Posts Tagged ‘saviour’

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

Why saint George is depicted on icons killing a Dragon (an ancient story of saint George killing the last dragon) – A Collection of 7 icons of Saint Martyr George

Friday, July 6th, 2012

saint_Georgios-killing-the-dragon-in-cave
Saint George is one of the most venerated Orthodox Christian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. My interest in saint George is cause of the reason, I myself bear the name Georgi (the Bulgarian equivalent of George). Saint George is mostly venerated in the Slavonic Christian-dome.In almost all Church icons depicting st. George in Orthodox and Roman Catholic christiandome saint George is piercing killing a dragon.
One of the reasons, st. George is depicted piercing the dragon is a reference of st. George victory over satan, through his martyrdom.

The Beast (Dragon) on the iconi is a straight reference to the Holy Bible; Chapter Revelation also known under the name Apocalypse.

In revelation, we read humanity and our saviour Jesus Christ will finally once and for all will kill the "ancient beast" = (satan)

In same logic, as Saint Martyr George has been victorious over Satan by his unshakable confession of faith in Jesus Christ in early 5th century A.D. , we believe in the Orthodox Church he is given the crown of (eternal) life as a prize for bearing un-human tortures in the name of the of Christ.

To illustrate visually the victory of saint George over Satan through his immesurable faith confession with which he become, there is a an early tradition in iconography in the Church to depict st. George killing a dragon.

The other reason why saint George is depicted to kill a Dragon is due to a Lebanon / Palestinian ancient story saying; There was a huge Dragon living somewhere in nowdays Lebanon / Palestinian lands.
The beast created a huge havoc killing many people and systematically torturing people in the area.

As the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition continues …. the Dragon is said to have inhabited one of the caves near some village.
Interesting, the story tells these very same dragon was the last Dragon crawling the earth before the final disappearance of dragons.

Many brave local people tried to kill the beast but many died as the beast was unbeatable.
Being unable to beat-up the dragon with a physical (human) force the local population turnted to God for help – saying continously prayers to Saint George to help them defeat their dragon mischief.

Soon after, Saint George appeared on a white horse and pierced the "old dragon / snake". The dragon liberation miracle is said to be evidenced by local people and according to Orthodox monk books is one of the many great miracles occuring in past times.
The report of the miracle has quickly spread around all Lebanon / Palestinian lands and soon, being confirmed as real spread along all Russia as well as the rest of the Slavonic and Orthodox Christian world (Bulgaria, Serbia), Greece, Egypt (Alexandria) etc..
To illustrate saint George's appearance miracle, monastic iconographers started depicting saint George as we see him until this very day – Riding a horse and slaughtering a monstrous beast.

Below are seven 12-th century early icons of saint Saint Great-Martyr George killing the dragon;;
I've collected the icons from various website online. Hope this collection will be blessing for all Christ brother and sisters and generally anyone reading this post:

12-th century mosaic icon of st. George the Great Martyr Xenophontos Monastery

12-th century mosaic icon of st. George the Great Martyr Xenophontos Monastery

Orthodox Christian icon saint George dated to 1130 - 1150 A.D.

Orthodox Christian icon saint George dated to 1130 – 1150 A.D.

Saint Georgius the Dragon Slayer icon XII century orth icon

Saint Georgius the Dragon Slayer icon XII century orth icon

St. George Enamel icon Georgia 12th century

St. George Enamel icon Georgia 12th century

saint George Christian icon Yuriev Monastery Novgorod 12th century

saint George Christian icon Yuriev Monastery Novgorod 12th century

st. George Staraya Ladoga Orthodox Christian icon

st. George Staraya Ladoga Orthodox Christian icon

sv. Georgius 12th century Aios

sv. Georgius 12th century Aios

Nowdays saint George Holy Relics particles are kept for veneration in many Orthodox Christian countries monasteries. Here in Bulgaria saint George Holy Relics are kept in a Monastery nearby the seacoast in Pomorie. Any Christian visiting Bulgaria have the opportunity to venerate the Holy in (Pomorie's Monastery – St. Great Martyr Georgi.
 

The Satanic roots of Metal and Rock Music genre – Two parts Christian movie exposing connection between Satanism and Metal music

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Some long time ago a bit before I repent and believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I've done quite an extensive research on the trustability of the Holy Bible and mostly the Church and Christian writtings. In that times, as an ex-metal head I had a profound interest if there is really a connection between Modern Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Music?

My research back then was quite thoroughful and I found plenty of proofs clearly showing a clear connection between most of the hard rock and heavy / death metal bands to satanism. I used to listen this anti-christian music for about 8 years repeatedly believing the message is not  really bad, even though subconsciously I knew something is not right with the music.

It was quite shocking to me to find that one of my favourite hard rock / psychedelic bands Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Doors, Rolling Stones etc. e, had a clear connection with Alester Crawley (a new age occultist magician and a forefather of modern satanism …).

Crawley was a completely insane person proclaiming himself under the alias "The Beast". This psycho travelled all around America, cursing people and cities and teaching people to worship evil. In other words the guy was a complete modern day anti-christ. I found in youtube few short 20 minute, movies exposing the relation between the new age ecumenistic beliefs and Crawley. Along with the musicians spoken about and their exposure to be a bible and God deniers, the movie explains why the message of this popular figures is anti-Christian in essence. This short few movies explains how this terrible guy Crawley become an inspirator of many of the today world popular played rock bands in most of the radio stations …


Satanism – The Root of Rock Music (part 1)


Satanism – The Root of Rock Music (part 2)

Another interesting documentary exposing some of the major pop and rock culture and musicians connection with satanism and the occult is They Sold Their Souls to the devil. The movie is again a short research on popular musicians, who openly say in their interviews they sold their souls for fame to the devil. . Many of the star musicians featured in this videos, even say openly they're possessed by evil spirits.


They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 1 of 3


They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 2 of 3


They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 3 of 3


They Sold Thir Souls to the devil part 4 of 4

Some people might think this is a joke non-serious, some crazy christian propaganda, but if you watch it without bias and analyze it nomatter if Christian or atheist you will see most of the things said in the video reflect the reality. Actually it's very sad reality, today's world has rapidly headed towards non-christianity, occult and satanism. Believe it or not, the elite in the world, we see daily on TV or hear on the Radio and read for as heroes in the newspapers has a strong connection with magicians, occult and fake spirituality. Many of them think loving evil is fun and okay but in fact it is a big lie we're said. As I've red someone says, once a lie is repeated many times it appears to sound like truth….
Anyways we should know Evil is evil and no good can come of worshipping the evil our ancestors and forefathers knew that pretty well and they used to teach us in a spirit to obey good and walk after good and not evil. Modern pop-rock culture teach us something else it teach us to go after the ways of dis-obeying satan took … Pitily our dying generation forgot that evil seeking will bring just evil and now systematically many  governments and medias are working seriously for  destroying the Christian moral and pureness hence by that we  seek to destroy ourselves hurrying towards our own destruction….

Lets hope God will be merceful and turn more people to him and unveil them the truth we read in the Holy Bible. I have hope more and more people will realize that we have to be living in a moderate and saintly way and not like the rock and pop stars shown in those videos. We should pray for each other and love each other and keep an eye on our children to let them not go the bad ways of witchcraft, unholiness and sinfulness  the modern pop – rock culture push us to.

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 !

Saint Abraham the Bulgarian co-memoration in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

saint Abraham the Bulgarian, sv. Avramii Bolgarski

Saint Abraham the Bulgarian is an Orthodox Christian saint venerated across most Slavonic Christian dome. His co-memoration in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (BPC) is on 1st of April.

What is unique about this saint is that he used to be born and grown in the tradition of the Muslim (Islam) faith and by the great providence of God he converted to the true faith of Christianity.

St. Abraham of (Bulgaria), was born in Volga Bulgaria in a community of Muslim Volga Bulgars (old Bulgarians). Nowdays Volga Bulgaria is located in Tararstan Russia. The saint used to be an islamic merchant and His martyrdom for Christ happened in March 6 (according to old Church Calendar) in year 1229.

He used to live in a very complex situation, when the islamic influence of Arabs in his motherland was quite severe. St. Abraham of Bulgaria used to be a rich man for his time, he was a merchant.
Because of the trade he travelled a lot to the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Christian principalities. This give him an opportunity to get to know Christian faith little by little.

He was accustomed to a wordly life but still always accepted strangers and similar to the Old Testamental father of nations st. Abraham he's been very hospitable to poor people.
By Gods grace he become convinced Muslim faith does not teach a true faith to the one God,  being pointed by God himself towards the right salvation way, he accepted Jesus Christ as a Lord and Saviour being baptized and hence converting to the truthful Christian faith.

His Christian baptizmal was accepted from Russian traders, who lived nearby the place of Great Bulgar.
Being baptized in the Christian faith Saint Abraham of Bulgaria not only confessed Christian faith across his fellow people, but he also led very harsh (ascetic like) life, wearing secretly below his clothes a heavy chains during his worldly travels. The profit he made from trade often he shared with the poor.Once he went for a trade to the city of Great (Bulgar) Bulgar. There he was arrested because there was a rumor, he cursed (islamic faith believed prophect) Mohammed and the muslim faith.


Saint Abraham Avramii Bylgarski Bulgarian Martyr saint old drawing

Muslims catched him and started convincing him to reject Christ, accusing him at a blasphemy. Abraham was not scared of muslim threats of expel and even putting to death. As Muslims failed to force him "by words" to convert back to Islam, they took him and put him in jail because of his denial of (their) Islamic faith.

In jail he was tortured but, they failed to convince him to deny Christ, seeing they have no way to convince him to accept Muslim faith once again, saint tormentors first cut his hands, then the legs and finally disgraced by his boldness and continues confession of Christ they beheaded him.

Soon afterwards the city of Bulgar was captured and burned down by the Mongols, many people in that time saw this is Gods punishment for the innocent shed blood of Abraham the Bulgar.
The local Christians took his body and buried him in the Christian cemetery of the ancient city of (Bolgar) / Bulgar.
On the place, where the saint was buried, a healing water spring emerged. The first man who received healing from this spring by Christ's grace was a muslim.

Miracle Making Spring Well Saint Abraham the Bulgarian

Great healing miracles happened on the saint grave. Local Christians took their relatives and bring them to the saints grave for a miracle healing and a prayer intercession of the saint. A rumour about the saints great graceous grave quickly spread and some people told about the miracle healing grave f st. Abraham to prince Georgi / (George) Vsevolodich.One year later again on 6th March 1230, the body of the saint was carried in the city of Vladimir, where the prince and his family, the Vladimirsk Bishop, the clergy and the local people received the holy relics of st. Abraham (of Bulgaria). The holy relics was kept in the local church "Dormition of Mother Mary" on 6th of March in the year of 1230.

The co-memoration of st. Abraham the Bulgarian is being observed in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, since very ancient times.
Nowdays both Christians and Muslim celebrate the saints feast.

Icon of Orthodox Christian Saint Abraham of Bulgaria and his Holy Relics

Interesgingly, nowdays St. Abraham the Bulgarian is venerated as a saint by both Orthodox Christians and by Muslims. Many Muslims from Turkey and other muslim countries come each year for the saints feast day to pray and ask for healing or prayer intercession to God.

Even to this very day people receive by Jesus's grace through saint Abraham the Bulgarian's prayers – a various incurable disease healings. The healings occur on the same holy spring where the saint was buried. Many people are also healed from incurrable diseases through the veneration of the incorruptable saint holy relics kept in the Church Dormition of Mother Mary.

The Legend of the Christmas Tree and Why do we put Christmas trees at home in Christmas time? :)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Why we put Pine tree / Fir in Christmas origins of Christmas tree / Legends for the Christmas Tree
 

Christmas has just passed away. As a Christian I was curious what is the reason in so many Christian countries, we decorate Pine trees and I did a quick research on the topic. In this small article, I'll present my findings.

Observing the Christmas Pine Tree tradition has been quite ancient and probably according to many sources dates back to the XIIth century.
The first written records of a Christmas tree are of an anonymous Frenchman who visited Strasbourg, Germany in 1601. His description of the decoratd pine tree says like "wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barley sugar), roses cut out of many-colored paper, apples, gold foil and sweets."

Later in the 1800s, the local German Christmas pine tree tradition was spread across America by German emmigrants.
In UK the Pine tree decorating tradition appeard in 1841, where a royalty (Prince Albert) decorated his castle (Winston Castle).

A little later after the Queen Victoria adopted the pine tree, United Kingdom citizens started to decorate pine trees for themselves, folliwng the highly regarded Queen.
Usually the pine tree has historically been decorated with gifts as well as an Bright star is put atop.

One of the Christian interpretations for the Christmas tree is that it represents the same Cross (tree) on which Christ was crucifixed. Then after Christ's resurrection because of (or through that) tree, the humanity received the Lord big spiritual blessings. These blessings are represented by the gifts decorated on the Fir tree. The pine tree itself is in Christianity a reference for the symbol of Salvation that we received came from the Holy Cross, where our saviour was crucified.

The Fir is decorated with lights to represent the joy and the lights of Christmas (that burns in our hearts), the star atop the tree is a reminder of the Star that rised in the East during the night of Christ's birth as we read in the gospels.

Roman Catholic Church Christmas Pine Trees
Decorating Pine trees is commonly observed mostly in Roman Catholic Church and often followed by some protestant denominations and less used in Orthodox Church (though this is changing nowdays).

In Eastern Europe, the Christmas tree appeared quite Legends about the Christmas Fir Treelate and the whole concept was unknown in the Orthodox Christian countries, just until the end of the 19th century.

With the recent severe globalization the pine tree was silenty adopted in almost all parts of the world, including even communist countries and even sometimes in muslim ones.
Enormous Fir Tree in Tarnovo city hill Bulgaria

Unfortunately, the relation between the Fir tree and our Christian faith is little known today and with the years to come it will be less and less associated with Christianity.

Here are few interesting legends which I found explaining, some of the possible roots of the Christmas tree decoration:

Legends about the Christmas Fir Tree

1. Legend of the Pine Tree Saving the Holy Family

When the Holy family was pursued by Herod's soldiers, many plants offered to provide them with shelter.
One such plant was the Pine tree. With Mary too weary to travel any longer, the family stopped at the edge of a forest to rest.
A gnarled old Pine which had grown hollow with the years invited them to rest within its trunk.
Then, it closed its branches down upon them, keeping the family safe until the soldiers had passed.
Upon leaving, the Christ Child blessed the Pine and the imprint of his tiny hand was left forever in the tree's fruit… the Pine cone.
If a cone is cut lengthwise, the hand may still be seen.

2. Pine tree and Easter Legend
 

Pine tree on cones on Easter forms Cross shape

There is a legend that pine trees "know" when it's Easter.
The pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter.
If you look at the tops of the pine trees two weeks before Easter you'll see the yellow shoots.
As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross.
By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots.
This really happens we live where there are lots of pines,
and each year this actually happens, it is amazing to watch,
and the process of the new growth appears as crosses on the ends
of each branch.

I've not personally observed that, but according to people who live in pine tree forest areas this is a fact.

3. Legend about M. Luther and the Pine tree

Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant religion, was taking a stroll through the woods late one night.
The sky was clear and many stars were shining through the branches of the trees,
giving the impression of twinkling lights.
Luther was so captivated and inspired by the beautiful brilliance of the sight
that he cut down a small evergreen and brought it home.
He recreated the stars by placing candles upon the tree's branches to imitate
their radiance and presented it to his children.

This story explains why, the pine tree become so wide spread initially in the "western world", as it gives some connection between the Pine tree and Protestant Christianity.

4. The Children Legend of the Fir Tree (Kids Story)

On the night of the Christ Child's birth, all living creatures, both flora and fauna, traveled to Bethlehem bearing gifts.
The Olive tree, for example, brought its fruit and the Palm tree its dates.
But the little Fir tree had no gift and was so tired that it was unable to resist when the larger trees pushed it into the background and hid it from view.
But then, a nearby Angel took pity and commanded a cluster of stars to descend and rest upon its delicate boughs.
When the Baby Jesus beheld this lovely lighted tree, he smiled and blessed it,
declaring henceforth that Fir trees should always be filled with lights at
Christmastime to please little children.
When Christianity first came to Northern Europe, three personages representing
virtues were dispatched from Heaven to place lights on the original Christmas tree.
These personages were Faith, Hope and Charity.
Their search was long, since they were required to find a tree as high as hope, as great as love and as sweet as charity.
In addition, the tree had to bear the sign of the cross on every bough.
Their search finally ended in the forests of the North where they found the Fir.
Lit by the radiance of the stars, it became the first Christmas tree.
The triangular design of the Fir has also been usedto describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Eventually, converts began to revere the Fir as God's Tree…as they had once revered the Oak.
By the Twelfth Century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime
in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

5. The Paradise Tree Legend

A very old and delightful European custom centers around decorating a Fir tree with apples and small white wafers which represents the Holy Eucharist.
These wafers were later replaced by small pieces of pastry cut into the shapes of stars, angels, hearts, flowers and bells.
Eventually additional pastries were introduced bearing the shapes of men, birds, roosters and other animals.

During the middle Ages, around the Eleventh century, religious theater was born.
One of the most popular plays …
The German mystery play concerned Adam and Eve and their fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, represented by a Fir tree hung with apples.
This tree was symbolic of both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Discernment of Good and Evil, which stood in the center of Paradise.
The play ended with the prophecy of a coming Saviour. For this reason, it was often enacted during Advent.

The one piece of scenery, the "Paradeisbaum" or "Paradise Tree" become a popular object and was often set up in churches.
Eventually it also found its way in private homes and became symbol of the Saviour.
Since the tree was representative not only to Paradise and the fall of man, but also the premise of salvation.
It was hung not merely with apples, but with bread of wafers (Holy Eucharist) and often sweet to represent the sweetness of redemption.
In some areas of Bavaria, fir branches and little trees decorated with lights, apples and tinsel are still called "Paradeis".

According to some other Christian legends, it was a Fir tree that grew as the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
When Eve plucked its fruit, the foliage and flowers shrank to nothing but needles.
Only on the night of Nativity would the Fir tree bloom again a moment marked perhaps by the Christmas tree we Christians use.

Of course these are just legends and as with every legend there is plenty of romantism included.
Nevertheless I consider most legends similar to proverbs contain deep truth and contain truthful facts. Moreover knowing the legends of our forefathers connect us to who and what we are and from antropological point of view is precious knowledge, we should try to sustain and spread to our children.
 

20th of July St. Elijah (Elias) feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church / st. prophet Elias short Living

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Saint Prophet Elijah Bulgarian Orthodox Christian icon

It’s again 20th of July and we in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, celebrate the Holy memory of st. Prophet Elijah (Elias

St. Elijah is among the greatest Old Testamental prophets. He lived before the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ in a time when apostacy from true faith was severe.

In Elias’s time (few centuries B.C.), there used to be also a severe hunger on the land.
Elias was among the little number of Jews who did continued to honour the True God creator of Heaven and of Earth instead of turning to false religious teachings inspired by demons, like it’s the Baal’s cult which was widely spread among Jews back in the time.

Because of his faith in the true God, st. Prophet Elijah was hunted by the king’s wife Jezabel and he was forced to escape from Bersheeba and went alone in the wilderness and sat down in despondency under a juniper tree.

As he slept, an angel touched him, and said unto him, “Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having partaken of the provision, he went forward on his way for forty days to Horeb, where he took residence in a cave. Here God appeared to him and said, “What dost thou here, Elijah?” In answer to Elijah’s despondent words God manifests to him his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over the Arameans (Syria), Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; compare 2 Kings 8:7-15; 9:1-10).

Some six years after this he prophecised and warned by God’s commandment Ahab and Jezebel of the violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38)

The reason for the great hunger at this times was the fact that no rain has fallen down to the land for two years, as Elias prayed to God that no rain will be given to the people of Israel until they turn back to their true God.

One of the most notable moments of st. Elias’s earhtly living was the great miracle he performed by God’s providence which proofed that only the God of Israel is the true God of heaven and earth.

This happened while he was still in desolation on mount Carmel, it came to pass that Elijah met Obadiah, one of king Ahab’s officers (the king at that time of Israel).
Obadiah was he sent out at this time to seek for pasturage for the cattle (as the hunger on the land was so severe that even pastures for animals was obscure).
Elias’s by God’s word bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was there. King Ahab came forth and met Elias and accused him to be the “Trouble of Israel” as, he thought that his lands troubles are because Elias did not turns to Baal as the the king himself and most of the Jews at that time.
It was then proposed by Elias, that sacrifices should be publicly offered (to determine whose God is in control of taking out the hunger – e.g. Elias’s God of Israel or Baal to whom has many falsely turned.
, for the purpose of determining whether Baal or the Israelite’s God is the one’s master of the Universe.
The competition was accepted by Ahab and many of the prophets of Baal gathered together to “beg” his God for a miracle.

Baal’s false manu prophets gathered around the sacrifice place and started Begging Baal to send fire and burn the sacrificial altar.
Nomatter how hard they screamed, nothing happened so eventually they started cutting their bodies pouring blood in a hope to catch baal’s attention and make him have mercy on them.

As long time passed on and no miracle happened Elias told baal’s worshippers to step back from the sacrificial calf on the built altar and ordered some of the king’s servants to spill water over the calf (three times).
The water brought was so much that the whole altar trench was over-filled with water.

Then saint Elias begged to God: “Oh Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, please hear me! Let oh God this people recognize that You Lord is God and please oh Lord turn the people’s hearts towards you.”, he was still praying when fire came down from heaven and burnt the stones, the water in and the trench itself.

When all the gathered people around saw this great miracle of God, they bowed down and confessed the One and only God.
By Elias’s order the Baal’s false priests has been killed.
After this great miracle, Elias said to Ahab to came back home, before the rain has followed him.
The saint prophet climbed to the mountain top and prayed for a very long time.

After the holy man of God completed his prayers a powerful wind started blowing and the sky has filled with big clouds and a pouring rain come down to the overdried earth.
The king’s wife Jezabel, still kept her stubborness and continued severely hunting for st. Elias and even gave a vow to kill him because all her prophets were killed.

But God again was with st. Elias and saved him by warning him to run away in the wilderness.

Elias was in a big sorrow, here because many of the people still continued to honour the false god baal even though all the great heavenly signs.

God however by a great miracles, has once again shown the prophet he should be of a good spirit always and always to trust in God as he even send his Angel to give Elijah food in the desert.

Elias was among the only 7000 of Israelish man who does rejected to venerate the false god Baal.

By God’s providence st. Elias had a pupil prophet called Elijah.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven (2 Kings 2:1-12). He went down to Gilgal, where there was a school of prophets, and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years before, resided.
Elisha was distraught by the thought of his master’s leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. The two went on and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the Jordan, the waters of which were “divided hither and thither” when smitten with Elijah’s mantle.
Upon arriving at the borders of Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it “came to pass as they still went on and talked” they were suddenly separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven,” Elisha receiving his mantle, which fell from Elijah as he ascended.
Elijah’s chosen successor was the prophet Elisha; Elijah designated Elisha as such by leaving his mantle with him (2 Kings 2:13-15), so that his wish for “a double portion” of the older prophet’s spirit (2:9)

Later on in New Testamential time it was again st. prophet Elias, who appearance in glory on Mount Tabor and talked with our Saviour Christ at the Son of God’s Glorious Transfiguration.
An interesting fact is that Elias and Enoch are the only two people who according to the Holy writtings were taken by God straight to heaven. No other mortal man has been taken that way in flesh.

According to Orthodox Church’s tradition, Elias and Enoch will be brought back to earth again by God in the last days of the anti-christ, when they will again testify about our Lord Jesus Christ’s being the truth God and will also expose the anti-christ who will falsely pretend as being the true god of Israel and a true saviour of mankind.

Again according to this church history this two prophets at this last days, will be given an enormous power from God, even a power to stop the rain to come down to earth and the power to command the rivers to stop.

Oh Holy Prophet Elias, let God have mercy on us the sinners by your Holy prayers and save us, give us grace and always show us His great mercies.
Amen!

Thomas Sunday (Doubting Thomas) the end of the bright Paschal Week

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

St Apostle Thomas touching the wounds of our saviour Christ

Today in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate the great miracle of our saviour Christ appearing to st. Apostle Thomas, who failed to believe to the rest of the holy apostles that they have seen our saviour alive.

Thomas wanted said that he won’t belief if he doesn’t touch and see the incorruptable risen body of our saviour Jesus.

Our Lord by his great mercy has appeared once again to the pupils dinnering with them.
Thomas was with the teachers and the door was locked (as the fear of persecution for Christ’s testimonial was among the aposltes).
Suddenly our Saviour entered the room where all the pupils were gathered through the locked door (a Glorious miracle inconceivable for our minds).

As the Lord knew about Thomas weak belief and his disbelief in his prophecised Resurrection in the third day, when Christ entered he has addressed Thomas and told him to come forth and see and touch his wounds and see that a spirit has no bones and flesh, (obviously Thomas erroneously thought that the resurrection from the death would be in spirit and no physical body will be present (this kind of belief today is also wide-spread inside many heretical christian groups)).
The Lord continued on and told Thomas, “Thomas you have seen and believed, now blessed is those who haven’t seen me and believed”!

Here is part of the daily troparion:

Touch my rib with a hand, Thomas, speaks Christ, and come and touch (feel) the scars from the nails.
With faith do test it, and be a believer and not a non-believer. Thomas has touched with a finger to the Master and loudly shouted:
"You are my Lord and my God, most merciful Glory to you!"

This Sunday is also the day marking the end of the bright week of the Resurrection.
Let we all the Orthodox Christians be a believers as Thomas and be blessed in accordance to our saviour’s word, as we haven’t seen the Lord’s Risen glorified body as Thomas and the rest of the holy apostles did.

Resurrection (Easter) Orthodox Christian iconogoraphy

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Nicolae Ovidio a brother in Christ from the Romanian Orthodox Christian, has provided me with a number of Beautiful Orthodox icons displaying the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Христос Воскресе!
Hristos Inviat!
Xristos Anesti!

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This icons are truly a blessing so I kindly thank brother Nicolae for blessing me and allowing me to bless my readers with this wonderful icons!

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.