Posts Tagged ‘lord jesus christ’

29 Dec: Holy 14 000 infant Martyrs day in Bulgarian Orthodox Church – The biggest infants slaughter in human history

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

The Risen Jesus Christ collecting the souls of the infant martyrs killed for his Holy Name

Just a day after the 3 days of Joy of Nativity, on 29-th of December, in Bulgarian Orthodox Church we remember the massacre of 14000 innocent infants in Bethlehem.
Those unhuman act was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in the Book of Prophet Jeremiah.

The murder of the 14000 infants  by Herode's sent soldiers in his futile attempt to kill the new born king The Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was in a panical fear that the new born child might put him off from the throne. Being driven by his lust for power being unable to find the infant Jesus, he ordered to kill all the infants in Betlehem in age less than 2 year.

Herode, did not succeeded, as by God providence for salvation of mankind through his only begotten son Jesus Christ, sent Angel to warn for the coming of the soldiers. And the Holy Virgin Marry and saint Joseph (being around age 80 at that time) fled to Egypt.

And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Matthew 2:13-15

Russian icon 01012 Begstvo v Egipet. Nachalo_XVII

Here is the text from the Holy Gospel according to Mathew describing the terrible act of the Holy innocents.

A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.

Matthew 2:18
(KJV Holy Bible)

 

Today the sadness of the day is double as it is a date in which we co-memorate the killing of 14000 innocent children killed in the name of lust for power and greed as well as the usual Friday fasting we have in the Church in remembrance of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ on Golgotha cross.

The 14000 infants are considered the first baby Christian martyrs for the name of Christ. The rage of Herod fell also on Simeon the God-Receiver, who declared in witness in front of everyone in the Temple that the Messiah had been born. When the holy elder died, Herod would not give permission that he be properly buried.

On the orders of king Herod, the holy prophet and priest Zachariah also was killed: they murdered him in the Jerusalem Temple betwixt the Offertory and the Altar – because he would not tell the whereabouts of his son John, the future Baptist of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Herode looking to kill the saviour Jesus Christ killing the 14000 infant martyrs in Bethleem

GodÅ› righteous punishment came forth quickly upon Herod himself: an horrid condition struck him down and he died – devoured by worms while still alive. Before his death the impious king accomplished full measure of his wicked deeds: he murdered chief-priests and scribes among the Jews, and also his brother by birth, and his sister and her husband, and also his own wife Mariam and three of his sons, and likewise 70 men of wisdom that were members of the Sanhedrin.

14 thousands infant martyrs Herode killed the biggest infant martyrdom in Human History

The 14000 infants are the ChurchÅ› major prayer intercessors for all children killed in abortions. The 14000 infant martyrs are great prayer intercessors for people who sinned with the sin of Abortion. Let the 14000 Holy infant Martyrs pray the Lord to have mercy on all us sinners and by their holy prayers to protect new born children from becoming a victim of abortion.

Orthodox Christian icon of the infants martyrs of Bethleem the biggest infants slaughter in history
 

His all Holiness Patriarch Maxim Patriarch of Bulgarian Orthodox Church – a silent life of a holy man who headed the Bulgarian Church in one of its most difficult times of 12 centuries existence

Friday, December 21st, 2012

 

On Saturday 15.12.2012, 40 days has passed since our first along equal Bishops patriarch Maxim passed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like his humile living his passing to Christ went in humility and without much publicity.

 

 

The "death-remembrance" prayer service was served 40 days after his passing to Christ in his favorite monastery the Troyan Monastery.

Troyan monastery the monastery where the holy body of patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria was buried and his memory remembrance service was served

Many  people blamed the patriarch for not being canonically chosen for breaking the Church order for being responsible for the bad state of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, for all the mostly bad things that happened in our country over the last 21 years since the fall of communism regime.

Our patriarch, however behaved like a true, monk he keep silent in all people's lies on his account, he kept silent when people has called him agent of the Social regime, he just kept silent for all except for things which were directly being enforced against the Church canonical apostle's succession and the ancient Orthodox Church tradition and liturgical Church slavonic language and the centuries kept since the baptismal of Bulgaria Church order and canonical rules.

He was a head on the "ruling steel" of the Church during a severe communism atheistic regime and even though the multiple attempts of communist power to destroy the Church from within by installing many priests and bishops as their spies, and doing all in the party's power to make people disbelief the Church and trust in communism, they all failed and the Church win. The Church win just in accordance with Christ's words as the Lord Jesus Christ said in his Holy Gospel – "The gates of hell will not prevail over my Church".

Besides being ahead of the Bulgarian Church in this difficult times of trial for the Church, our patriarch's care for the Church continued even after fall of communism in times. Under Patriarch's Maxim Patarichship, the BOC (Bulgarian Orthodox Church) has survived over the difficult times of great Schism which continued in its peak from 1997 to 1998, though the schism itself in some kind existed without much publicity from years 1992 to 1998. The Schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was caused by some regularly chosen Bishops, who claimed that patriarch Maxim which was chosen during Communism was not chosen according to canons but chosen by Communists.

One of the Bulgarian Orthodox Chruch (Holy Synod) Metropolitans self-proclaimed himself as patriarch claiming that he was supposed to be chosen as patriarch but the communists change it in favour of Maxim. It was God's providence (not without the prayers of many and the prayers of his holiness Maxim) which solved the created long lasting conflict inside the Bulgarian Church.
The self-proclaimed "Patriarch" Pimen died and the Bulgarian Police force came to power and put out a few of the left shismatic priests who had occupied over some of the Church buildings and claimed the Church buildings belonged still to the Schismatic Synod and not to the regular Bulgarian Orthodox Church Synod headed by Maxim. It is very interesting fact that just in short it appeared Patriarch Maxim (even though the accusations) has never had a dossier and according to communist archives is not in the list of the Bishops who have signed a declaracy to be working with the Communist Government and behave according to the planned agendas of the Communist Authorities.

Patriarch Maxim of Bulgarian Orthodox Church a holy man of our times

This is the best evidence that patriarch Maxim was a Holy Man not chosen by communists as many pseudo-Orthodox Christians and even a lot of devoted ones were deluded to believe but chosen by God's great providence of the Bulgarian nation and the autocephalous BOC. It is interesting facts concerning the schism in the Church during 1997-1998, that many don't know but can be clearly researched in the many documentations (video materials, archives and newspapers) that the ruling then "Democratic Party" – Syiuz na Demokratichnite Sili (Съюз на Демократичните Сили) – (SDS), has carefully fostered and was initiator of the Shism in our Church.

The reason for the schism was evident there were people who didn't wanted the Bulgarians to go to Church and have faith, and more concretely there were people not wanting Bulgaria to have a strong Orthodox Church and the climate after communism fall was giving an opportunity for BOC to rise and lead many of the BG populations who were baptized but never had the opportunity to attend the Church and get to know the Church teaching due to the atheistic communist regime back in the "bosom" of the Church.

Bulgarian politics from The Democratic – "Blue Party" – SDS (Syiuz na Demokratichnite Sili – Ally of Democratic Forces), were openly supporting the so called "Alternative Church Synod", leaded by Pimen, even until the moment where the sanity and God's providence overbear and the schismatics (many of which had their illegal business with prostitution or narcotics), were driven out of the Church and many of which in their attempt to escape police trial went abroad in the "Western World", stealing a big multitudes of Church money. During the whole schism the Church's all bank accounts were frozen. So during those almost 1.5 year during "schism", Church's money couldn't be used by the Church.

Just to give you an idea on how bad and harmful to the Church this was, imagine if some a government of USA "froze up", all accounts belonging to a big company provider lets say IBM. Imagine what would be the eventual short time consequences for IBM – the answer is their business will probably be broken so badly, that after that it is not very likely they recover. However as the Church is not a normal organization but is an organization established by the Saviour Jesus Christ himself and lead by the Holy Spirit, all this couldn't destroy the Church.

Yes it is true it badly harmed the Church, and the Churches went empty, it is true that the confidence in the Church authority was damaged, but the Church itself continued operating and even after the few consequential years of desolation in which mostly noone visited the Church except on big feasts (and even on big feasts was scared to go to Church because could happen to be in a Schismatic Church) – as for regular people there was no clear understanding which of the Church buildings belongs to Patriarch Maxim's Canonical old times synod in which they baptized and which belongs to the self proclaimed Pimen and his assembly of deluded good Christians (most of which came back to Church) and the big part of wolf's in sheep's clothes which wanted to use the Church as aim to advance their power authority in society and financial acquisitions.

The shism is a topic which is little researched and little spoken of after that as Patriarch Maxim with his monk's silence was able to mitigate the harshness of the situation so just 14 years after almost no-one in Bulgaria remembers the times of Schism – except ofcourse the Christians who lived over it.
As with many of the great saints patriarch Maxim went mostly unnoticed by society and his death hour was little spoken and not quickly forgotten. However historically I'm sure he will always, be remembered as the person who take the "Church" ship over one of their hardest historical times since y. 870 to present time.

Patriarch Maxim led the Church in year 1971 – 2012, 1971 to about 1985, were years of severe communism, where police was prohibiting people to visit the Churches and pray or take the sacraments. If one does so he often lost his, job or was asked to go to police for a check up. Some devoted Christians were severely threatened and some were sent to the state Prisons like Belene.
During his reign-ship patriarch Maxim had to rule over a Church without layman, the word Church itself comes after Ecclesia (A gathering of the faithful), during Patriarch Maxim's reign he had to however rule over a Church which from a good working huge Ecclesia (a gathering of believing people), to a Ecclesia of mostly few thousands of priests and maybe few thousands of old people who, were under a pension and therefore were allowed to go to Church and pray or take active participation in the Church.

The huge consequence of this is evident in the Bulgarian Church even to this day, as the Church is mostly filled with old people and you can rarely see a young people or families visiting the Church. Bulgarian devoted youngsters, therefore even joke-up saying that our Church is a "grandma's Church". Even though the empty Churches and the unbelief of many still, many people are baptized and are continuously being baptized in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church even to this where most of the Bulgarian population is Orthodox and had received the initial grace of Christ. Thus even though due to the little layman attendance, the Church is not in bloom still it is living in most of the Bulgarians and their families and in that sense it is still in continous bloom. Also it is a good idea that we Bulgarians, take an honest look to ourselves and ask ourselves the question is the weak state of the Bulgarian Church attendance, due to the non-stop journalist made-up scands, or it is because of us which we didn't supported our Church both financially and with our participation in Holy Sacraments and Church life and deeds.

Ancient Christian Coptic Oriental Orthodox icons – The reason for asymmetric body members in early Christian iconography

Monday, July 30th, 2012

While checking some information on Coptic Eastern Oriental faith, I've stumbled upon a very beautiful (and unique) ancient Orthodox Christian icon depicting Saint Menas and our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, below is the very beautiful icon

Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

As you can see the iconography is very interesting, the images differ from modern day iconography the portraits are not looking so serious but looks like "childish". This childish forms and faces on the early Christian iconography is not accidental; it expresses the childish like pure faith our Christian devoted ancestors had. This early Christian faith and spiritual life icon is obviously in conjunction with our Saviour Jesus Christ words as red in the Gospel according to Matthew:
 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Matthew 18:1-5

This icon as well as the early Christian icons are very different from nowdays iconography probably for reason;
the images difference, the seriousness and the lack of brightness in the faces of nowdays iconography is a clear sign of the great decay of both Orthodox Christian as well as the down-fall of spiritual life worldly.
I've seen similar childish looking image icons in some Bulgarian ancient relics museums in my child years and always thought the depictions are so kiddish because iconographers of that time did not have the painting knowledge and skills to draw better ones.
Now as I know Christianity much better than then, I understand my previous assumption for the reason of the kiddish looking images is wrong.
Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

Very interesting in the early Christian iconography are the shapes. If you take a close look to above icon, you will notice the disparity of the two body members; the hands, head and eyes are unusually big. My guess for the lack of correspondence of body members is the attempt of early iconographers to put accent on most important members of our bodies;

– The head (holding the mind and thoughts of the saints)
– The hands through which the daily food is raised and the eyes through which the world is comprehended are much bigger than in a real person portrait.
– The mouth which is almost the size of the eyes; obvious reference that for early Christian contemplating was much more precious (important) thing, than speech.
This is also in accordance with the New Testament holy scriptures which says like so concerning the tongue:
 

8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs?
Nor can salt water produce fresh.

Notice also the Halos of the two saints, the size of the halos is almost one third of the whole body of the saints. The Gospel hold by our and all humanity Saviour Jesus Christ is also enormous sized; corresponding almost the height of the arm of Christ on the icon.
The size of the Gospel stresses out the importance of the Holy Bible writtings for early Christians. Nowdays the size of Gospels or Holy Bible especially among protestant Churches "tradition" is becoming smaller and smaller following the spirit of the time proclaiming mobility …

Today the iconography Orthodox Christian "school" has severely changed and the icon images are much more complicated than in ancient times.
The complication of images and elements on Orthodox Icons is a "mirror" of the internal complicated world of us modern-time Christians. This over-complication of our internal spiritual world, does separate us from God instead of uniting us as it is well known in Holy Orthodox Christian tradition God is best known through simplicity and pureness in life thoughts and actions.

The Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church is the only Church, where there is still iconographers drawing in the style of the ancient times childish looking icons. The reason Copts preserved this ancient iconography is that they have conservated big portion of the ancient faith rejecting the decisions of all 7 Orthodox Ecumenical Church Councils. Copts still accept only ecumenical council decisions up to the III-rd ecumenical council. This is also the reason why Eastern Oriental Orthodox Christians are considered not in official communion with the rest of Eastern Orthodox Churches. I had the opportunity by God's grace to meet an Coptic Orthodox Christian (a guy called Baky); From what I've seen and experienced within the few months with Baky my conclusion is Coptic Orthodox layman faith is much stronger than the one in most of other Orthodox Christians I know. The official standpoint of our Eastern Orthodox Church concerning the copts are that they're in heresy and not really orthodox. I'm not sure if this is really true, since I have spend few months with this Coptic Christian brother this autumn and winter and from what I've seen and heard as well as researched on coptic Orthodox it seems their overall Church teaching, Holy Liturgies and everything is very much orthodox (with very little service and faith differences). Here are few beautiful Coptic Orthodox Christian icons still being drawn in the spirit of early days Christianity.

Saint Abba Anthony the Great Coptic Oriental orthodox Icon

Abba (saint) Anthony the Great the father of Orthodox Christian Monastic Life

Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon Abba Anthony and saint Paul

Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon of Saint Anothony the Great – "the founder" of Monastic life

Coptic Oriental Orthodox Icon Tobias old testamential Book story

Tobias Old Testamential Story coptic icon

Holy Family Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox Icon

Holy Family – Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox oriental icon

Christ the Saviour Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Christ the Saviour – Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental icon

Saint Athanasius defender of pure orthodoxy Oriental Orthodox icon

Saint Athnasius coptic orth icon

The Dormition of Holy Theotokos Mother Mary Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon

The Dormition of Virgin Mary Coptic icon

Satanism and Occultism preached in modern Hip-Hop star singers and hip hop culture – revealed

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

satanism-preached-in-hip-hop-or-do-what-you-willt-sing-in-most-rap-music-and-hip-hop
"Above is a quote from the Satanic Bible which is a formula for success preached by all modern music stars today"

During my younghood, I've been listening to a lot of metal spending many nights in a discoteques. Being seriously addicted to metal music and hanging around a lot with metal companies. Back in the days I remember closely, even though I have realized there is something wrong with Metal. I always had a natural hate for (hip-hop) rap music, which in my view back there was a hypocrite music.

Don't get me wrong I know many people who are fans of a rap music and they seem to be a very good people the only problem is the rap industry as we know it is not preaching a good and generally tends to be hypocritic.

Many years passed since then, many things happened in my life, one of which was my convertion by the Lord Jesus Christ grace to Christianity. It was just about many years of wandering for me until I found the faith of my fathers which the Orthodox Christianity. Which I later realized was the only complete and true apostolic Christianity existent as of today.

As a person, who is constantly striving for the truth (Thanks and Glory be to God for making me like this). I've started researching, the different philosophical and music genres movements in deepness, since then and it was quite shocking and almost in disbelief, I've found most of the youngsters mind preference ruling pop and  hip-hop culture has a very strong connection with occultism and satanism. This connection between modern hip-hop music and satanism is not always clearly manifested but obfuscated in mixing some good preaching lyrics with bad preaching lyrics.  The authors of the music and lyrics are just sharing their ideology, which is neither inclining for good nor for evil but a mixture of.

By God's grace just recently, I've found analysis in youtube which is showing more than clearly that one of the hip-hop idols as they're called in the mass-media are just poor deceived people who preach the satanic philoslophy to the masses. Just to mention few of these notorious hip-hop musicians, who sold their souls to the devil:

Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent, DMX, Lyl Wayne, Chris brown, Keri, 2PAC and probably many, many more of the top stars who used to be taken for life examples by multitude of youngsters, who never been tought properly by their family to believe in Jesus Christ to love God and stay away from evil people and non-godly philosophies.

However it is not the parents fault that the children was not properly educated in the spirit of Christianity, the alienation of family from Christianity and Christian ethics has happened slowly through the last 200 years. The 2 World Wars, the crisis and the many calamities around the world. The materialist people's philosophy preached, heavily communism, democracy and the fall of monarchies, all this together played a role for breaking up the common people good faith in Jesus Christ and the introduction of false Christs doctrines to people.

Some of the many false-christs (anti-christs – meaning instead of Christ) are many of today's biggest stars we see on the TV and listen on the radio literally daily.
This fame this mortal people like me got not by chance and a hard work, though some of them might have been a hard workers too. They got it by being raised with a non-Christian philosophy being exposed to a non-Christian communities, being exposed to constant look for fame and money and desire for power and finally being exposed to one false spirituality which satanism and occult movements offers. Many of this people have already developed multiple personalities, as a consequence of the demon possession. Hence many of this hip-hopsters are probably most of the time not themselves but are simply controlled by an evil spirit, who is doing through them the works of satan and as a reward gives them fame using them as a dumb instruments to spread an insane nowhere leading philosophical ideas and devilish lies…. Here are the 2 videos who does a Christian criticism on the lyrics and videos shown to promote these so "talented" hip-hop singers:

 

SATAN LIES PART 1 – BRINGING IN THE ANTI-CHRIST – DMX, ROBIN THICKE, EMINEM, JAY Z,

SATAN LIES PART 3 – Bringing in the Anti-Christ – LIL WAYNE, 50 CENT, CHRIS BROWN, KERI

Satanism in Hip Hop 1

Satanism in Hip Hop 2

satanism in Hip Hop 3

Well obviously, this people are not singing to praise God and Christ and therefore they're with the devil.I know this will probably look like a meaningless rant to a non-Christian minded people from other religions as well as to atheists but this are the facts. Why would people who are not Christian as the authors of this music preach an anti-Christian content?? If they don't believe in God or Satan and the devil, why would they ever preach a no moral, no ethics, hatred evil and generally anti-Christianity?? One would say "it is just because of money and fame and cause they want to be different", but even if this was the case how comes they become so popular. Where this magnetism this God enemies possess from? Who gives the money to the industry to make this people so famous and make them being on the TV screen and Radios all around the clock. What are this people's philosophy for life and their beliefs. Let me tell obviously, they're people like the up mentioned hip-hop singers, evil desirers, non lovers of good and family and person destroyers ….

 

Jesus is Risen – Truly he is Risen / Hristos Voskrese paschal greeting and why Orthodox Christians don’t celebrate with Roman Catholics and Jewish

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Jesus Glorious Resurrection from the grave in the third day Orthodox Christian Icon

It is the first week after Orthodox Christian Easter. This year 2012, the Orthodox Christians Easter date was on fifteen of April.
We've not just had a feast of an Eastern, but we actually celebrated the greatest day in all human history that happened 2012 years ago – The Glories Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the Death in the Third day!

Some Roman Catholic Christians, might be wondering, why the Orthodox Church is celebrating one week after Jewish Pascha, so in short I will explain in the reason.We orthodox christians do not celebrate with Roman Catholics Easter because Roman Catholics use the gregorian calendar to calculate and decided the day in which the Eastern celebrations should occur, where we the Orthodox Christians use still the old moon calendar (which the jews used too), when Jesus was crucified.
The gregorian calendar is very precise from a scientific point of view, however from a Church stand point it is completely wrong because, plainly taking the gregorian calendar math model doesn't take in consideration, that the jews are still celebrating their pascha following the old moon calendar.

The consequence is this year Roman Catholics, celebrated with Jewish. This from our Orthodox Christian point of view is incorrect, because Christ's Cross suffering is the pascha for us christians.
We Christians consider that the old God ordained jewish pascha was a prophecy feast, simply to remind jewish people before Christ's coming that Messiah (Christ) will come to say his people.
As Jewish rejected their true Messiah and Crucified him on the Cross, they have rejected to accept Christ as being the true pascha lamb slained for our sins.

Hence the Orthodox Christian Church teaches even to this day, that it is not righteous to celebrate Christ's Glorious Resurrection with Jewish Pascha.
Prohibition to celebrate Easter and Jewish Pascha on the same day is an Orthodox Church rule, since the early church days.
The Holy Fathers in their Church councils Council of Nicaea etc. has established as unchangable Church rule that, Jesus's Resurrection day feath, should never-ever coincide with the Jewish Pascha Celebrations.

The reasons the Church fathers ordered the Church Easter day to be always 1 week after Jewish Pascha is our saviour Jesus Christ ate pascha with his desciples as we can read in the 4 gospels in Holy Bible. After Jesus ate pascha, he was caught mocked, tortured and crucified (killed on a cross shaped trees).

Jesus is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

The Slavonic Paschal Greeting, translated words, we use across the Slavonic dome: ( Bulgaria / Russia / Ukraine, Serbia) is:
 

Христос Воскресе ! Воистину Воскресе!

According to our Church Tradition, Christians should great each other with the Paschal greeting Hristos Voskrese during the whole "bright week" instead of the usual Hi / Hello phrase.

The current Bulgarian version of Христос Възкресе ! Воистину Воскресе! is

Христос Възкръсна! Наистина Възкръсна!

 

One great miracle that testifies about the Christ's resurrection each and every year happens on each Orthodox Christian Eastern in Jerusalem in the Temple of Holy Sepulchre (where the saviour's grave cave, before the resurrection used to be). Last year, I've written to great all Christians for the Resurrection with the joyful Paschal Greeting Jesus is Risen and the Miracle of the Holy Fire
Pitily, the number of Roman Catholics who heard or know about this amazing miracle are mostly within the clergy. Its very rare a layman Christian in Roman Catholic realm heard of the miracle. Once again as a closure I want to great everyone with the joyful paschal greeting in the manners of Russians which say it three times during the paschal period.

Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе !
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе !
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе !

Double Feast in our Bulgarian Orthodox Church – feast of Annunciation and comemmoration of St. John Lesstvichnik

Monday, March 26th, 2012

One more year, we are into the great Lent and we're given the Grace to hear the Good tidings (Good News) handed down by Archangel Gabriel to our Virgin Lady (The Mother of God). We hear the GOOD NEWS that our Lord Jesus Christ is conceived immaculately and is to be born from the Holy Theotokos most pure body:

Here is a little part of the Gospel New Testamention reading from Luke for the day:

28 The angel went to her and said, Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
34 How will this be, Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin?
35 The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.
37 For no word from God will ever fail.
38 I am the Lord’s servant, Mary answered. May your word to me be fulfilled. Then the angel left her.

You can also read the feast troparion and some more information on this great Christian feast here

This year, today's feast also coincides with the comemmoration of one great Church Father – Saint John (monk) Lestvichnik .

st. john Lestvichnik Orthodox Christian icon

St. John Lestvichnik is honoured as one of our great ascetic saints across all Orthodox Christian dome.
Actually Lestvichnik word (comes from ancient Bulgarian / ancient Slavonic) and is a title. st. John received the Lestvichnik title as his spiritual life was so high and up to God, like climbing from earth to Gods heavens.

The meaning of Lestvichnik is "of the Ladder". After his title name Lestvichnik was named also his greatest life work Lestvica, which translated to english means Ladder

To read more about st. John Lestvichnik living a good Egnlish translation is here

Just in case to preserve, this great saints short living (english translation), I've made a mirror of st. John Lestvichnik (short) living here

St.John Lestvichnik (of the Ladder) 12th, 13 century icon

Lestvica is a very popular ancient monks living rule (guidance text);
"a true instruction for those following after invariably, and as such would be a ladder of affirmation, which would lead those wishing it to the Heavenly gates…"

Lestvica was written by st. John Lestvichnik, after a 40 years ascetic seclusion in (speachless solitude
The monks spiritual instructions rules and advices work "The Ladder" bears the title Ladder described by st. John like so:

"I have constructed a ladder of ascent...
from the earthly to the holy...
in the form of the thirty years of age for the Lord's maturity, symbolically I have constructed a ladder of 30 steps, by which, having attained the Lord's age, we find ourselves with the righteous and secure from falling down".
The purpose of this work, is to teach – that the reaching of salvation requires difficult self-denial and demanding ascetic deeds. "The Ladder" presupposes, first;
1. a cleansing from the impurity of sin – the eradication of vices and passions in the old man;
second;

2. the restoration in man of the image of God. – Although the book was written for monks, any christian living in the world can receive from it the hope of guidance for ascent to God as well as get a support for better spiritual life.
The Monks Theodore the Studite(Comm. 11 November and 26 January), Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 25 September and 5 July), Joseph of Volokolamsk (Comm. 9 September and 18 October), and others – in their instructions relied on "The Ladder" as an important book for salvific guidance.

The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Ascension of Christ Orthodox Icon, Voznesenie Hristovo ikona, Vyznesenie Hristovo icona

On 2 of June this year 2011, our Bulgarian Orthodox Church has marked one more bright feast (one of the 12 chief (God’s) feasts).

The Spiritual Joy is great as our Saviour has Ascended to Heaven 40 days after his Glorious Resurrection in front of the amazed desciples, and crowd of people who were with them.

An Angel has also told the people testifing our Lord’s ascension that the Second Coming of our saviour will take place in the same manner as his Ascension.

Here is some passages from the Gospel of Luke 24:50-53

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
51 hile he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

It’s a tradition in some Orthodox Churches that the Paschal Greeting (Christ is Risen / Hristos Voskrese / Hristos Anesti etc.) is substituted with the greeting:
Christ has ascended by the person greeting, while the respondant confirms answering with Truly he has ascended

This Ascension greeting is not that deeply routed among Christians as the Pashcal greeting, though it’s very truthful and beautiful, to use it instead of the standard daily Hi greeting 😉

The whole following week after Ascension’s feast has been arranged by the Church to be a feast week commemorating our Lord Christ’s glorious Ascension (in his glorified body) to Heaven and sit in the right hand of God.

There is a local village hear in Bulgaria near a village called Spasovo – Saviour’s which has a Church called The Ascension of Christ

In this small village there is a spring which does start flowing only on the date of the Ascension (celebrated on a different date every single year)!!!
That’s amazing God miracle given to strengthen our faith as a confirmation that the Ascension of God’s Son and our saviour Christ is a real event that happened!

There is a false belief seriously accepted in many non-devoted Orthodox Christians who does not know well the Orthodox Christian faith, that on the date of The Ascension the so called Spasov Den (in Bulgarian) – Day of the Saviour , the dead who are in heaven and hell are allowed to get out of Heaven or Hell (for a temporary break) and be a bit closer to the living.
Many people who believe this insanity instead of visiting a Church and being joyful for the Ascension of Our saviour do go to the city graves and spends few hours, crying or remembering the dead …
This kind of believe is firmly non-orthodox and is taken from ancient paganism beliefs.

With all this said I find it important to say few words on why the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended?

The answer to this question gives Christ himself, as he says in the Gospel of John – Chapter 16

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Here is a part of the Troparion for Ascension that is being sing in the Church:

When You fulfilled the dispensation for our sake,
and united earth to heaven:
You have Ascended in Glory, oh Christ our God
not being parted from those who love You,
but remaining with them and crying:
I am with you, and no one will be against you!

Christ has Ascended to all Orthodox Christians!

Why does Orthodox Christian priests and monks wears long beards and why Roman Catholics does not

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

A really Long bearded Orthodox Christian Priest

One might question why does Orthodox Christian priests wear beards? and why does the long beards of our Orthodox priests makes differences with the Roman Catholics?

Here are the few reasons:

1. Long beards wearing’s tradition among Orthodox Christian priests and monks comes after Christ

Christ himself had a beard as it was normal and considered proper for a man to wear long beard.

The fact that our Lord Jesus Christ had a long beard himself can clearly be observed on all our Orthodox Christian icons:
The Lord Jesus Christ Sinai monastery ancient icon Pantocrator from the 6th century

The Lord’s Pantecrator Icon (Pantocrator / Pantecrator ) from the 6th century

2. Long beards priest wearing comes as a natural tradition from the Old Testament’s times and the tradition of early Church

If one reads thoroughfully the old testament, he will find out that even from Moses and Aaron and onwards the tradition is the same.
All the Godly man and the priests had their long beards unshaved as a mark for their belongship and dedication to God.
To generalize the long beards wearing is according to ancient old testamential ancient tradition.
The long beards tradition as an ancient Jewish religion (Old testamental) tradition can still be clearly observed in Jewish rabbis (nowdays the jewish priests), who still wears their beards long, like for example you can see in the picture below:

Jewish Rabbi weiss picture
A modern day Jewish Rabbi notice the beard 🙂

The long beards tradition later was adopted by Muslims when Islam emerged as a religion and more specificly by the muslim priests the Hodjas:

Sait Muslim Hodja Picture

One very interesting historical source of information which proofs that the ancient Church’s priests had the tradition not to cut their beards is given by the historian Egezit who writes in his Chronicles that st. Apostle James, the head of the Church in Jerusalem, never cuts his hair.

A source of confirmation that the long hear and beards wearing was an established tradition that dates back to the old testament is found in the old testament in (Ezekiel 8:3)

Here is what exactly we read there:

He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head.
The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem,
to the entrance to the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood.

3. Long hair and beards wearing by the Monks

An interesting fact is why does the Monks and novice neophyte lay brothers also stick to the ancient tradition.
It appears long hair and beards wearing traces back to the holy life of the ascetics of the deserts (e.g. the hermits).

The reason why ascetics did not shaved their hairs or bears as a way to avoid vanity and therefore this old hermitage practice has also had a spiritual reason.

4. The Nazarite old testament tradition

In the old testament in Numbers 6:1-21, we read about the term nazarite which means consecrated / separated

Each boy or man who was to become a Nazarine has been devoted to God for a certain period of time or in some cases for his all life, one of the many conditions for one to be a nazarite is not to shave his beard or hair.
One can read about this in the old testament in Leviticus 21:5

Leviticus 21:5
"They shall not make baldness upon their head,
neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh."

There are some other prohibitions relating to Nazarite’s one of the most notable ones is found in Numbers 6:4:

All the days of his Naziriteship shall he eat nothing that is made of the grape-vine,
from the pressed grapes even to the grapestone.

One example for people who gaves vow to become temporary Nazarites is found in 1 Maccabees 3:49 (this book is only available in the Orthodox Holy Bible).
One of the most important figure in Christianity that used to be Nazarite is Samson, his life can be read in the old testament in Judges 13 – 16

As we read in Judges , Samson’s great God given power consituted in a prohibition to shave his hair and not to drink wine.

5. Reason why Roman Catholic Priests and monks abandoned the ancient tradition of wearing long hairs and beards

In the early Roman Empire it was a customfor a men to shave. The “enlightened” Romans believed that only the barbarians did not shaved themselves, and as you can imagine Jewish people and early Christians were of course considered to be barbarians, e.g. being unshaved was a sign for a cultural inferiorness in according to Romans comprehension.

The long hairs and beards tradition in the Western Church has started disappearing and consequentially completely lost with the Tyranny of Charlemagne at the end of the eight century.
With his massive ‘barbarian’ inferiority complex, it was his desire in all things to imitate pagan classical Rome.
It was therefore under him that Western clergy were ordered to shave regularly.
For example at the Council of Aachen (816), it was stipulated that priests and monks were to shave every two weeks.

By the beginning of the 11th century the tradition of wearing long beards was already completely torned apart and almost all the Roman Catholic clergy was regularly shaving.

In the sixteenth century beardlessness for Roman Catholic clergy was enforced by further canons,
which appear to have been dropped since the Second Vatican Council.

6. Why does protestants does not wear beards

As we all know protestant Church denominations has emerged as schismatics from Roman Catholic church and therefore mostly the influence they had was from Roman Catholics which already had the tradition within their clergy to regularly shave, thus pastors shaving was completely out of question and never come to an established reality among the Protestant Church pastors.

7. Is the Orthodox Christian layman obliged to wear beards

Absolutely not! The layman within the Orthodox Church can choose for themselves, if they want to wear their hair and beard and through that possess an image physically similar to Christ.
In my view it’s more righteous for us the layman to wear our hairs and beards as I personally believe long hair and beards demonstrates mans dignity and God’s dedication, but this is my own private opinion.
At many cases wearing beards or long hairs is an obstacle for a good integration in nowdays society, so if wearing a beard or hair as laymans does become an obstacle for our normal daily lifes then I believe cutting a long beard or hair is perfectly acceptable.
Moreover even the Orthodox Christian priests are not enforced to wear beards and in some cases where the priest’s wife is against the beardness the Orthodox priest is allowed to shave himself, though as a matter of fact having a completely shaved priests in our Orthodox Churches is rare and less common today.

In conclusion wearing of beard and long hair by Orthodox Christna clergy, has come from the desire to physically resemble Christ.
This physical resemblance is a symbol of the spiritual resemblance of Christ’s humility, which is the ultimate aim of our life.

Johny Cash one of the greatest musicians of our time

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

I remember about Johny Cash’s Hurt song as the nine inch nails cover was a very favourite one to me for quite a few years, in the meantime I reviewed Johny Cash’s musical works and decided to check some biographic info about Johny Cash I was surpirsed to find out Johny Cash used to create a lot of music about the Lord Jesus Christ and shocked by the fact he had a long period in his life in which he was a devoted Christian!

I’m really happy to find out this info as one I’m a christian myself and two he is one of the most influential musicians of the last 150 years, not to say of all times.

His biography is quite a bizarre one full of falling and standings, anyways i would skip the talks now and suggest for my readers to enjoy Johny’s Cash few notable songs:


Johny Cash – Hurt Video


Johny Cash – Ring of Fire Video


Johny Cash – San Quentin (Live From Prison)


Johny Cash – Redemption Video


Johny Cash – I walk the Line Video


Johny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut you Down
Awesome music ain’t it ? 🙂

Great and Holy Friday / Friday of the Crucifix (Remembrance of the holy saving sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Friday of the Crucifix of the Lord Christ

Today is the great and sad day for us Christians in which the Lord has been crucified.

It’s a day of a great spiritual sorrow for all the Orthodox Christian.
It’s also the day in which we do venerate the holy shroud (plashtenica) in which the Lord’s body has been wrapped, after it was removed from the life giving cross.

The priest takes the plashtenica and walks through the temple and afterwards we do venerate the holy plashtenica (The dead body of the saviour).

There is a local Orthodox Church tradition which I believe is very specific to the bulgarian orthodox Church.
The plashtenica is placed on a table, the holy gospel and the holy cross are placed by the priest over the plashtenica (the shroud), after which grouped in a line (first the children, then the man, followed by the woman) we the layman do kiss the holy gospel, the cross and the plashtenica showing evidently our love for Christ and his gospel and our respect for the Lord’s Great Cross sufferings. Further on the layman does crawl (under the table with the plashtenica).

child crawling under a table with plashtenica

plashtenica with the immaculate body of Christ

The crawling under the plashtenica in Bulgarian Orthodox Church is a very known tradition by bulgarian people.

The crawling under the table symbolically shows that we take participation in the Lord’s death.
As it’s written that we all who are in Christ are being death for the world after the Holy Baptism.

There are probably other reasons for which the Church has established the passing under of the holy plashtenica which I’m not aware of.

What is sad is that most people does not really understand the real symbolism behind the crossing below the plashtenica (crossing below the table).

Thus many people who know the feast of Great Friday do come to the church to cross below the plashtenica as an act of superstition, as they don’t really understand why they do it.
They simply interpret that crossing below the plashtenica would grant them “good health”, “a life success” or good fortune.

Many of those people who come to crawl under the table, are not a regular on other Church services (Holy Liturgies) and therefore completely miss even the basics of our Christian beliefs.

Many of those people who are not adept in faith, do come to the Church with the only goal “to crawl below the table” and leave the Church immediately after that …

It’s truly sad to see that especially when I know that we Bulgarians are Orthodox Christian nation.
An Orthodox Christian nation who is starting to forget Christianity …

Just to give you an idea on how people have left astray from Orthodox Christian faith I can tell you for sure that the regular Church goers who attend Holy Liturgies and have intermediate knowledge of Orthodox Christianity and Church order in Bulgaria are not more than 4% of all the Bulgarian population.

This means that probably no more than approximately 300 000 of Bulgarians are in a communion with our Bulgarian Orthodox Church and do regularly confess and take the sacraments.

Here is an Orthodox Singing of the core troparion for the day (in Greek):