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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Michael Glykas and the Afterlife in Twelfth-Century Byzantium









Friday, May 4, 2018

The Second Coming of Christ on Mount Athos


The beautiful and detailed icon above is titled "The Second Coming of Christ on the Holy Mountain" and was painted by Elder Panteleimon of Kavsokalyva.

It depicts the future Judgement Day when the Lord will sit in judgment. Behind Him is Mount Athos, with the ladder of divine ascent leading to heaven, where the Theotokos stands on a cloud interceding. On the right and left of Christ are the resurrected monks brought to judgement, the righteous of whom stand at His right hand, having the Theotokos as their advocate. On the left hand is the lake of fire, prepared for the damned.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Last Things and the Kingdom of God


By Fr. Maximos Moschos of Mount Athos

It is characteristic and remarkable that St. John the Baptist preached repentance because the Kingdom of God is coming (Mt. 3:2.). Our Lord also preached repentance and belief in the Gospel because the Kingdom of God is at hand; it has come (Mt. 4:l7; Mk. 1:15). Following the commission of Christ, the Disciples also preached repentance (Lk.6:12.) precisely because the Kingdom has come (Mt. 10:7). And at the end of his public ministry, Christ directed the Disciples to preach in His name repentance and forgiveness of sins (Lk.24:47). That is, the basic point of the preaching centered around the Kingdom of God, and all the details had to do with how this Kingdom could prevail. The Kingdom of God has no end (Lk. l:33); it will be given to all those who would observe its prerequisites (Mt. 21:43). One enters the Kingdom of God after a struggle (Mt.1 1:12) and it comes quietly into the heart of the believer (Lk.17:20-21). Some of the prerequisites for entrance into the Kingdom of God are: doing the will of God (Mt. 7:21), spiritual rebirth through faith and baptism (Jn. 3:3-8), humility (Mt.18:3), a child-like attitude (Mt.19:14), patience in persecution (Mt. 5:10), sacrifice of possessions (Mt. 13:44-46), a greater perfection than that of the Pharisees (Mt. 5:20), love for the needy brethren (Mt. 25: 34-36), and finally seeking after the Kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33). The Kingdom of God is also called eternal life, which is the blessed and thrice-happy life in Paradise near our heavenly Father, but which begins in part from here and now. It is noted here that certain words have a double meaning, a literal and a metaphorical meaning. There are those people who are bodily dead and those who are spiritually dead (Lk. 9:60). There is the physical death, but also the spiritual death, which is the result of sin and the carnal mind (1 Cor. 15:56; Rom.8:6). There is also the natural life, such as that of the animals, and the spiritual life that comes as an added gift of God (Jn. 5:40; 6:53). He who believes in the Lord and keeps His word will go from death to life and will never see spiritual death (Jn. 5:24; 8:5l). Our Lord is the Resurrection and the Life (Jn. 11:25). He gives the eternal life (Jn. 10: 28). His words are truth and life, and they guide us to eternal life (Jn. 6:68). The obedience to His will brings us to eternal life (Jn. 12:50). Also, He who receives Holy Communion, that is, eats and drinks Christ through the Holy Eucharist, has eternal life (Jn. 6:54). He who believes in Christ has eternal life, and he who does not believe has the wrath of God (Jn. 3:36). Eternal life is the knowledge of God, which we acquire through faith, virtue and experience of the divine blessings (Jn. 17:3).

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Understanding the Apocalypse in Light of the Topography of Patmos


The Island of Patmos occupies an important position in the Sacred Geography of Christendom, but, unlike the other Holy Places, it is very seldom visited by strangers. There is no regular communication by steamboat. The inhabitants, even amid their poverty, do not turn the sacredness of the spot into a source of profit by organizing pilgrimages, and inviting the outside world to enrich them by paying for temporary hospitality, and for memorials of the journey.* The descriptions which have been published have been very few.** Yet the place is naturally of profound interest. The landscape, in any case, is that which was before the eyes of John. There remains, moreover, the farther question whether, during the revelation of the Apocalypse, he was conscious of surrounding objects in such a sense that this landscape was as it were the proscenium on which the figures of the vision appeared. The late Dean Stanley, in a beautiful passage in the Appendix to his Sermons in the East,*** seems to incline to such an idea:—

Monday, February 12, 2018

Homily on Christ's Second Coming (St. Gregory Palamas)


HOMILY FOUR

On the Gospel Passage Describing Christ's Second Coming 
and on Compassion and Doing Good

By St. Gregory Palamas

1. Last Sunday through the parable of the prodigal who was saved, the Church commemorated God’s incomparable love for mankind. This Sunday it teaches us about His terrifying Judgment to come, following the right order and in accordance with the prophetic sayings: “I will sing of mercy and of judgment” (Ps. 101:1), and, “God hath spoken once: twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his works” (Ps. 62:11-12).