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Morning Prayers in Church Slavonic from Optina desert monastery – Optina the Holy Mount Athos of Russia

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Morning Prayers from Optina Desert / Утренние молитвы Оптина Пустынь

It is a blessing to listen the morning prayers in ancient Church Slavonic, it is double blessing when listening morning prayers as prayed from Optina DesertOptina Desert(Optina Pustyn) , also known as the Optina Hermitage Monastery is one of the ancient monasteries in Russia. It is not clear exact date when monastery was established, but its establishment was no later than the 15th century. Optina word means Living together. Nuns lived in the cloister before y. 1504. The monastery is very notable with theOptina Elders and played key role in spiritual life of Russia during the 19th century.Optina cloister is very famous for their Startsy (Elders) people who possess the graceful gifts from God for healing, foretelling events to come, possessing the gift of spiritual guidance etc. From the 19th centuries to nowdays this place has attracted crowds of people looking for spiritual guidance (advise), englightnment or a blessing for important thing to partake in life. Many of the Russian most famous people of all time likeFyodor Dostoevsky, Vasily Zhukovsky, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, and Vasily Rozanov visited visited the monastery. Optina cloister possesses one of the richest spiritual libraries in the world, collected with help of Slavophile Kireyevsky brothers 
(who are buried within the monastery walls).


The starets Saint Amvrosy is said to have been a prototype of Father Zosima in Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov. The monastery is most famous with a group of saints the Optina Elders among which is the most famous oneVenerable Ambrose of Optina (5 Dec 1812 – 23 October 1891)

The holy Fathers made the Optina Hermitage (or Poustinia) a focus for the powerfulrenewal movement that spread through the Church in Russia beginning early in the nineteenth century, and continuing up to (and even into) the atheist persecutions of the twentieth century. Saint Paisius Velichkovsky (November 15) was powerfully influential in bringing the almost-lost hesychastic tradition of Orthodox spirituality to Russia in the eighteenth century, and his labors found in Optina Monastery a 'headquarters' from which they spread throughout the Russian land. The Optina Elders were spiritual masters who became renowned throughout the Orthodox world for their holiness and spiritual gifts. Among them the most known are: Schema-Archimandrite Moses, Schema-Hegumen Anthony, Hieroschemamonk Leonid, Hieroschemamonk Macarius, Hieroschemamonk Hilarion, Hieroschemamonk Ambrose, Hieroschemamonk Anatole (Zertsalov) and Hieroschemamonk Barsanuphius. The monastery was destroyed during the Russian Bolshevik Revolution
and many of the fathers faced exile torture and martyr death by the communist authorities.
In 1987 with the beginning of Perestroika, Optina Pustyn was one of the first abbeys to be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. In the 1990s its most notable startsy were glorified as saints. Otpina Elders are commemorated together on October 10 (October 23 on the Gregorian Calendar). A very important prayer left as heritage from Optina's Elders is the prayer of the Optina Elders
Prayer of the Optina Elders

Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.

Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Thy Holy Will.

For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in all things.

Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy Holy Will.

Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.

When things unforeseen occur , let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee.

Teach me to behave sincerely and rationally toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.

Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.

Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love.

Amen

The Orthodox Christian Morning Prayers in English

 

Morning Prayers
From the "Jordanville" Prayerbook

 

Having risen from sleep, before any other action, stand reverently, considering thyself to be in the presence of the All-seeing God, and, having made the sign of the Cross, say:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then pause a moment, until all thy senses are calmed and thy thoughts forsake all things earthly; and then make three bows, saying:

The Prayer of the Publican:

O God, be merciful to me a sinner. Thrice.

The Beginning Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Thrice.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. . – O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot but our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Troparia to the Holy Trinity:

Having risen from sleep, we fall down before Thee, O Good One, and the angelic hymn we cry aloud to Thee, O Mighty One. Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou. O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

From bed and sleep hast Thou raised me up, O Lord: enlighten my mind and heart and open my lips that I may hymn Thee, O Holy Trinity:

Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Suddenly the judge shall come, and the deeds of each shall be laid bare; but with fear do we cry at midnight. Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy. Twelve.

Prayer of Saint Basil the Great to the Most Holy Trinity:

As I rise from sleep, I thank Thee, O Holy Trinity, for through Thy great goodness and patience Thou wast not angry with me, an idler and sinner, nor hast Thou destroyed me with mine iniquities, but hast shown Thy usual love for mankind; and when I was prostrate in despair, Thou hast raised me up to keep the morning watch and glorify Thy power. And now enlighten my mind's eye, and open my mouth that I may meditate on Thy words, and understand Thy commandments, and do Thy will, and hymn Thee in heartfelt confession, and sing praises to Thine all-holy name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O come let us worship God our King.

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.

PSALM 50

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged. For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me. For behold, Thou hast loved truth; the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom hast Thou made manifest unto me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; the bones that be humbled, they shall rejoice. Turn Thy face away from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence,! and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and with Thy governing Spirit establish me. I shall teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall turn back unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness. O God, Thou God of my salvation; my tongue shall rejoice in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I had given it; with whole-burnt offerings Thou shalt not be pleased. A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit; a heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise. Do good, O Lord, in Thy good pleasure unto Sion, and let the walls of Jerusalem be builded. Then shalt Thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.

The Symbol of the Orthodox Faith:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ. the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God, begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father by Whom all things were made; Who for us men, and for our salvation. came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prop! hets. In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen.

Prayer I, of St. Macarius the Great:

O God, cleanse me a sinner, for I have never done anything good in Thy sight; but deliver me from the evil one, and let Thy will be done in vi me, that I may open mine unworthy mouth without condemnation, and praise Thy holy name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer II, of the same saint:

Having risen from sleep, I offer unto Thee, O Saviour, the midnight hymn, and falling down I cry unto Thee: Grant me not to fall asleep in the death of sin, but have compassion on me, O Thou Who wast voluntarily crucified, and hasten to raise me who am reclining in idleness, and save me in prayer and intercession; and after the night's sleep shine upon me a sinless day, O Christ God, and save me.

Prayer III, of the same saint:

Having risen from sleep, I hasten to Thee, O Master, Lover of mankind, and by Thy loving-kindness, I strive to do Thy work, and I pray to Thee: Help me at all times, in everything, and deliver me from every worldly, evil thing and every impulse of the devil, and save me, and lead me into Thine eternal kingdom. For Thou art my Creator, and the Giver, and Provider of everything good, and in Thee is all my hope, and unto Thee do I send up glory, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer IV, of the same saint:

O Lord, Who in Thine abundant goodness and Thy great compassion hast granted me, Thy servant, to go through the time of the night that is past without attack from any opposing evil: Do Thou Thyself, O Master, Creator of all things, vouchsafe me by Thy true light and with an enlightened heart to do Thy will, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer V, of St. Basil the Great:

O Lord Almighty, God of hosts and of all flesh, Who dwellest on high and lookest down on things that are lowly, Who searchest the heart and innermost being, and clearly foreknowest the secrets of men; O unoriginate and everlasting Light, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning: Do Thou, O Immortal King, receive our supplications which we, daring because of the multitude of Thy compassions, offer Thee at the present time from defiled lips; and forgive us our sins, in deed, word, and thought, whether committed by us knowingly or in ignorance,. and cleanse us from every defilement of flesh and spirit. And grant us to pass through the night of the whole present life with watchful heart and sober thought, ever expecting the coming of the bright and appointed day of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, whereon the judge of all shall come with glory to reward each according to his deeds. May we not be found fallen a! nd idle, but watching, and upright in activity, ready to accompany Him into the joy and divine palace of His glory, where there is the ceaseless sound of those that keep festival, and the unspeakable delight of those that behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance. For Thou art the true Light that enlightenest and sanctifiest all, and all creation doth hymn Thee unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer VI, likewise by St. Basil:

We bless Thee, O Most High God and Lord of mercy, Who ever doest with us things both great and inscrutable, both glorious and awesome, of which there is no measure; Who grantest to us sleep for rest from our infirmities, and relaxation from the labours of our much-toiling flesh. We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us with our iniquities, but hast shown Thy loving-kindness to man as usual, and while we were lying in despair upon our beds, Thou hast raised us up that we might glorify Thy dominion. Wherefore, we implore Thy boundless goodness: Enlighten the eyes of our understanding and raise up our mind from the heavy sleep of indolence; open our mouth and fill it with Thy praise, that we may be able steadily to hymn and confess Thee, Who art God glorified in all and by all, the unoriginate Father, with Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thine All-holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos:

I sing of thy grace, O Sovereign Lady, and I pray thee to grace my mind.

Teach me to step aright in. the way of Christ's commandments.

Strengthen me to keep awake in song, and drive away the sleep of despondency.

O Bride of God, by thy prayers release me, bound with the bonds of sin.

Guard me by night and by day, and deliver me from foes that defeat me.

O bearer of God the Life-giver, enliven me who am deadened by passions.

O bearer of the unwaning Light, enlighten my blinded soul.

O marvellous palace of the Master, make me to be a house of the Divine Spirit.

O bearer of the Healer, heal the perennial passions of my soul.

Guide me to the path of repentance, for I am tossed in the storm of life.

Deliver me from eternal fire, and from evil worms, and from Tartarus.

Let me not be exposed to the rejoicing of demons, guilty as I am of many sins.

Renew me, grown old from senseless sins, O most immaculate one.

Present me untouched by all torments, and pray for me to the Master of all.

Vouchsafe me to find the joys of heaven with all the saints.

O most holy Virgin, hearken unto the voice of thine unprofitable servant.

Grant me torrents of tears, O most pure one, to cleanse my soul from impurity.

I offer the groans of my heart to thee unceasingly, strive for me, O Sovereign Lady.

Accept my service of supplication and offer it to compassionate God.

O thou who art above the angels, raise me above this world's confusion.

O Light bearing heavenly tabernacle, direct the grace of the Spirit in me.

I raise my hands and lips in thy praise, defiled as they are by impurity, O all immaculate one.

Deliver me from soul corrupting evils, and fervently intercede with Christ, to Whom is due honour and worship, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ:

O my plenteously merciful and all merciful God, Lord Jesus Christ, through Thy great love Thou didst come down and become incarnate so that Thou mightest save all. And again, O Saviour. save me by Thy grace, I pray Thee. For if Thou shouldst save me for my works, this would not be grace or a gift, but rather a duty; yea, Thou Who art great in compassion and ineffable in mercy. For he that believeth in Me, Thou hast said, O my Christ, shall live and never see death. If, then, faith in Thee saveth the desperate, behold, I believe, save me, for Thou art my God and Creator. Let faith instead of works be imputed to me, O my God, for Thou wilt find no works which could justify me. But may my faith suffice instead of all works, may it answer for, may it acquit me, may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory. And let Satan not seize me and boast, O Word, that he hath torn me from Thy hand and fold. But whether I desire it or not, save me, O Christ my Saviour,! forestall me quickly, quickly, for I perish. Thou art my God from my mother's womb. Vouchsafe me, O Lord, to love Thee now as fervently as I once loved sin itself, and also to work for Thee without idleness, diligently, as I worked before for deceptive Satan. But supremely shall I work for Thee, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer IX, to the Holy Guardian Angel:

O holy angel that standeth by my wretched soul and my passionate life, forsake not me a sinner, nor shrink from me because of mine intemperance. Give no place for the cunning demon to master me through the violence of my mortal body, strengthen my poor and feeble hand, and guide me in the way of salvation. Yea, O holy angel of God, guardian and protector of my wretched soul and body, forgive me all wherein I have offended thee all the days of my life; and if I have sinned during the past night, protect me during the present day, and guard me from every temptation of the enemy, that I may not anger God by any sin. And pray to the Lord for me, that He may establish me in His fear, and show me, His servant, to be worthy of His goodness. Amen.

Prayer X, to the Most Holy Theotokos:

O my most holy lady Theotokos, through thy holy and all-powerful prayers, banish from me, thy lowly and wretched servant, despondency, forgetfulness, folly, carelessness, and all filthy, evil, and blasphemous thoughts from my wretched heart and my darkened mind. And quench the flame of my passions, for I am poor and wretched, and deliver me from many and cruel memories and deeds, and free me from all their evil effects. For blessed art thou by all generations, and glorified is thy most honourable name unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayerful Invocation of the Saint Whose Name we bear:

Pray unto God for me, O holy God pleaser N., for I fervently flee unto Thee, the speedy helper and intercessor for my soul.

Song to the Most Holy Theotokos:

O Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.

Troparion to the Cross:

Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou victory to Orthodox Christians over enemies; and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

Then offer a brief prayer for the health and salvation of thy spiritual father, thy parents, relatives, those in authority, benefactors, others known to thee, the ailing, or those passing through sorrows. And if it be possible, read this commemoration:

For the Living:

Remember, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Thy mercies and compassions which are from the ages, for the sake of which Thou didst become man and didst will to endure crucifixion and death for the salivation of those that rightly believe in Thee; and having risen from the dead didst ascend into the heavens and sittest at the right hand of God the Father, and regardest the humble entreaties of those that call upon Thee with all their heart; incline Thine ear, and hearken unto the humble supplication of me, Thine unprofitable servant, as an odour of spiritual fragrance, which I offer unto Thee for all Thy people. And first, remember Thy Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which Thou hast provided through Thy precious Blood, and establish, and strengthen, and expand, increase, pacify, and keep Her unconquerable by the gates of hades. calm the dissensions of the churches, quench the raging of the nations, and quickly destroy and uproot the rising of heresy, and b! ring them to nought by the power of Thy Holy Spirit. Bow.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on the Russian Land and her Orthodox people both in the homeland and in the diaspora, this land and its authorities. Bow.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on the holy Eastern Orthodox patriarchs, most reverend metropolitans, Orthodox archbishops and bishops, and all the priestly and monastic order, and all who serve in the Church, whom Thou hast appointed to shepherd Thy rational flock, and through their prayers have mercy and save me, a sinner. Bow.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on my spiritual father N., and through his holy prayers forgive my sins. Bow.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on my parents, Names, brothers and sisters, and my kindred according to the flesh, and all the neighbours of my family and friends, and grant them Thine earthly and spiritual good things. Bow.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on the aged and the young, the poor and the orphans and widows, and those in sickness and sorrow, misfortune and tribulation, those in difficult circumstances and in captivity, in prisons and dungeons, and especially those of Thy. servants that are persecuted for Thy sake and the Orthodox Faith by godless peoples, by apostates, and by heretics; and remember them, visit., strengthen, comfort, and by Thy power quickly grant them relief, freedom, and deliverance. Bow .

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on them that hate and wrong me, and make temptation for me, and let them not perish because of me, a sinner. Bow.

Illumine with the light of awareness the apostates from the Orthodox Faith, and those blinded by pernicious heresies, and number them with Thy Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church. Bow.

For the Departed:

Remember, O Lord, those that have departed this life, Orthodox kings and queens, princes and princesses, most holy patriarchs, most reverend metropolitans, Orthodox archbishops and bishops, those in priestly and clerical orders of the Church, and those that have served Thee in the monastic order, and grant them rest with the saints in Thine eternal tabernacles. Bow.

Remember, O Lord, the souls of Thy departed servants, my parents, Names, and all my kindred according to the flesh, and forgive them all transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, granting them the kingdom and a portion of Thine eternal good things, and the delight of Thine endless and blessed life. Bow.

Remember, O Lord, also all our fathers and brethren, and sisters, and those that lie here, and all Orthodox Christians that departed in the hope of resurrection and life eternal, and settle them with Thy saints, where the light of Thy countenance shall visit them, and have mercy on us, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Bow.

Grant, O Lord, remission of sins to all our fathers, brethren, and sisters that have departed before us in the faith and hope of resurrection, and make their memory to be eternal. Bow.

Final Prayer:

It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever-blessed and most blameless, and Mother of our God. More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

O Lord, bless.

And the dismissal:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, our holy and God-bearing fathers and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen.

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A proof Islam is false religion not pleasable to God? 717 people died during Hajj in Mecca on Greatest Muslim feast Kurban Bayrami

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The frequent deaths in Mecca in Muslim Islamic Hajj a proof islam is a false religion

This year on 24 September, for one more time on the day of Greatest Muslim feast Eid-Al-Adha in turkey known as Kurban Bayrami (translated as Feast of Sacrifice) Saudi Arabia's Hajj (during the veneration of the greatest Muslim relic Kaaba (stone)  in Mecca (said to be the birth place of Muhammad), again at least  717 poor people were killed (crushed to death) and 863 injured during Hajj's common million muslim people's prayer gathering. |

Sadly Incidents like this for Muslim pilgrims are not news and they happen quite often sadly and if taken the statistics of death toll of pilgrims for the past years is shocking.

Here are some statistics on the latest 25 years of deaths of pilgrims on a Hajj travel or those who directly died in Mecca:

Mosquee_Masjid_el_Hara_a_Mecque
 

Some notable incidents during Hajj and Mecca pilgrimages in the last 25 years include:
 

  • July 2, 1990: A stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel (Al-Ma'aisim tunnel) leading out from Mecca towards Mina and the Plains of Arafat led to the deaths of 1,426 pilgrims, many of them of Malaysian, Indonesian and Pakistani origin.[2][3]
  • May 23, 1994: A stampede killed at least 270 pilgrims at the stoning of the Devil ritual.
  • April 9, 1998: at least 118 pilgrims were trampled to death and 180 injured in an incident on Jamarat Bridge.[4]
  • March 5, 2001: 35 pilgrims were trampled to death in a stampede during the stoning of the Devil ritual.[5]
  • February 11, 2003: The stoning of the Devil ritual claimed 14 pilgrims' lives.[6]
  • February 1, 2004: 251 pilgrims were killed and another 244 injured in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina.[7]
  • January 12, 2006: A stampede during the stoning of the Devil on the last day of the Hajj in Mina killed at least 346 pilgrims and injured at least 289 more. The incident occurred shortly after 13:00 local time, when a busload of travellers arrived together at the eastern access ramps to the Jamarat Bridge. This caused pilgrims to trip, rapidly resulting in a lethal stampede. An estimated two million people were performing the ritual at the time.
  • September 24, 2015: 717 pilgrims were killed and another 800 injured during a stampede in the 2015 Hajj


The Kabba stone is the central pilgrimage place for muslims and accoriding to Islam faith it is a stone which came from heaven, there are pleny of legends and superstitious speculations regarding this stone circulating among muslims and it is hard to say which is really true, however what is sure is Hajj on Mecca has been practiced by muslims since the early days of Islam even to this very day.

From a Christian staind point going to venerate a stone is simply a venerating an idol (as a stone is a creation) and not the creator and is very different from us Christians venerating the icons, as we venerate not the icon itself but the image of personality depicted on it The Lord Jesus Christ (Christ meaning Messiah), The Most holy Theotokos Virgin Mary, John the Baptist the Angels, Archangels and Saints who immitated Christ's life and who reached immerse holines even in this life being able to perform miracles.

Tomb-of-Islam-creator-Mohammad

One really strange thing which I guess no muslim could answer is why if Muhammad was the greatest and last prophet of Allah, he did not perform any miracles in lifetime or after death. Another thing is the veneration of the grave of Muhammad (At the Green Dome) practiced in Islam that is a really strange thing and contradicts the laws of the Qu'ran instructing not to venerate anything except Ala.

I would say the main proof against Islam as being the right faith in God is the fact Muhammad died like every normal person. The greatest venerated prophet for 1.5 billion muslims more venerated even than the Isa's Allah messanger (Isa is Jesus's name in Qu'ran) died like every normal person with a peaceful death without any super-natural indication he was a prophet after his death.

In Christianity we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the son of God (The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit) which we call The Holy Trinity (a undividable unity between the 3 hyposthasis.
The proof for us Christians that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of Mankind is the empty Tomb (Grave of Christ), because JESUS HAS RISEN AND WITH BODY IN HEAVEN!
 

It is interesting that these bright days for muslims often end up with immerse sorrow for some families which loose beloved husbands in accidents like this.

Interestingly on Christian Easter feast be it Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox there is no records of tragic incidents.
Even it can be considered a miracle that on Eastern feasts in Jerusalem's Church of Resurrection where the Lord Jesus Christ has been risen (resurrected) from the dead there are no crushing incidents even though the big crowds, neither there are any burned people even though the whole Holy Sepulchure (Resurrection) church is filled with people holding lighted up candles with the every year reoccuring of Miracle Holy Fire.

The_Ressurrection_of_Christ-orthodox-icon

The lack of incidents on The day of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eastern) in my humble opionion is a clear sign that this feast is a pleasing God.

Muslims believe and claim that it is the greatest joy of all to die for (God) Allah and those incidents are sent blessing from Allah for those who died in those incidents and in a sense dying for God is a blessing if you die for God's sake as a martyr while testifying faith in God but being killed while you're on a way to venerate God seems a bit illogical to me.
I have red the Holy Bible Old Testament as well as the Qu'ran sometimes ago two books which more or less are being regarded by muslims and in none of them I found not a story of someone on the way to pilgrim God or who have promised to pilgrim God who have been killed, so I guess this kind of thinking is an invention of Mullam / Imams who try to justify the event and make it look beneficial for islaam, a justification which I believe most of people looking for truth and non muslims would never justity.

Crucifixion_by_Theophanes_the_Cretan

From a my view point the crushment of people during a pilgrimage is a clear sign God's Grace and Holy Angels doesn't guard the place but the devil is let to often kill those poor people because of the rejection of muslims of the true Light the Lord Jesus Christ as a true Son of God and a saviour of the Lord who came to give his holy life on the cross not only for Christians who believed in him but for all People from all religions in the world from all ages including the direct descending from Muhammad (as I heard from some Kurdish muslim people) Muslim.

I pray our Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on the  souls of all this Mecca pilgrimages who died yesterday and the in the past accidents through the years and to have mercy and open the spiirtual eyes of Muslim around the world and enlighten them with the truthful word of the Holy Gospel.

 

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Redirect www to non www with .htaccess Apache rewrite rule

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

http://www.pc-freak.net/images/redirect_domain_name_without_changing_url_apache_rewrite_rule_preventing_host_in_ip_mod_rewrite_
Sometimes it happens that some websites are indexed in Search Engines (Google, Yandex, Yahoo, Bing, Ask Jeeves etc.) with www.website-name.com and you want to get rid of the www in the hostname in favour of just the hostname in terms of Apache .htaccess redirect. I knwo redirect www to non-www, might seem a bit weird as usually people want to redirect their website domain without www to point to www but there is a good reason for that weirdness, if you're a Christian and you dislike the fact that WWW is being red as Waw Waw Waw's or Vav / Vav Vav letters in Hebrew which represents in hebrew 666 or the mark of the beast prophecised in last book of Holy Bible (Revelation) written by saint John, the book is also called often Apocalypse.

Using Apache mod_rewrite's .htaccess is a good way to do the redirect especially if you're in a shared hosting, where you don't have direct access to edit Apache Virtualhost httpd.conf file but have only access to your user's home public_html directory via lets say FTP or SFTP.

To achieve the www to non-www domain URL redirect, just edit .htaccess with available hosting editor (in case if shell SSH access is available) or web interface or download the .htaccess via FTP / SFTP modify it and upload it back to server.

You need to include following mod_rewrite RewriteCond rules to .htaccess (preferrably somewhere near beginning of file):
 

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.Your-Website.org [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://Your-Website.org/$1 [L,R=301]


As .htaccess is being dynamically red by Apache's mod_rewrite module no Apache webserver restart is required and you should see immediately the affect, hopefully if the webhosting doesn't imply some caching with mod_cache or there is no some cache expiry setting preventing the new .htaccess to be properly redable by webserver.
Also in case of troubles make sure the new uploaded .htaccess file is properly readable e.g. has some permissions such as 755. Also in case if it doesn't immediately works out, make sure to clean up your browser cache and assure your browser is not configured to use some caching proxy host (be it visible or transparent).
Besides this would work and your Search Engines in future will hopefully stop indexing your site with WWW. in front of domain name, there is a downside of using .htaccess instead of including it straight into Apache's VirtualHost configuration is that this will cause a bit of degraded performance and add some milliseconds slowness to serve requests to your domain, thus if you're on your own dedicated server and have access to Apache configuration implement the www to non www hostname redirect directly using VirtualHost as explained in my prior article here

 

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Axion Estin – It is Truly Meet feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Today is a glorious feast in Eastern Orthodox Churches (especially in Slavonic ones) because on this day an ArchAngel Gabiel on Holy Mount Athos in year 773  handed an Angel song in praise of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), Mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

Dostojno_est_It-is-truly-meet-orthodox_icon
 

Liturgical use

The hymn is chanted at Matins, Compline, and other services; but its most important occurrence is at the Divine Liturgy, where it is chanted at the conclusion of the Anaphora. The second half of the hymn, "More honorable…" is frequently chanted before the dismissal which concludes services.

Often, the chanting of this hymn is followed by either a metania or a prostration.

It is truly meet In Church Slavonic

Досто́йно ’е́сть ’я́ко вои́стину блажи́ти Тѧ֨, Богоро́дицу,
Присноблаже́нную ’и Пренепоро́чную ’и Ма́терь Бо́га на́шего.
Честне́йшую херуви́мъ ’и сла́внейшую безˈ сравне́ния серафи́мъ, безי ᾿истле́ния Бо́га Сло́ва ро́ждшую,
су́щую Богоро́дицу, Тя֙ велича́емъ.

 


It is Truly Meet in Bulgarian / Достойно есть

 

Достойно е, наистина, да Те облажаваме, Богородице,
винаги блажена и пренепорочна и Майка на нашия Бог.

По-чтима от херувимите и несравнено по-славна от серафимите,
нетленно родила Бог Слово, същинска Богородица, Те величаем.

 

Holy_Mother-of-God-Theotokos-All-the-world-rejoice-in-you

All the World rejoices in You Holy Icon

Axion Estin (Greek) – It is truly meet

It is truly right to bless thee, O Theotokos,
thou the ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
Thou the more honorable than the cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim,
who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word,
thou the true Theotokos, we magnify thee.

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Sunday of the Blind in Orthodox Church, 6th week after Easter (Passover)

Monday, May 18th, 2015

 


Sunday-of-the-blind-6th-week-after-Passover-Easter

 

 

This Sunday I was to Church and part of our Gospel Reading that occurs on every Holy Liturgy in the Orthodox Church this time we had the following reading:

Gospel of John Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.
10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

The Pharisees Investigate

13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.
14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.
29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

Spiritual Sight and Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

As you read above the Lord Jesus Christ healed the blind-born person by which manifesting Himself as a True expectedMessiah The Saviour of the Lord a Prophet and a True and Only Begotten Son of God.

The words of God directly fought the great proudness of Jewish Pharsiee wise people (thinking that know the Law better than the Lord himself). Their selfishness and great self-conceit make their soul which was in a terrible state to suffer because their produness was insulted by the truthful words and they felt wounded. They rejected the Lords words with a question by which Jewish (people) and nowadays often non-believers and even christian manifested wrath, selfishness and even mockery with contempt.

John 9:40 Are we blind also?

Answering the Pharisee's questions, The Lord has depicted there spiritual state, which was the main reason for their question. 
 

41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.


The Pharisee's considered for spiritual seers,  in a highes level understandanding God, his laws covenant and respectively spiritual realm, so they did not need any further grown in God's knowledge, thus rejecting the true teaching which was taught by God himself.

False doctrines of this blind teachers are fruit of human proud and self-conceit. 
The proud understand himself as a independent, self-sufficient and not like a God dependent creation, the earthly life as something eternal and death and eternity for unexisting.

For this people God's plan was something not existing but God was understood as the Jewish law false teachers understanding of right and wrong in a way they have associated the eternal God with the scriptures, idolizing scriptures and inverting their meaning giving them a completely different meaning to fulfill their own passions.

This people who were to be the jewish intelligentia have recognized the human reason for a world ruler.
All the thoughts of the flesh crawl the land, the human understanding to this carnal men is completely sacrificed to the earth in which he wants to arrange his life to be all time pleasure of sin.
In this empty and unreachable goal was forced all the  fleshly and spiritual powers of both pharisees and sadukees. 

The Lord show them that the humbliness and remembrance of the dead should be the true lifely goal of man and it is  the humble-wisdom that gives an insight to eternity.

Achiving humble-Wisdom contradicts the wordly and strive for virtues and therefore it is not being considered worth for man and society material understanding of good and progress.
The one achiving spiritual knowledge understands himself as a tiny unimportant particle in a huge universe of things (generations, times, paste and future events of human history).

What the Lord Jesus Christ tried to point to this blind teachers is that only the Mind and heart of humble in contrasting to the proudness and high-minded people they were could accept God's Christian teaching and to all the time endeavor in achiving the christian virties.
The non-blind person sees and feels the great failure of (his mainly) and then all surrounding humanity fallen nature and because of this soul-pain and internal and desire for salvation and spiritual resurrection and restoration are ready to joyfully accept the Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us make from our heart a spiritual altar of God and there through our mind to sacrifice spiritual sacrifices of tenderness, repentance, confession, humble heartness (which God would not despise (Ps. 50:19) Amen 

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Man alone Opens or Closes the Door to Heaven – Bulgarian Priest ( Elder ) Atanas Arolski passed to Christ aged 95

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015


father-Spiritual-Elder-Atanas-Arolski-true-Christian-faith-confessor-passed-away-aged-95-year-Bulgarian_Orthodox-Church
 

Father Atanas Arolski A Notable Priest and Spiritual Father Elder of Bulgarian Lands and Bulgarian Orthodox Church passed away to Christ aged 95. fr. Atanas was born in a small Bulgarian mountain village Hvoyna located in Middle Rodopis Mountain. The priest is famous because he was among the few priests of our  faithless times that walked by Rodopi Muntain villages all their life to preach the Gospel of Christ. 70 years of his earthly life was dedicated to God's word and priesty service.

Fr. Atanas Arolski is born (by God's providence) on 1st of November on the day of Bulgarian Christian enlightener saints St. St. Kiril and Methodius who preached the Holy Gospel Good news of Salvation on Bulgarian lands in the 9th century. And just like the two Thesaloniki brother saints Cyril and Methodius fr. Atanas was enlightener of the Bulgarian nation during all his life. fr. Atanas completed his church studies succesfully in the Seminary of Cherepish "St. John of Rila" in year 1939. Though a lot of the Seminary students choose to become deacons in the Church to escape the mobilization and army service in Second Wolrd War the fr. decided not to cheat and went for a military service. He was ordained priest in 1943. During the last years of his life even when 90+ years old he walked to Malevo village (3km away) from his village and Orehovo village (7km! away from Hvoyna).

otec_Atanas_Arolski_living-saint-elder-of-new-times-from-Bulgaria-who-suffered-a-lot-from-communist-authorities-atheistic-regimes

Its interesting that the father walks to the 3 village Churches where he was assigned to be serving Holy Liturgy and do his many Church duties daiy even though he has a driving license since 1961, however he alone says until this very date he failed to find money to buy a car (because of his humbleness) in order to hide the spiritual reason behind that. 
The most notable father saying is "Man alone Opens or Closes the Door to Heaven" and his life is an example on how one can open the door to heaven and open when the Lord Jesus Christ knocks on the door of our heart.

This priest was torutred severely by the Atheist authorities during the Communist rule in Bulgaria in their attempt to convert him to atheism but fr. Atanas stand firm being a true confessor of Christ as he explains in the short video below, on many times they bring him in police and he was beaten badly with the purpose to show them there is no God and convince them to decline his faith in Christ and the Church but he refused.
Many times to make him stop going to Church and serving Holy Liturgy the authorities threatened him that he will be sent as a political Prisoner to Belene and he was imprison for a time and beaten to death but with God's help he survived. 

In his standing firm for the Church and faith even in times where this was not possible fr. Atanas resembles very much the confessor and God's word preaching of (Saintly) Elder Father Georgi of Jiglarci who recently also passed away 10th of January this year.

fr. Atanas alone used to say that God left him to survive until the fall of Communism in Bulgaria in order to show those who mocked him and tortured him that their regime prooved false demising (nowdays even hated by most of Bulgarian)  but God's Church triumpths victoriously even though the severe trials and persecutions standing according to Christ's word that promised us that the Gates of Hell will not get over his Church.

Below is a nice 15 minutes video made earlier by one of our Bulgarian Televisions (BTV) about this unique confessor priest.
The Holy Scriptures says "Great are the miracles of God in his holies" and movie prooves the Bible verse another time.

One True Story of Rodopi Mountains – A movie about fr. Atanas Arolsky

Ft. Atanas Arolsky the Christian Englightener 91 continues to serve to God  
God forgive and remember fr. Atanas in his Eternal Kingdom and let the father pray the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on us the sinners. Amen.

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Elder (Starets) Tadej Vitovishki explaining on the perpetual Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord’s prayer importance for daily Christian living

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Elder (Starets) Tadej Vitovishki explaining on the perpetual Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord's prayer importance for daily Christian living – http://s.pc-freak.net/url/323 Tateij Vitovnishki is among the few true spiritual enlightened people of our time who had achieved the gift of never ending prayer Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner. It is interesting that the Elder advises us to not worry about events in our life or what will happen as God will order averything in our life for our best. So the standard way of thinking we have that we need to work hard to buy apartments and cars and the never ending lust for money is something that will never give us rest or drive us closer to God, that's why the Elder says he doesn't worry about anything but just concentrates on prayer and believes God will provide him with everything needed. Amazing Elder, let him pray for us the sinners!

 

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Introduction of Holy Virgin Mary in Solomon’s temple feast in Orthodox Church – 21 November

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Presentation-of-Theotokos-st-Joachim-and-Anna-bringing-the-Virgin-Mary-to_Jerusalem_Temple_feast-of-introducition-of-Mother-of-God-into-temple
Presentation (Introduction) of the Holy Mother of God (Virgin Mary)
to the Solomon's temple (at that time of event the second temple) is celebrated on 21th November each year in the Orthodox Church (some Orthodox Churches like Russian / Serbian Orthodox celebrate the feast 13 days later because still celebrating the feast according to the Julian Calendar). Feast is celebrated also on November 21 in Roman Catholic Church but not celebrated in Protestant Church, because the feast is part of Church's tradition and its source of veneration is not the Holy Bible but the apocryphal book the Infancy Narrative of James (Gospel of James) also known as Protevangelion dated from (~ 147 A.D. – 170 AD

The feast is one of the Great feasts in the Church part of 12 Central Church Feasts;

September 8, the Nativity of the Theotokos
September 14, the Exaltation of the Cross
November 21, the Presentation of the Theotokos
December 25, the Nativity of Christ/Christmas
January 6, the Baptism of Christ – Theophany, also called Epiphany
February 2, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
March 25, the Annunciation
The Sunday before Pascha (Easter) – the Entry into Jerusalem or Flowery/Willow/Palm Sunday
Forty Days after Pascha (Easter) – the Ascension of Christ
Fifty Days after Pascha (Easter) – Pentecost
August 6, the Transfiguration
August 15, the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos

The feast commemorates the entrance of the Holy Theotokos for a first time into Jerusalem's temple which (for Jewish was the only temple where believed God lived in his full Glory). The Jewish even though gathering in Synagogues to read the Old Testament (Talmud) and pray, does not understand Synagogues in the sense we Christians understand Churches. According to Old Testament given revelation to the Jews, there was one temple holding the (The Ark of the Covenant) nowadays said to be kept in Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the city of Axun. In this temple people went for a special pilgrimage, thanksgiving to God and prayer. The Temple of Jerusalem was a religious site for pilgrimage which is similar to Mecca is for Muslim and  as Jerusalem's Tomb of Jesus (The Church of Sepulchre) is for us Christians. The temple was separted in 3 major parts:
Porch, Holy Place and Holy of Holies. In the Holy Place only priests and priest helpers could enter to service to God and in the Holy of Holies only the High Priest could enter once a year to sacrificy animal according to Jewish Custom. For us Orthodox Christian the High Priest nowdays is the Bishops, Arch-bishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs). 

Virgin_Mary-outrunning-the-young-maidens-who-intruduced-her-to-Jerusalem-temple-choosing-Gods-chooseness-of-the_Theotokos

All believing members of the Jewish community B.C. had to be presented "officially" in front of God in the Holy Temple. When the Holy Virgin was born from the already aged (around 90 years old) St. Joachim and St. Anna. The parents out of thankfulnes to God for giving them a child dedicated their child Mary to God and when Virgin Mary turned 3 years old, st. Joachim and st. Anna decided the time to fulfill their promise and offer the Holy Theotokos to the Lord has come and after gathering other young neighbor girls (which were to introduce Mary) holding lighted torches walked in front of the young Mary.

Remarkably the Holy Theotokos walked straight without even looking back to their parents weeping (as most children does) or felt regret for being separated with parents. It was remarkable miracle showing she was choosen by God to become the Mother of the Saviour when her parents left her on the first high step (out of 15 big steps) leading to the temple, she could climb freely like a grown person without falling or showing any weakness a usual kid would do. As the young girls were singing from the Holy of Holies the High priest being told in advance by the Holy Spirit came out to receive the young kid which later become the Mother of our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Entrance_Introduction_Presentation_of-the-Virgin-Mary-to-Jerusalem-Temple
The young Mary run in joy to the hands of the High Priest Zacharias who were waiting her at the gate of the temple with other elders outrunning the other maidens.

Zacharias blessed her saying, "It is in you that He has glorified your name in every generation. It is in you that He will reveal the Redemption that He has prepared for His people in the last days."
Then, Zacharias brought the child (being moved by the Holy spirit) into the Holy of Holies place where only the High Priest was permitted to enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. He placed her on the steps of the altar, and the grace of the Lord descended upon her. The Holy Theotokos arose being overfilled by the unspoken joy that only the Spirit of Truth.

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple signifies her total dedication to God and her readiness for her future vocation as the Mother of the Incarnate Lord.  

HYMNS OF THE PRESENTATION OF THEOTKOS TO JERUSALEM TEMPLE

Apolytikion (Fourth Tone)
Today is the prelude of God's pleasure and the proclamation of man's salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, "Hail, fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."

Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.

 

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Origin of Halloween (All Hallows Eve) or the Day of All Saints is actually Christian

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

 

 

The-Christian_Original-of-Halloween-Cross_on-a-pumpkin

 

 

Many people would "celebrate" Halloween today, however many don't know or understand the true feast origin. It would probably news to many that halloween that is today so much associated with satanism, evil spirits and horror has christian origin! Here is what wikipedia States about Halloween quote:
 

The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word "Halloween" means "hallowed evening" or "holy evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before All Hallows' Day). In Scots, the word "eve" is even, and this is contracted to e'en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) Eve(n) evolved into Halloween. Although the phrase "All Hallows'" is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, all saints mass-day), "All Hallows' Eve" is itself not seen until 1556.

 

All-Saints-day-Latin-Roman-Catholic-icon

Before Christianization of Western societies – e.g. Irish, Old English, Scots and the other Gaelic nations, in Ancient celtic traditions Samhain (celebrated at end of October) give the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Celts believed that the spirits of the dead over the previous year come to roam the world looking for living people to possess. As a mean of protect Celts put on their face animal skin and other objects in order to be as scare as possible to drive out spirits from themselves. The Celtic people of Europe and Britain were pagan Druids (priests / educated people) whose major celebrations were marked by the seasons. At the end of the year in northern Europe, people made preparations to ensure winter survival by harvesting the crops and culling the herds, slaughtering animals that wouldn't make it. Life slowed down as winter brought darkness (shortened days and longer nights), fallow ground, and death. The imagery of death, symbolized by skeletons, skulls, and the color black, remains prominent in today's Halloween celebrations.

seasonal_activities_medieval_seasons_calendar

The "Samhain" season used to be a favourite times before Christianization and (even by some witches, later haunted by Inquisition) for occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead. They sought "divine" spirits (demons) and the spirits of their ancestors regarding weather forecasts for the coming year, crop expectations, and even romantic prospects. Bobbing for apples was one practice the pagans used to divine the spiritual world's "blessings" on a couple's romance.

Interetingly in Eastern Europe countries, there is similar traditions in multiple countries – e.g. Romania, Moldova Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia even in my own Bulgarian culture we still have regions celebrating similar pagan feast, on whose feast KukeriKukers are called the dressed people in the form and masked as scary beasts with horns dance on the streets in hope to drive away with their awful looking outlook any "evil spirits". Kukeri traditionally appear still in Eastern Bulgaria, the feast has been known to have origin from Thracians.

kukeri in Bulgaria Shiroka Lyka

It is intriguing that since, even very ancient times people believed in immortality of the human spirit and this is not coincidence, because from ancient times people know "instinctively" the soul is importal and life continues on after physical dead of the body.

The modern version of Halloween celebrated mainly by kids wandering the homes of neighbors with the question "Trick or Treat?" started being marked in that way in England, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy at least as early as 15th century.
Traditionally groups of poor children would go to homes collecting the so called soul-cakes (special burned small breads) made as an aim of remembrance of the Christian relatives who passed away – it was a very widespread custom to give food to strangers as a mean of charity  just like it is still in Orthodox Christian countries, we give away food to strangers as an aim to remembrance of our departed (and forgiveness of sins) to our relatives.

Halloween-christian-tradition-soul-cake-with-Cross-on-it

In the Middle Ages, churches displayed the holy relics of martyred saints for veneration and those parishes that were too poor to have relics let parishioners dress up as the saints instead a practice that some Christians continue in Halloween celebrations today.

Cross_and_Halloween_origin-of-feast

Unfortunately the Christian root of Halloween tradition gradually mixed with some of the old still not completely forgotten beliefs of paganism in pre-christian times and with the gradual raise of materialism, the protestant reformation, the enlightenment, the french revolution, the world wars etc. this mostly Christian traditions loose their Christian ground and left mostly its pagan element.
After Christianization of Europe from the 9th century onwards the Church, pagan traditions continued to be practiced by many, probably because the Church "mass" language and preaching was in Latin, people doesn't have bibles and many even baptized doesn't really had a good knowledge / understanding on Christian faith.
It is not a coincidence the Church's decision to place the All Hallows Eve (The Day of All Saints) on "Halloween" feast on 1  November.

Pope_Gregory_III-icon-Catholic-Pope-who-fighted-iconoclasm-heresy

The feast of All Saints on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) – (who was a defender of true Orthodox Christian faith  and openly against the heresy of Iconoclasm) who set this date to be  "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", the feast was moved to 1 November from the prior feast from 13 May suppressed.

With the emigration of many Europeans to America the secular Halloween feast has been transferred to America and set itself as one of the United States citizens tradition in which reminded emigrants for their homeland europe making the feast popularity to boast. The bloom of TV advertisement and the decrease of faith in people, increase of occult mindset in society made the feast primordial understanding to invert associating Halloween with evil which is fun in the mass. This is quite strange as evin the ancient pagans, had not associated with evil but used the feast as a mean to protect from evil. That's another sign in what kind of tragic state currently society is … sadly the feast Americanization made it to the number of "International feasts". And now there is almost no country where Halloween is not celebrated in a secular way.

It is not a hidden fact that Halloween feast for its connection with magical powers, paganism and occult is often believed and said to be 'A feast day for Witches and magicians', its considered important feast in Anton Sandor Lavey's Church of Satan.

A lot of parents nowdays does encourage their children to celebrate the feast not understanding the real Christian roots of it and teaching children to enjoy evil often without even realizing the psychological damage this makes to a kid.
Some countries such as Russia has already legislation prohibiting the pupils in school to mask like monsters and celebrate publicly the feast.
roman_catholic_christian_halloween_pumpkin
If you're a parent it is always a good idea to tell your kid that the truth is Halloween feast is not connected to darkness as it is often publicly illustrated but on the contrary Halloween tradition is early Christian one.

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The feast of 26 Zographou Bulgarian Holy Mount Athos Martyrs – burned alive by the Roman Catholic Crusaders

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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On 23 October (10 of October in Julian Calendar every year in Zograph Monastery in Holy Mount Athos is celebrated the martyrdom of the 26 Martyrs who were martyed by Latin crusaders in October 10, 1280. The 26 martyrs were burned alive after refusal to accept Union with the Roman Catholic Church as ordered by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Paleologos. The then wanting to secure his throne emperor gave allowance for Crusaders together with his mercenaries Tatars and and Turks to go and “convert” the Orthodox Slavs to accept the union with the pope who wanted a primacy in the Church.

Mt. Athos stood in firm opposition to the Union. The Athonite monks sent a letter to Michael pointing out that the primacy of the Pope, his commemoration in the churches, celebrating the Eucharist with unleavened bread, the insertion of the “filioque” [“and from the Son”] into the Creed, could not be accepted by Orthodox, and they asked the emperor to change his mind. “We clearly see,” the letter said, “that you are becoming a heretic, but we implore you to forsake all this and abide in the teachings that were handed down to you…. Reject the unholy and novel teachings of a false knowledge, speculations, and additions to the Faith.”


Holy Theotokos – The Virgin Mary icon which spoke with a human voice to a Zographou monk

An icon spoke to an old monk warning that the “enemies of Christ” are coming. The monk went to forewarn the brothers (as he was living 30 minutes afar in a grave-yard), but for his surprise the Holy icon of the Theotokos which spoke to him was found on the monastic entrance.
The brother went and told the abbot (Igumen) Thomas who told to the brothers to either flew in the woods if they’re weak in spirit and to the strong he said to stay and cofess the Holy Orthodox faith. Abbot Thomas together with the 23 monks (24 monks including the abbot) toghet with 4 pilgrims decided to stay in the monastery and suffered martyrdom. The Crusaders who were returning from Jerusalem sent by the ungodly emperor tried to convince the 26 confessors to accept Roman Catholic doctrines such as “filioque” (The teaching that the Holy Spirit cames also from the Son) and to celebrate the eucharist with unleavened bread (like the Jewish) and wanted the confessors to accept the papal union accepted also by the emeror Michael. The 26 Martyrs rebuked these heresies and explained that the “filique” is against the decisions of the 7 Church Councils. Also they give the proof that the Holy Spirit doesn’t proceed from the Son by retelling how John The Baptist baptized Christ and how the Holy Spirit descent over the Lord Jesus Christ in form of a dove. This didn’t convince the papists and the truthful words of the Zographus monks rebuked their error the papists were angered and burned the tower with the holy Martyrs alive. One of the monks fall of the burning tower and the latin though he is dead left him behind however he survived more 30 days! – even though he was on a dying bed and later told what happened to the brothers which came from their hiding places to the monastery. The Holy Martyrs prayed from the fire their last prayer to God to save the Holy Mount Athos and every true Christian on earth from heresies. When they ended their prayer they heard a voice from heaven “Rejoice for great is your reward in heaven!”. The Roman Crusaders heard the voice and were scared howeveras their spiritual eyes were darkened by the lack of the Grace of the Holy Spirit, they kept in their heart tightening. The Martyrdom happened according to Greek chronicles on 10 of October 1280.

The names of the Martyrs for Christ were as follows:

Igumen Thomas, and the monks Barsanuphius, Cyril, Michael, Simon, Hilarion, James, Job, Cyprian, Sava, Jacob, Martinian, Cosmas, Sergius, Menas, Joasaph, Joannicius, Paul, Anthony, Euthymius, Dometian, Parthenius, and four laymen.

The tower building where the holy martyrs were burned was partially kept even though the fire until 1874 however the tower was already too old and it was about to ruin – that’s why it hadto be destroyed. To preserve the memory about the martyrdom of 26 martyrs all brothers of the Zographou monastry decided in one spirit to build on its place a monument.

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This happened the same year 1873. The monument had to be sanctified on the day when the memory of the martyrs is celebrated at the eve after sunrise began a night vigil. The night was moonless and on the heaven one could see only few stars. All around was silence. During the vigil exactly in midnight, after beginning the living and martyrdom of the the holy Zographos martyrs”, above the church all 600 hundred people saw a fire column. Column lighted up the whole monastery and the whole region with such a bright light, that even the small objects in the monastery could be seen. This divine column stayed over the Church for 3-4 minutes and moved and stayed above the monument for 3-4 minutes more and after that started ascending above and formed a ring like a crown, crowning the place where the holy martyrs suffered.

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This unusual event continued for about 15 minutes. An eyesights of the miracle were all the brotherhood, guests and hermits who came from nearby Sketes for the feast.

That’s how the Almight God has shown by this miracle omen showing in front of everybody how Godly was the martyrdom of this great confessors of the true faith and loyalty to the Holy Orthodox Church.

Holy 26 Martyrs and Cofessors of the true faith pray the Lord Jesus Christ to save our souls!

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