Posts Tagged ‘story’

Thomas Sunday – The day of Disbelievers

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Thomas-sunday-the-day-of-disbelieve-Thomas-reaching-to-Jesus-wounds

A week passed since we Christian celebrated Resurrection of Christ (Pascha). Each year on first Sunday after Easter in orthodox Church is celebrated the so called Thomas Sunday. So why is it called Thomas Sunday and why it is the day of disbelievers?
The root of this ancient Christian feast comes after commemoration of Christ desciple St. Thomas who disbelieved the testimony of ( 10 apostles ) and the Virgin Mary  that Jesus Christ is Risen from the Death.

The disbelieve of Thomas was logical and human cause even though Thomas was with the Apostles with Christ for 3 years, saw all Jesus miracles and shared the Secret Supper (Last Supper), and even knew in advance (heard by Jesus on Last supper) that Jesus will betrayed mocked, hanged on the Cross and Rise from the death on the third day, he disbelieved.

Thomas Sunday (Sundy of Thomas) is "the day of Disbelievers", because all are disbelievers in moments of their life not only those who believe God but all the humanity!  Even the most faithful Christian, be it a deacon, monk or priest has difficult moments in life where God's existence or providence for one's faith is seriously questioned.
The fallen nature of man is such that the initial belief in God given to man in Eden (Paradise garden) is broken, and only in Jesus's name through the Gift of Faith given by the Holy Spirit, believe in God is restored.

Thomas very much like unto everyone of us doubted the rumors of Christ resurrection and said he would only believe in Resurrected Christ only if he sees his hands nails print and put his fingers into Christ’s wounds to test he is not seeing a Ghost but Christ is alive in a body after his death.

Here is the Gospel reading re-telling the story in short:

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-26)

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

We Christians should be joyful for have not seen Christ in Flesh but have believed for we are blessed for his believe without seeing.

By same faith in God without seeing him even in old times the Jews were led by the Lord God in the desert have won wars by their believing without seeing God, prophets has prophecised, Simeon (The God receiver) hold The Savior (Christ) in his hands, by faith David won the battle with Goliath, by faith we understand the universe was formed at God’s command, by faith we know that the visible came out of the invisible.

o Kyrios mou kai o Theos mou (Greek) – My Lord and my God (Jn. 20:28) this declaration of faith clearly shows an unexpressable excitement of Thomas and his unexpectency to see Christ resurrected. Here it is interesting that here the son of God Jesus Christ is called by Thomas exactly how Jewish used to call God Yahweh (One and Only God) in the Old testament.

Today the evangical story is very accurate for our generation – a generation of disbelievers, even we who say we believe often doesn’t justify our believe with our deeds, we say we believe but we don’t keep God’s commandment “to love God and our neigbor like ourselves.” Often only difference between believers and disbelievers is on Sunday we believers visit Church and “play Christians”, but even but in daily life our deeds are same like unbelievers. Often many are disbelievers not because they reject God but because they never heard the Gospel or misheard it, also we disbelieve because we’re very much like st. Thomas, we often say “I will believe in God if I see him”, but even Thomas who saw God before the Crucifix and knew him disbelieved – a proof that often seing once could still leave space for doubt. The glorious event of Christ showing himself Alive to Thomas was made by Christ to establish the Church and strengthen faith of first Christians in resurrection. Nowadays there are plenty of people who question God’s existence saying that they will believe if they see but they’re not given to see the resurrected Christ because God knows that even if we see the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected we would try to rationally explain the phenomenon with holograms, modern technology or science.

Thomas Sunday is not only a day of Thomas disbelieve it is a day of disbelieve of all humanity. , St. Thomas should be an example even to all of us Christian disbelievers and non-believers that even if we disbelieve and doubt and strive to see God, He is powerful to come and appear Resurrected in His Glory to our souls.
Let us therefore have the Wisdom of the Holy Apostles and say together with them “Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5

Beowulf movie – Movie made following plot of First Ancient English (Anglo-Saxon) epic poem Beowulf from 6th century

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

beowulf-old-english-classic-poem-beowulf-movie

Beowulf (pron.: /ˈbeɪ.ɵwʊlf/; in Old English [ˈbeːo̯wʊlf] or [ˈbeːəwʊlf]) is the conventional title[note 1] of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet is dated between the 8th and the early 11th century. In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through a building housing a collection of Medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. The poem fell into obscurity for decades, and its existence did not become widely known again until it was printed in 1815 in an edition prepared by the Icelandic-Danish scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin. In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia, comes to the help of Hroðgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall (in Heorot) has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants bury him in a tumulus, a burial mound, in Geatland.


 

Beowulf – First Epic English poem screened – Part 1 (FULL MOVIE)


 

Beowulf – First Epic English poem screened – Part 1 (FULL MOVIE)

I couldn't suppress my impression of Beowulf being naked, fighting the monster. Actually on many occasions he is either naked or half dressed its mostly ridiculos 🙂

Readable English translation of Beowulf can be downloaded and read from here
I try reading the poem, but  it is really difficult and it was too darky for me so I couldn't complete it all. Hopefully for those who are ancient English freaks it will surely be of great interest.

Besides above  movie, there is a newer movie retelling Beowulf epic story from 1999. I found it in youtube. I include it here for those who want to get a better visiolization of the movie.


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 1


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 2


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 3


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 4


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 5


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 6


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 7


 

1999 Beowulf epic poem movie Part 8

The Nativity in Christ Evangelical story of the birth of the saviour Jesus Christ in Russian language

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Rojdestvo Hristovo romanska ikona - Romanian Holy mosaic of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ
I Wish Happy Christmas, to my dear readers. I wish to anyone who reads around. The Lord Jesus Christ to give good faith, peace, joy, health and heavenly blessings.

While checking various Church troparions on Nativity of Christ (including some Troparions) of the Russian Church I come across a short story, retelling the glorious events occuring around the birth of the Saviour of the world Jesus Christ! I'm currently having as a guest a girl from Belarus which and Belarusians speak Russian as their mother language. Thus I have the opportunity to learn a lot of Russian. In that relation finding such a video re-telling the story of Messiah (Christ's) birth was great opportunity to both improve my Russian language comprehension and enrich and strengthen my faith. The video is enjoyful so I hope it might help others in situation similar to mine. Enjoy!

Рождество Христово – Short Movie re-telling the Glorious story of Christ's video in Russian language

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 brief story of information according to James Gleich – and how we possibly come to be at where we are

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

We're living at a times, where information has become more valuable than money and gold. Though we're living in a such a wild changing times, still it is not easy to answer in onefold clear way what is information.
The more the world and humanity developed the more meanings information word accepted.
While checking some interesting videos on the net, I've come across a video representing in a very brief form the history of information.

The Story of Information and how we come to be at where we are now

We're living at a times, where information has become more valuable than money and gold. Lest that living in a such a wild changing times, still it is not easy to answer in onefold clear way what is information.
As you can see from the video, the more the world and humanity developed the more meanings information word took up.

At the end end of the short presentational video there are few questions asked:
 

  • Who coined the term MEME
  • How many zeros are in yottabyte?
  • What is a one thing that can escape a black hole?

I did a quick research on the newly heard words and came to know meme concept. A meme is an "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.". The theory lists some interesting information like replication of personality (propagation) from one person to another etc. etc. However the general content of meme's theory puts Christian faith, religions and all kind of people beliefs in the graph of being just a continuous meme's patterns which are transferred from a person to person (generation to generation). Therefore according to memetics (as the meme's science is called), Christian faith and even my Orthodox Christian faith is just an informtion transmitted similarly to genetics information and the laws against:; sexual morality, bestiality, adultery, castration etc. are just a taboo and makes not sense and is just they claim is a information transferred from family generation to next generation until today.

Obviously the whole "theory" of memetics as a science is not true and is just a world view of Mr. Richard Dawkins in a book called The Selfish Gene (1976). It is well to be said Dawkins a follower of the fairy tales of Charle's Darwin's Darwinism.
Modern science however is seriously questioning Darwin's materialist world view. There are plenty of scientific researches which has prooved the existence of spiritual realm and hence some of the claims memetics are standing on a shaky grounds.

Concerning the second question in the video how many zeros are in an yottabyte the answer according to FreeFactFinder.com is:

2^80 = 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 bytes = 1024 zettabytes.

So having in mind the yottabyte equals 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 bytes if in bytes it would have 2 zeros 🙂

But if by zero is meant the number of values which could become zeroes then the answer would be 24 zeroes. This of course is in bytes in zettabytes the zeroes are only 0 or 3 i.e. (1024 zettabytes) 🙂

Moving back to the 3rd video question What is a one thing that can escape a black hole?. The answer is "WHO KNOWS ??".
The BlackHoles are a matter of science based on a huge theory base, there are plenty of discussions by some scientists still doubting if black holes really exist ,,, even if we assume blackholes exist noone can tell if the blackhole would suck up all matter (including light) or some specific kind of still un-researched matter or energy can get out… In short the question imposed is completely ridiculously funny 😉

The Living of Saint Peter and Saint Fevronia – a fascinating Russian cartoon retelling the saints story

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Saint Peter and Fevronia Orthodox Christian saints protector of happy family, love and blessed marriage

The anime Living Story of Saint Peter and Saint Fevronia is a modern story remake of an ancient Church living of two bright Russian saints.
The official movie genre is orthodox christian kids animation movie.
The 14 minutes cartoon re-tolds the living story of St. Peter and st, Fevronia in a playful and entertaining way like for kids or youngsters.
Nomatter the movie primary target audience is children, the cartoon is great to see for adults people as well :).
The movie genre is orthodox christian kids animation movie.
The plot is based on a true (historic record) story of two saints venerated each year across Orthodox Churches around the world.

The original story I watched was a Bulgarian translation from Russian. But since I found it to be so valuable, I look for a translated video and got one in youtube.Take 14 minutes break and watch it, I'm sure you will like it so much, that probably give it a second time glimpse alone or with your wife, children or girlfriend.

Unfortunately, the english title is mis-translated as it says "Tale" and not "Story" and there is difference in meaning between this two words.
It is not tale as tale is made up story and this is not a made story but a story based on the two saints who lived in the end of 12 and beginning of the thirteen century.
Here is in short the real Church living:
The two saints were living in Murom Russia. Peter was prince and Fevronia a poor maid a daughter of a beekeeper who made his family living by collecting wild honey in the forest.

Prince Peter was striken by a severe sickness and in a vision it was revealed to him, that the only one that can cure him is Fevronia (a village maid living in the village of Laskovo Russia. The prince went to her and since he saw she is a pious, good and wisdom rich maid promised her, if she manage to heal him to take her as a bride to his place.
By her warm prayers to God and herbs, Fevronia succeeded in healing the prince sickness. Being fully restored st.Peter changed his mind and wanted to break his promise to marry her, cause the young made not part of the aristocratic Russian society. He didn't yet reached his home and the sickness, came back. This time with a deep repentance, he came back to Fevronia and she cured him again. Then the prince merried her and made her a princess of Murom
 

St. Peter and Fevronia Orthodox Church saints protector of marriage

However there love in Christ had to went through high temptations. Once the couple married, the prince proud boyars requested the prince to leave his new bride, as they didn't wanted to accept a simple girl as Fevronia will be governing them. Being in uneasy situation prince Peter prefered to leave his governing power and castle but to stay with his life. Together by boat by the near river Oka they left the kingdom. Soon after Gods wrath came Murom because of people's rebellion and the people requested the chased prince family to be restored to power.
Pushed by the peasents, the boyars bringed back the couple to power. The two saints governed their kingdom with great wisdom, love and mercy to the people.

In their old age the decided to become monks in separate monasteries. St. Peter received his new monk name David and princess Fevronia took the nun name Evphrosia (Evfrosia). Even living a sepate monk / nun life the couple continued having a deep love to each other and asked God to take them from this earthly life on the same date. God answered their prayer granting them to depart this earth on the same day in the same hour!
Like in life even in death people tried to separate them.
Fevronia was put in a coffin in the nun monastery, where Peter was prepared for a monk funeral in the man monastery and they put them in separate graves.
In the morning the graves were empty and their bodies were found buried together in one grave. People realized it is Gods will they are buried together and left them buried together. Today the incorruptable bodies of the two saints can be seen and venerated in Holy Trinity's nun monastery in the town of Murom Russia. St. Peter and St. Fevronia are considered patron of the Christian marriage, couple's love and family happiness.
It is common that many young people are, asking for the two saints prayer intercession in front of God for getting a good spouse in life and good marriage.

Also the two saints are oftenly asked for prayer for improving a marriege bindings.
The two saints feast day is like the Orthodox Antipode of the Roman Catholic feast of couples in love – St. Valentine.

As you see, St. Peter and St. Fevronia living is full of wisdom and true spirituality, and there is plenty we the modern disbelieving people can learn from it.
Let God by the two saints holy prayers have mercy on us.

The Edukators 2004 – Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei (The Fat Year are Over) movie short review

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Edukators movie cover

I'm in Sofia for a couple of days being a guest to a friend (thx Nomen), after my stay for a week in Bodesće (a little village nearby Bled located in Slovenia).
Yesterday on my way to sleep I wanted to see a movie and asked Nomen to recommend me a movie. His recommendation was a German-Australian movie from 2004 called The Edukators The Fat years are Over. I had absolutely no idea what it will be like so I didn't expected much but it seems the movie plot took my attention.

The movie plot revolves around 3 avarage German persons who live in Berlin. The three youngsters has just passed the 20s, Peter and Daniel (two close friends who hold some serious anti-capitalist views and does organize house break-ups without stealing.) Peter and Daniel's rich villas break-ups aim is idealistic, they don't steal but just change the order of furniture and leave messages to make rich people aware that money doesn't make them invincible…
Jule a girlfriend of Peter, becomes friend with Daniel and they fall in love, while Peter is away for a vacation. During Peters sojourn abroad Daniel tells Jule the secret (Peter and Daniel) are the Edukators whose break-ins has just recently become known via the local Berlin newspapers.
The Edukators group leave messages to every of the "victim" homes saying – "die fetten Jahre sind vorbei" – "The fat years are over", a sentence well known from the Holy Bible's story of Joseph in Egypt.

Jule works as a waitress in a luxurious restaurant but her payment is only good to cover her very basic needs as well as pay her debt (as she is already indebted as many youngsters in Germany).

Jule is more indebted compared to many of the young germans, since by accident she hit a rich businessman's car which costs 100 000 eur. Since more than a year she is working for paying the monthly bills to cover richman's car and she succeeded to pay only €55000 …

The Jule's "injustice" is just a part of the many injustices that are in society, but as the youngsters hold anarchistic and anti democratic views, this whole Mercedes crash accelerates as Jule and Daniel break up in the Luxurious Villa of the rich man whose car Jule is still paying.
The Edukators die fetten jahre sind vorbei movie cover

Just like the other break ups Jule and Daniel change completely the order of the furniture and leave the threatening message die fetten Jahre sind vorbei , this time however they do even more as they decide to drop the sofa in the pool. These time Daniel and Jule's planning is more like an venture than just a well planned Edukators break-in. Suddenly the watchdogs in the yard start barking and the two youngesters has to move quickly to prevent being taken by the police patrol.
On the next day Peter is back from his vacation and Jule realizes her mobile phone is missing (probably fallen in the pool or somewhere in the richman's mansion)… On the next night Jule and Daniel, enter the house again in hope to find and cover-up the tracks they left last night and hopefully find, Jule's missing mobile.
They don't know however the richman would arrive his villa to stay for the night. As he enter his house, the businessman encounters Jule and immediately recognizes her.
Daniel being in the other floor comes down and hits the richman from behind and he enters unconscioness. As the two are panicked they call Peter and tell him about "the villa accident". Daniel arrives immediately and the three "revolutionaries" decide to take the wealthy man who as a hostage bringing him in Jule's uncle mountain hut.
The 3 anti-current system democrats and the representative of the wealthy class has to spend few weeks together in a small house each one exposing his stand point and philosophy. Little by little the 4 people become friends and a dramma between Daniel and Peter emerges as Jule is now in love with Daniel and Peter finds out …
Hardenberg (the 3 youngesters hostage) happens to be an ex-leader of a Socialist German Student Union some 35 years go … and tells a story how he and his union members hostiged a VIP german person in their youth days and how funny is that he is in the same situation like the person they hostiged so long time ago…
The movie is interesting as it really shows the sad reality and the falling democratic system which we have established and follow. It exposes the injustice of the system but it doesn't really offer a solution to the society and economic problems and injustices.

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.
 

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

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Saint Stephen Martyrdom Orthodox Christian Icon

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

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

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

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

St. Stephen Orthodox Christian icon

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

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

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

Saint Stephen's Byzantine Icon from the 11th Century

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

Communistic Government BCP epoch deliberately tried to destroy the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Communism Reality, Anti Communism Poster

As a Child I've been baptized in the Orthodox Church and since then I've been a complete atheist until the age of 21.
What is the reason to get my faith in God in 21? This is a short post to shed some light on the great efforts of communism to erradicate faith in God in Communistic countries and change faith in God with faith in man and how this kind of approach devastates societies.
During the communism it's a well known fact that communists, all the members in the Bulgarian Communist's Party (BCP),has led an anti Bulgarian Orthodox Church government politics. The fact that Communistic Governments are fighting Churches and faith in God is less known among youngesters and hardly known by people part of western democratic societies.

I did not lived this time myself, but I heard many stories about the stupidities of communism.
Many older people say, when communism came to rule the Communist Government did immediately destroy some Orthodox Christian temples, some priests were convinced in crimes they were not responsible for etc…
Other priests were send in the Concentration camps and many of them never returned in the society.
"Access" to the Churches was limited and sometimes prohibited to the orthodox layman and often to clergy.
During these terrible communism era, it was prohibited to everybody who is a member of BPC to attend Orthodox Church services or identify himself as christian in public.
I've heard from my grandma an interesting story she witnessed, while she was working as a cleaner in the militia (police).
Here is the story:
One day my grandma wanted to go to the Church St. George located on the city centre of Dobrich city Bulgaria.
A policeman stopped her when she was entering the temple and since he knew her as an employee in the police called her by name and told her that she is not allowed to enter the church building, because she is working in the police.
My grandma asked the militiaman to let her enter the temple to pray for just few minutes and light up a candle (just for this time) without reporting for that in the police.
The policeman agreed to let us in and keep silent that she entered the Church this time,but warned her that if he sees her another time entering the church he is going to report to the respective authorities.
Another part of the Government active politics against the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was by placing an ex-criminals who were sentenced for thefts, rapings, agression or other crimes as a priests in the Church.
By this move the supreme counsel of the bulgarian communist party wanted to break the people confidence in the Church as the true holy apostolic Church. The most fierce communists during these days did their best to present the church of God as a corrupted and void institution who only steals from people and exists only to deceive society.
Yet many years after the fall of communism this people distrust in the church that communists sow through the years.

What is pity is even after the communism is gone for a long, time the churches are only full on biggest feasts and no more than 5% of the citizens are regularly going for Church service or have even the basic knowledge on the Church truths and mysteries.
Following the fall of communism the democratic governments who come to power, elected in a citizen democratic elections did not do much to help the church either, some of them does lead politics openly hostile to our Bulgarian Church.
The last government selected, seems to be less hostile to our Church, but people have once been cut away from the Church and now its really hard for our nation to get back to faith.
The severe crisis (a word that means judgement in greek) and the hardships many people experience started to make some people rethink about what is the meaning of life and made them occasionally go back to faith of our fathers orthodoxy.
What will happen further nobody knows, we need to pray and hope God will have mercy and people will repent for their sins and come back to faith again.