Posts Tagged ‘church’

Can you swim after communion? – What is better not to do after receiving the holy sacraments

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

is-it-allowed-to-swim-after-holy-communion
I took the sacraments this Sunday, and as we're on a holiday and we go to swimming daily. I never swim eucharist in my wife, so a logical came is it allowed to swim after receiving the holy sacraments?

I've googled around to see for an answer but it seems from what I find there is no official plain answer telling whether swimming is allowed or not after communion.

As there is no official church position on this question, this question is solved privately with your priest (spiritual father), if you have such, if not you can do it according to your own conscious.

I've red there are some priests who say, the best practice is not to swim after communion at least 9 hours after holy communion.

For monks the question to swim or not after receiving the holy sacraments is clearly answered as monks are not allowed to go to a beach / undress or wear a swimwear. The reason for that swimming could turn to pleasing the flesh and even a passion in some cases.

otec_Georgi_Jeglarci_communion_chalice_holy-potir

For layman swimming is allowed, but it is dangerous to swim for the only reason, one can hurt himself during swimming and there might be bleeding and it is well known rule to try to follow not to have bleeding or open wounds during communion. Of course in some cases for old people who believe and take the holy blood and flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ with permanent open wounds this rule cannot be observed and with such there might be exceptions. But the general rule for healthy people to follow is to preserve themselves from bleeding after receiving holy communion.
Also an interesting thing that is good to observe after communion is not to take haircut on the same day, cut nails and even it is recommended to not take shower the same day.
The reason to generally try to not wash the body is because the blessing and renewal of the body by the holy spirit which is received in form of Christ's blood and flesh is bathing us and we don't want to wash out this blessing.

Christ-giving-holy-sacraments-to-holy-apostle-Paul

Of course to shower or not after communion is a personal decision. Also the one of the reasons not to haircut on same day as holy communion is it is usual to get a shower after haircut and it is better not to do that. No bleeding on the same day as communion is because we physically receive holy Christ's body and flesh and his holy gifts run through all our body including in the blood and we don't want to have to waste and "spill" this grace through bleeding.
Also on day of receiving holy sacraments it is church rule not to kiss, not to spit and walking barefoot (for the danger that you can hurt yourself and have a blood spill).

lastsupper-holy-orthodox-icon-what-to-do-after-holy-communion

If for some reason you fall and bleed the proper way to deal with the situation is to burn the tissue with the blood.

The number 9 hours to wait is significant in that it reminds us of the hours our Lord Jesus Christ spent to pay our debts with his holy blood and thus grant us salvation. This is the way of the cross starting from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, the trial, crucifixion, death, and laying in the tomb took a total of 9 hours.
Also trying consedering not to spit, not chew chewing gum, wash, take shower and kiss is important as it is a mean of watchfulness and as Christians we have to be watchful, at least some minor time after being allowed to re-join the Holy Body of Christ through the holy sacraments gifts in Church.

If you're bringing to communion your kids it is a different story and you can be less vigilent to obseve all this, as it is impossible to know what a kid could do.
It should be known except spitting, right after receiving the holy communion all is not a must observe rules but it is good ones to follow.

Most of the information of this post is based on Coptic Oriental Orthodox forum with questions and answers on wha it is better not to do after communion, anyways as we Eastern Orthodox Chrsitians are so close in faith to Copts, the answers there are true for us too.

Saint Anthony’s Cave and the Coptic Orthodox Church / Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity movie

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

saint Anthony icon and desert Christian hermit fathers saint Anthony Cave and monastery

 

I held interest in Coptic Orthodox Church. As I had meet a Coptic Orthodox Christian and his faith has significantly impressed me. Before some time I've found on youtube a video talking about one Australian person who from Atheist become Coptic Christian and later choose a living as Desert Monk Father in  one of the most ancient Christian monasteries monastery  Saint Anthony The Great. Father's Lazarus until this very day lives in Saint Anthony's Monastery. You can see an interesting documentary about fr. Lazarus "different life"  in the Last Anchorite a Movie about Coptic Oriental Orthodox hermit life.

Every Orthodox Christian as well as any Christianity historian should know very well the name of st. Anthony the Great. St. Anthony is probably the father of Monastic life and the monastic tradition started by his followers is living in various Christian monasteries (predominary Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox) all around the world. The monastery was established in year 356 by direct followers of the Great saint. Saint Anthony himself was illiterate but same time achieved holiness and God knowledge which only few in whole human history did. Recently my personal thoughts on Human Progress, ProgRes = (Programmed Resources), were leading in the same path testifying myself that the the path of "Higher Education" and big knowledge we all took, though leading us to big inventions and "fleshly developments" is more and more depriving us of the path of Truth and Love for God, which in its essence is a life of simplicity and humility.
 Saint Anthony's desert Monastery is one of the oldest Christian monasteries  in  history of mankind. It is  one of the innumerous God miracles that the monastery built by saint Anthony's pupils is existing until today for already ABOUT 17 centuries (1700 YEARS!!!!)! It is located deep in the Red Sea Mountains (334 km from egypt Capital Cairo) very near to the Saint Catherine's Eastern Orthodox Monastery.

Saint Anthony the Great, is among the most venerated Christian saints also for  the reason he fearlessly defended true Christianity from the heresy of Arius during  first Ecumenical Council in Nicea A.D. 325. Arianism used to be one of the most deadly spiritual  heresies since the Birth of Christ's Church. Arians rejected the Godly nature of Christ. Many protestant Christian sects nowadays are matching teachings taught by Arians. 

Below movie BBC Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity was produced by a Protestant (Anglican) Priest Father Peter Owes. From an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective it is interesting  to see his easy digestive "pinky" view on Christian faith and general life as it is typical for most western people.

Saint Athonoy's Cave and Saint Anthony Monastery – Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity

During watching the movie some of his sayings are quite inappropriate and very much displaying the protestant bloated view of Christianity that is ruling over England, however near the end of the movie one can see Peter's change for good (the monastery and monks prayers changed him); he talks more spiritually wise and he started changing his understanding of Christianity and life. As the Extreme Pilgrim Ascetic is a few parts documentary the other 2 parts are exploring the Wondering Mystics of the Himalayas Mountains and a Confu-Monks of Central China (Buddhism) etc.

As most of the people in the Western World, though Peter being a devoted Christian and priest in the Church of England (Anglican Church), "pater" Owes does not have obviously clear understanding on True Christian belief system. In his complete sequelmovie he is putting on the same plane Buddhism, Mysticism and Christianity lowering truthfulness of our Christian faith to the other religions! This is no strange as this tendency is quite evident in Western European Countries (mixed Roman Catholic / Protestant countries). The previous Roman Catholic Pope himself John Paul II was for unification of all world religions not in the name of Jesus Christ but in the name of  a fake (anti-Christian) World Peace.

For Christians not aware of the existence of Ecumenical World Religious Unification movement check Ecumenism – A terrible treat to Orthodox Christianity see here.
It is great Father Peter made this video so we Christians can have a look on how a hermit christian life is like. Though the movie is so nice the general message it spreads sadly is  very much in the spirit of World Religions Ecumenism that is so popular in these days, so Christians has to be careful with that.

Hopefully after he experienced some authentic hermitage Christianity, Peter Owes spiritual eyes will re-open for the true Christian Church and faith tradition kept  in , the One Holy Apostolic Church – the Orthodox Church. I should also mention, that though Coptic Spirituality is on such a high level, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is sadly officially not  in eucharist communion with  Easter Orthodox Church due to their rejection of the Ecumenical Councils after the III-rd Ecumenical Church Council (gathering). Along with preserving a very ancient Church tradition practices in the Coptic Church, from what I've saw in further researching about Coptic Orthodox Church has a bit of inclanation in iconography towards Roman Catholicism iconography. Of course some of this Roman Catholic iconography  fragments are also evident in some of 19th century iconography in Russia, but in general in rest of Eastern Orthodox world this is much less than what I see in Coptic Church.

Most of the belief system and feast days of Coptic Orthodox Christians is almost identical to the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Church, making our Churches core teaching identical, however we're not officially one Church in holy communion unionl.

From what I've saw also it is evident that Coptic Church adopted a lot of arts along with the Greek language for their liturgy, as they sing the Kyrie Eleison prayer in Greek = (Lord Have Mercy). Also something to be noted is some of early Christian traditions in Copts were unchanged, they make the sign of the cross (from left to right) – little similar to Roman Catholics, whether we the Eastern Orthodox Christians, make the sign of the cross from right to left – you might want to see at my previous article why Orthodox Christians make the sign of the Cross different from Roman Catholics.

In any means, I'm mostly thankful to God will blessing me to have a look at the Cave of Saint Anthony  – where he spend most of his life and the Great monastic life they still thankfully lead in this spiritual cloister  ! I also hope my little post will be of help of people searching for Authentic Christianity and interested to strengthen their faith.

Here is the Church prayers saint Anthony the Great Glorification Hymns (Troparion and Kontaktion) as we sing them in the Eastern Orthodox Church:

Troparion (Tone 8)

You are most glorious, O Christ our God!
You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth!
Through them you have guided us to the true faith!
O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!

Kontaktion (Tone 8)

 

The Apostles' preaching and the Fathers' doctrines have established one faith for the Church.
Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology,
It defines and glorifies the great mystery of Orthodoxy

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Anthony the Great, God have mercy on all of us Orthodox Christians.

8 November: Bulgarian orthodox Church Patriarch Maxim Farewell service in st. Nedelia Cathedral, Sofia

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Holy Liturgy  for the passing of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thousands of people came to venerate and ask for a last blessing The Bulgarian Orthodox patriarch his All Holiness Maxim. The  (Holy Liturgy Service) took place in Cathedral Church Saint Nedelia

Cathedral Church of Saint Nedelia Sofia Bulgaria picture from wikipedia

Cathedral of Sveta Nedelia (Saint Nedelia) is one of the most famous landmarks in Bulgaria's capital Sofia. It is a medieval Church many times rebuild, and its primal building was done in the 10th century many times rebuild, current Church building is made in XIX century. st. Nedelia's Cathedral  keeps the Holy Relics of King Stephan Milutin

Holy Relics of Saint Serbian King Milutin, Bulgaria, Sofia st. Nedelia Cathedral

The Holy King Milutin's Holy Relics are transferred in Bulgaria in the 1460s, whether the holy relics was for years kept across several monasteries in Churches throughout Bulgaria. St. Nedelia's Church building is blessed to store the Holy Saint Relics since the 18th century when the Church become Bishop's residence. It was common the Church to be called St. King Milutin because in the late 19th and 20th century because of significance of holding the Holy remains of Saint Serbian king Milutin

Saint King Milutin Holy Relics Sofia saint Nedelia Church photo from wikipedia

It is no strange that the Holy Liturgy where people can venerate the patriarch will be served exactly in this Church and again it is due to God's human incomprehensible providence.

Saint Serbian King Milutin  Holy relics as kept in Saint Nedelia Church Sofia Bulgaria

In the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we have celebrated saint Serbian King Stephan Milutin's veneration just 9 days ago (on 30th of October). It is obviously a providence of God and God inspired BOC Holy Synod decision to do the ( Farewell)  Holy Liturgy in the Church holding the Great Saint of Serbia and All Orthodoxy Stephan Milutin Holy Relics.

The Holy Liturgy  was headed by Plovdiv region Metropolitan Nikolay.

Which as of now is temporary chosen to serve as Metropolitan for Eparchy of Sofia.

Patriarch Maxim Opelo (Funeral Service) in sant Nedelia Church Sofia Bulgaria

Crowds of people from all around Bulgaria, came to venerate for a last time the Holy Hierarch. The police was forced to prohibit temporary entrance of people in the temple due to the high amount of people trying to enter and venerate patriarch Maxim.

His all Holiness Patriarch Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgarian Orthodox Church's Farewell Church Service

Many priests from across Bulgaria come to venerate the Holy Patriarch and take participation in Patriarch's Farewell's Holy Liturgy

Patriarch Maxim Funeral and Orthodox priests on Patriarch Farewell Service ( Liturgy )

To venerate our wise patriarch for the Farewell Holy Liturgy came the ecomenical Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomeus

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus giving his condolescence and veneeration to Patriarch Maxim's body
 

The funeral of his all holiness will be tomorrow in Troyanski Manastir Through my lifetime I did not have the opportunity to venerate the patriarch. In my mind however I'm deeply bowing in front of him and asking for his blessing.
By God's providence, today in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church it is a big Church feast, Arhangelov den (Assembly of the Holy Archangels). The patriarch Zaupokoina Slujba ( Patriarch Opelo ) as we call it in Bulgaria will be served in Sofia's Cathedral Church of Saint Alexander Nevski tomorrow morning.

Tiny Bulgarian kid venerating patriarch Maxim's body in st. Nedelia Church - Patriarch Maxim's Opelo

Lets hope by his all holiness Patriarch Maxim prayers who "introduced himself in the Lord" as we say in the Church, the state of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church will improve and more and more Bulgarian young people will find Christ and truthfulness of the One Holy Apostolic – Orthodox Christian faith.

Head of Bulgarian Orthodox Church for 41 years Patriarch Maxim (aged 98) passed away / Patriarch Maxim short Biography

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Head of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, his all holiness Patriach Maxim passed away to Christ early this morning 06 November 2012 around 03:30 а.m.

Our beloved patriarch headed the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in truth for the immersely high 41 years! Patarirch Max was the oldest among all Orthoodox Christian patriarchs. Just 8 days earlier, we have celebrated in the Church his 98 birthday.
People who know the patriarch personally, said from his youth even even to his old years he used to be "The same humble person".

Our patriarch birthname "in the world" was Marin Naydenov Minkov and Pena Bordjukova. The patriarch was born from a father Nayden Minkov Rachev. Almost none is known about how  the future Bulgarian Church patriarch  who headed the Church ( 1971 – 2012 ) lived in his young years, similarly little is known about his family (parents) background, all we know is his parents was very pious people.

His Holiness Patriarch Maxim was born in Oreshak a little village near the city of Lovech, Bulgaria. His education was given in his native birth place – the mountain village of Oreshak.

In year 1935 His Holiness completed Sofia's Spiritual Seminary School ( Sofiiska Duhovna Seminaria ). In 1942 his holiness completed a Theological Degree in Sofia State University – saint Clement of Ohrid ( Saint Kliment Ohridski ).

Patriarch Maxim (become monk) in his early years in 27 years old, after the usual period for testing novice monks (2 to 5 years) in Trojan's Monastery (Troianski Manastir), this  means his holiness become novice monk in the very young age of 21 or 22 years. He was ordained to monk receiving the monk name of Maxim on 13 of December 1941 under the Church degree of Hierodeacon.

A small note to make here for those unfamiliar with Orthodoxy is in Orthodox Church it is accepted that once a person is ordained to be a Monk or Priest (part of white or black brotherhood), he is usually given a name of a Church saint.

His holiness was given the monk name of Maxim after one of the greatest Christian saints of all times Maxim the Confessor . Saint Maxim (The Confessor) was martyred for Christ in nowadays Bulgaria lands.

After a while, he was for a short time he served as a Hierodeacon to Lovchanski's Metropolitan (Metropolit of Lovech) and in year 1942, his holiness was assigned as a Theology Teacher in Sofia's Spiritual seminary ( Sofiiska Duhovna Seminaria ), he served as a Christian Theology teacher for about 5 years from y. 1942 to 1947.

In 14 May 1944 from HieroDeacon he was consecrated to be  Hieromonk, 3 years later in 1947, he was raised to Archimandrite and assigned as Protosingel of Dorostolsko – Chervenska Eparchy ( Dorstol's Eparchy ) by Mitrpolitan Mihail (Michael).

By decision of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Holy Synod, Archimandrite Maxim was send to serve as a rector for  Bulgarian Christian community  in Moscow, his ministry in Moscow lasted almost 6 years from 1950 to 1955.

Archibishop Maxim came back to Bulgaria in 1955 and was assigned as a Head Secretary for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Holy Synod. As a primary secretary of Bulgarian Church Holy Synod he served in year 1955 to 1960. Along with his duties are primary secretary of Holy Synod in 1957 to 1960, he was serving as a Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Synodal periodical spiritual literature print.

In 30 December 1956, he was hierotonize ( ordained ) as  Bishop Branitskogo (Branitski) – this happened after proposed by his all holiness patriarch Cyril and decided on one of the regular Holy Synod of Bulgarian Orthodox Church meetings.

Patriarch Maxim in his early patriarchate years picture

30 of October his holiness was assigned to serve as Metropolitan Lovchanski ( Metropolit of Lovchanski Church region ).

Patriarch Maxim blessing with Crufixi Cross and Sceptre

After the passing to Christ of our previous Bulgarian Church patriarch, his holiness patriarch Cyril (Kirilos), in the following in the Patriarchate Church (national) assembly of BOC (Bulgarian Orthodox Church) 4 -8 July 1971 in Sofia, Metropolitan Lovchanski Maxim was canonically chosen to be vicar of the BOC Holy Synod.

Patriarch Maxim sitting Patriarchate throne and with patriarch crown and scepter

His entronization as new patriarch took place on 4 July 1971 in Alexander-Nevski's ( Bulgarian Holy Synod ) council. Patriarch Maxim became the 21-st ( Primate ) Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox.

According to Bulgarian Church internal law, the patriarch of Bulgaria is also a Metropolitan of Sofia.

Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria Orthodox Church
Little after he was chosen the Patriarch of all Russia at that time Pimen, in his speech spoke of the recently chosen Bulgarian patriarch as a prominent hierarch with many virtues.

In November y. 1974 the Assembly of Sofia's Spiritual Academy awarded His All holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria for his great theological contributions Phd scientific rank ( honoris causa ).

Patriarch Maxim smilng

To celebrate his 60th anniversary BOC Synodal Publishing of Sofia issued a collection of his works entitled "In the field of the Lord" (Sofia publishing 1975). The book includes words, speeches and articles of Patriarch Maxim for period 1950 – 1974.

In 1974, the Council of the Sofia Theological Academy awarded Patriarch Maxim for his theological writings a degree of Doctor of Theology honoris causa. 60th Anniversary of Patriarch Maxim Synodal Publishing in Sofia issued a collection of the works of his work "In the field of the Lord" (Sofia, 1975). The book includes the words, speeches and articles for 1950-1974 Patriarch Maxim's.

Patriarch Maxim blessing the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians

Last year the newly chosen Patriarch of all Russia, Cyril met our Patriarch Maxim.

Over the last years the patriarch has suffered severely with Diabetes and had a health complications, "being powerful in his infirmities", just like Holy apostle saint Paul. Patriarch Maxim leaded the Bulgarian Orthodox church wisely preventing the Church from complete disintegration and managing to keep the Church existent even though the severe attempts of Communist authorities to destroy the Church. His long given rulership over the Church is something very rare in whole Church history since Christ and in my view can be considered indicator that his holiness patriarch Maxim was pleasing to God in his service.

The funeral of Patriarch is to be served in Troyanski Manastir (Trojan Monastery), in the Church Dormition of the Holy Theotokos behind miracle making icon of the Virgin Mary on Friday 9th of November 2012. By God's providence and the Holy Synod of BOC decision, his body will be laid in the same monastery, where he was ordained as monk. The funeral preparations will be made by the Abbot of Troyanski Monastery Branitski / Bishop Grigorius (Grigorij).

The Bulgarian Government announced Friday to be a day of sorrow in memoriam of patriarch Maxim. Along in the whole Bulgarian country Churches Za Upokojna slubja (A service prayer for the newly introduced patriarch in the Lord ) were served yesterday and will be continuously served in the next 3 days.

Now what is left is we pray for our patriarch's soul and by patriarch Maxim's prayers the Lord Jesus Christ to bless our Bulgarian Orthodox Church with another good and wise patriarch.
 

A Holy Liturgy Tsarevo – Church on a sea rocks

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Tsarevo sea resort sky view

Its 5th day since I’m in Tsarevo . Its my first time in Tzarevo but hope not my last time. The place is absolutely charming !
There are more than 15 beaches in the region, plenty of beautiful rocks, a little sea port and 2 beautiful Churches – one located on the tiny little city street as well as the second ancient Church located on a sea rocks nearby the sea coast.

Carevo helicopter view

The whole main city (old) part is concentrated near 3 main streets one of which can be considered central. Once one walk the central street you pass by a little park (sea garden – as we call them in bulgaria) located on right. Continuing straight in the main street in the eyesight of the viewer is a strange beautiful looking natural water carved rocks.

Once you walk towards the rocky shore mixed with sand at one’s sight view is a large cross:

Carevo end of Central Street rocks and Christ Cross

Tsarevo is a place for people who like rocky places as there are too many of rocks all around the town.
Most of the beaches here are a mixture of rocks and sand, so probably people who prefer luxurious beaches won’t like it, but for “wild souls” like me it is perfect 🙂

Here is a picture of the central Tsarevo beach.

Central beach Tzarevo picture

Today in morning for the usual Sunday holy liturgy we went to the rock located Church Dormition of Virgin Mary with Galin and his little kid.
The Church history is ancient and originally the most ancient Christian Church that was there is probably from 5th or 6th century as in many other places in Bulgaria. The current Church (stone) building is from 1895 before the liberating war for Bulgaria with Ottoman Turkish.

Dormition of Virgin Mary Church is one of the important “landmarks” of Tsarevo.Though the church is on such a “desert” place it is fully functional; Holy Liturgy is served on each big Church feast and any tourist Christian can go during day hours 09:00 – 20:00 h for short prayer or supplication.

After the Holy Liturgy, I spend some time staring at the sea view from the rock on the back of the Church building. The panorama one get from the rock eminence behind the church is amazing beautiful (purely inspirational) …

Here are some pictures of the Church, I don’t hold copyright over the pictures, so the pictures belong to the respective persons who took them.

Dormition of Virgin Mary (Theotokos) - town Carevo Tsrevo church on Rocks

Tsarevo Rock Church view

Dormition_of_virgin_Mary_long_view_picture

Tsarevo Cliff Church Uspenie Bogorodichno Dormition of Theotokos

Water Dunes Dormition of Theotokos Church on rocks view

1984 Church entrance Tsarevo Church on Sea rocks picture

Church and Bell Tower in Tsarevo town

Feast of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom in Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Saint Stephen the first Christian Saint

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Saint Stephen Martyrdom Orthodox Christian Icon

It is 27th of December, the 3rd day of Christmas and in those day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church we co-memorate saint Stephen's Martyrdom.

Its a well known fact that by his martyrdom Saint Stephen become the first Christian martyr
Stephen's name etymology comes from Greek (Stephanos) and translated means "Crown".

What we know from Orthodox Church's tradition is that Stephen was a very young in his age of Martyrdom probably in his 20s.

Stephen's glorious martyrdom has inspired and strengthened significantly the early seveerly hunted Church and has give a lot of courage and faith to many of our early Saint Martyrs. These early Church saints now incesently pray to God to have mercy on our earthly Church.
Its not much known fact St. Stephen held a rank in the early Church clergy, he was a HieroDeacon.
Hierodeaconism in our church is considered the maximum rank of deaconship one can have just before he is ordained for a Priest.

St. Stephen Orthodox Christian icon

St. Stephen was burning for love in Christ and had a strong faith in God, turning many Jewish to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has shown the truth way to many by teaching them, how to properly interpret the Old Testament (Ancient Jewish) writtings.
He explained to many jewish, how all the old scriptures testify about the coming of the Messiah (Christ), which will save all who believe in his name from sins hell damnation.
As Jewish looked for ways to shutter any kind of preaching of the Gospel and kill Christianity, they saw Stephen as a big enemy just like all Christians in those early days. Therefore they looked for ways to accuse him and execute them and end up the large numbers of jewish people converting from Jewism to Christianity
The whole story of stoning (execution) of st. Stephen is described in the Holy Scriptures in the book called Acts of the Apostles

As he was about to die, Stephen looked up to heaven and said;

"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God."
Then, as he was being stoned, he cried out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.".Our Beloved saints last words were, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." manifesting his saintship and deep Christ love even during his last moments of earthly living.
St. Stephen is celebrated in almost all West Roman Catholic Church and in Anglicans.
Churches who co-mmemorate the great saint are located in all around the world.
St. Stephen is also considered a patron saint of Republika Sprska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Stephen's name later probably become the origin name for western's so popular Steven name).
Saint Stephen Orthodox Christian Icon 11th century byzantine icon
 

Saint Stephen's Byzantine Icon from the 11th Century

Let by the Holy Prayers of St. Stephen God have mercy on the Church and increase our faith and mercies to us sinners.

The third day after Resurrection (Easter)

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It’s the third day, after the saviour’s tomb was found empty. The third day after the evel living has manifested his divinity by showing himself alive to The Holy Virgin Mary (Theotokos) to Mary Magdalene and to few of the Holy Apostles.
The upcoming week is called within the Church The Bright Week
The whole week is a week of a divine spiritual joy which we all the Christians experiens (feels).

God is really graceful to us the sinners in this holy days of the year.

A living saint in Bulgaria Dqdo (Elder) Dobri of Baylovo village – The living Christ example we Christians should follow

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

elder-dobri-from-baylovo-a-great-saint-like-example-christians-should-follow

In this dark days of humanity, we can rarely find persons who live in a holy way like the saints from the Holy Bible or the Books of the Living of the Saints

Saintship has been slowly disappearing from earth just like it's prophecised by Christ our Saviour and the Holy Apostles and in later times by many monks, Church hierarchs, patriarchs and hermits.

In Bulgaria as in most parts of the Orthodox world the Christian faith apostacy is also clearly seen.
We can no longer see saint hermits like our patron saint of Bulgaria Saint John of Rila

Even in this dark days God still shows mercy to us and still present us some of his saints.
The topic of this article as you have already red in the title is Elder Dobri of the Baylovo village

Elder Dobri of Baylova has been a regular person like all of us with a family and children just until 12 years ago.
About 12 years ago the I would call him The Living saint has decided to let all the earthly passions and sorrows for Christ and his eternal salvation.
He despised the earthly goodness and become a beggar, all the collected money he got were distributed among other poor people or donated to Churches and monasteries belonging to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Day by day and a coin by coin, he has collected thousands of levs (the bulgaria national currency).
The gathered money were given to support the live of monasteries and Churches, by this very date. This old man is the greatest donator for the Cathedral Church St. Alexsander Nevski (situated at the heart of Bulgaria's capital Sofia)

His words spoken just like the saints are full of grace and goodness. One of his famous sayings are:

Man has Always two wills in himself in every moment of his life, the will to do good and the will to do evil
As all the truths his sayings are simple but represent the ultimate truth which was also said in many other forms in The Holy Bible Gospels and God's law.

The external outlook of Dqdo Dobri is also saintly, he has long beard a shining eyes and a national folklore dress.
He looks like he has been out of some old Bulgarian tale.

It's very striking fact that he that this old man is the biggest donator for our Cathedral Temple, we have many millionaires and businessman in Bulgaria but nobody has decided to donate to our Church such a high sum of money.

Elder Dobri's donation for the St. Alexander Nevski's Church is in value 35700 levs (around 19000 euros).
Dqdo Dobri is a beggar for Christ, this is one of the major types of saintship we read about in the living of the saints.
All the collected money from people are given for God's Glory. It's amazing heroism and an example, all we the Christians should follow to fulfill Christ's law of love and inherit the internal salvation.
A friend of mine who has the blessing to see Elder Dobri with her own eyes and have a small talk with him, has shared with me that even though he wears an old ragged clothes, his clothes and body emit a roses like odor!

As the fame about the same has grown these days, the Bulgarian National television has prepared a small video about the saint. I believe the video as a true blessing for us the Christians and will encourage us to persist in the good deads.
Here I present you the videos you can see the living saint, I hope by his holy prayers God will show mercy to all us who watch his graceful words:


The Living Christian Saint from Baylovo Village – Bulgaria


Elder Dobri from Baylovo – Bulgaria

Inteview with Elder Dobri in his house in Baylovo (the interview is in Bulgarian)

Will the End of the World come in 2012? The Orthodox Christian perspective

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Nowdays, there is a lot of talk and discussions about the end of the world.
The fear of the End of the World in year 2012 is highly proclaimed, ancient mayan false “prophecies” are highly buzzed about.

Many people are more interested into the of the world, as many of the signs of the end times has been fulfilled.
Many people are turning back into occult and pagan beliefs to look up for prophecies to backup their thesis of the mayan prophecies.

A mess of false prophecies from different religions are usually mixed in order to proof to ourselves that the end of the world is at hand.
A number of apocalyptic movies has been produced until in the making industries as the more the time is close to year to 2012 the more sci-fi and all kind of movies on the apocalyptic theme are being produced.

Many people live in a constant fear that they’re gonna die in 2012 and start living even more irresponsible than before, asserting that there is no reason to do anything valuable now as the world’s end is near.
I myself some few years ago have been among this blind “false prophets” and has confessed the same destructive philosophy.
Yes it’s true that the Apocalypsis is approaching and has been approaching since the last 2011 years that passed since our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth on earth.
What is erronemous is the mistake that, we should live in fear about the end and we should do belief like the pagans in their shaky wrong beliefs based more on superstitiousness than on prophetic facts or signs of the time.

Even a plenty of music bands Protestant Christian bands like Saviour Machine are writting lyrics on the topic of the End Times, spreading fear unto some degree even among Christian Metal heads.

The situation outside the realm of the Christian secularity is even worser, I’ve heard a whole bunch of people especially in (USA) are preparing food and provisions to survive great cataclysm that they say is expected to come over the earth.
You can judge how insane is that! The end of the world as my spiritual father has told me some long time ago could be individually for us in every further minute.
If I as an individual die then I will experience the end of the world and when I will die is in God’s hands, so there is no point to worry about where the all world will end, if there is a high probability that my personal end could occur every single minute.
It’s sad that the consequences of such an panical beliefs about “the evils that are about to come on the world” are being falsely interpreted among Christians, this kind of tendency is also spread this days even among some practicing Orthodox Christians.

At many times studying of the Holy Bible “Book of the Apolapysis” are soul and mind destructive.
It’s a well known fact that in the past the book of Apocalypsis has been officially included in the Holy Bible, somewhere nearby the 5th century.

The reasons the holy church fathers decided to place the book of revelation in the bible so late is that, many of the things written are hard to understand and can lead novice Christian astray from the true essence of our faith which is love for God and love for the neighbor
Very pitily even I as an Orthodox Christians have suffered the great consequences of attempting to interpret the prophecies among the end of the world.

Therefore I found interesting that I share in this article what is the position of the Orthodox Church on the Apocalypsis or the so called End Times

First it should be said that Orthodox Christians positions is mostly based on factological information and prophetic saying by the Holy Fatherswhich by itself require a spiritual father to interpret them properly.

In the Orthodox Church we’re expecting the End Times, since the beginning of the one Holy and Apostolic Church. However the Apocalypsis is never being perceived as something that we should concentrate about but as an information that it’s good to have a general awareness of in order to have understanding in the spiritual times we’re living and how close we’re to the Second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Orthodox Christian belief on Apocalypsis is completely opposite to the worldly belief which plants panic and fear in people’s mind and souls.
We belief that drawing near to the End Times, we’re drawing near to our second coming of our Lord and hence near to our eternal Salvation therefore the end days to come are not to be a concern of fear but on a contrary, they should accepted with humility and joy that we’re drawing near to our eternal salvation.

As a part of the topic of the End of the World, it’s very common nowdays in Christian and Non-Christian (heretical) groups (Mormons, Jehova’s Witnesses) to talk about the expected AntiChrist and to propagate fear in their deceived deciples.

These heretical groups has the wrong idea that starts with the definition of AntiChrist in that groups they belief AntiChrist means Against Christ, which is not very proper definition of the word.
The Orthodox Christian understanding about the AntiChrist word is Instead of Christ
Therefore the true meaning of AntiChrist in the original church was always perceived as Instead of Christ and not literally Against Christ.

Instead of Christ means, a substitute for Christ. Now if we think deeply in the modern world we have a bunch of substitute of Christ in the form of passions we have, disbelief inattendance of the Holy Liturgy – the Ancient Church service in our Orthodox Church.
In the number of Instead of Christ are a false belief to all kind of transcendental philosophies buddhism, reincarnation, hinduism, muslim beliefs, cult to public perons like let’s say Madonna or Marilyn Manson etc. etc.

If we as Christians have an example person for our life instead of having our saviour Jesus Christ for an example to follow, then we are definitely following an AntiChrist.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t say that Madonna or Michael Jackson or whoever is an AntiChrist. They’re definitely not, even though very often their behaviour and public performance becomes the reason for many people to be falsely leaded to false beliefs and false teachings different from the teachings of Our Holy Orthodox Church.

In that sense the danger of the mani AntiChrists is rooted in following anything different from the real Lord Jesus Christ who leads our Orthodox Church and who gives us grace by the 7 Church established mysteries.

Now as I said a few words about the general perception of Apocalypsis, the End of the World and the AntiChrist. Let me answer the question is there a date when the world will end up?

The Church is definitive about that and the answer is NO! NO! and NO!

It’s even written in the Holy Bible, here is the exact quote that clearly states, that we’re not given to know the exact time and date but only some general signs:

Mark 13:32:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Having said that for us Christians it’s more than clear that it’s almost impossible that the end of the world is in 2012, especially if that kind of false belief is taken from a pagan religion like the mayans.

Throughout the years before this year 2011, there were plenty of so called “prophecies”, each of which has claimed the end of the world will be soon, some of the “new days end time prophets” even has gave a specific date and time for the global cataclism expected to occur..
For instance followers of William Miller (the founder of the deadly end-times movement) has predicted the exact day on which the world will end according to their calculations this was Oct 22, 1844.

You can see by your own that this kind of deliberate fear creation and massive panic is not something new and has been known to exist for several decades.

Concerning the fear of the end of the world, I remember that one of our Holy Fathers said I quote by memory: “Even if the World falls apart and the sky falls over, I would not be afraid for I believe in God”.

Our Orthodox Christian perspective is not to focus on external cataclysms and calamities but to focus on our internal spiritual life.

Knowing when the world will come doesnt’ worth a cent for us the Christians, as it is not a goal of our living. Our Goal is to gain an eternal salvation by faith in Christ and repentance for our bad sinful lives.

Today many of the panical false beliefs and “warnings” from Jehovah’s witnesses and other sects a like are absolutely deliberate, they use this as a tool to set fear and then gain followers of their soul destructive satanic teachings.
We the Orthodox Christians, should not be afraid of the end but be joyful as it’s said in Thessalonians: “..Always be joyful..”

I personally belief that the end times fear that is being planted nowdays from all medias and the internet is at many times done on purpose, to even try to deceive us the Orthdox Christians.

This kind of end times and mystical interest into prophecies and future things to come very often could mislead us and make us belief many of the false beliefs the fortune-tellers has and preach.

Unlimited interest into spirituality, definitely ends up in spiritual blindness and spiritual disored, even often to a mind inconsistencies.
The recent raise of Neuro Lenguistic Programming is nothing different, it’s just another way to blind up and deceive people and mislead them from the way of thuth that our Saviour Jesus Christ has shown us..

Interest into broken-mysticism is very natural for our fallen sinful state, but we should not let this to lead our lives, we should not live in fear Christ has never given us a spirit of fear right on the contrary.

Note that the above reasonings include a lot of my personal reasonings and it might be that I’m wrong somewhere as I’m not a father and I’m not 100% aware of all Church beliefs.
However I’m pretty sure that most that I said so far is truthful and does correspondent to our Orthodox Church understanding about Apocalypsis and End times.
There is much to be said on the topic of End of the World and our Orthodox position about it, but as my goal was simply to answer the Will the world over in 2012 and I believe I answered thoroughfully enough it will most probably not!Now to close up this article, I do pray that God (The Holy Trinity) save us and protect us from all evil and show us the true way in the Orthodox Church and deliver us from false doctrines, false beliefs and end times paranoias.

A Roman Catholic Church made of Bones

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

I was having a coffee with a friend of mine in the University.Throughout the conversation he mentioned about A Church of Bones located in the Czech republic.
As this triggered my curiousity I wondered what is this, so I checked it on the internet immediately and come up to this Bone Church.

Here is an picture of the place;Roman Catholic Church of Bones it’s a Roman Catholic Bone Chapel (Church)

The Ossuary is said to contain about 40 000 and 70 000 people bone remains, it’s really amazing!
The whole Church is decorated with bones and skeletons in a classical Goth style. This place is an ideal tourist destination for every Gothic Rock / Gothic Metal fan 🙂

It’s so strange the Ossuary / Church of Bones has even a website

The complete story about how the Church came into existence and has evaluated to what it looks like today is found here and is also an interesting one to read.

Seldec Osuary, Church of Bones entrance

I don’t know what to say about the picture above, I find it as a complete abomination to Christianity.It even looks a kind of satanic ..
The more I’m getting to know catholicism,the more I start seeing it’s fallacy.
This is one more example on how much Roman Catholic Church has diverted from the true faith that was kept and tought by the Early Church fathers.
Of course in the Eastern Orthodox churches we have ussuaries but I have never seen such a thing … this is a bit too much.
Anyways apart from the scarines, it’s a really interesting one to see I guess. Here is a video about the Church of Bones I’ve found in youtube;