THE DIVINE LITURGY – BY ELDER EPHRAIM OF ARIZONA

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Arizona, the Grand Canyon State

MY SITE, ARIZONA OF MY HEART: http://arizonaofmyheart.wordpress.com

My sites: http://gkiouzelis.wordpress.com

The Divine Liturgy, what a splendor indeed! Man has been honored by God in such a way that He Himself comes down to earth with His Angelic Orders every time there is a Liturgy, in order to nurture man with His Most Holy Body and His Most Precious Blood! For He has given us everything. Is there anything physical or spiritual, perishable or everlasting, that has not been offered to us? None! Is there anything superior to His Most Holy Body and Blood, which is given to us on a daily basis? There is certainly not. God has enabled man, who is full of soil and dirt, to serve the Divine Liturgy. So priceless is the Divine Love that just a tiny drop exceeds any earthly, physical and secular love.

Adam and Eve’s sin was the starting point of all the distressing events that have occurred to this day and of those that will occur until the end of time. Disobedience, like a sperm inside Eve’s womb, gave birth to and transmitted physical and spiritual death to all of humanity. Poor Eve, could there have been a way for her to see that “the split second” taste of the fruit would cause such turmoil, thus compelling the Holy Trinity to have a “co-entreaty” so that the one Person of the Life-Giving Trinity would be sent to the world and endure, by the works of His hands, the blows, insults, whipping, spitting as well as all kinds of obscenity and ultimately be hung on the Cross as a curse! “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).

The sweet redemption of our Jesus, the light of our troubled souls, His Passion and Life-Giving Resurrection, are re-enacted in every Divine Liturgy through which every sinful soul is delivered. Great indeed is Jesus’ love for us! For He took on our human nature and was hung on the Cross, giving us freedom and thus wiping clean all our debts towards our Heavenly Father. And as our beloved Brother He makes us worthy of His co-inheritance which consists of the infinite riches of His Heavenly Father. And if during the time when the Law, which existed before Christ, had overshadowed things, and the blood of oxen and goats as well as a calf’s embers purified those who had partaken of them, how much more will Christ’s Most Holy Blood, which is partaken from the Holy Altar of the Holy Churches of God, cleanse us from sin and warm up our souls in order to receive the divine love of our most sweet Jesus. The Lamb which was slaughtered for our personal salvation will rinse us with His Most Precious Blood from the filth of our sins and give us eternal rest.

In any case, we owe it to ourselves to become partakers of this heavenly banquet which offers us this most wonderful Mystery of the Holy Altar. Once inside the church, we should stand in fear and devoutness, since our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy angels are present. Those who are attentive and devout are filled with grace and blessings; however, those who are inattentive are condemned, being unworthy.

On the one hand, the Angels serve the Divine Liturgy, and on the other, the faithful come to church in order to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ – “Receive the Body of Christ and taste the Fountain of Immortality” – so that they will live in Christ and not perish in sin. Thus, “let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup, for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to himself” (1 Cor. 11:28-29). For instance, when someone wants to appear before a king, it takes him days to get ready, in terms of general preparation, cleanliness, speech, manner, ethos, etc., so that he would succeed in drawing the king’s compassion and, in this way, have his desirable request granted. Even though there is no comparison as far as the two different kings are concerned, each believer should prior to Holy Communion prepare oneself in order to obtain divine mercy and forgiveness. Those who appear before a secular king are, most of the time, adorned by iniquity, flattery, pretence as well as deceit, in order to obtain that which is desired; nevertheless, the Christian believer who appears before the King of kings who in turn keeps an eye on the inner person must be adorned by holiness, humility and the sheer ethos of the soul that is more precious than lost gold.

The Lord created His Church on earth as a Bride, so that She would intercede for His children. He left us the Great Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, in order to be cleansed, become holy and thus become one with God. He has invited us all; some in their childhood, others in their middle as well as old age. As He is Good, He took hold of us like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, in order to make us partakers of His divine Kingdom. Nothing repelled Him – no ulcer, no wound, no illness, not even the deformity of spiritual phenomena which may characterize our soul. As a father He accepted us, as a mother He breast-fed us, and as an unmercenery doctor He took care of us and clothed us in the garment of adoption, with grace ignoring the heavy debt of our trespasses. We thus owe Him infinite love and worship. Love should remain in the heart like a life-giving source, gushing forth springs of communion wine and streams of divine eros.

We should be partakers of the Sacrifice of the Slaughtered Lamb as often as we can, and as long as we are free to do so, since Holy Communion is a great aid for the believer which in turn helps him to fight sin. Also, we should approach this divine Mystery in a spirit of compunction, crushed hearts, and a good sense of our sins. Great is the mercy of God Who condescends to enter into us; not abhorring the multitude of our sins. Nonetheless, due to His infinite love and affection, we are sanctified, and in this way we are made worthy to become His children and co-heirs of His Kingdom. Hence, let us prepare with a pure conscience aiming at the fortification of our senses, and in chastity let us enter along with the Holy Apostles to the Mystical Supper and partake of our sweet Jesus so that He should dwell with us unto the infinite ages of ages.

Unworthy as I am, I serve my Lord. A ministry rendered that is holy and mighty. Everyday I offer God a well-pleasing sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Immaculate to His Immaculate Father and God, in order that He might be merciful for the things with which we sadden the most good God. He whom we cause grief and Who sacrificed His only begotten Son. My God, Your most beloved Son for our sake! And who are we to deserve this ultimate sacrifice! “For being enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10).

It is a fact that numerous interpretations of the Divine Liturgy which were mainly based on the illumination and grace of the Holy Spirit were handed down to us by the Church Fathers. What makes this current analysis of the Divine Liturgy of my spiritual child Father Stephanos Anagnastopoulos noteworthy and beneficial, is the fact that it is offered through the experiences and revelations of worthy Liturgists of the Most High, older and more recent ones.

I, as well as its author, wish that this book will lead us all to the genuine liturgical conscience and life in order to urge us in a spirited way, as grateful servants, to try to rest the heart of His feelings so that He will be comforted, according to the Psalter: “…and because of His servants shall He be comforted” (Psalm 134:14). May we sense that which God offered us and thus rejoice in the beauty of His eros. Amen.

The most unworthy of all
+ Father Ephraim

SOURCE:

http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/ccp7/index.php?app=ecom&ns=prodshow&ref=3EXPERDIVLIT

Fr. Stephanos Anagnostopoulos

Experiences During the Divine Liturgy

Piraeus, Greece 2008

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Fr. Ephraim of Arizona

http://www.flickr.com/photos/calamites/

Photos from St Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery, Arizona, USA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvcvLykW5Jk

The Spiritual War – Father Efraim of Philotheou and Arizona

https://el-gr.facebook.com/gerontas.efraim.arizonas.filotheitis

Facebook about Father Ephraim Philotheitis, Arizona, USA 

 http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/map.php

 http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/index.php

St Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona

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The Monasteries of Fr. Ephraim in America

GREECE: MOUNT ATHOS – A DOCUMENTARY BY CBC 60 MINUTES video

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Greece: Mount Athos – A documentary by CBC 60 Minutes

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CALIFORNIA: THE CONVERTION & THE LIFE OF FR. SERAPHIM ROSE (+1982) – english & greek video

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California: The convertion & the life of Fr. Seraphim Rose

(00:11:40 speaks english)

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Fr. Seraphim Rose (1934-1982)

CALIFORNIA FACEBOOK: FR. SERAPHIM ROSE

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https://www.facebook.com/p.Seraphim.Rose

California Facebook: Fr. Seraphim Rose

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TRUTH TARGET…

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http://www.truthtarget.gr

Truth Target…

TAXI… “TELL YOUR MOTHER TO NOT HAVE SURGERY, SHE’S ALL BETTER!”

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ATHENS OF MY HEART

My new site: http://athensofmyheart.wordpress.com

It was 2PM, and I was in the Square “Agion Anargyron” of Athens.

I was stopped at a light facing Athens. A man approached me…”Can you take me to Menidi?”

“No,” I replied, “I can’t.” I couldn’t because at 3PM I had to take the taxi towards Pireus.

The man stood in front of me, and was waiting for another taxi to pass by. Something within me said that I should help him. I made a sign for him to come over. As soon as he entered the taxi, he exclaimed: “It’s impossible!” And he took the photograph of Elder Porphyrios [that I had in the taxi] in his hands, and kissed it. At that instant, the light changed, and I turned to head towards Menidi. I wanted to take back the photograph, but when I saw how much he looked at it with longing, I regretted my thought.

“Do you know him?” He asked me.
“No, but from his books I got to know him and love him very much.”
“Do you want, my lady, to hear how I got to know him?”
“Of course” I replied with joy.
“I heard that my wife was gravely sick, with cancer. The doctors gave her three months to live. During that time, my oldest son was finishing high school. And he told us that he had arranged to go with ten of his fellow students to Mount Athos for a week. We said it was alright; the children left.

“In the meantime, my wife took a turn for the worse. The doctor that was following her told us that the end was near. We asked him in anguish: ‘Doctor, what can we do to give her a little more life?’ He replied: ‘We can do a surgery, and may God help!’ he replied. I agreed, and my wife consented, because she wanted to remain until our son returned.

“My son returned so happy, so joyous, like we had never seen him before. He told us how beautiful it was there, and how warmly the monks received them, and how much peace he sensed within his soul. He said that he sensed the presence of God so much that he had forgot that his mother was sick. She was reminded, when Elder Porphyrios appeared before him. He told us some wondrous things about Elder Porphyrios, which appeared unbelievable to us.”

“Excuse me,” I interjected, “When did this occur?”
“This occured in 1996.

“All the children were sitting below a tree, and speaking and laughing, when straightaway a monk approached them. They stood up and kissed his hand, and the Elder began to say each child’s name. As you could image, the children were surprised that he knew their names and families. To my son he said: ‘Tell your mother to not have surgery, she’s all better!’

“‘You know her?’ he asked.
“‘I know her, I know all of you!’
“‘Who are you?’ they asked.
“‘I am Elder Porphyrios’ he said, and he left.

“During their return from the Holy Mountain they stopped in Ouranoupolis at a drug store to buy aspirin, for they were seasick and nauseous. Entering the pharmacy, they saw a photograph of Elder Porphyrios and said: “There is the Elder Porphyrios we saw on the Holy Mountain!” As soon as the pharmacist saw this, he was confused.

“‘I’m sorry, children, you saw this Elder on Mount Athos? Are you sure?’
“‘Of course we’re sure,’ they replied, ‘we all talked with him. And of course we were surprised that he knew our names and our families. When we asked him who he was, he replied that he was Elder Porphyrios.’
“‘Children, I’m sure that you saw him, but…Don’t be alarmed when I tell you…The Elder has been dead for five years!’
“The children were shocked! ‘Impossible!’ they said, we just were speaking to him!’

“And my wife and I believed that they saw someone else, who looked like him and called himself Porphyrios. Because all monks resemble each other.

“‘You don’t believe me, eh? In any case, he said that you should not get the surgery, because you are well,’ the child said to his mother. Two days later, we went to the hospital. The next morning, the surgery would have taken place. The time came, and though I was waiting with anguish outside the operating room, right away, I saw my wife come out. I ran near her and asked: ‘What happened?’
“‘I’m not getting an operation, I am well!’

“The doctor came out from behind her. ‘What happened, Doctor?’
“‘I don’t know, she doesn’t want to get the operation!’
“‘I told you,” she said, ‘I am better!’
“‘Honey, are you crazy?’ I took her in my arms and tried to convince her that she needed the surgery. She replied: ‘I told you that I feel better. Do the tests and you will see that I am better, I feel it!’

“‘Great!’ said the doctor, ‘Let’s not force her, if she is feeling well.’
“‘You don’t believe? Great! Do your tests to confirm this.’

“In reality, the tests were run. The next day the results came back, and the doctor took on a grave appearance.”‘What did the tests show?’ we asked him. It was as if the sickness had never touched her! The doctors looked at the old tests and the new ones, and were going crazy! It’s impossible, and they said they would have to order new ones the next day, they said in surprise.

“When my son came, and saw the doctors ordering more tests, he told me: ‘Why don’t you believe that which Elder Porphyrios said on Mount Athos?’
“Then, the doctor said: ‘What did you say? Did you mention Elder Porphyrios?’
“‘He said that my mom is well and should not get the surgery!’

“The doctor pulled out a photograph of Elder Porphyrios from his pocket. ‘You saw him, my boy, on Mount Athos?’

“‘Yes, him!’

“‘The tests are correct! Your wife is well, and now you can leave for sure! Go get ready!’

“The doctors had given my wife three months to live. Two years have passed since then, and she is much better than she was before her sickness. Because of this, I love Elder Porphyrios very much. We have been to the Monastery many times. And whenever we have difficulties, he strengthens us.”

This man’s story of another miracle of our Elder, gave me great joy. The only thing that I whispered as the man departed was: “Thank you.”

Nun Porphyria was born and raised in Piraeus, one of five sisters. Early on she worked with shoes, but later became a taxi driver. She believes becoming a taxi driver was the will of God, which she did for ten years.
She has many stories where the taxi became for her a pulpit from where she was able to do the work of Christ and bring people closer to the Church. For example, she helped a drug addict get off the habit with her comforting and loving words, she would open up the doors of love to unbelievers, and even took in to her home a prostitute and helped her find a job (today she is married and has two children); her preaching was with words and acts of love.

Nun Porphyria became a nun after she was hit hard by a motorcycle while crossing the road. She had prayed to either be taken to heaven by Elder Porphyrios or to live and become a nun. One year later, after her recovery and putting her life in order, on the same date and time of her accident, she entered the monastery.

She has published a book about her stories from the taxi, which her spiritual father urged her to publish. Today she is a nun at Agia Skepi in Palaio Faliro, Athens. She continues her ministry of love there.

One piece of advice she has for the people regards a question she often gets: Why should I go to church when the priest himself doesn’t believe the things he preaches? Nun Porphyria answers that we do not go to church for the priest, but for our own soul. The words of the Divine Liturgy ought to penetrate the heart through the mind in order for us to experience its joys. And why should we expect forgiveness within the church and not allow forgiveness for priests? This is an injustice. We do not know what may be going on in the life of the priest. He may have his issues as we have our issues. We must learn to forgive priests and the great value of humble obedience.

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Nun Porphyria was born and raised in Piraeus, one of five sisters. Early on she worked with shoes, but later became a taxi driver. She believes becoming a taxi driver was the will of God, which she did for ten years.
She has many stories where the taxi became for her a pulpit from where she was able to do the work of Christ and bring people closer to the Church. For example, she helped a drug addict get off the habit with her comforting and loving words, she would open up the doors of love to unbelievers, and even took in to her home a prostitute and helped her find a job (today she is married and has two children); her preaching was with words and acts of love.

Nun Porphyria became a nun after she was hit hard by a motorcycle while crossing the road. She had prayed to either be taken to heaven by Elder Porphyrios or to live and become a nun. One year later, after her recovery and putting her life in order, on the same date and time of her accident, she entered the monastery.

She has published a book about her stories from the taxi, which her spiritual father urged her to publish. Today she is a nun at Agia Skepi in Palaio Faliro, Athens. She continues her ministry of love there.

One piece of advice she has for the people regards a question she often gets: Why should I go to church when the priest himself doesn’t believe the things he preaches? Nun Porphyria answers that we do not go to church for the priest, but for our own soul. The words of the Divine Liturgy ought to penetrate the heart through the mind in order for us to experience its joys. And why should we expect forgiveness within the church and not allow forgiveness for priests? This is an injustice. We do not know what may be going on in the life of the priest. He may have his issues as we have our issues. We must learn to forgive priests and the great value of humble obedience.

SOURCE:

Greek book:

Nun Porphyria

Traveling in the Walls of the City

Athens 2010

Operacioni i ëngjëjve, një ndodhi e mrekullueshme!! – Albanian

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Ditën para votimeve, ndodhem në aeroport, ora tre pas mesnate. Në tre e gjysëm shkoj për të marrë pasagjerë. Në taksi hyri një djalë i ri …..

– Mirmëngjes! Pirea të lutem.

– Trim, në qiell të kërkoja, në tokë u gjende!

– Përse e thoni këtë ?

– Rrugë më e mirë nuk mund të rastiste! Në Pire banoj dhe unë!

– Epo, shumë mirë! Do të të çoj në shtëpi, hë?

-Pikërisht. Jam pa gjumë 15 orë mendoj që kam dhe unë të drejtën e çlodhjes dhe të gjumit.

– Pesëmbëdhjetë orë që ngisni makinën?

– Jo, pesëmbëdhjetë orë që jam në taksi.

– Si duron kaq orë? Nuk ke frikë natën?

– Kur ke besim të fortë tek Zoti, nuk ke frikë nga asgjë, ndjehesh e sigurt.

– Ke të drejtë, shikoj që mban dhe ikona, dëgjoj dhe stacionin e Kishës. Fjalët e tua rreflektojnë siguri. Me të vërtetë ke Zotin pranë teje! Gëzohem, kur dëgjoj dhe shikoj njerëz, që besojnë fort, ashtu si unë. Nuk është e rastësishme që hyra në taksinë tënde, ishte vullneti i Zotit. Beson në mrekullitë?

-Natyrisht që besoj.

– Dëshiron të të them një mrekulli, që ndodhi në familjen time?

– Me kënaqësinë më të madhe!

– Punoj në Israel, në  Ambasadën Greke. Jam afër me Varrin e Tërëshënjtë të Krishtit dhe tani erdha që të votoj.

– Do të më thuash si të quajnë?

– Niko.

-Bukur! Mua më quajnë Rania.

-Gëzohem Shumë.

– Atëhere Rania, kunata ime nuk lindëte dot fëmijë. Shkoi në shumë mjekë në Qipro, erdhi në Greqi, shkoi  në Londër, Angli – por të gjithë i thanë një JO të madhe, nuk mund të lindësh fëmijë. Ndërkaq kishte arritur moshën 40 vjeçare. Lutjet dhe dedikimet të panumërta. Deri sa Zotit të mirë ju dhembs. Në moshën 40 vjeçare mbeti  e rëndë. E kupton gëzimin e tonë.

E ruanim të gjithë si diçka të çmuar. Mos kollitej, mos tështitej, mos zbresë vetë shkallët, çdo të hajë – e kishim si sytë e ballit! Deri sa erdhi çasti që lindi dhe ishim të gjithë pranë saj.

Në sallon që prisnim vjen infermjerja me një ëngjëll  në duar. Ishte kaq bebe e bukur, që ë të bukur nuk kisha parë kurrë. Djali im nuk ishte kaq i bukur, ku ma sollën që ta shihja. Por ditën tjetër na erdhi lajmi i keq.  Mjeku thirri baxhanakun tim  në zyrë dhe i tha që fëmija u lind me një veshkë dhe nga ajo gjysma është e prishur. Duhej të fillonte pastrim gjaku. Lajmi ishte si rrufe në kokë!

E çuam në çdo vend që mund të imagjinosh, në çdo doktor që na thonin, ne vraponim. Shkuam jashtë shtetit, shkuam kudo, nuk mund të bëhej gjë. Lutjet ditë e natë nuk ndalonin. Kur fëmija arriti dy vjeç, kunata pa një ëndër. Mos më pyet se si. Nuk e kam kuptuar mirë. Më kërkoi që të vijë në Vendet e Shënjta që të falet.

Me të vërtetë erdhi bashkë me fëmijën. E dërgova me një guidant turistik që të falej në Varrin e Tërëshënjtë. Çfarë u bë atje? Dëgjo se çmë thanë. Kur hynë në Kishë, fëmija qante pa pushim. I thotë një zonjë: “Përse qan kështu fëmija juaj”. “Është i sëmurë”, iu përgjigj kunata ime. Atëhere  i tha zonja: “Vendose fëmijën mbi Varrin e Tërëshënjtë  dhe do të ndalojë të qarit!”.

Kunata ime e shtriu mbi Varrin e Tërëshënjtë. Por fëmija lëngonte së qari. Ajo qëndronte e ngrirë nuk mund të bënte as para as mbrapa. Fëmija flloi të mavioseshe, në një çast ia doli mbanë dhe e mori në kraharorin e saj. Por nuk mund të merrte frymë dhe e çuan në spital ku i vunë oksigjen. Në të njejtën ditë shkoi në Qipro.

Të nesërmen fëmija duhej të shkonte për pastrim gjaku. Atje, në Jerusalem, kam  njohur një asket kallogjer i cili më flet për mrekullitë. Kur iku kunata ime, shkova dhe e takova dhe filloi sërisht që të më fliste për Zotin dhe për mrekullitë, deri sa papritur e dëgjoj të thotë: “Po, po! Çfarë operacioni ishte ai! Fëmija ulërinte së qari nga dhimbjet!” “Cili fëmjë – jerond?” “Nipi yt, more djalë! Mu përgjigj. Ëngjëjt e operuan dhe i vendosën dy veshka të reja!!!” “Ah, jerond u çmënde”, thashë brenda meje,  “dhe mrekullitë e tjera që më thotë janë fantazitë e tij”. Kur u çova të iki, më goditi në shpatulla dhe më tha: “Ajde, do të bësh vajzë!”.

Ika i mërzitur, me sigurinë më të madhe që jerondi i kishte humbur mentë e tij atje në shkrretëtirë dhe në vetminë e tij. hyra në makinë që të shkoja në Ambasadë, kur më ra celulari. Ishte ime shoqe. Më fliste dhe qante, nuk mundesha të kuptoja se çfarë thoshte, vetëm një fjalë arrita të shkëputja: “Niko, fëmija është mirë!”. U përpoqa që ta qetësoj që të marr vesh se çfarë po më thotë. Më thotë fjalët që dëgjova dhe prej jerondit: “-Fëmija ka dy veshka të shëndetëshme!”

U shokova! U ktheva prapa tek jerondi. Mendja ime e ngatërruar dhe mendimet e çrregullta,  fluturonin këtu dhe atje. Arrita tek jerondi dhe për herë të para u përula para tij dhe i puthja duart. “ – Je shënjtor!” psherëtiva, “Biri im, mos e përsërit më këtë. Shënjtor është vetëm Zoti!”.

Në një javë më erdhi lajmi tjetër i mirë. Gruaja ime ishte  e rëndë. Sapo tha “Niko i dashuri im” mu kujtuan fjalët e jerondit. “- Mos thuaj asgjë tjetër. Je e rëndë!” “Po, nga e di ti?” “Ma tha Kallogjeri , miku im dhe është vajzë!”.

Që prej mrekullisë që u bë tek nipi im besova shumë thellë tek Zoti. Asnjeri dhe asgjë nuk do ta trondisë këtë besim. Nqs në një çast do të vendosësh të vish në Jerusalem, do të gëzohem të vish të më gjesh, të më kërkosh në Ambasadë. Do të thuash që dua Niko Pireotin.

Ndërkaq arritëm në Pire – unë nuk mundesha që të formuloja asnjë fjalë, por as të zbres që të mar valixhen e Nikos nga bagazhi.

Burimi: Libri “Duke udhëtuar të murret e qytetit”. Murgesha Porfiria.