Concerning Angels – Saint John of Damascus (+749)

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EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH

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Concerning Angels

by Saint John of Damascus (+749)

He is Himself the Maker and Creator of the angels: for He brought them out of nothing into being and created them after His own image, an incorporeal race, a sort of spirit or immaterial fire: in the words of the divine David, He maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire: and He has described their lightness and the ardor, and heat, and keenness and sharpness with which they hunger for God and serve Him, and how they are borne to the regions above and are quite delivered from all material thought.

An angel, then, is an intelligent essence, in perpetual motion, with free-will, incorporeal, ministering to God, having obtained by grace an immortal nature: and the Creator alone knows the form and limitation of its essence. But all that we can understand is, that it is incorporeal and immaterial. For all that is compared with God Who alone is incomparable, we find to be dense and material. For in reality only the Deity is immaterial and incorporeal.

The angel’s nature then is rational, and intelligent, and endowed with free-will, change. able in will, or fickle. For all that is created is changeable, and only that which is uncreated is unchangeable. Also all that is rational is endowed with free-will. As it is, then, rational and intelligent, it is endowed with free-will: and as it is created, it is changeable, having power either to abide or progress in goodness, or to turn towards evil.

It is not susceptible of repentance because it is incorporeal. For it is owing to the weakness of his body that man comes to have repentance.

It is immortal, not by natures but by grace. For all that has had beginning comes also to its natural end. But God alone is eternal, or rather, He is above the Eternal: for He, the Creator of times, is not under the dominion of time, but above time.

They are secondary intelligent lights derived from that first light which is without beginning, for they have the power of illumination; they have no need of tongue or hearing, but without uttering words they communicate to each other their own thoughts and counsels.

Through the Word, therefore, all the angels were created, and through the sanctification by the Holy Spirit were they brought to perfection, sharing each in proportion to his worth and rank in brightness and grace.

They are circumscribed: for when they are in the Heaven they are not on the earth: and when they are sent by God down to the earth they do not remain in the Heaven. They are not hemmed in by walls and doors, and bars and seals, for they are quite unlimited. Unlimited, I repeat, for it is not as they really are that they reveal themselves to the worthy men to whom God wishes them to appear, but in a changed form which the beholders are capable of seeing. For that alone is naturally and strictly unlimited which is uncreated. For every created tiring is limited by God Who created it.

Further, apart from their essence they receive the sanctification from the Spirit: through the divine grace they prophesy: they have no need of marriage for they are immortal.

Seeing that they are minds they are in mental places, and are not circumscribed after the fashion of a body. For they have not a bodily form by nature, nor are they tended in three dimensions. But to whatever post they may be assigned, there they are present after the manner of a mind and energize, and cannot be present and energize in various places at the same time.

Whether they are equals in essence or differ from one another we know not. God, their Creator, Who knoweth all things, alone knoweth. But they differ from each other in brightness and position, whether it is that their position is dependent on their brightness, or their brightness on their position: and they impart brightness to one another, because they excel one another in rank and nature. And clearly the higher share their brightness and knowledge with the lower.

They are mighty and prompt to fulfill the will of the Deity, and their nature is endowed with such celerity that wherever the Divine glance bids them there they are straightway found. They are the guardians of the divisions of the earth: they are set over nations and regions, allotted to them by their Creator: they govern all our affairs and bring us succor. And the reason surely is because they are set over us by the divine will and command and are ever in the vicinity of God.

With difficulty they are moved to evil, yet they are not absolutely immovable: but now they are altogether immovable, not by nature but by grace and by their nearness to the Only Good.

They behold God according to their capacity, and this is their food.

They are above us for they are incorporeal, and are free of all bodily passion, yet are not passionless: for the Deity alone is passionless.

They take different forms at the bidding of their Master, God, and thus reveal themselves to men and unveil the divine mysteries to them.

They have Heaven for their dwelling-place, and have one duty, to sing God’s praise and carry out His divine will.

Moreover, as that most holy, and sacred, and gifted theologian, Dionysius the Areopagite, says, All theology, that is to say, the holy Scripture, has nine different names for the heavenly essences. These essences that divine master in sacred things divides into three groups, each containing three. And the first group, he says, consists of those who are in God’s presence and are said to be directly and immediately one with Him, viz., the Seraphim with their six wings, the many-eyed Cherubim and those that sit in the holiest thrones. The second group is that of the Dominions, and the Powers, and the Authorities; and the third, and last, is that of the Rulers and Archangels and Angels.

Some, indeed, like Gregory the Theologian, say that these were before the creation of other things. He thinks that the angelic and heavenly powers were first and that thought was their function. Others, again, hold that they were created after the first heaven was made.

But all are agreed that it was before the foundation of man. For myself, I am in harmony with the theologian. For it was fitting that the mental essence should be the first created, and then that which can be perceived, and finally man himself, in whose being both parts are united. But those who say that the angels are creators of any kind of essence whatever are the mouth of their father, the devil. For since they are created things they are not creators. But He Who creates and provides for and maintains all things is God, Who alone is uncreate and is praised and glorified in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

From his Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book II, Ch. 3.

Video: Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God (Panagia in greek) – Fr. Nikon of New Scete, Mount Athos, Greece

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HOLY VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God (Panagia in greek)

Fr. Nikon of New Scete, Mount Athos, Greece

The giver of every good and perfect gift – Saint Nicholas of Myra, Asia Minor (+343)

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FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY

“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic Gods giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”

—Saint Nicholas of Myra, Asia Minor (+343)

What does the daily invocation of the saints signify? – Saint John of Kronstadt, Russia (+1908)

What does the daily invocation of the saints signify?

Saint John of Kronstadt, Russia (+1908)

What does the daily invocation of the saints signify — of different ones each day, during the whole year, and during our whole life? It signifies that God’s saints — as our brethren, but perfect — live, and are near us, ever ready to help us, by the grace of God. We live together with them in the house of our Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. God’s saints are near to the believing heart, and are ready in a moment to help those who call upon them with faith and love.”

From the Book: St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

Source:

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ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES

Protection of the Mother of God

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HOLY VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

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Protection of the Mother of God

The Protection of the Mother of God is one of the most beloved feast days on the Orthodox calendar among the Slavic peoples, commemorated on October 1. The feast is celebrated additionally on October 28 in the Greek tradition. It is also known as the feast of the Virgin Mary’s Cerement.

In most Slavic languages the word “cerement” has a dual meaning of “veil” and “protection.” The Russian word Pokrov (Покров), like the Greek Skepi (Σκέπη), has a complex meaning. First of all, it refers to a cloak or shroud, but it also means protection or intercession. For this reason, the name of the feast is variously translated as the Veil of Our Lady, the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos, the Protection of the Theotokos, or the Intercession of the Theotokos.

The feast

The feast day celebrates the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae (Vlaherna) in the tenth century. At the end of St. Andrei (Andrew of Constantinople) Yurodivyi’s life, he, with his disciple St. Epiphanius, and a group of people, saw the Mother of God, St. John the Baptist, and several other saints and angels during a vigil in the Church of Blachernae, nearby the city gates. The Blachernae Palace church was where several of Continue reading “Protection of the Mother of God”

Saint Theophanes & Saint Pansemni the former prostitute in Antiochia, Syria (+369) – June 10

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ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

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Saint Theophanes

& Saint Pansemni the former prostitute in Antiochia, Syria (+369)

June 10

The venerable Theophanes was born in Antioch, to unbelieving parents, but this did not thwart him from becoming a Christian at an early age, though he was not Baptized. When he was fifteen years old, his parents insisted he take a wife. Being married for three years, he was widowed when death intervened and took his wife.

Now unencumbered, Theophanes hastened to a Christian church, and received the Mystery of Holy Baptism. Then he built a narrow cell near Antioch, where he enclosed himself and expelled all his passions that dominated his body and soul, and excelled in the virtues.

With the passage of time, Theophanes learned that in the city dwelled a prostitute named Pansemni, who brought ruin to many men. Pricked in his heart over this calamity, both on behalf of the woman and her male admirers, Theophanes entered into deep prayer, whereupon he was enlightened to ransom Pansemni and take her as his wife. Therefore, he removed his hair shirt and donned expensive apparel. Theophanes visited his father to reveal his intentions in taking a second wife, and the father gladly gave his son ten gold coins.

Theophanes then visited Pansemni the prostitute in her home. Upon entry, he was invited to eat and drink with her. After engaging in a pleasant conversation, Theophanes bluntly asked Pansemni how long she had been involved in her indecent vocation. Unoffended, she stated she had been engaged in her occupation for twelve years. She also added that of all her admirers, Theophanes was by far the most handsome. Unaffected by the compliment, since Theophanes desired to preserve the purity of his soul and body, he told her: “I desire and intend to take you in honorable marriage.” Pansemni was quite pleased at his pleasant proposal, reasoning that it was a singular token of esteem for her, being a shameless prostitute. Accepting his proposal, Theophanes gave her his ten gold coins and told her to hasten in the preparations for the wedding.

Taking his leave, Theophanes returned to his cell outside the city. While Pansemni prepared for their marriage, Theophanes also made preparations for Pansemni by building her a cell not far from his own. Not long after, he returned to the city and visited her. However, this time he placed a condition on her. Unless she accepted the Christian faith and became a Christian, they would be unable to cohabit. Pansemni initially found this condition difficult to accept, so she requested time to consider the matter.

Seven days later Pansemni heard someone speaking about the future judgement, how the righteous would enjoy eternal life and the blessings that come from it, while the unrighteous would receive eternal condemnation. Her conscience became censured by this, and the grace of God moved her to profound contrition, allowing her heart to be transformed from impious to pious. Conscious of her sinfulness, she disowned her ancestral polytheism, and assented to the teachings of the Gospel.

Seeking the perfect path of piety, Pansemni resolved to enter the ranks of the newly-illumined, and received Holy Baptism. Her new path in life moved her to free her retinue of servants and handmaids, and she donated everything she received and acquired through her disreputable occupation to the Church of God for suitable distribution. Pansemni, therefore, bidding farewell to the pleasures of this world, devoted herself to qualities her name implied, that is, to be all-modest.

Having nothing left in the world, she hastened to Theophanes who brought her to the cell he built for her. Inflamed with divine eros, she sought to contemplate the beauty of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, the fairest among men, and sought union with Him intensely and with longing.

Pansemni kept watch over her inward thoughts and guarded her heart in this endeavor, and through asceticism of the body and soul, her labors attracted divine grace, gaining spiritual regeneration and victory. She had such an outpouring of divine grace that she was able to dispel demons and heal diverse passions and illnesses. And this was done in a very short time, since the devout and venerable Pansemni lived only fourteen months after baptism, and she was translated to the Heavenly Bridegroom on the same day the venerable and wonderworking Theophanes surrendered his soul to the Lord.

Source:

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ORTHODOX HEART SITES

Svatý Mames nebo Mamans z Malé Asie a lev (+275) – 2. září ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Czech

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SAINTS OF MY HEART

Svatý Mames nebo Mamans z Malé Asie a lev (+275)

2. září

Svatý Mames nebo Mamans (asi 258–275) byl pastýř, který byl umučen při pronásledování křesťanů v době vlády císaře Aureliána v Malé Asii.

Jako poustevník žil v míru s divokou zvěří. Byl zajat a odsouzen k roztrhání lvy v aréně. Ti ho však nechali bez povšimnutí a Mames byl ukamenován přihlížejícími diváky.

Zdroj:

Wikipedia