1-24; 1Pe_3:20; 2Pe_2:5) Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; (Jon_3:1-10) but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God.


It is always my fervent desire that when my flock hears me preaching, they understand that I am speaking as one of them, with the same weaknesses and needs, as St Clement takes pains to point out here.


It is a terrible thing if the preacher is regarded in either of two extremes: 1. as one who is somehow holier than those he speaks to, and therefore his message is not applicable to ordinary men, or 2. as one who, because of his manifold sins, is a hypocrite, and dissembler. Neither extreme applies to me, your pastor. I am a sinner, but no dissembler. I believe that a priest is someone who is a sinner helping others to not sin, and by God’s grace improving in his own life all the while.


It has been said that the best sermons are those that a man preaches to himself. A pastor must feel the human condition deeply in his soul, and whether or not he shares in the weaknesses or sins he speaks about, realize that at one time he did share in these things, and in only a moment of inattention would fall right back into sinful habits.



Chap. VIII. — Continuation Respecting Repentance.


The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it, “As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;” (Eze_33:11) adding, moreover, this gracious declaration, “Repent O house of Israel, of your iniquity. (Eze_18:11) Say to the children of My people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, I and though they be redder (Comp. Isa_1:18) than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, yet if ye turn to Me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people.”


And in another place He speaks thus: “Wash you, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before mine eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together.


He declares, Though your sins be like crimson, I will make them white as snow; though they be like scarlet, I will whiten them like wool.


And if ye be willing and obey Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse, and will not hearken unto Me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken these things.” (Isa_1:16-20)


Desiring, therefore, that all His beloved should be partakers of repentance, He has, by His almighty will, established [these declarations].



Chap. IX. — Examples of the Saints.


Wherefore, let us yield obedience to His excellent and glorious will; and imploring His mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labours, and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassions.


Let us steadfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to His excellent glory.


Let us take (for instance) Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to him. Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark.



Chap. XVI. — Christ as an Example of Humility.

For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock.


Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition, as the Holy Spirit had declared regarding Him. For He says,


“Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared [our message] in His presence: He is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yea, we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was without eminence, yea, deficient in comparison with the [ordinary] form of men. He is a man exposed to stripes and suffering, anti acquainted with the endurance of grief: for His countenance was turned away; He was despised, and not esteemed. He bears our iniquities, and is in sorrow for our sakes; yet we supposed that [on His own account] He was exposed to labor, and stripes, and affliction. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we were healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; [every] man has wandered in his own way; and the Lord has delivered Him up for our sins, while He in the midst of His sufferings openeth not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth. For the transgressions of my people was He brought down to death. And I will give the wicked for His sepulchre, and the rich for His death, because He did no iniquity, neither was guile found in His mouth. And the Lord is pleased to purify Him by stripes. If ye make an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord is pleased to relieve Him of the affliction of His soul, to show Him light, and to form Him with understanding, to justify the Just One who ministereth well to many; and the Himself shall carry their sins. On this account He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong; because His soul was delivered to death, and He was reckoned among the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and for their sins was He delivered.”


And again He saith,


“I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All that see Me have derided Me; they have spoken with their lips; they have wagged their head, [saying] He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him, let Him save Him, since He delighteth in Him.” (Psa_22:6-8)


Ye see, beloved, what is the example which has been given us; for if the Lord thus humbled Himself, what shall we do who have through Him come under the yoke of His grace?



Chap. XXX. — Let Us Do Those Things That Please God, and Flee from Those He Hates, That We May Be Blessed.


Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. “For God,” saith [the Scripture], “resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” (Pro_3:34; Jam_4:6; 1Pe_5:5)


Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words. For [the Scripture] saith,


“He that speaketh much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech deem himself righteous? Blessed is he that is born of woman, who liveth but a short time: be not given to much speaking.”  (Job 11:1-2)


Let our praise be in God, and not of ourselves; for God hateth those that commend themselves. Let testimony to our good deeds be borne by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to those that are accursed of God; but moderation, humility, and meekness to such as are blessed by Him.


Here is a fuller treatment of the text cited by St Clement from Job:


Job 11:1-5 Brenton  Then Sophar the Minaean answered and said,  (2)  He that speaks much, should also hear on the other side: or does the fluent speaker think himself to be righteous? blessed is the short lived offspring of woman.  (3)  Be not a speaker of many words; for is there none to answer thee?  (4)  For say not, I am pure in my works, and blameless before him.  (5)  But oh that the Lord would speak to thee, and open his lips to thee!


Terrifying words for us! How simple and direct the scriptures are. Certainly these words give us ample reason to take pause before speaking.



Chap. XLII. — The Order of Ministers in the Church.


The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.”



Selections from the Letter of Clement to the Corinthians were taken from  the program “eSword”. This FREE program allows one to read the bible in multiple languages and English translations, with many dictionaries and other helps available The Ante-Nicene Fathers (see: ) and Apostolic Fathers are also available, as well as many other useful things. I use this program daily to read, take notes, and copy scripture passages. Get eSword and all modules here:



Pro-life ads on MTV!

Monday, December 8th, 2008

I saw this on a mailing list I subscribe to. I think pro-life ads are an EXCELLENT idea. I looked at some of them, and was impressed. FYI.

If God grants us growth in our new temple, it is my fervent desire that we become very involved in helping the community, as God sends us laborers. Some type of involvement in pro-life ministry is a possibility. Our involvement in reaching out to the community will depend on our size and fervor, and the laborers God sends. The bedrock upon all Christian outreach is prayer. This we do, and will increase when we are in our new temple. I have the ambition to serve some type of service daily in the temple (mostly in the morning). With God’s help, we will serve the "cycle" of services bit by bit throughout the five days of the week (mon-fri): Vespers, Compline, Midnight Office, Matins, the Hours and Divine Liturgy. We already serve Vespers and Liturgy during the week, and as we gain strength, I will add other services. Upon this "cornerstone", I hope very much that we will become active in many realms. May it be blessed!

Priest Seraphim. Quoted story follows.

Look out MTV, Here Come Pro-Life Ads which Have Been Shown to Decrease Abortion Numbers

By John-Henry Westen

ROSWELL, GA, November 24, 2008 ( – Pro-life television commercials with a proven track record of substantially lowering abortion rates are set to air on MTV beginning the day after Christmas.

With more than 98% of US homes having televisions, and the average American spending over 5 hours every day consuming media, it is easy to see how VirtueMedia can reach millions of people each day using powerful broadcast commercials to positively affect culture.

Four U.S. regions with significant abortion-vulnerable populations recently reported a decrease in abortions in response to the airing of VirtueMedia’s educational pro-life ads, partnered with other effective pro-life efforts.

– Abortion rates have dropped nearly 20% in Arizona (2004 vs. 2007). Since 2005, VirtueMedia began to air pro-life television ads year-round, in collaboration with the Diocese of Phoenix.

– Abortion rates decreased 12% in Montgomery County, OH (Dayton) since 2006, when VirtueMedia ads began airing in partnership with Dayton Right to Life.

– Since opening a second office in Georgia and beginning to air crisis pregnancy ads in Atlanta in 2005, abortion rates have declined nearly 10% in metro Atlanta. In just one month, VirtueMedia ads in Atlanta generated 2,646 calls for help from abortion vulnerable women. In contrast, abortion rates have increased in other areas of Georgia, where pro-life TV ads did not air.

– In Charlotte, abortions have declined 15% in the past year, since VirtueMedia commercials began airing in collaboration with North Carolina Right to Life and local churches. Abortions increased in other counties in North Carolina, where VirtueMedia ads did not air.

VirtueMedia, Inc., a 501C3 national non profit media organization founded in 1998 by Tom Peterson, is endorsed by the Vatican, Priests for Life, Focus on the Family, Silent No More, and many other organizations. The organization’s TV and radio ads are licensed to pro-life groups and are available in both English and Spanish.

VirtueMedia’s TV portfolio contains a number of messages utilized for sanctity of life education, crisis pregnancy outreach, post abortion-healing, as well as legislative issues such as embryonic stem cell experimentation and informed consent. Crisis pregnancy ads will air nationwide on MTV and BET beginning December 26th.

View the ads online here:

25th Sun after Pentecost 2008. The Good Samaritan. Who is my neighbor?

Sunday, December 7th, 2008


Luke 10:25-37And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

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