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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Being Prepared for the Coming of the Lord (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night" (II Pet. 3:10). A thief in the night sneaks up when he is not expected. So will the day of the Lord also come when it is not expected. But when He that cometh is not expected, no preparations are made for meeting Him. Lest we allow such negligence, the Lord commanded: "Watch: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matt. 24:42). Meanwhile, what are we doing? Are we watching? Are we waiting? We must confess that we are not. Some at least await death, but scarcely anyone awaits the day of the Lord. And it is as if they are right. Our fathers and forefathers waited, but the day did not come. Since we do not see anything, why should we think that it will come in our days? Thus, we do not think; and do not wait. It will not be a wonder, if with such a disposition as ours, the day of the Lord falls upon us like a thief. We shall be like the inhabitants of a city which the head of the province promised to visit in the near future. They waited for him an hour, waited another, waited a day and then said, “I suppose he’s not coming,” and went home. But as soon as they departed and gave themselves over to sleep — he appeared. It will be the same with us — whether we are waiting or not, the day of the Lord will come, and it will come without warning. For the Lord said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31). But is it not better to wait, lest we be caught by surprise? For we will not get off without paying.

- Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, February 3/February 16

Friday, October 27, 2023

"I Know He Didn't Say Any of It. Saint Paisios Was Not a Terrorist." (Metr. Athanasios of Limassol)


A few days before the feast of Saint Demetrios, Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol spoke at the Church of Saint Demetrios in Thessaloniki, answering the questions of the faithful in attendance. Among the things he spoke about, were certain "prophecies" of Saint Paisios the Athonite that circulate every now and then, especially during periods of distress and disaster. This is an excerpt of what he said specifically of one source of such prophecies that he was acquainted with:

"I also hear a lot and various things that Father Paisios supposedly said to many who saw him and he supposedly told them...and that person...and another. I confess to you that he said nothing of all that they say. I say this with all responsibility and honesty. With all the power of sincerity from my high priestly status. I lived 16 years with this Elder. A certain brother who says every now and then 'Elder Paisios told me this... he told me that...,' I assure you he never said these things to him.

Monday, May 8, 2023

When Saint Porphyrios Visited the Cave of the Apocalypse in Patmos


Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva narrated the following experience he had when he visited the Cave of the Apocalypse in Patmos, where Saint John the Theologian received the divine revelation that is recorded in the Book of Revelation:

We once went on a pilgrimage together with Mr. George and Mrs. Kaiti to Saint John the Theologian in Patmos. It was morning. I felt that the grace of Saint John was suffocating me. The Cave of the Apocalypse was crowded. I was afraid of betraying my feelings. If I let myself manifest, I would be taken for a madman. I restrained myself. I went out of the church. It is not good for others to see the experiences of secret contact with God. That's why I told them and we left. The afternoon of the same day it was quiet there. It was the three of us. There was no one else in the church. Before we entered I prepared them. I said to them:

"No matter what you see, you will not move or speak."

Saturday, January 28, 2023

A Byzantine Interpretation of the Dream of Nebuchadnezzar

Image of the Dream of Nebuchadnezzar, with an inscribed stone smashing the feet of the statue that says "Logos", which refers to the coming of Christ.
 
The Book of Daniel is an eschatological text (some believe it to be a 2nd century Hellenistic text) that contains the well-known dream of King Nebuchadnezzar with the statue of which each part is made of a different metal and symbolizes/prophesies five kingdoms or periods of rule.

The value of the metal gradually decreases from the first to the fifth Kingdom. The head of Gold (Babylon), body of Silver (Persians), thighs of Bronze (Hellenic civilization), which presumably means the legs of iron is Roman Civilization.

Regarding the fifth Kingdom, which are the feet of the statue and are made of a fragile mixture of iron and clay, opinions differ.

Friday, December 16, 2022

"There Shall Be Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth" Depicted in a 14th Century Fresco

14th century fresco in the Narthex of the Church of Panagia Forviotissa (more popularly known as Panagia Asinou) in Cyprus

"So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:49-50).

"For whereas He Himself is the sower, and that of His own field, and out of His own kingdom He gathers, it is quite clear that the present world also is His. But mark His unspeakable love to man, and His leaning to bounty, and His disinclination to punishment; in that, when He sows, He sows in His own person, but when He punishes, it is by others, that is, by the angels... For lest, on being told, 'They cast the bad away,' you should suppose that ruin to be without danger; by His interpretation He signified the punishment, saying, 'They will cast them into the furnace.' And He declared the gnashing of teeth, and the anguish, that it is unspeakable" (St. John Chrysostom)