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Saint Sergius of Radonezh The WonderWorker (Sergij Radonezhki) a quick helper saint in life problems, pupils, students in educational hardships, exams and Orphans. A short living of father of Russian monasticism

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

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Saint Sergius of Radonezh the Wonderworker (born in 1314, passed to Christ in 1392) is an ancient saint with enormous importance for the whole Christiandome and the Eastern Orthodox World.
He is perhaps the greatest ascet of the Russian land and a spiritual star who shone over the whole world sharing the and increasing the faith of Christ to shine upon many by his holy prayers. Saint Sergij Radonezhki is sometimes called in Russia the Abbot of the Russian land, for the reason he become the initiator (creator) and first abbot of the most notable and biggest monastery of Russia the Monastery of Saint Sergij of Radonezh in the XIV century.

In the Church service sung books, he is for that reason glorified calling him "a bright beacon of the Russian land, shining through its miracles like a second sun".  Saint Sergius Radonezhki's monastery was established in Glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the great ascet following the earlier example and spiritual tradition bequeted of the Great ascet Saint John of Rila (Ioan Rilski)  who lived in IX century in (876 – c. 946)  who established in the Rila mountain, the most famous Rila Monastey in Bulgaria, saint Sergius started his spiritual endurance in Russia as an ascet and did not initially planned to create a monastery, but God who sees everything seing his great ascetism sent him monks, willing to learn true spiritual life and that is how the Radonezh Monastery was born. Monastery quickly become aprototype of a new, amazingly pure and strict monastic life in Holy Russia, centered near in Moscow and the monastery which become a Laurel (the slavonic word translated as Lavra), (meaning the inhibitants of the monastery were exceeding 1000 monks) since y. 1744, become known in worldwide as Holy Trinity-Sergius Lavra.

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Just as the spiritual heart of Bulgaria is located in the Rila Holy Monastery (Rilski Manastir), where are the the holy incorruptable relics of most glorified saint Reverend John of Rila the Wonderworker, the Sergius Trinity lavra has emerged as most important spiritual center of Russia Kingdom and later Russian Empire. What was the spiritual significance for preventing the Orthodox Christian faith and shedding hope via the dark ages of Ottoman Turks slavery of Bulgaria,  Reverend  Sergiy Radonezhki was for Russia especially in the hard times when Russia was a small country and fought for their freedom and independence from the Tatars and other surrounding nations, who were constantly destroying parts of the then small kingdom of Rus. Thousands of pilgrims with reverence and gratitude have come and continue to come to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra for worship, near the monastery now is established the city of Sergiyev Posad (inhabited today with about 103 000 people).

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The shroud of the holy relics of Saint Sergius of Radonezh XV century

Prayers to St. Sergius of Radonezh are famous to protect you from any life problems.  People pray to the saint to protect children from bad influences and from failures at school. The prayer to the saint who was a model of humility helps in achieving humility and subduing the pride of ourselves and others.

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The very famous Holy Trinity unique icon held in main Church of Radonezh monastery painted by most famous Russian iconographer Saint Andrey Rublev

The icons and frescoes in the Trinity Cathedral in St Radonezh Lavra are unique piece of medieval art and were the work of Reverend Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernyov in 1425. The main church icon that was painted in "praise of Rev. Sergius" is the old testamental visit the Holy Trinity to Abraham and Sarra icon – which is among the most famous and unique work of Russian icon painting. 

The Church feast of the Saint Sergij

The memory of St. Sergius of Radonezh is honored 4 times a year:

1. October 8 – on the day of his presentation to God
2. June 5 – together with the feast of the Rostov-Yaroslavl saints
3. October 18 – on the day of the discovery of the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh
(interestingly just 1 day after in the Church calendar is 19 of October is the main feast of Saint John of Rila)
4. and on July 19 – together with the Radonezh Saints Church.

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Reliquary with the incorruptable Holy Relics of Saint Sergij of Radonezh, kept in the Saint-Sergieva-Lavra monastery

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Opened reliquarium coffin with the incorruptable relics of saint Serigius of Radonezh (the feasts are opened for veneration by pilgrims 4 times a year during the saint feast veneration)

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The Apparition of the Mother of God to St. Sergius 16th century icon

 

Short Living (Biography) of Saint Sergius Radonezhki

Sergius of Radonezh was one of the most famous political and historical figures of the 14th century.
He is the founder of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, teacher and mentor of many Russian saints canonized by the Church.
According to ancient tradition, mainly from his student Epiphanes, Rev. Sergius was born in 1314 in the village of Varnitsa, Rostov in the family of the famous Rostov boyars Kiril and Maria (who are also canonized as saints) and in whose memory there are Churches consecrated in Russia and Belarus.

His parents named him Bartholomew at birth.
Although the family was noble, they lived very modestly and were very religious.
At the age of 7, Sergius and his brothers started going to school, and while his two brothers' education came relatiely easily, it did not for Bartholomew as for bartholomew learning was hard.
Suffering for his hardships to study even though he put great efforts to do so, as he did not have any other means to become proficient pupil like his brothers, wishing to change this, the boy fervently prayed to God to give him reason and strength to advance in learning.

According to the chronicles, the boy once he was looking for the lost horses of his father met an old schimonk elder who was praying to God. The boy asked the old man to pray for his success in school. The the unusual bright monk prayed and blessed him. Since then, the boy began to progress in his studies quickly.

In 1330, Bartholomew's parents moved to the village of Radonezh, near Moscow. Soon his parents died, and he, together with his older brother Stefan, left the inheritance to the youngest brother and took up a hermit life in the nearby forest, where they built a cell, and then built a small church, which was consecrated with the name of the Holy Trinity.

Soon Stefan decided to abandon the hermit life and went to the Moscow Epiphany Monastery, where he became abbot.
Bartholomew stayed and in 1337, at the age of 23, he was ordained a monk with the name Sergius.

The young ascetic spent more than a year in complete solitude. His life consisted of prayers, fasting and hard work.
Sergius became famous in the surrounding area and soon other monks began to come to him for advice and soon the brotherhood numbered 12 people. Each monk lived in a separate cell, and together they gathered for worship.
This is how the famous Sergius-Troitskaya Lavra was founded. In 1354, Sergius was ordained abbot.

As the biography testifies, Reverend Sergius of Radonezh performed miracles even in his earthly life:

"…
Pilgrims came, they saw the poverty of the desert, but they also saw the peace and grace among the brothers, and they brought this leaven into their native families like light, like salt. And the name of the God-pleaser became glorious throughout Russia and many came to him with faith. Once, by praying, the old man healed a seriously ill person, and another time he healed a mad nobleman who was not in his right mind, ranting and fighting, so that ten they couldn't hold the man back."

St. Sergius of Radonezh was honored with a vision of the Most Holy Mother of God, who appeared to him during a night service and said:
"Do not be afraid, My chosen one. I have come to visit you. Do not grieve, because your prayer for the students and the monastery has been heard; and your abode shall abound in all things; not only in your life, but also in your presentation before God. I will not leave this place, and will irrevocably supply all that is necessary, preserve and protect it with my covering."


Saint Sergius of Radonezh knew how to act with "quiet and meek words" even on the most hardened and cruel hearts and in this way reconciled even ruling country region principles and kings at war.
Thanks to him, all the princes united before the Kulikovo battle, thanks to whom Russia managed to establish itself as a leading world country in the mid-centuries recognizing the main role of the Moscow prince Dimitriy.
The Russian army received a blessing from the venerable Sergius of Radonezh before the upcoming battle with the Tatars.

He predicted (prophecised) the victory over the Tatars, and on September 8, 1380, on the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, the Russian troops defeated the Tatars at Kulikovo field, marking the beginning of liberation from the Tatar yoke. In other words at the time when Bulgarian Empire had crashed and has been enslaved, the Trnov kingdom fall down in 1393 and Vidin's kingdom of Bulgaria in 1396, just few years before the opposite hapened in Russia. Already baptized by many Bulgarian clergymen and given the Old Bulgarian Church language so called in newer times the Church Slavonic Books, Russia together with its spiritual flourishment managed to liberate from the Tatars and increasing gruadally in influence, countryland and power.
Prince Dimitrii deeply respected his spiritual father – the Reverend Sergius of Radonezh, who was also the godfather of his children.

Sergius of Radonezh died on September 25, 1392, reaching a very old age.
He predicted his death 2 years before and appointed his successor – his student Reverend Nikon.
St. Sergius of Radonezh was buried in a monastery founded by him, and 30 years later his body and clothes were found incorruptible and odoring with heavenly odor.

This happened in 1422 during the construction of the new and enlargened "Life-giving Trinity" church.

Shortly before the construction began, Sergius of Radonezh appeared in a dream to a pious man, telling him to convey the following words to the brothers:
"Why do you leave me so long in the grave, buried in the ground with all this water, it is narrow here for my body. "

When they dug for the foundations, the imperishable relics and clothes of St. Sergius of Radonezh were found unharmed, and the grave was full of water.

During the consecration of the Trinity Church, the relics of the saint were transferred to it, where they lay even to this day.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Sergius of Radonezh the world, find more peace, love, faith and brotherhood, which we desperately need in these day of the absurd brother shedful war in Ukraine. 

Holy Reverend Father Sergij of Radonezh, pray the Lord Jesus Christ to save our souls and grant repentance to us sinners and peace to rule again in our hearts !

 

Living of unknown saint Saint Sophronius of Sofia, known also as Saint Soprhonius of the Bulgaria / Sofronij of the Balkans

Saturday, May 28th, 2022

Sveti-Sofronij-Bylgarski-SofijskiSaint-Sophronius-of-Sofia-Bulgaria-of-the-Balkans
 

Biography of Staint Sofronij / Sophronius of Bulgaria Sofia, Known also as Saint Soprhonius of the Balkans

The parish priest of the village of Penkyovtsi (Sofia, Bulgaria region) Stefan (Te fled to Sofia with his wife due to Turkish violence, from hence he later fled to Wallachia region to the great Wallachian voivode (Duke) Radul. His wife died there and he became a monk named Sophronius (not to be mistaken with the very famous Bulgarian saint Saint Sofronius of Vratza / Sofronij Vrachanski).

After the death of Duke Radul, he returned from the Danube river to his homeland and settled in a monastery near city of Ruse (probably he lived in the cave monastery of Saint Joachim I Patriarch of Tarnovo and the Venerable Demetrius Besarabovsky, that even today is the biggest monastery nearby the city of Ruse).

There he struggled with common sanctification practices as fasting, prayer, work and alms for the poor. The devil did not tolerate his monastic great achievements and set a monastic servant against him, who struck him on the head with an ax and killed him.

Three years later, Sophronius appeared to the people living in the monastery, who obeyed his suggestion (obviously they got inspired to  dug up his grave which is a common ancient Christian practice for notable christians who might have been saints) and look up if his relics are incorruptable and found his relics incorruptible and fragrant (emitting a heavenly odor), as they have been inspired by God's Spirit to do.
People with great joy placed the holy relics in a coffin for common (universal) worship of all the Christians.

We do not know the exact dates he was  born or has been killed, because of the devilish envy, as at that time Bulgaria has been under the Ottoman turks and the founding of his holy relics has happened years after his martyrdom. But most probably the Venerable Sofronij  lived in the second half of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth century, by the second decade of which he must have suffered. This information about him is told to us by the Bulgarian writer and priest Father (the bulgarian word for which is Pop – stems from the greek word Papas (Father) Peyu. The same Pop Peyu has been also the author of the life of Saint George of Sofia the New not to be mistaken with Saint George the Newest from Sofia  who maryrdom suffered in year 1515 because of his unwillingless to accept the false Islamic faith.

© Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev) with minor inclusions of the article author Georgi Georgiev

Let by his holy prayers the Bulgarian homeland and especially the suffering in Ukraine and all people everywhere, finds more Peace, Love, Hope, Faith and Goodness 

Saint Hieromartyr Therapont of Serdika ( Sofia ) martyred year † 1555 for Christ

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Saint Therapontius of Serdika is celebrated every year on on May 27 in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, together with St. Holy Martyrs Therapont of Sardis († 259). He is born and lived in the ancient city of Serdika (today Sofia).

He is part of the nine saints of Sofia, that are celebrated in the Church throughout the Liturgical year.

A little is known of him and just like the martyrologies of much of the ancient saints, we have only few sentences left mentioning his great martyrdom for Christ, along with other local Bulgarian saints. He has a written  celebration service in the Minelogion Church book for  27-th of May.
Minelogion for those unaware is one of the service books used in the Night and Morning services songs and containing services details about the glorified saints for each day of the year.

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Troparion of the Holy Martyr, voice 4
He became a partaker of morals and viceroy of the apostles
in the way of your contemplation, inspired by God, you have done deeds,
therefore you have faithfully taught the word of truth,
for his faith he suffered even to the point of blood,
Holy Martyr Therapont, beg the Christ God to save our souls.

 

Saint Hieromartyr Therapont of Roman Fortress Serdika ( Sofia )
The famous Bulgarian medieval historian Matei Gramatik, who was a contemporary of Saint Nicholas of Sofia (a 15h century famous Bulgarian martyr saint) and a witness to his martyrdom in 1555, who wrote his biography with great skill, writes about this holy martyr. There he describes the situation in which St. Nicholas of Sofia lived – both geographically and spiritually.
In his description of the spiritual situation, he gives brief information about the saints of Sofia, including St. Terapont of Serdica (Sofia). He writes:

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"When you listen for the inhabitants of Sofia, don't think about the current contemporary ones,
but for the heavenly ones, who were once co-inhabitants of us and now live with the angels.
So forth it is beneficial, to tell about 2 , 3 of them. The holy hieromartyr Therapontius, who
being a citizen of this place and a presbyter of the holy God's Church in Serdika (Sofia), lived filled
with lot of virtues and at the end, during the persecutions of Christians, has been detained by guards
by the lawless for his Christ confession. After a lot of martyrs and being enchained with a heavy
iron chains, he has been put out of the city and on a distance of one day walking, on
this place he was beheaded and henceforth he received a martyrs death for Christ.
They say on the place where his blood was shed, in that time a large oak tree has grown  and it is seen until today and there a lot of miraculous healings occur,
whenever one comes with faith."

Today a part of this trunk of the oak is kept as a sacred relic in the ancient Sofia's capital ancient church "St. Petka", where the memory of the holy martyr is celebrated every year on May 27.

Translated from: © Lives of the Saints Book. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).


Another Bulgarian saint Paisios of Hilendar / Paisij Hilendarski (1722 – 1773) also mentions in his history book History of the Slavo-Bulgarians states: "There are three holy martyrs in the city of Sofia:
1) St. George;
2) St. Nicholas;
3) St. Terapontius.

This saint was a priest in town of Tran, where many people now go for healing. Where in the Turks has slayered the saint a an oak greaw and with his prayers a lot of healing is given on the place of this oak. Same manner Saints George and Nicholas suffered from the godless Turks during Selim's reign; and their holy relics give healing in this city of Sofia. "

Icon Images of St. Therapontius are known to exist today from the XIX century. There are icons icons in the Sofia church "St. Paraskeva ”, in Pernik, in the church of " St. Petka ” in Sofia, fresco in the church“ St. Dimitar ” in the village of Yarlovtsi, Transko, wherein used to an icon also whose location now is unknown.

In Tran and Godech respectively there were folk customs associated with the saint and therein and in the region he is revered as a healer and protector of the harvests.
There is also a cave in Trun, which is indicated as a refuge for the saint.
A chapel in his name was in the city, burned by the Turks in the 30s of the XIX century.

In Glory of St. Terapontius of Sofia during the Second World War and until 1957 was dedicated the Revival church "Holy Trinity ", today – Saint Great-martyr (Mina)  Menas, in the Slatina district of Sofia. The church was built on the remains of the monastery “Holy  Trinity", according to mouth to mouth tradition kept for ages. 

According to the legend, the saint was slaughtered here and this gives some reason to presume that St. Terapontius might have been one of the spiritual fathers who were serving in the monastery at that time.

Let by the holy prayers of Saint Terapont God gives forgives to our multitude of transgressions and grants more Peace, Love, Hope, Faith and goodness to everyone !

The Holy and Great Week of Passions of Christ in the Church – Day by day explained

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

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The Holy Great Week of Christ Passions

The last week of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ is called the "Great" or "Passion Week", i.e. A week of suffering, a prelude to eternal life. The Lord's life was coming to an end. Having resurrected Lazarus on the Sabbath as a proof of the Mass coming Resurrection known in the Church as Lazarus Saturday as it is always celebrated Saturday in the Orthodox Church on which people gathered to solemnly welcome the Messiah Christ, and triumphantly entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Following that the Savior Jesus Christ who prophecised his betrayel to the Cross for human sin, the Lord voluntarily walked step by step to His predestined inevitability.

Every day of the Passion Week is called Great and Holy for the reason this week is the most Holy and Sanctified week of the whole Calendar Church year. Each of the Seven days of it, the Church commemorates events of last week of Christ's life and suffering on earth before Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven through special services the way of Christ to Golgotha, the sufferings and His redemptive work on the Cross.

Worship during Holy Week

Lent services on the weekdays of Lent are characterized by their penitential singing. The royal doors (of the alter known as Dveri) remain closed as a symbol of man's separation from the Kingdom of God. Church vestments are dark, usually purple in the color of repentance.

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No Divine Liturgy is performed on weekdays, but so that the (ordinary chrsitians who go often and pray God) – so called faithful can support themselves in their ascetic effort of fasting by accepting Holy Communion, a Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is performed (a specific Liturgy prepared for the Purpose that is only served during great Lent). This service is very ancient, it is mentioned in the canons of the VII century, but it was established earlier for sure. Most likely the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, practice to sanctify bread and wine in prior has later evolved in the Roman-Catholic Churchs errenous from Eastern Orthodox point of view – Eucharistic Adoration
– (a consacration host kept usually in the so called (monstrace). Traditionally, Presanctified Liturgy creator is considered to be Pope St. Gregory I the (Dialogus), Pope who governed the Western Church in (VI century) – some  theologians today claims it was developed at least partially or coauthored also by Saint Ambrose of Mediolan (Milan).

The pre-consecrated liturgy consists of a solemn Lenten Vespers (prelonged repentance songs) with elements from Psalms and readings from Holy Scripts regarding life and suffering of Christ, to which is added the part of "transfer" of the Holy Gifts from the Alter to the Upper place (the place where the proskomidia occurs) and walked in on the "Great Entrance" Liturgy part with the Sacraments placed in the Holy Chalice held by the priest in front of iconstansisa and back to the Alter of Sacrifice, however the consecration of the Gifts itself is not performed, the Eucharistic gifts are already sanctified and prepared on previous Sunday Saint Basil or Saint John Chrysostomos liturgy.  That is why the service is called the Presanctified Liturgy, i.e. of the pre-consecrated Gifts.

Usually This service takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays or at least on one of these days and on the 6th week of Maria of Egypt is served 3 times instead of 2 throughout the week to venerate the Most Holy Mother Mary of Egypt which from a Harlot turned a saint by immerse repentance, and cause of that become the patron saint for repentance and example for true repentance, that each and every Christian aims follow, every day of his life.

Following the 6th weeks of Fasting a period that the ancient Church placed for try out of ones self soul state and cleanance of passions comes saint Lazarus Saturday.

Lazarus Saturday is the only day of the year when Sunday service worship is integrated in Saturday.  Usually Sunday service is a service of higher importance than the other ones, a faithful gathering to share the unspeakable joy for the Resurrection of Christ and his triumph of Life over Death. 

Lazarus Saturday is the beginning of the Easter celebration. During the Liturgy of Lazarus, the Church glorifies Christ as "Resurrection and Life", who even before His sufferings and death, with the resurrection of Lazarus, confirmed the foreshadowing of the universal resurrection of mankind coming. It was because of the resurrection of Lazarus that Christ was glorified by the people as the long-awaited Messiah (no man ever was able to rise up a death rotting person from the Death after four days in grave) truly identifying him as the promised King of Israel and the fulfillment of long ages awaited Old Testament prophecies.

The very feast of the triumphal entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) belongs to the twelve most importance Church feasts, known in the Church as "Feasts of the Lord". Christ immediate worship by all Jews on his entrance in Jerusalem  is directly connected with that of Lazarus Day on which he did the miracle of commanding Lazarus to wake up from Death,  returning life of a long dead Lazarus.

On the eve of the feast, the prophecies about the Messianic King from the Old Testament are read, along with the Gospel accounts of Christ's entry into Jerusalem, as another confirmation that Christ is the True Messiah.

In the morning, the willow twigs we hold in our hands throughout the Liturgy are blessed, thus showing that we welcome Jesus Christ as King and Savior, just like the Jews has received him in Jerusalem 21 centuries again in  year 0 A.D.

Extract Prot. Thomas HOPCO "Fundamentals of Orthodoxy" with short modifications from:
Church NewsPaper of Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Issue 7 of April 17, 1998

Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday

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Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian) notable singing during the first 3 days of the Holy Week sung in the Orthodox Church

Text translates as:

Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight,

And blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching,

And again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.

Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep,

Lest you be given up to death, and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.

But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God,

Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.

Troparion of Bridegroom Matins

During the first three days of Holy Week, the Church commemorates the Lord's last stay in Jerusalem. In these days the worship is very intense: there is a Midnight Office (Μεσονύκτικον, Mesonýktikon; Slavonic: Полунощница), The Hours matins, Psalms Book chapters, reading of the Gospel and Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. During the "lessons" given by, the four Gospels to the Gospel of John are read. 13, verses 30
 

Great and Holy Monday

On Holy Monday, the evangelists tell us how the Son of God entered the Jerusalem temple and found it full of merchants. Overwhelmed with holy wrath, He overthrew their tables and drove them out, because the temple is a house of prayer, not a marketplace. (Matt. 21: 12-13, Mark 11: 15-19; Luke 19: 45-46).

Great-and-holy-Monday-the-parable-of-the-fig-tree-icon

On Holy Monday, the Church celebrates St. Patriarch Joseph, the son of St. James the Patriarch and a type of Jesus Christ.

Saint_Joseph-the-Patriarch-sold-in-Egypt-by-his-brothers-a-prototype-for-Christ
Joseph The Magnificient

Joseph was sold by his brothers to merchants traveling to Egypt.

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There, in a foreign land, he went through many sufferings, but Pharaoh made him second in power and position in the whole kingdom (Gen. 41: 38-46). Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed by the Jews to the Gentiles, tortured, and suffered for human sins.

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The Icon of Christ the Bridegroom (Ο Νυμφίος)

The Church also invites us to reflect on the image of the barren fig tree, which withered after being cursed by the Lord (Mark 11: 12-14, 20-26, Matt. 21: 18-22). "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matt. 3:10).

Great-and-holy-Monday-the-parable-of-the-fig-tree-icon
 

In the same way, we will be condemned if we do not live in prayerful communion with God, do not strive to improve our faith, do not fill ourselves with virtues, and do not bear spiritual fruit.

Great and Holy Tuesday

"Watch therefore: for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 25:13).

(Gospel reading: Matins 22: 15-23: 39; Liturgy Mat. 24: 36-26: 2).

Holy Tuesday is a day for teachings and final moral instructions:

The Lord Jesus Christ gives us an example of how to do good – not to give from our surplus for this purpose, but as a poor widow to set aside from our last material means.

Great-Holy-Tuesday-the-10-virgins-parable-orthodox-christian-icon

Speaking of the approaching days of struggle and trial, Christ tells of the ten wise virgins who were always ready to meet the Savior (Matt. 25: 1-13). It reminds us that we must "be vigilant and not be discouraged" and keep our lamps lit in anticipation of the Divine Bridegroom.

That is why on Holy Tuesday the Church sings:

Here comes the bridegroom at midnight,
and blessed is that servant whom he hath found awake,
and unworthy is he whom he finds careless.

Therefore beware, my soul, lest you sleep,
to be delivered to death and to remain outside the closed doors of the Kingdom,
but come to your senses and exclaim: Holy, holy, holy, O God,
have mercy on us for the sake of the Mother of God!

"The light of the body is the eye" (Matt. 6:22), says the Lord. the unsullied human heart and soul, and "the oil is alms or all our good deeds" (St. John Chrysostom).

Living virtuously, with the fear of God and trust in the Lord, we will be ready to meet the Savior and enter the marriage hall – the Kingdom of Heaven.

The church also reminds us of the parable of the talents (Matt. 25: 14-30) and invites us to work hard and improve the abilities God has given us.

Then follow prophecies about the fate of the city of Jerusalem for the last days of the Second Coming of the Lord
(Matt. 25: 31-46, Mark 13: 1-31, Luke 21: 5-38).

Great Holy Wednesday

On the day of Holy and Holy Wednesday we remember one of the last events before the Lord's saving sufferings for us: the precious ointment, which in his sincere repentance a sinner woman poured on the Savior's head (Matt. 26: 6-13, Mark 14: 3-9).

She managed to enter the house where Christ was, the woman carrying an alabaster vessel with precious very expensive ointment, she wanted to pay her enormous respects to Him. In a hurry (scared that someone from the people in surrounding Christ might stop here) in order for not to interfere with her good intentions, she broke the vessel that was helding a high amount of oilment, making it easier to spill the ointment on Christ.

Great-wednesday-the-sinful-harlot-woman-with-oilments-cleaning-up-feets-of-Christ-with-her-hair

The precious ointment cost three hundred dinars ! (Mark 14: 5), so some being sick of the passion of Judah the Iscariot (The Love for Money the works of the Flesh) resented it: "Why is this waste?", "The ointment could be sold and the money given to the poor."
And Christ answered them, "You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me," "she has done a good work for Me [by] deceiving to anoint My body for burial." Her zeal will be heard all over the world.
Like the prodigal son, the sinner realized her sins and "came to her senses."

Let us also come to our senses about our real spiritual condition and repent of our sins, so that with our repentant tears we may "anoint" the Lord like that repentant woman !

Jude-Betrays-Christ-selling-him-for-30-silver-coins

On the same day, we recall the decision of the Sanhedrin to condemn Jesus Christ. Then Judas Iscariot went to the Jewish leaders and agreed to hand him over for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26: 14-16, Mark 14: 10-11, Luke 22: 1-6).

We should well think:

Do we, who bear the name of Christ, not betray Christ through our ungodly deeds?

From that day on, the kneeling prayers do not cease, as one should understand we have done plenty of badness and has inflicted additional pains to Christ, who suffered for all great sins on the Cross.
 

Great Wednesday

Great and Holy Thursday – Remembrance of the Last Supper

On that day, the Lord Jesus Christ celebrated the Passover in the home of a resident of Jerusalem
(Matt. 26: 17-35, Mark 14: 12-31, Luke 22: 7-38, John 13: 1-17, 26).

Before supper He washed the feet of the apostles and said, "I did not come to serve, but to serve."
The Savior then instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist (Communion) by Himself partaking of the holy apostles.

By His great mercy, the Lord also gives us the opportunity to receive His true body and blood during the Holy Liturgy, so that by accepting Christ within us, we may strive to keep Him through the purity of our hearts.

The-Secret-Supper-Tajna-vecherya-Aton-Manuil-Panselinos-Protata

After bequeathing the new commandment to love all, Christ revealed to His disciples that He would be betrayed.
Bewildered, the students asked who would do this.

The-Betrayal-of-Juda-Orthodox-icon-heprodosia
Judas asked is it him that will betray ? 
Christ answered him so meekly that the others did not understand.
Judas got up, went out leaving the holy eucharistic supper.
And pupils, thought he was going shopping for required goods for the brothers because he was a treasurer (an accent how we should keep a good mind and try to think well about others all the time).

Next  great accent is Lord's Prayer.

The-Prayer-of-Christ-in-Gethsemane-garden-Great-Tarnovo-Museum-MOLENIE-Muzej_V-Turnovo

Christ Prayer in Gethsemane Garden – Bulgarian Icon museum Great Tarnovo

In the Garden of Gethsemane After supper Christ and the apostles went to the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26: 36-46, Luke 22: 39-46, John 18: 1), where he prayed until the coming of the traitor.

Mockery-of-Christ-icon

Usually on Thursday evening the morning of Good Friday service is served, when the so-called Twelve Gospels are read, ie. the twelve passages of the Gospel that tell of Christ's sufferings.


Through them we witness the mockery, suffering, and crucifixion of Christ, through which He redeemed us.
"Here is the Lamb of God who took away our sins."

And again we wonder if we do not crucify Christ through our passions and sins.

Jesus_in_Golgotha_by_Theophanes_the_Cretan-orthodox-icon-fifteen-century

Jesus in Golgotha – Theophanes the Cretan

On this day, the priests take the Cross out of the altar, which symbolizes its carrying from Christ to Golgotha.

The Great annointing of the sick service is served so called "Велик Маслосвет" – during whose many prayers to saints healers are red to intercede for us following by 7 Act of Apostle readings and 7 Gospel Chapter Readings, wherever possible in large Cathedral Churches, this is served by 7 priests  every willing layman is anointed with oil 7 times after reading each of the 7 Gospels for restorating of Health of the sick as well as a special blessing in the manner of the ancient Church tradition.

Great and Holy Friday

The Way of the Cross and Golgotha ​​We remember the great sufferings of Jesus Christ, who freely agreed to be judged, flogged, spat upon, beaten with slaps, and shown before the people in a purple robe, with a cross in his hand and a crown of thorns on his head. 

Armed with a heavy cross from Pilate's praetorium (judgement place), Christ was led to Golgotha ​​on the crucifixion.

The-Crucifix-of-Christ-Razpiatie-Hristovo

Crucified between two robbers for desecration in terrible natural disturbances – an earthquake and an eclipse of the sun, he died, accepted death to save all mankind from death.

On this day, every Christian should follow complete fasting (eat nothing and drink nothing) and pray and sorrow deeply for the Lord.
According to church rules, even the sick should only eat bread (at best a very dry one) and drink a little bit of water. Joys of any kind of type should be abstained and all passions avoived and one should ask God for mercy for himself, his family and ask is merceful to everyone.

Great and Holy Saturday

The burial of Christ the Savior and His descent into hell are commemorated.
He died on the cross, blood and water flowed from His pierced ribs.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, asking Pilate for permission, removed Him from the cross, anointed Him with perfume, wrapped Him in a new shroud, and laid Him in a new tomb carved into a rock in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The_Burial_Lamentations_by_Theophanes_the_Cretan-Stavronikita-monastery-mount-athos-wall-painting

Epitaphios (Lamentation of Christ) from Stavronikita monastery, Mount Athos – Theophanes the Cretan

Holy-Saturday-The-Resurrected-Christ-Empty-tomb-grave-icon

Myrrh-bearing women were present at His burial in the tomb, among whom, in tears with her grief-stricken heart, was His Mother the Holy Mother of God.

The church sings regarding this great events:

"In the grave with his body and in hell with his soul as God,
in heaven with the thief and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit You were, Christ,
Who fills everything. "

The Jews sealed the tomb and set up a guard.

Great secret! "Let the human creature silence !" – sings the Church instead of the Cherubim song on Holy Saturday.
The lord of life is in the grave, but he will soon be famous for the miracle of the resurrection.

On the Saturday morning after the liturgy, in some places it is customary for the priest to give flowers to the faithful as an expression of joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

Holy Week in the statutes of the ancient churches

Initially, Easter was preceded by a two-three-day fast, which took place one week – the so-called.
Passion Week, or the Week of Christ's Suffering.

Subsequently, the 40-day fast was added to Lent, similar to the forty days during which Christ fasted in the wilderness. It was intended for the "announced", that is, for those who would be baptized on Easter.

For a long time during the practice of mass baptisms of the elderly, the sacrament was performed on Easter, when baptism was especially experienced as a participation in the voluntary death and resurrection of the Lord.
That is why the Easter Liturgy is extremely baptismal in nature.

After the sixth century, the baptism of children began to predominate, so the mass baptism of adults on Easter was gradually abandoned.
It was then that the meaning of Pentecost was changed – from a catechetical period, fasting became a period of repentance for members of the Church.

In the ninth century, Pentecost the word stems from the Greek Πεντηκοστή (Pentēkostē) meaning "fiftieth" was finally united with Holy Week, and so the duration of Lent increased.

The length of Lent varied, depending on how local churches viewed the inclusion of Holy Week at Pentecost and whether they considered Saturdays and Sundays, when canons forbid fasting, to be part of it.

In the Constantinople Statutes (followed by our Bulgarian Orthodox Church), Holy Week is not considered part of Pentecost, and Saturdays and Sundays are included in the Lent period, although they are not Lent days in the full sense of the word.

Thus, according to the Constantinople Statute, The Pentecost Lent had 6 weeks of 7 days, ie 42 days.
If Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday are excluded from it, the duration of Lent is exactly 40 days.

According to this statute, Lent begins on Maundy Monday from the first week of Lent and ends on Friday of the sixth week, that is, on the eve of Palm Sunday.

The troparions included in the Triodion (Постен Триод – The Church Service book with sung text used during the Lent, for this day speak of the "fulfillment of the soul-beneficial fortieth Pentecost" and the anticipation of the "holy week of the Passion."

The interpretation of the rule in the Apostolic Decrees (Church rules guidance book text from the end of the IV century) is similar, where it says:

"Perform this fast before Easter, beginning on the second day (that is, Monday) and ending on Friday. After these days, as completing the fasting, begin the holy week of Easter by fasting through it with fear and trembling."

It is no coincidence that the liturgies of Lazarus Sabbath and the Lord's Entrance into Jerusalem have baptismal elements.

According to another tradition, reflected in the 29th canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (681) – that is the year of Creation of Today's country of Bulgaria (which is the only country in Europe that did not change his name as of year 681), Holy Week was part of Pentecost, where it is called "the last week of Pentecost".

This other practice is preserved by the ancient churches, which separated from Orthodoxy after the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon (451) – The Armenian, Coptic, Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, Ethiopian Church of Toledo, (perhaps the Jacobite Syrian Church) etc.

Even though this historic tradition was well preserved in those Churches and many of their church order or customs such as veneration for the icons, holy relics, the problem with them preventing them to be in  ull communion with Eastern Orthodox Church stems in their rejection to accept the V-th XI-th and XII Ecumenical Ecumenical Councils and their perseverance on monophysitism (literally translated as, one nature – a teaching that says Christ has only one Nature and one Will a Godly, they say they do not reject that Christ was also real man in flesh but they consider the Godly nature of Christ has consumed the manly, which makes up their wrong understanding that Christ on the Cross did not fully suffer with his manly nature, but both God and man has suffered on the Cross – a doctrine which according to the Church councils is a pure hearesy, we can also conclude by the one nature of Christ that the so called today Oriental Orthodox Churches teach, that Christ on the Cross did not bear all the sins of the world as a man but he received all the sins and turmoils and evils as God.

In contrast in Eastern Orthodox Churches we do consider the truth that Christ has two Natures manly and Godly as well as Two Wills.
Some of the upmentioned ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches keep up to the heresy of monothelitism and that is why they're not communion with us the Eastern Orthodox.

The two wills in Orthodoxy is known under the term dyothelitism or dythelitism (stems from Greek δυοθελητισμός "doctrine of two wills") is a particular Christological doctrine that teaches the existence of two wills (divine and human) in the person of Jesus Christ.
Specifically, dyothelitism correlates the distinctiveness of two wills with the existence of two specific natures (divine and human) in the person of Jesus Christ (dyophysitism).

The Catechism of the One Holy Orthodox Church is stated: "Similarly, at the Sixth ecumenical council, Constantinople III in 681, the Church confessed that Christ possesses two wills and two natural operations, divine and human. They are not opposed to each other, but co-operate in such a way that the Word made flesh willed humanly in obedience to his Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. Christ's human will 'does not resist or oppose but rather submits to his divine and almighty will.'"

This position is in opposition to the Monothelitism position in the Christological debates. The debate concerning the Monothelite churches and the Catholic Church came to a conclusion at the Third Council of Constantinople in 681. The Council declared that in line with the declarations of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which declared two natures in the one person of Jesus Christ, there are equally two "wills" or "modes of operation" in the one person of Jesus Christ as well.

Dyothelitism was championed by Maximus the Confessor against monothelitism, the doctrine of one will. 

According to their tradition, Saturdays and Sundays as "non-fasting days" are not included in the calculation of Pentecost, so these churches fast 8 weeks for 5 days, ie 40, but fasting for pre-Chalcedonians begins one week earlier (when we have The week where orthodox stop eating Milk and Diary – Сиропустна Неделя (Milk-quit Sunday).

According to some liturgists, the appearance of the preparatory "Milk-quit" week before the beginning of Lent is the result of the desire to combine the two traditions in the Church.

Important clarification to make here is we have different view from  upmention Ancient considered schismatic Churches. Cause these ones only accept Church father decision in ecumenical councils until the 4th and cause they reject authencity of the IV th, XI th and  XII th ecumenical councils and consider Christ has only one nature a Godly one, they don't reject the existence of Human nature completely, however they stand for that Godly nature of Christ completely succumbs the human one and therefore it turns out Christ suffered on the Cross only as God (that Eastern Orthodox Churches consider as heresy).

Our believe of the Eastern Orthodox Church  Jesus Christ has two natures and two wills a Manly and Godly and his desire to humilate the Will of the Father and the Holy Spiritut to fulfill the salvational plan was voluntery.

The Roman Catholic Church since ancient times, has included Holy Week of Pentecost. However, through several councils, she lifted the ban on fasting on the Sabbath (64 Apostolic Rule). Unfortunately fasting today in Western Roman Catholic Churches is trongly reduced and all in all officially the layman in that Church has to fast about 4 days in the whole year, where in practice most people usually fast only one day on the Good Friday.

This practice is sharply condemned in the 55th canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. That is why the Roman Catholic Church calculates Lent as follows: 6 weeks of 6 days of fasting makes 36 days. To them are added 4.
Therefore for Catholics, the Great Lent begins on Wednesday, the so-called. Clean Wednesday (which according to Church tradition is the day on which Judah decided to betray Christ promising the Sanhedrin to sell them Christ for 30 silver coins … )

What is the reason for Holy Week Fasting

In our Eastern Orthodox Church on Holy and Great Friday, is a very holy and sad day – considered the saddest day in the year, because we sorrow for the great unrighhtousness done to King and The master of Light and Universe and Son of God Christ, being betrayed, joked and beaten in a substitute for us (as we in reality deserve this disgraceful faith for our multitude of transgressions).

Therefore the Goal of following the whole 7 days of Passion week in a Steady fasting is to cleanse up the soul and body, increase our talents (the virtues), prepare to receive Christ in His Glorious Resurrection in our Souls through the Mystery of the Mysterious – the Holy Communion and most importantly win over our sinful passion's rooted in hatred,lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride and all evil and most importantly commune with God with constant prayer and spiritual labors.

The constant prayer is attained in church laymans differently by reading of morning, evening private rules, canons, attendance of the many, many morning and evening services.
What is unique is the church services are constructed in a way that the morning services are served in the evenings where possible after Sunrise about 19:00 o'clock, and evening services are
served in the mornings together with the Hours and on Fridays united with a Liturgy of the Presanctified gifts.

In monasteries especially in Holy Mount Athos and some of the more ascetic ones, the frequent custom is often to use with a blessing of their elder the constant repetition in one self of the so called "Jesus Prayer";

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner!  Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner! Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner! 

The weapons of the spiritual war used are abstinence of food or at least reducing the food intake and more importantly, reduce the passions. The most important fasting of course is the spiritual.

But for the spiritual advancement a good leverage shown by the Holy Fathers is the Fleshly fasting given to be followed during this week.
Fasting according to church canons for this week, includes only eating if heath allows it of raw foods, vegetables and fruits, bread and plant foods without oil, the local custom not mandatory tradition in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is to also not eat fat containing nuts, throughout the week with exceptions on Great Thursday the day of The Last Support, where oil is allowed because of the Greatness of the Feast.

The fast during Holy Week is especially strict – "without wine and oil", ie dry foods, as only on Holy Thursday, after Holy Communion, believers used for the spiritual holiday "oil", ie vegetable oil.
Holy Sabbath was treated with special care, as it was the only Sabbath that the canons decreed as a fast day.

Fasting on Holy Saturday lasts until midnight, until the Lord's Day, when the Lord's Resurrection is announced.
The Apostolic Decrees stipulate: "The Sabbath lasts until the roosters sing, the fast ends with the coming of the first day after the Sabbath, which is the Resurrection."

Saint Luke of Odrin, a Glorious Bulgarian XVI century Christ martyr who publicly refuted Islam, feast day 23 of March

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Saint_Lukas-of-Odrin-Adreanopolis-icon-Bulgarian-martyr-saint-of-ottoman-time

Holy Reverend Martyr Luka (the bulgarian name for Luke) was born in city of today's Edirne ( Odrin ) formerly known as Adreanopolis to pious Bulgarian parents – Atanas and Dominica. After the early death of his father, his mother gave him to a rich merchant from (Zagor) today's city Stara Zagora in Bulgaria, who treated him like a son.
The merchant once went to Russia, taking 13-year-old Luka with him.
On his return he stopped in Constantinople.

There Luca quarreled with a turk and started beating him. Then the enraged Turks captured him and wanted to kill him.
The frightened Luke shouted: "Let me go! I will convert to Islam!"

The turk immediately took him in and forced him to renounce Christ and convert to Islam, which the young boy did out of fear.
But after the fear passed, Luke became frightened by his action, lost his joy, and began to repent bitterly.

He reported himself to his batismal father (have to say at that time the importance of the God-father was very enormous much more than today). 
His father tried to release him with the help of the Russian ambassador.
But the evil turk, instead of freeing the boy, tied his hands and forcibly circumcised him.

After some time, Luca managed to escape from this Turkish home where he was forced to work as being counted a member of Islamic community and introduced himself to the Russian ambassador, who in attempt to save him from his slavery, sent him to the cities of Smyrna and Tire.
There Luke became seriously ill and, fearing death, called a Christian priest.
After hearing his confession, the priest advised him to retire to Mount Athos and repent there under the guidance of virtuous men.
After his recovery, he actually followed the advice of the clergyman and entered the Iviron  Athos Monastery, where he was restored to his Christian faith through the sacrament of Holy Anointing.

Saint_Loukas-Mytilene-confessor-Christian-martyr-who-denounced-Islam-neomartyr

Saint Luka of Odrin ( Adreanopolis ), the saint is well known in Greece as Saint Luke of Mytiliny (Mytilene a main city
in Lesbos Island Greece)

From there he moved to the Stavronikita Monastery, where he received a monastic vow.
But the enemy of human salvation did not give him peace.
Continuously Driven by temptations, he fled from one monastery to another. He went to the  Bulgarian "Zografski" ( Zographou ) monastery (from where he returned to the world, but failed to calm down, came to Mount Athos again) and then consequentlially to  Xyropotamou, Koutloumousiou  ( Kutlumush ), Saint John's Scyte, Grigoriou (Grigoriat), Saint. Anna Scyte.

Saint_Loukas of-Odrin-Adrianople-icon

Thinking about why he has no peace during all this time, but always moving from place to place, he came to the conclusion that this is a punishment from God for his denial of the Christian faith.

So he came up with the idea of ​​martyrdom (as a mean to redeem his sin) and shared it with some clergy: no one dared to recommend a martyrdom to him because of his youth.
But in the end, seeing his unwavering determination, the priest Ananias gave him a cell rule in preparation for martyrdom for Christ. Then the clergyman Visarion cut his hair in a Great Schema " μεγαλόσχημος" monastic vows and went with him to the island of Mytilene (today in Greece).

After partaking in the Holy Mysteries of Christ, St. Luke dressed as a Turk and went to the Qadi (Judge – qadis have been an institution in cities in Turkish empire pretty much like today's Courts).

He told allegorically how he was forcibly converted to Islam, openly renounced ungodly Islam and professed the Christian faith in the following way:

He went beforte the kadi and asked him in loud voice,

"Is it just for me to be deceived, a child like myself?"

The kadi asked,
"And who deceived you?"

Luka responded,

"Someone deceive me, giving me a badge of islam [meaning circumcision."

The kadi then asked to see the badge. But when Luke went to open his clothing, those
present in the courthouse finally understood what he meant and shouted for him to stop.

Luka then said,

"Being a young child of thirteen, I was deceived by you
and I came over to your religion, not being able to discern
the truth from falsehood. I therefore remained
with what is false and a lie for some time because I
understood your religion was not true, but false.
And he whom you call a prophet is not a prophet but a
deceiver and a mythmaker, and he has deceived all of
you and you believed him . Having therefore been
informed that your religion is darknes, I reject
it before you and I confess my former Christian faith
which is true light. I believe and worship a true God,
my Lord Jesus Christ who will come to judge all
the world, the living and the ded, and who will render to
each according to his works. If you do not believe in
HIm. as I do, you will all be damned."


The kadi further asked Luka where he is from and he said he has came to this place by ship from Russia as Russia has been considered the only country protectorof Orthodox Christians in the empire and
wanting to protect his relatives and the Church hierarchy in the Empire from from further beating or destructions of Churches and arrests of Orthodox Priests and clergy within the empire by the turks.

He further asked:
"Where are you staying?"

"Nowhere. I did not stop anywhere, but came straight here."

The kadi turned to the others in court and said,

"He is crazy. See if he recognized his own shoes."

Luka turned and immediately rushed to find his shoes and showed them
to the kadi and said,

"I am not crazy, as you say. Here are my shoes. I brought them in Constantinople."

The kadi said,
"I am sorry for you son.
If you do not listen to me,
you will suffer many torments, many of which
you have not even heard. So think well."

Luka replied:

"I have already though on all the torments which you
can inflict on me, and I have come. So, whatever you
plan to do to me, do it quickly, without delay, and be
assured that I am clean and blameless and I will not deny
my faith. I am an Orthodox Christian and I will die an
Orthodox Christian. I worship Christ and it is Christ
whom I desire. I confess him here where I once
denied Him in ignorance and I proclaim Him with true knowledge."

All-Bulgariasn-saints-Church-service-icon-Vsi_Bylgarski_svetii_sluzhba
All Bulgarian Saints icon, Christ in Glory surrounded by
Bulgarian saints – below Christ throne – Saint King Boris the Baptizer
and Saint Patriarch Euthimius, the monastery on the Bottom Rila Monastery
The first by importance and Largest Monastery in Bulgaria, Saint Loukas of Adreanopolis
is also commemorated on this date too

Neither the caresses and promises of the Muslims nor the threats of torture could shake the hard young man in his determination to die for Christ. The Turks beat him severely and threw him in prison, shackling his legs. At that time all the churches were praying for the martyr.
The Metropolitan of the island and the Elder Visarion managed beseech to send him to prison the Holy Mysteries of Christ for the last communion.
Finally, the judge saw Luke's unwavering firmness and sentenced him to death by hanging.
When the executioner hoped for the noose around his neck, he said,
"Confess Muhammad, our great prophet, and we will let you go!"

The Holy Martyr replied,

"I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ and I worship Him alone!"

St. Luke was hanged on March 23, 1802 at the age of 16.

The holy body of the martyr remained hanging on the gallows for three days, but during all this time it remained white and beautiful, emitting an unusual fragrance.
After three days, the Turks tied a large stone around his neck and his body was thrown into the depths of the sea, but instead of sinking, it remained with the stone on the water surface. When night came, the Christians found him on the shore and handed him over to the earth with due honors. The other clothes of the Venerable Martyr received healing power and by touching them the sick received healing.


Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Luka of Odrin, God quickly grant all People worldwide more peace, love, hope, faith and wisdom that are so desperately needed today !

Text on the living of the saint  extracted from:
1.  Lives of the Saints. Ed. † Bishop Parthenius (Levkijski) of Lefkada, archim. Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev). Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991
2. Witness for Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyrs of the Ottoman Period 1437 – 1860 by Nomikos Michael Vaporis p. 252-257

 

Disable VNC on KVM Virtual Machine without VM restart / How to Change VNC listen address

Monday, February 28th, 2022

disable-vnc-port-listener-on-a-KVM-ran-virtual-machine-virsh-libvirt-libvirt-architecture-design

Say you have recently run a new KVM Virtual machine, have connected via VNC on lets say the default tcp port 5900 
installed a brand new Linux OS using a VNC client to connect, such as:
TightVNC / RealVNC if connecting from Windows Client machine or Vncviewer / Remmina if connecting from Linux / BSD  and now 
you want to turn off the VNC VM listener server either for security reasons to make sure some script kiddie random scanner did not manage to connect and take control over your VM or just because, you will be only further using the new configured VM only via SSH console sessions as they call it in modern times to make a buziness buzz out of it a headless UNIX server (server machines connected a network without a Physical monitor attached to it).


The question comes then how can be the KVM VNC listener on TCP port 5900 be completely disabled?

One way of course is to filter out with a firewall 5900 completely either on a Switch Level (lets say on a Cisco equipment catalist in front of the machine) or the worst solution to  locally filter directly on the server with firewalld or iptables chain rules.
 

1. Disable KVM VNC Port listener via VIRSH VM XML edit

The better way of course  is to completely disable the VNC using KVM, that is possible through the virsh command interface.
By editing the XML Virtual Machine configuration and finding the line about vnc confiuguration with:

root@server:/kvm/disk# virsh edit pcfreakweb
Domain pcfreakweb XML configuration not changed.

like:

<graphics type='vnc' port='5900' autoport='yes' listen='0.0.0.0'>
      <listen type='address' address='0.0.0.0'/>


and set value to undefined:

port='-1'


virsh-KVM-disable-VNC-port-listener-virsh-xml-edit-screenshot

Modifying the XML however will require you to reboot the Virtual Machine for which XML was editted. This might be not possible
if you have a running production server already configured with Apache / Proxy / PostgreSQL / Mail or any other Internet public service.

2. Disable VNC KVM TCP port 5900 to a dynamic running VM without a machine reboot


Thus if you want to remove the KVM VNC Port Listener on 5900 without a VM shutdown / reboot you can do it via KVM's virsh client interface.

root@server:/kvm/disk# virsh
Welcome to virsh, the virtualization interactive terminal.

Type:  'help' for help with commands
       'quit' to quit

virsh # qemu-monitor-command pcfreakweb –hmp change  vnc none

 

The virsh management user interface client, can do pretty much more of real time VM changes, it is really useful to use it if you have KVM Hypervisor hosts with 10+ Virtual machines and it if you have to deal with KVM machines on daily, do specific changes to the VMs on how VM networks are configured, information on HV hardware, configure / reconfigure storage volumes to VMs etc, take some time to play with it 🙂

Feast of Saint Naum of Ohrid, One of the Holy Seven Apostoles and Enlighteners of Bulgaria and Slavonic Eastern Orthodox Churches venerated 23 December

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

In Bulgarian Orthodox Church the feast of Saint Naum of Ohrid is marked right at the end of the Christmas Fasting Period only days before Nativity (nasci, which means "to be born.",  source, Latin nātīvitās (“birth”). See also naïveté, γέννηση (Greek)as known in the East or Christmas (Christ-Mass) or XMas, the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi,as known in the West. 
The reason to celebrate saint Naum are twofold second, first is the fact he passed away on 23 of December year 910, and second with the aim is to underline the importance of his many translation works for the Cyrillic Medieval Enlightenment Renessance for Europe and Asian Lands thorough the many Bulgarian saints stemming from Saint Cyril and Methodius.

Saint-Seven-Apostles-of-the-Bulgarian-and-Slavonic-Churches-SvetiSedmochislenitsi-3

Saint Seven Apostles contemporary Mosaic Saint Sofia Church, Sofia Capital of Bulgaria

The enlightement spreading the new translated understandable texts for the Slavonic "Sea" of people and even in far asia for Slavs and respectively the Slavonic Churches, the biggest member of which is now the Russian Orthodox Church and through later through Orthodox Russia enlightened with Holy Orthodoxy Asia (China, Japan) and Africa. Back then among 1/3 of all the civillized world has been in contact or can speak some form of slavonic and the fact that the Holy Bible, and the Church books were translated for the Slavs has been unthinkably great.Today among 1/10 of the world still speaks and writes some form of Cyrillic thanks to the great works of Saint Naum and the rest six of the Holy Apostles, that are nowadays little known in Russia and the rest of Slavonic world.

Saint-Seven-Slavonic-Apostles-of-Bulgarian-and-SLavonic-Churches-Sv_Sedmocislenici_with_Jovan_Kukuzel_in_Ardenica

St. Seven Numbers and St. John Kukuzel. A fresco from 1744 from the main church of the monastery in Ardenitsa (present-day Albania), built on the foundations of the Holy Trinity Church, built with the patronage of St. Tsar Boris the Baptist. Written by the brothers Constantine and Anastas Zograf from Korca.

The names of the Seven Holy-equal apostles are  Saint Cyril and Methodius who created the Glagolitic script, and their five students Kliment, Naum, Gorazd, Sava and Angelariy.[ 3 ]. Another person we know of the of constellation of God enlightened apostle equal is Constantine of Preslav also considered a direct disciple of Methodius, the Church traditionally does not include him because he is not canonized (even though there is high probability he has been no less saint than the 7th). Saint Constantine of Preslav he is an author of the Alphabet prayer and multiple other Church books and works that are now completely destroyed and lost.

Saint Naum of Ohrid or Preslav himself was a medieval Bulgarian scientist (if we talk in terms of todays science), writer and saint. The Orthodox Church also venerates him as one of the Holy Septuagint translators as he used the famous Septuagint translation of the Bible as a specimen for his Cyrillic script translation.

 

Church sung chants on St Naum Feast

Troparion, voice 4

He left the world, became attached to Christ, crucified his flesh and lived spiritually, blessed Nahum.
You have endeavored to ascend in the way of the apostles, you have converted many, countless Moesians to the faith,
therefore, with your prayers, deliver us from temptations.

Kontakion sung, voice 3, similar to Virgo today

The honorable memory of your bright deeds, shining like a great sun for all,
enlightens those who sing to you, and casts out demons and all infirmities,
therefore, gathered with love, we truly praise her. 

St_Naum_of_Ohrid_Last_Quarter_of_XIV_Century_St_Mary_Perivleptos_Church,_Ohrid_Icon_Gallery


Short Biography of Saint Naum


Biography Information about his life before arriving in Bulgaria is scarce.
According to one of his biographies, he was born in Moesia, "of noble parents", but despising wealth and nobility, he joined Cyril and Methodius [1] 

 According to the life of Cyril and Methodius by Clement of Ohrid, Nahum participated in their mission in Great Moravia, and in 868 was ordained in Rome. In 886, Nahum was expelled from Great Moravia after spending some time in prison for his resistance to the influence of the German clergy. He arrives in Bulgaria together with Kliment Ohridski, Sava, Angelariy and Gorazd. Monastery "St. Naum ”on Lake Ohrid Naum is one of the founders of the Preslav Literary School (originally in Pliska, that was a major Capital of Bulgaria at that time and first Capital of Bulgaria [2] ). In Pliska St. Nauh worked between 886 and 893 on copying important books of the bible and multiplying the still scarce Church books in Bulgarian. After Clement of Ohrid was appointed bishop of Drembica in 893, Nahum continued his work at the Ohrid Literary School. During this period he founded a monastery on Lake Ohrid in honour of Saint Archangel Michael (a very likely reference to Baptizmal name of Saint King Boris the Baptizer of Bulgaria who accepted the name Michael in his Baptism. The monastery in Ohrid, where his holy relics lays till this day in a small grave  is now named in honour.

Monastry-of-St-Naum-Ohrid-Lake

Monastery of Saint Naum of Ohrid started by saint Naum

Even though the scarce information we have for the saint, the honour to Saint Naum over the centuries from the Slavonic Christiandome has been enormous and he has been especially invoked by people who suffer attacks by unclean spirits or are suffering long years sickness in heavy condition. In modern Theology he is also known under the name Saint Naum of Preslav-Ohrid a reference to the two major Bulgarian cities where he has done his spiritual labour in translating texts from Greek and perhaps Latin to the freshly invented Bulgarian alphabet recently reformed by his teacher Saint Kliment Ohridski who by himself has been a pupil of the Inventors of the Glagolic at that time Old-Bulgarian alphabet Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius.

Monastery-of-Saint-Naum-Lake-of-Ohrid

Up view to Monastery of Saint Naum of Ohrid (the Church size was common in the time the aim of Building small Churches was to show the humbleness of Faith)

Venerable Nahum of Ohrid was the youngest of the disciples of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, in the town of Devol, Macedonia, instructed in the faith of Christ, fought there and died in 910.


Dormition-of-Saint-Naum-of-Ohrid-presentation-to-Christ
Dormition of Saint Naum of Ohrid

His relics are a source of healing. Venerable Naum Ohridski died on December 23, 910, when his memory is celebrated even till today especially in Bulgaria and today's Macedonia which back in the day has been part of the Bulgaria (the far border of Bulgaria, historical Albania was just 300 meters from Ohrid's Saint Naum self-built Monastery).

Sea-view-to-monastery-of-Saint-Naum

Sea view to Monastery of Saint Naum Ohrid

Ohrid-Saint-naum-holy-Archangels-Church

Peacocks in the back yard of Saint Naum Church (peafowl has been common Christian symbol in the early centuries)

Since ancient times the Ohrid Archbishopric (which over the centuries has been usually identified with Bulgaria), closed as an independent in 1767 as desired by Turkish Sultan with the help of Ecumenical Patriarchate. In Bulgaria there is established June 20 as a day for a more solemn celebration of his memory.  [ 4 ]

Saint-John-of-Shanghai-and-San-Franciso-the-Wonderworker
Saint John Maksimovich (Bishop of Shanghai and San Francisco)

A curious and little known fact from the Life of almost contemporary 20 century saint John Maksimovitch (Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco) is Saint John of Maksimovich discovered about Saint Naum's existence "by accidence" during his studies. Finding a relief and spiritual enlightment and support from the Saint he used to go to hospitals to pray for the sick holding an icon of saint Naum of Ohrid invoking his holy prayers, throughout his life he held a severe reverance for the saint, thanks to whose prayers Saint John Maksimovitch presented himself to Christ, passed to eternal life on his feast day 23st of December.

Saint-Naum-and-Saint-Clement-of-Ohrid-Bulgarian-Enligtheners-and-one-of-seven-apostle-equal-man-enlighteners-of-the-Slavs

Saint Naum (right side) and Saint Clement of Ohrid
 

St. Naum Preslav-Ohrid remarkable Enlightener [ 5 ]

Author: Ivan Grudev

 

Brethren, let it not be without remembrance
Elder Nahum, this brother, comrade and
compassionate of Blessed Clement …
From the oldest biography of St. Naum, first quarter of the X century.

St. Naum Ohridski. Stamp of H. Zhefarovich, 1743. 1150 years have passed since the birth of Presbyter Nahum, the student, collaborator and successor of the great work of the equal apostles Cyril and Methodius, one of the most prominent figures of medieval Bulgaria.

The son of "his noble parents", Nahum grew up in Moesia (the biographer used the unofficial name of Bulgaria throughout the Middle Ages, and more likely – the medieval regional name of present-day Macedonia – Lower Moesia). There he joined Cyril and Methodius, "Who then walked all over the Bulgarian land, striving to convert the seduced to the Orthodox faith … To bring many to the Christian faith and enlighten them with the light of truth … translated the divine scripture, the old and the new, from the Hellenic (Greek) language to the simple Bulgarian language and invented letters for the Slavic language themselves "; or to Methodius during his reign as a Slavic principality in present-day Eastern Macedonia from approximately 837 to 847, or to Constantine-Cyril during his fateful mission among the Bulgarian Slavs of the Bregalnica valley (present-day northeastern Macedonia) from 855 to 859

The biographer's announcement that Nahum was the brother of Kliment Ohridski was accepted by most researchers in a spiritual sense – that the two were close associates in the great and long struggle for the establishment of the Slavic-Bulgarian education and literature. It seems the truth is different. A careful analysis of the facts that have come down to us cannot but lead to the conviction that perhaps Nahum and Clement were in fact brothers. The role of Nahum, the older brother, in relation to the ten-year-old and more talented Clement (born in the second half of the thirties of the ninth century), is strikingly reminiscent of the tender care and unwavering support of Methodius to Constantine. Cyril.

Both Nahum and Clement faithfully followed the Thessalonian brothers, providing them with the closest help and cooperation in their missions among their compatriots – the Bulgarian Slavs, the Khazars, Moravians and Pannonians, "Walking with them everywhere, even to ancient Rome."

After the death of Methodius on April 6, 885, Nahum was probably one of his closest students, who helped Clement to quickly write the Extensive Life of the immortal Slavic-Bulgarian first teacher, to raise him along with the previously written Extensive Life of Constantine-Cyril as a shield for the preservation of the works and covenants of the Holy Brothers among the Western Slavs. But their efforts are in vain. The united union of German feudal lords, the Catholic clergy and the traitors of the Moravian princely court subjected the work of Cyril and Methodius in Moravia and Pannonia to pogrom and destruction.

Clement's biographer reports that the persecuted students of Cyril and Methodius "longed for Bulgaria, thought about Bulgaria and hoped that Bulgaria was ready to give them peace." Such feelings and such aspirations could be felt only by people in trouble abroad, to their Fatherland, from which they once left with their favorite teachers around the world.

Unlike the Moravian and Pannonian students, who were thrown into prisons or sold into slavery, and some, such as Methodius' successor Gorazd and killed, Nahum, Clement and Angelarius, as Bulgarian subjects, were forcibly expelled from Moravia.

Reaching Belgrade with all their might, the three martyrs were received with great reverence by the Boritarkan (according to a later report, Prince Radislav), the Bulgarian military and civilian governor of the northwestern lands, as long-awaited guests. 
Saint-King-Boris-Baptizer-Sveti_car_Boris_pokrystitel

Saint King Equal-to-the-Apostles Boris-Mikhail from (852–889, Church feast 2 of May)


For a short time still holding a title Prince Boris-Mikhail enjoyed the dear guests in the capital Pliska, who brought there the light of the work of Cyril and Methodius, the most priceless treasure of the people and the state. The weary Angelarius died quickly, and after a short rest Clement took the road to the extreme southwest of the Bulgarian land, the territories most recently liberated from Byzantine rule, where the Greek cultural and religious influence of the great centers of Thessaloniki and Drach was almost irresistible. The highest state interests urgently demanded the creation of a hearth of Slavic-Bulgarian education and literature in order to save the Bulgarian language from the Greco-Byzantine aspirations. By order and with the generous help of Prince Boris-Mikhail, Clement established an educational and literary center in Devol (now a non-existent city in southern Albania).

Only Nahum remained in the northeastern Bulgarian lands. He was given a similar task. In order to avoid an undesirable complication of relations with the Greek clergy in Bulgaria and Byzantium behind them, again with the help of the wise ruler Nahum organized a Slavic-Bulgarian educational and literary center for the northeastern lands, but not in the capital Pliska, where the Greek Archbishop of Bulgaria, and in the nearby Slavic settlement of Preslav (and Clement chose for his activity not Lichnida, today Ohrid, the metropolitan center of the southwestern lands, but Devol, a city of the same diocese). The younger student of Metodiev, Konstantin Preslavski, reports that he was inspired by Nahum to write his Teaching Gospel. This announcement proves that the leader and organizer of the Preslav educational and literary center was Presbyter Naum.

After the brilliant research of our late scientist Prof. Ivan Galabov at the University of Salzburg, the use of non-scientific terms "Preslav Literary School" and "Ohrid Literary School" is no longer justified, as "school" primarily means individuality, originality, internal autonomous development. Prof. Iv. Galabov proved the very close cooperation between the artists from Devol-Ohrid and Preslav, in the undisputed championship and influence of Veliki Preslav, in which such giants worked as Presbyter Naum, Bishop Konstantin Preslavski, Presbyter John Exarch, blacksmith Dox (see Chernorizets Hnorizets Presbyter John, Presbyter Gregory the Monk, Blacksmith Tudor Doksov, Prince Simeon, etc., while the achievements of the Devolsko-Ohrid center are the work of only one Clement, although a giant of spirit and word. As far as Devol-Ohrid and Preslav flourished not only education and literature, but also fine and applied arts, architecture, crafts, etc., for which Prof. N. Mavrodinov proved their stylistic unity throughout the era of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, despite the insignificant local differences, the scientific concepts are "Devolsko-Ohrid Cultural Center" and "Preslav Cultural Center". 

The-Grave-of-Saint-Naum-of-Ohrid-one-of-the-Seven-Apostles-of-Bulgaria-and-Slavonic-lands

The Grave of Saint Naum Ohrid (situated near the Northern Wall of the Church)

In his monastery on December 23, 910, the famous educator and benefactor of the Bulgarian people died, buried by his "brother, comrade and compassionate" Bishop Kliment Ohridski. His tomb is preserved to this day in a special chapel to the right of the altar of the monastery church.

Although the church has been rebuilt twice, the temple built by Nahum has remained the central building of the present one. This surviving church, with the tomb of Naum Preslav-Ohrid and its highly artistic frescoes from 1806, the work of painter Tarpo Konstantinov from Korca (probably Debar master, settled there, or a descendant of Debar settler), in which central place is occupied by the images of Prince Boris-Michael, the Holy Septuagint – Cyril, Methodius, Clement, Nahum, Gorazd, Sava and Angelarius, separately of Nahum, Clement and Prince John-Vladimir, is the most exciting pantheon of the First Bulgarian Kingdom and his Golden Age.

No, the presbyter Naum Preslavsko-Ohridski was not left without remembrance and praise. No Bulgarian has forgotten that he is one of the first masters who laid in Preslav and Ohrid the foundations on which Bulgarian culture is built from then until today. And forever.

 

Used Sources

1. ref (Duychev, Ivan. Extensive Greek biography in the service of Naum Ohridski, in: Duychev, Ivan. Studies on Medieval Bulgarian History and Culture, Sofia, 1981, p. 178. )

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliska

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Apostles_of_Bulgarian_Orthodox_Church

4. Extensive Orthodox Monthly lives, ed. Tavor and Lives of the Saints, Synodal Publishing House 1991

5. First publication on the Internet liternet.bg. 

6. http://www.pravoslavieto.com/life/12.23_sv_Naum_Ohridski.htm

7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_I_of_Bulgaria

8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_of_Ohrid

Saint Filothea Temnishka of Tarnovo feast day 7 of December. A XII century miracle working Saint little known in the West

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

Icon-of-Saint-Feothea-Feotheus-of-Tarnovo-Bulgaria-icon-in-her-Church-saint-Feothea-of-Trnovo


Living of Saint Filothea of Tarnovo 

The Venerable Filothea (Filotea) is born in the Byzantine city of Polivot in (Southern Thrace). She was a fruit of a continous prayers of her parents. 
Received a good education for the time and reached adulthood, her parents give her for a bride (in arranged marriage against her will) which was a standard practice of its time.
Even merrying using  her enormous wisdom she was able to persuade her husband to live vestal life (the marriage was not consumed). 
In relatively short years her husband passed away. She has moved to a Insland nearby the close lake, built a small hermit cell hut and prayed and fasted incessantly living a a holy hermit life in solitude, night vigils, tears and repentance and stillness.
Because of her zealoutry God has given her the Grace of Miracle working prayers and the wisdom to teach. A well known spiritual persons, cleargyman, priests, deacons and people come to her to hear her graceful words and councils as well as to receive a healing through her holy prayers.

Saint-Filothea-of-Tarnovo-Romanian-icon2.

Cause of her absitence of food and sleep and praers all over the clock she lost body weight, forseeing her death she has presented herself to the Lord on 7th of December (the exact year of her death and the age are unknown, presumably she lived somewhere in the XII century). Her holy relics turned to be incorruptable (a sign for immerse holiness, among with wonder working healing miracles were considered some of the conditions for considering a deceased person a saint – for more on inccorruptability of saint relics check out my previous article here).

Sveta-Filotea-Tyrnovska-jitie-zabravenata-pokrovitelka-na-Vidin

In the beginning of XIII century her holy relics were solemnly carried with honor from Polivot to the Capital of Second Bulgarian Empire Tarnovo by King Kaloyan. There her holy relics stayed by God's great providence for 200 years, being visited by the whole Christiandome for veneration.

The-Transfer-of-Saint-Filotea-Holy-Miracle-Working-relics-to-Tarnovo-Bulgaria-thirteen-century

After the fall of Bulgaria under the Ottoman yoke (year 1393). Probably to save the holy relics from destruction, they were taken to the far North Bulgarian borders in the Fortress of Bdin (today city of Vidin) and after staying for a while once the fortress was taken over by Mohameddans, taken a by the Serbs, and later Wallachs (todays Romanians) has taken the relics from Serbs, once the Serbian lands were invaded.

Currently her holy relics are present the old Wallachian Capital Curtea de Argeș (near river of Argeș).

Holy-relics-of-Saint-Filotea-of-Tarnovo.
Holy Relics of Saint Filothea, one of the most famous places for Christian veneration in Romania
(Saint Demetrius of Besarabia – another Bulgarian saint, Saint Filotea, and Saint Petka of Bulgaria are among the most venerated saints in Romania today)

The main source we have for the living of Saint Filothea (Filotheus) is written by Saint Patriarch Euthymius of Tarnovo Bulgaria (born circa 1325, died c.1402 / 1404). It is a very long document describing a lot of interesting details about Saint Filothea's healing miracles after she prayed with crying to the Lord even before she died. The miracle healings, chasing out of demons and restoration of eye sight and other glorious things continued even after she passed out to Christ to multitudes of people who prayed in front of her relics with faith.

Saint-Patriach-Euthymius-of-Tarnovo-last-Bulgarian-Patriarch-before-Turkish-Slavery-author-of-saint-Feotheas-Living
Saint Patriarch Euthymiuus of Tarnovo, the main source author for today's Filoteas Living 

During her life she spoke to the people coming to her a lot of his sacred methodical words.
She told them before her death:

"The time has come for me to leave here, so I thought it right to remind you of the traditions and decisions of the Orthodox faith by the Holy Apostles and the Divine Fathers. You know that the Orthodox faith is the head of our lives. In your efforts to give it to us pure and immaculate, the Holy Apostles suffered various kinds of death. , and to keep the church traditions unshakable, and not to waver here and there from different winds.

However, the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for her and did not allow his Church to be completely destroyed. But he gave her help, and fate led her to victory. I, the poor, have been brought up in piety since my childhood, and I received it from my parents as a precious treasure. Therefore, as a holy peak in the Church, I ask you not to forget the tradition of the Holy Prophets and Apostles, as the great apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: and others to learn! " (Tim. 2: 2)

Saint-Venerable-Filotea-of-Tarnovo-Romanian-icon

You deserve to hold the true faith and not listen to pagan fables at all. They can rebuke us a thousand times, they can insult us a thousand times, but a lie will never defeat the truth, nor will malice prevail over wisdom. For, they reduced the name of the Deity in the creation, in men – oh wickedness! – in trees, in stones, cats, dogs, and are not ashamed to think that creation came into being by itself, and do not understand, the unthinking, in their evil wickedness and wisdom, that everything was brought from non-being into existence by one true God, Who created heaven and earth and everything visible and invisible. And the gods, who did not create the heavens and the earth, may perish! (Jeremiah 10:11). Let those who make them and who hope in them be like them! (Ps. 113:16; 134:18). Therefore the Gentiles were deceived, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Considering themselves to be wise, they proved foolish, and changed the glory of one God in the likeness of quadrupeds, reptiles, and birds (Rom. 1: 21-23). Let the wretched see where the celestial bodies and earthly beings in the air and water came from, and most of all where the even more primitive came from – heaven and earth, air and aquatic nature! Who mixed and divided them? What is their communication with each other – separation and consent? Who moves and leads them? How does one element, which is contrary in nature, run away with another harmlessly in the fullness of one world? How do they exist in agreement without consulting and talking? All this is the work of divine providence, and they left the Creator and honored and served creation instead of the Creator (Rom. 1:25) and wander in vain and rage against our pious faith and against pious Christians, to whom they impose ruthless torture and force them to renounce the sweet name of Christ.

You do not pay attention to their threats, even if they lead you to the torturous wheels, to the boiling cauldrons, to the sword or fire, do not be afraid of their horrors! (Isa. 8:12, 70s). Another life and another age that awaits us awaits us, where the prophets rejoice, the apostles rejoice together with the figures of the Venerable Lent, with the angels and archangels, with the martyrs and all the saints. Always think this, write this in your hearts! Take care of yourself and the whole flock, among which God has appointed you shepherds and teachers (Acts 20:28), in order to keep yourself and them pure and undefiled!

Everything in this world will be beautifully and habitually scattered like dust and forgotten, only virtue lasts forever and ever. Therefore, try to keep yourself clean and to lead the entrusted flock to lively pastures, so that the Lord of all, seeing this diligence of yours, may reward you with a reward worthy of your labors and make you worthy of His kingdom! " 
 

Saint_Filothea_Tarnovska_Romanian-icon
Romanian Contemporary Icon of Saint Filothea

A high-ranking and famous man named Navkratius, from the city of Amoria, was appointed by the then king to be the governor of Greece. It happened to him to fight the godless Agarians (The Turks), and after the two sides fought, by the unknown destinies of God, his whole army was defeated: some were killed, and others were captured and taken to Sicily. Along with the others, a stratilat (army commanded) was captured, but his name was Artavan, from the town of Philomelia. Taken away by the ungodly, they were imprisoned in a gloomy dungeon and guarded with great care. Thus detained there, they were perplexed as to what to invent and what to do. And overwhelmed with grief, they called for the help of Almighty God and His loved ones.

Then Artavan remembered St. Philothea and began to tell them about her glorious miracles and that she had received the gift of healing various ailments and diseases. As he listened to Stratilat Navkratius, his heart burned and he began to call for her help. And because he was filled with divine desire and was inflamed with fervent faith, he could not wait to hide it for a long time, but he quickly got up and raised everyone to earnest prayer, shedding tears. And all of them unanimously rushed to earnest prayer and called for the help of the God-loving Philotheus, saying:

"Christ-related slave, undefiled bride, pure dove, abode of the Holy Spirit, if you look mercifully on us humble and desperate, and free us from this terrible dungeon, we will be trumpets of your countless miracles, with a loud voice we will we preach, and we will spend the rest of our lives chaste and pure. O Venerable Mother, do not despise us, for we are bitterly distressed in this terrible and miserable dungeon! "

Saint-Philotea-saint-Alexander-Nevski-Cathedral-Sofia-Bulgaria-wall-painting

With such prayers they spent the whole night, with hot tears and heartache. When they had finished this all-night vigil and finished their prayer, they lay down to rest and give a little sleepy consolation to the body. Everyone fell asleep in their place, the reverend appeared to them and rejoiced their hearts with words of consolation, saying:

"Your prayer has been heard and God has not despised your sighs. So go in peace and return to your homes, thanking God for your gratitude, who frees prisoners from bondage!" (Ps. 67: 7).

They awoke with joy, the iron chains lay fallen from them, the dungeon was wide open. They believed the vision to be true, and immediately left the open dungeon, the guard lying as if dead, and fleeing freely. But before they went home, they first went to the island to pay their respects to the reverend. After fulfilling this obligation, each of them returned home and told all the glorious miracles of the Venerable Philoteia.

After this spread everywhere, and managed to enter every ear, a leper, full of faith and fervent zeal, quickly came to the church of the Venerable Mother, called for mercy and with diligent requests and frequent bows, long sleepless nights, fasting and torture tormented himself and he relentlessly spent in her divine temple. The Blessed One, seeing his long diligence and his bodily leprosy, which had almost ended, immediately bowed to mercy, appeared in the dream of the church cleric and ordered him to anoint him with oil from the holy chandel of the Immaculate Conception all over his body. When he awoke, the cleric quickly obeyed the order. and not many days later he sent him safe to his home to glorify and thank God, as well as to His close friend.

A lot of time passed and many miracles happened. The Greek kingdom was exhausted and its scepter holders found themselves in difficult circumstances. Finding the right time, the Romans stormed the Greek state and inflicted unbearable misery.

At the same time, the Bulgarian kingdom became very strong and powerful, and it encompassed and conquered all the surrounding areas. At that time in Bulgaria the tsarist scepter was ruled well and even magnificently by the pious and glorious tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207). Seeing the Greek kingdom completely exhausted, he attacked it manfully, and many cities and villages were captured and ruined. And having gathered all the good, he brought it to his glorious city of Tarnovo – the whole nation with all the animals moved to their country. As he did all this, he heard the miracles of the Venerable Philotheus, and his heart was greatly inflamed. Because it is usually a matter of the souls of the pious to show zeal for virtue and to show zeal in every way.

After conquering the whole region and subduing it to his authority, he came to the place where the venerable body of the reverend lay, filled himself with unspeakable joy, praising God and diligently thanking Him. He fell before the reverend relics of the reverend, flooded them with his tears, and reverently kissed them. He then ordered an all-night vigil and gave many alms to the poor. In the morning a divine liturgy was celebrated, which was attended by the king in great joy and merriment with all his army. And he made the good decision to bring the reverend's body to his country. 

Holy Venerable Mother Filothea pray the Lord to have mercy on every suffering and needy, poor, sick, weak and low and all the people who remember your holy memory and summon your prayers !

Amen !

Article Sources:
1. The Living of Saints by dr. Atanasii Bonchev and bishop Partenij 
2. The Living of Saint Filothea written by Saint Patriarch Euthymius of Tarnovo

 

Saint Holy Rightous Joachim and Anne the partents of The Virgin Mary Mother of God feast in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

Saint-Joachim-and-Anna-and-Jesus-Virgin-Mary-the-Mother-of-God

Feast day is cebelrated today in our Mother Church the Holy Eastern Bulgarian Orthodox Church 9th on December 9th December.
The name Joachim as derived from (/ˈdʒoʊəkɪm/; Hebrew: יְהוֹיָקִיםYəhōyāqīm, means "he whom Yahweh has set up"; Greek Ἰωακείμ Iōākeím)..
Anne, alternatively spelled Ann, is a form of the Latin female given name Anna. This in turn is a representation of the Hebrew Hannah, which means 'favour' or 'grace'. Saint Joachim has been a descendent of the bloodline of Saint King David (the one to whom the Psalms section of the Bible are ascribed) and Anna descends out of the Aaron the brother of Moses (who is the father of priests family line in Judaism).

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne are two less known saints in nowatimes even though in the Middle Ages this feast has been enormously popuplar in Both the Orthodox Christian East and the Roman Catholic West.  

St. Joachim and St. Anne (Anna) has been called Holy Righteous by the Church for a good reason. For they have possessed immerce sanctity that only of the born on earth ever have. They were called Saint Holy and Righteous, for a reason, and perhaps little might know but their is a sanctity hierarchy in the Church and the reason this accent of 3 words of the Church fathers is to emphasize the couple of St. Joachim and St. Anne had exceeding grace.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne just like the Holy Family of Holy Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph are the Christian model for perfect famly in virtues, which all Christian families should try to follow to their maximum. The celebration of St. Joachim and St. Anne feasts seems to have been on purpose put to be done during the Christmas Fasting period for a reason, as for another preparation for the Great feast of Christ-mass known in the Church as Nativity (which improperly is unknowingly profanized by many with the abbreviation XMAS).

Lets shortly see few details of the Earthly Living of the two saints and why the Holy Fathers who prepared their Living we read today, call them with this grandiose epithets – Saint, Holy and Righteous.


Holy

  • They have lived all their live in servitude for the sick poor the hungry and the weak and dedicated all their God given lifetime in service for all whose begged in need.
  • They have been praying regularly and longly for the goodness of Mankind and families all around
  • They have been strictly following God's Old Testamental Jewish laws


Righteous


The english word Righteous stems from the Word 'Right' for a good reason as in the light of the Holy scriptures the Right side has been always associated with Good and the Salvation for the reason we know from Revelations that when time comes for God to judge the nations and everyone's individual deeds and rights as Christ has told in the Gospel those who have been done right (e.g. they have done good) and persevered to do good things throughout their short lifetime, will be put on the Right side of God – those are the so called Sheeps of Christ, the Unrighteous one will be put at the Left hand on the Judgement and will be cast out of the face of God because of their own undesire to receive and reflect the light of Christ (just like the Moon reflects the Light of the Sun) and transfers it to the earth and gives Light at night, each mans eternal God's predestination is to be like this receivers and reflectors of the Grace of The Holy Spirit.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne has been such reflectors in such a enormous size that most of the Light they have emitted from God was transferred to rest of their relatives and people to whom they were continuously at help and as we believe in the Orthodox Church this process of re-emission of light is continuing even today. As we believe those who have departed from this life and have been favorable for God are staying in front of the face of God and praying fervently incessantly to God for the good of mankind. 

Saint-Anne-detail-national-from_Faras_National-Museum-Warsaw

Saint Anne fresco from Faras Gallery in Warsaw


True Saints

The saintship is a quality one receives as a Gift from God as we read in the patristic literature and cannot be attended by deeds, however the greatest gifts of God due to the practice were given to those who have persevered to suffer, greatest trials, persecution, shaming, hatred and lack of reception in society for their confession of the faith – this as we know in the New Testamental Church of Christ is mostly seen in the Holy Martyrs who confessed Christ to the degree they preferred to give out their life and bodies to martyrdom than to reject Christ.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne even not a physical martyrs has the same perseverance even before the age of the Martyrs (that had been at highest degree in the first  centuries 1-st, 2nd, and Third century until Christianity has been legalized in the Roman Empire by Saint Constantine).

They longed for a child but remained childless into their old age (which can be equalled to martyrdom – many couples even today know how uneasy it is to live together for a very long time and not to be able to have inheritance).

Because of their continuous fasting periods they have followed, St. Joachim and St. Anne did not have much of physical intimacy (or sexual life) as we use to call it today, we know today that the lack of intimacy doesn't bring babies, plus the fact that it was obviously Gods desire for them be childless  until their very old age.
However  not realizing this once they have bring their Thanks Giving offerings according to Jewish law they have been ashamed by the Jewish Priest in the Solomon Temple in Jerusalen, even in their old age – (the jewish priests, just like our Christian priests are absolutely forbidden to insult anyone, and insulting an old person was a taboo back then just like it is considered bad today) being blamed for not being able to carry out a Child. 
Being shamed by a Priest at the community of jews was a terrible thing and some would even commit suicide.

Saint_Joakim_Joachim-Orthodox-icon

Others who had children jostled Joachim, thrusting him back as unworthy. In despair, he consulted the geneological records of the tribes of Israel and discovered every righteous man in the nation had been blessed with children, except him. 
This caused the aged saints great grief, and he and his wife left with heavy hearts.

However as the couple was saintly their reaction was to seclude from people and pray secretly to God. 
Saint Joachim went to the desert and fasted and prayed grieving with inhumally for 40 days, and saint Anne stayed and grieved in her garden thrice as first she has never had the chance to become a mother and she was publicly ashamed at their community and did not know where her Husband has been, perhaps thinking he might passed out somewhere because of his exceeding grief.

Sts. Joachim and Anna had been married for fifty years, and were barren. They lived devoutly and quietly, using only a third of their income for themselves and giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple. Joachim had done this since he was 15-years-old, and God multiplied his flocks, so the couple was well provided for. 


The Miracle of Faith, Hope and Love – The Birth of the God-Mother the Queen of Heaven Virgin Mariam
 

Saint-Joachim-and-Anne-Chanter_Angelos_Akotandos_-_St_Anne_with_the_Virgin

God has seen the great grief of the two and as he is merciful worked a great miracle just like with  Abraham and Sarah, and give them a blessed child to comfort their old age, which will become later the Holy Virgin Mary (Theotokos / Богородица), to become the Mother and Hope and all Humanity from which the Light of the World and Saviour Christ was born. 

Holy-Righteous-Joachim-and-Saint-Anne-Birth-of-Virgin-Mary

God sent the Archangel Gabriel to each of them, who gave them tidings of the birth of "a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world." Each promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told St. Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. St. Anna he told to wait at the gate. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast.

Saint-Joachim-and-Anne-with-Holy-Virgin-Mary

St. Anna conceived shortly thereafter, and in the ninth month gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Conception of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated by the Church on December 9 and the Nativity of the Theotokos is celebrated on September 8.

God sent the Archangel Gabriel to each of them, who gave them tidings of the birth of "a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world." Each promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told St. Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. St. Anna he told to wait at the gate. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast.

Ikona_Kopiya_Sveta_Pravednaya_Anna

St. Anna conceived shortly thereafter, and in the ninth month gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Conception of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated by the Church on December 9 and the Nativity of the Theotokos is celebrated on September 8.

Sts. Joachim and Anna took Mary, at the age of three, to the temple to be dedicated to the service of the Lord, and presented her to the priest Zechariahs. The parents then, after offering up her sacrifice (according to the custom of the time), left the Virgin with other maidens in the apartments of the temple to be brought up therein. The Church commemorates the Presentation of the Theotokos on November 21.

 Although Anne receives little attention in the Latin Church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to Anne in Eastern Christianity occur as early as the 6th century.

Bistritsa Monastery of Saint Jaochim and Saint Anne (near Sofia, Bulgaria)

The Bistritsa monastery "St. Yoakim and Anna" is located in the Mali dol part of the Vitosha mountain, about 2 km to the south-east of the village of Bistritsa.

Bistrishki-monastery-st-Joachim-and-st-Anna

Short History

According to priest Dragomir Kotev, author of regional studies of Bistritsa, during the time of Tsar Boris I or later during the rule of Simeon, a great temple was built there and was expanded during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. It was part of the monastery complex called "The Little Mount Athos."

Bistritsa-monastery-st_Ioakim-Anna-Church

During the siege of the Ottomans and after strong resistance, the fortress and monastery were destroyed, and during the Ottoman domination the ruins of the old monastery were buried deep in the ground. The site was marked by a stone cross and people continued to gather at the sacred place. During excavations in the 20 century, the cross was discovered erect placed in what is today's holy throne in the temple. Now the cross can be seen outside the church.

Saint-Joachim-and-Anne-Bistritsa-near-Sofia-monastery-Cross

During the period of the Bulgarian Revival the memory for the monastery continued to exist.
The monastery "St. Peter" which had existed on its present place in the IX—X century, was destroyed by the turks in the XIV century. Its foundations were discovered in 1925 and the present church was sancrified in 1950. After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878 the church was rebuilt as a chapel. The construction of the present monastery is connected with the visions of the prophet Bona Velinova. On Orthodox Sunday (the first Sunday of Lent) in 1925 she spent the night in fasting and prayer, and in the morning gave a detailed explanation of how the church destroyed by the Ottomans looked like. Bona ordered people to dig and foundations of the old temple were discovered. She said that it should be rebuilt, and called after the holy family pf Sts. Joachim and Anna. Since then, every year on Orthodox Sunday a solemn service takes place here. The new church was built with funds and volunteer work from local people in the period from 1936 to 1950 and was consecrated on August 6, 1950. Legend has it that the treasures of the last Bulgarian kings are buried somewhere around. Not far from the monastery there is a a spring. Here on Christian holidays, after services in the monastery, pilgrims come to drink water from the holy spring. They believe that this water cures eye diseases. 
During the period 1965-77 residential buildings were built. The complex consists of a parish church, the St. Ivan Rilski chapel and a massive building to its right, a kitchen and rooms. 

At present the monastery functions regularly. It is a complex including a church, one-nef, one-apse, with a cupola and inner and outer narthex, residential and farm buildings. The church was built over a mound necropolis, and under the church nef there is a preserved ancient vault from the end of the IV – the beginning of the V century (3,35 x 2,99 x 2,28 m), to which a stone staircase from the narthex.

Bistritsa-Monastery-saint-Joachim-and_Anne-near-Sofia-Church-view-to-altar

The iconostasis of on the picture is from the palace (chapel) of last Bulgarian King Boris III. It was brought to the monastery after 1944.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne God grants mercy and Grace to All families everywhere and to everyone that is grieving
God provides his abundant consolation of the Holy Spirit so we can endure the temptations and hardships of life !

Amen

How to move transfer binary files encoded with base64 on Linux with Copy Paste of text ASCII encoded string

Monday, October 25th, 2021

base64-encode-decode-binary-files-to-transfer-between-servers-base64-artistic-logo

If you have to work on servers in a protected environments that are accessed via multiple VPNs, Jump hosts or Web Citrix and you have no mean to copy binary files to your computer or from your computer because you have all kind of FTP / SFTP or whatever Data Copy clients disabled on remote jump host side or CITRIX server and you still are looking for a way to copy files between your PC and the Remote server Side.
Or for example if you have 2 or more servers that are in a special Demilitarized Network Zones ( DMZ ) and the machines does not have SFTP / FTP / WebServer or other kind of copy protocol service that can be used to copy files between the hosts and you still need to copy some files between the 2 or more machines in a slow but still functional way, then you might not know of one old school hackers trick you can employee to complete the copy of files between DMZ-ed Server Host A lets say with IP address (192.168.50.5) -> Server Host B (192.168.30.7). The way to complete the binary file copy is to Encode the binary on Server Host A and then, use cat  command to display the encoded string and copy whole encoded cat command output  to your (local PC buffer from where you access the remote side via SSH via the CITRIX or Jump host.). Then decode the encoded file with an encoding tool such as base64 or uuencode. In this article, I'll show how this is done with base64 and uuencode. Base64 binary is pretty standard in most Linux / Unix OS-es today on most Linux distributions it is part of the coreutils package.
The main use of base64 encoding to encode non-text Attachment files to Electronic Mail, but for our case it fits perfectly.
Keep in mind, that this hack to copy the binary from Machine A to Machine B of course depends on the Copy / Paste buffer being enabled both on remote Jump host or Citrix from where you reach the servers as well as your own PC laptop from where you access the remote side.

base64-character-encoding-string-table

Base64 Encoding and Decoding text strings legend

The file copy process to the highly secured PCI host goes like this:
 

1. On Server Host A encode with md5sum command

[root@serverA ~]:# md5sum -b /tmp/inputbinfile-to-encode
66c4d7b03ed6df9df5305ae535e40b7d *inputbinfile-to-encode

 

As you see one good location to encode the file would be /tmp as this is a temporary home or you can use alternatively your HOME dir

but you have to be quite careful to not run out of space if you produce it anywhere 🙂

 

2. Encode the binary file with base64 encoding

 [root@serverB ~]:# base64 -w0 inputbinfile-to-encode > outputbin-file.base64

The -w0 option is given to disable line wrapping. Line wrapping is perhaps not needed if you will copy paste the data.

base64-encoded-binary-file-text-string-linux-screenshot

Base64 Encoded string chunk with line wrapping

For a complete list of possible accepted arguments check here.

3. Cat the inputbinfile-to-encode just generated to display the text encoded file in your SecureCRT / Putty / SuperPutty etc. remote ssh access client

[root@serverA ~]:# cat /tmp/inputbinfile-to-encode
f0VMRgIBAQAAAAAAAAAAAAMAPgABAAAAMGEAAAAAAABAAAAAAAAAACgXAgAAAAAAAAAAA
EAAOAALAEAAHQAcAAYAAAAEAAA ……………………………………………………………… cTD6lC+ViQfUCPn9bs

 

4. Select the cat-ted string and copy it to your PC Copy / Paste buffer


If the bin file is not few kilobytes, but few megabytes copying the file might be tricky as the string produced from cat command would be really long, so make sure the SSH client you're using is configured to have a large buffer to scroll up enough and be able to select the whole encoded string until the end of the cat command and copy it to Copy / Paste buffer.

 

5. On Server Host B paste the bas64 encoded binary inside a newly created file

Open with a text editor vim / mc or whatever is available

[root@serverB ~]:# vi inputbinfile-to-encode

Some very paranoid Linux / UNIX systems might not have even a normal text editor like 'vi' if you happen to need to copy files on such one a useful thing is to use a simple cat on the remote side to open a new File Descriptor buffer, like this:

[root@server2 ~]:# cat >> inputbinfile-to-encode <<'EOF'
Paste the string here

 

6. Decode the encoded binary with base64 cmd again

[root@serverB ~]:# base64 –decode outputbin-file.base64 > inputbinfile-to-encode

 

7. Set proper file permissions (the same as on Host A)

[root@serverB ~]:#  chmod +x inputbinfile-to-encode

 

8. Check again the binary file checksum on Host B is identical as on Host A

[root@serverB ~]:# md5sum -b inputbinfile-to-encode
66c4d7b03ed6df9df5305ae535e40b7d *inputbinfile-to-encode

As you can md5sum match on both sides so file should be OK.

 

9. Encoding and decoding files with uuencode


If you are lucky and you have uuencode installed (sharutils) package is present on remote machine to encode lets say an archived set of binary files in .tar.gz format do:

Prepare the archive of all the files you want to copy with tar on Host A:

[root@Machine1 ~]:#  tar -czvf /bin/whatever /usr/local/bin/htop /usr/local/bin/samhain /etc/hosts archived-binaries-and-configs.tar.gz

[root@Machine1 ~]:# uuencode archived-binaries-and-configs.tar.gz archived-binaries-and-configs.uu

Cat / Copy / paste the encoded content as usual to a file on Host B:

Then on Machine 2 decode:

[root@Machine2 ~]:# uuencode -c < archived-binaries-and-configs.tar.gz.uu

 

Conclusion


In this short method I've shown you a hack that is used often by script kiddies to copy over files between pwn3d machines, a method which however is very precious and useful for sysadmins like me who has to admin a paranoid secured servers that are placed in a very hard to access environments.

With the same method you can encode or decode not only binary file but also any standard input/output file content. base64 encoding is quite useful stuff to use also in bash scripts or perl where you want to have the script copy file in a plain text format . Datas are encoded and decoded to make the data transmission and storing process easier. You have to keep in mind always that Encoding and Decoding are not similar to encryption and decryption as encr. deprytion gives a special security layers to the encoded that. Encoded data can be easily revealed by decoding, so if you need to copy between the servers very sensitive data like SSL certificates Private RSA / DSA key, this command line utility tool better to be not used for sesitive data copying.