Posts Tagged ‘death’

The Dormition of Virgin Mary the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eastern Orthodox Church view and few words on feast origin

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

Dormition-of-Mother-of-God-Koimesis_Greek_Mosaic_at_Chora_Church_Constantinople

Dormition of the Mother of God is a feast highly venerated in both Eastern Orthodox Churches as well as Oriental Orthodox Churches (The Coptic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church which venerated the feast not on a fixed date), whether the rest of Orthodox world do celebrate on 15 of August the Dormition of the Mother of God. The so called old calendar Churches do celebrate the feast on 28 of August as the old church calendar coincides with this date on the public national calendar the countries use nowadays, whether some of the Churches such as our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church as well the Greek orthodox Church do celebarete on 15 of August.

Dormition_de_la_Vierge-stone-icon

 

The feast is one of the major Church feasts also in Western Roman Cathic church world known as the Assumption of Mary. The way the feast is venerated varyies, but it is important to say this feast is "The Summer Easter of the Church". In the ancient times the feast has been preceded in the Church by two fastings one for the Transfiguration of God Lord Jesus Christ that was venerated on 6th of August and one week fast preceding the Dormition or the Sleeping like death called in Church Slavonic Uspenie (falling asleep) that the Mother of God experineced before her righteous Soul passed to the Lord Jesus Christ. The painless death of the Mother of God has occured according to the Byzantine author Hypollitos of Thebes who lived in VIII centuryin 41 A.D., 11 years after Jesus's Crucifix and Glorious Resurrection.

Dormition_of_the_Mother_of_God_Bulgarian-icon-from_year-1893

Bulgarian icon from year 1893

The Dormition term expresses the Church belief that Virgin Mary on her death bed has been in a completely peaceful state of the Soul that and did not suffered the terrible pains of death and division of soul and body that each of us the sinners faces because of her extraordinary righteousness and as a blessing of Christ for the ever Virgin, because of her humility and life lived in service of God, and poor and every of her near sides and for her unceasing prayer for the world that she attained even during her earthly life time. The belief of Dormition is not a Bible found doctrine but a Church tradiiton and due to that protestant do not consider it as of a high value but we orthodox firmly believe this was not mention in the bible, because the Mother of God herself unwillingness for glory because she found unworthy compared to the great miracles life, suffering and salvationory plan Jesus completed. The dormition of Mother of God is found in many of Apocryphal writtings which never become official part of the Church canon.

In the language of the scripture, death is often called a "sleeping" or "falling asleep" (Greek κοίμησις; whence κοιμητήριον > coemetērium > cemetery, "a place of sleeping"). A prominent example of this is the name of this feast; another is the Dormition of Anna, Mary's mother.

The first Christian centuries may be silent, but "The Dormition/Assumption of Mary" appears in a Greek document (attributed to John the Theologian) edited by Tischendorf published in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, dated by Tischendorf as no later than the 4th century. Then there is the apocryphal literature such as the Protoevangelium of James, regarding the end of the Virgin Mary's life, though it is asserted, without surviving documentation, that the feast of the Dormition was being observed in Jerusalem shortly after the Council of Ephesus.

Gracanica_Monastery_Serbia-Dormition-of-The-Mother-of-God-Virgin_Mary

Dormition of the Mother of God, fresco from Gračanica, c. 1321. (See also:Palaiologian Renaissance)

Before the 4th-5th century Dormition was not celebrated among the Christians as a holy day and earlier it was perhaps not celebrated because the Church did not have time to celebrate too much of special feasts, as there was the era of heretics and gnostics from 1st –  2nd centuries which give birth to multiple heresies and the era of persecution that ended just about the 4th century. Only then the Church posessing freedom in the world could review its belief and clearly define the faith as earlier both Bishops (the apostle successors as the layman) was mostly busy with each one keeping their own faith instead of clearly documenting or giving separate feasts, until the 4th century many of the Church feasts of the martyr saints were still not recognized and known in the "Universal" Church around the world, because travelling was not so common as nowadays and each local established church by apostles strives to keep their faith in Christ and not clear up Church dogmas (this gave raise of course to the VII ecumenical councels who followed from 3rd to 8 centuries.).
 

Epiphanius of Salamis who become bishop of Salamis toda's Cypros (circa 310/20 – 403), a Jew by birth, born in Phoenicia, converted to Christianity in adulthood and lived as a monk for over 20 years in Palestine from 335–340 to 362, writes in "Panarion" (his book on Herisology) in "Contra antidicomarianitas" about the death of the Virgin Mary the following:

 

"If any think am mistaken, moreover, let them search through the scriptures any neither find Mary's death, nor whether or not she died, nor whether or not she was buried—even though John surely travelled throughout Asia. And yet, nowhere does he say that he took the holy Virgin with him. Scripture simply kept silence because of the overwhelming wonder, not to throw men's minds into consternation. For I dare not say—though I have my suspicions, I keep silent. Perhaps, just as her death is not to be found, so I may have found some traces of the holy and blessed Virgin. …The holy virgin may have died and been buried—her falling asleep was with honour, her death in purity, her crown in virginity. Or she may have been put to death—as the scripture says, 'And a sword shall pierce through her soul'—her fame is among the martyrs and her holy body, by which light rose on the world, [rests] amid blessings. Or she may have remained alive, for God is not incapable of doing whatever he wills. No one knows her end. But we must not honour the saints to excess; we must honour their Master. It is time for the error of those who have gone astray to cease."


Saint Ambrosius of Milan ( Mediolan ) in 4th century says:

"Neither the letter of Scripture nor Tradition does not teach us that Mary had left this life as a consequence of suffering from bodily ulcers." pointing to her sufferless sleep like death.

Holy_Mother-of-God-Arbanasi-Monastery-three-handed-Troeruchica-Miracle-Making-icon-Bulgaria-Great_Tarnovo

The famous icon Holy Mother of God Three-handed (Troeruchica) Arbanasi Monastery of the Dormition of Mother of God near medieval capital of Bulgaria Veliko Tarnovo

Our Orthodox Church specifically holds,teaching that Mary died a natural death, like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrect on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven when the apostles, miraculously transported from the ends of the earth, found her tomb to be empty. The specific belief of us Orthodox is expressed in their liturgical texts used at the feast of the Dormition.

Mount-Olives-Marys-burial-tomb-entrane-to-tombThe rock-cut Tomb of Virgin Mary and its entrance, its front side covered in icons; eastern apse of the crypt


The holy body that was taken in Heaven after the Virgin's resurrection 3 days after her Dormition has been originally placed after the burial procession in 41 A.D. in the Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary, also known as the Tomb of the Virgin Mary (Hebrew: קבר מרים‎; Greek: Τάφος της Παναγίας) it is located (identified) by historians in the Kidron Valley – at the foot of Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem.

The-stone-bench-on-which-Virgin-Marys-most-pure-body-was-laid-out-Jerusalem-mary-sarcophagusThe stone bench on which the most pure body of the Virgin Mary (Theotokos) has been laid out

 

Let by the Holy Prayers of The Virgin Mary Theotokos, we find grace and God grants mercy upon anyone in torture, in fear in bitterness and sorrows, in weakness and sickness, to all broken-hearted, to all the leppers and mind sick and who lay on the death beds be granted with a painless death similar to hers.

Let the Mother of God keep and protect the Holy Land of Bulgaria and All The Orthodox Lands and the rest of lands, villages, cities and all inhabitants on earth !!! AMEN

 

Last day after the great Christian Orthodox feast The Dormition of the Thetokos (sending the feast away the feast)

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Uspenie Bogorodichno, The Dormtion of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary

On 15th of August we celebrated in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, as well as the other Orthodox Churches around the world, the celebration of the Great Feast commemorating the "falling asleep" e.g. physical death of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary)

We believe in the Orthodox Church that on this date the Mother of God Virgin Mary has passed away. The church tradition says that on that date it's our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ himself that come from heaven to gather her soul.
We use to say that Virgin Mary has fall asleep because her physical death happened without any pain or suffering.
God bestowed Our Lady with such a death because of her humility and sinless life she choose to left while being on Earth.

The Church tradition also teaches that her bodily resurrection occured in a close similarity to Christs by Christ himself and she resurrected in the body was taken up to heaven after her death. The two weeks before dormition of the Theotokos occurs are being preceded by a two weeks fasting period. The dormition fast is one of the strictest fasts in the Church life, it's one of the 4 major fasts periods that occur within the Church life every the year. It's an interesting fast that a little while before Virgin's Mary "fall asleep", she has prayed to her son and our God Jesus Christ to let her see the Holy Apostles once again.
The Lord heard her prayer as she is the most venerable among the ones who lived in this earth and in a miraculous way transported the St. Apostles in the house of St. apostol John where the Theotokos was living. All the apostles were transported to see Virgin Mary except st. Apostol Thomas whose transport has been delayed a bit. He is been said to have arrived three days after her death, when he asked the other apostoles to see her grave so that he could bid her good bye, when all the 12 apostles went to Mother of God's grave they found no body and a sweet fragrance was filling the tomb air. As I said earlier Christ has taken her body to reunite it with the soul he had accepted 3 days earlier. Therefore theology teaches that Virgin Mary has undergone the second resurrection already, a resurrection that is about to come for all who currently abide at this earth with the Second Coming of Christ

An spiritual elder and a brother and Christ has mentioned to me that it is the sending away of the feast which apparently which's commemoration lasts for 8 days, quite an interesting fact I decided to share herein

A good account about the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos is found here and I suggest you read it up if you have some time.

There is another reason that the feast is so venerated it's being said by many people that Virgin Mary the mother of God blesses abundantly and protects everybody who keeps the fast before the feast of her Dormition.

Another practice within the Church is that flowers are being blessed on the date of the Dormition of Virgin Mary. In some Churches even there is a special shroud depicting the Theotokos's sleeping body after her death.
I've been to an interesting Liturgy where the Shroud or (Plashtenica) as better known in the Slavonic Eastern Orthodox world is being placed and is exhibited for a veneration of the layman and Church clergy. On the third day similarly to the resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ this Plashtenica is being put away by the priest in order to show off that the body of the Mother of God was taken to heaven and has miraculously been resurrected and taken to heaven by God.

In Bulgaria the feast is known under the name Uspenie Bogorodichno – "The Dormition of the Theotokos". Uspenie derives from old slavonic and literally translated means "falling asleep".

Let the Holy Mother of God pray her son and our God Jesus Christ to have mercy on us the sinners.

7th of July The Feast of Saint Nedelya Kyriakia one of the most honored woman saints in Bulgarian Orthodox Church and few words of the history of Sofia Second biggest Cathedral Church St. Nedelya

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

Saint_nedelja_(kyriaki)_bulgarian_icon_19th-century

Saint Nedelya is a major Cathedral in Sofia Bulgaria dedicated to an early Christian saint Kyriaki (martyred year 289 AD). It is is a second biggest Cathedral Church in Bulgaria and a place where they serve the Holy Liturgy daily. The Patriarch and most notable spiritual leaders of the Bulgarian orthodox church do hold services there regularly.

Coffin_with_holy-relics_of-saint-Stefan_Uros_II_Milutin

Coffin with Holy Relics of Saint Stephan Urosh II Milutin in the St Nedelya Sofia Church right corner near alter wall

Saint Nedelya Church  is a beautiful peace of Christian art the Church is also known in XX-th century as Holy King (because the incorruptable Holy Relics of Sebian King Saint Stephan Urosh II ( Milutin ) are found in the Church).

Sveta_Nedelia_ikona-arapovski-manastir.
Saint Nedelya Icon Arapovski Monastery Bulgaria

The fact that Saint Nedelya is the second Church by spiritual importance for Bulgaria is not a coincidence and this is related to the high veneration of saint martyr Nedelya (Kyriakia) Bulgarians had for the saint through the years especially in the Second Bulgarian kingdom during the reigh of King Asen's Dynasty (12-th 13-th century). The incorruptable Holy relics of the saint Kyriakia has been transferred to Trnovo (Tarnovo) the capital of Bulgaria at that time by saint Patriarch Euthymius (Evtimij) of Tarnovo (who was the last patriarch head of Bulgarian Orthodox Church during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, right  before the fall of Bulgaria under the Turkish slavery (Yoke).
 

Saint Martyr Nedelya ( Kyriakia) died in July 7th 289 A.D.

Saint_Nedela_Kyriaki_Icon_by_Dicho_Zograf_in_Saint_Kyriaki_Church_in_Debrene_1844

Saint Nedelya Debrene Church iconographer Dicho Zograph from year 1844

Inspired by the great deed and the great grace received by receiving the incorruptable relics of the saint, saint Euthymius wrote a glorofication called "Praise to the Holy Great Martyr (Nedelya)". The Nedelya word meaning in Bulgarian Language is Sunday and is a literal translation from Greek's Kyriaky.

St_Kyriaki_Church_-Constantinople-crop

Saint Kyriaky dedicated Church, Istanbul Turkey

The veneration for saint Kyriaky has been quite common in medieval times one of the major Churches in Constantinople (today Istanbul) is dedicated also to saint Kyriaki.

According to Church tradition described by patriarch Evtimij, we know saint Nedelya has been born in Asia Minor and has been a child who has been long awaited kid that was gifted by God. Saint Kyriaki's was born in responce to her parents Dorotheus and Eusebia many fervent beseach prayers begging for a kid that will help Christ's salvation plan for the mankind.

 She was brought up in the truths of Christ from an early age.

At a very young age, she decided to dedicate her life to God. She happened to live at the time before Saint Constantine The Great when still the ligth of Christianity did not yet overcome the false believes of paganism in the time of the peresuction by emperor Diocletian. This was the time of persecution against Christian confessors and brutal violence against Christians – they were persecuted, imprisoned, exiled or forced to renounce their faith. Nedelya was thrown into prison and tortured, and her parents were exiled to the town of Miletin. The miraculous healing of her wounds, as well as her refusal to worship pagan idols, led the authorities to sentence her to death as they believed she is doing her wonderful healing by some strange whichcraft.

Kyriaki was tortured again by Apollonius, the successor of Hilarion. She was thrown into a fire, but the flames were extinguished, and then to wild beasts, but they became tame and gentle. Apollonius then sentenced her to death by the sword. As she was given a little time to pray, she asked God to receive her soul and to remember those who honoured her martyrdom. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God before the sword was lowered on her head. Pious Christians took her relics and buried them. At the time of her death, she was 21 years old.[

At her place of death, after prayer, Sunday surrendered her spirit to God before the sentence is carried out exactly on her feast date (July 7, 289). For early Christians the day of death or martyrdom was considered the date of the real birthday for eternal life in heve. Nedelya died at the age of 22, as saint Patriarch Euthymius of Trnovo writes, "Dying in a short time, she fulfilled long years, because her Lord's soul was satisfied, purity – great enough, feats enough …"

The Second Biggest Bulgarian Cathedral is dedicated to saint Nedelya

Sveta-Nedelia-Monolithic-second-biggest-Cathedral-in-Bulgaria

Saint Nedelya Church, Sofia – Capital of Bulgaria

As many of the Churches in Bulgaria the history of Saint Nedelya's Church in Capital of Bulgaria, Sofia  goes back to distant X-th century and as many of the Churches of the time was most lilely laying on a stones and built of wood as Churches used to be built of that time. Today's architecture of the Church is of the XIX century.

St_Nedela_Cathedral_Old_Church_in_Sofia_Bulgaria_September_2005-pic

The church became famous during the assassination attempt by Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP / BKP) on April 16, 1925 during the funeral of General Konstantin Georgiev, when it was destroyed. Then on this sad date for the Bulgarian history, 193 people mainly from the country's political and military elite were killed and about 500  bystander believers, who attended the liturgy were injured. The assault was perhaps the worst terrorist act in the history of Bulgaria, and at that time in the world. The aim of the temple blowing assault was to kill King Boris III, who was not in the Church at the time because he was slightly late for the service by the providence.

After this bloody terrorist act of the Bulgarian Communist Party, the church board of trustees assigned the architectural bureau "Vasilyov – Tsolov" (architect Ivan Vasilyov and architect Dimitar Tsolov) the restoration of the church. Renovation began in June 1927. By the spring of 1933, an almost new, huge central-domed temple was built with a length of 30 meters, a width of 15.50 meters and a height of the dome of 31 meters. The surviving two-row gilded iconostasis has been returned to the temple.

The church was solemnly consecrated again on April 7, 1933. The fresco decoration was made from 1971 to 1973 by an artistic team led by Nikolai Rostovtsev. Around 2015, the Church iconography has been fully restored and is amazingly beautiful worthy to see, if you happen to visit Bulgaria.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Veneration of the Holy cross church feast

Saturday, April 3rd, 2021

Exaltation of the Holy Christ Cross icon, day in the Bulgarian Orthodox ChurchThe Universal Exaltation of the precious and life-giving Cross XVII century – icon from village of Belovo Trqvna region

he Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (Elevation of the Cross)'s day is feted on 14th of September each year in accordance to the new calendar order, according to old church calendar, the Church celebrated it on 27th of September.

The day is marked by a strong fasting, for short we refer in Bulgarian to this big Church feast as (The day of the Cross / Krystov den).
The Holy Orthodox Christian Church does worship the cross 4 times a year on:

  • Third Sunday after the start of the Great Lent
  • Holy Friday (Good Friday)
  • 1st of August
  • and

  • 14th of September – The Exaltation of the Holy life giving Cross

On this day, we the orthodox christians go to the Church and admirationally bow and kiss the Holy Cross on which our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered for our salvation.Through his cross suffering our Lord has granted to all of us the Christians an unbeatable "weapon" against evil and sin.
Through cross Christ has been victorious over sin and death.

According to old Church tradition, on the day Christian people were asking for the priest to go to their homes and do vodosvet (sprinkle their houses with a blessed holy water).Vodosvet is one of the Orthodox Church mystics, there is a specific prayers begging God for forgiveness of sins, asking for good health and blessing. The prayers are being red over a vessel containing clean water. Finally he blesses the vessel with Water with the life Giving cross 3 times (as a symbol of the Holy Trinity). Then the priest uses a the cross and a tiny piece of twig to sprinkle all the people and objects in the house.

On the holy exaltation of the holy cross feast we also celebrate also the following 3 events:

1. The miraculous appearance of the Holy Cross to emper st. Constantine
2. The finding in Jerusalem of the Holy life-giving cross in Golgotha
3. The return of the Life-giving cross from persian captivity
On 14th of September, according to Church tradition saint John of John Chrysostom has give away his spirit and joined the assembly of saints of God, however because of the Exaltation great significance, the church holy fathers decided that this is celebrated on 13th of September.

The Antiphon for the Exaltation of the Cross feast is singed and translated from Slavonic its meaning goes like this:

Troparion-Vyzdvizhenie-na-Svetiq-Kryst-Gospoden-Exalation-of-the-Cross-Church-slavonic

 

Troparion of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross voice 1 / Тропар на светия Кръст, глас 1

Спаси, Господи, люди Твоя и благослови достояние Твое, победы на сопротивныя даруя, и Твое сохраняя Крестом Твоим жительство.

Troparion voice 1

Save Oh Lord, your people and bless possession, grant us oh Lord a victory over our enemies and save your inheritance with your Cross

Troparion voice 2

You've been lifted willingly on the cross, grant you mercies to your inheritance oh Christ our Lord,
stregthen the spirits of the pious king and to your people,
grant us victory against our enemies,
Surround us with peace and with peace give us unbeatable victory

In the Glorification part of the Holy Liturgy feast service its singed:

We magnify you, oh Christ life giver,
and your Holy cross, because you have saved us from the enemy.

What does the Church tradition says about the finding of the holy cross of Christs sufferings?

After the Church crucifixion of Christ, according to the tradition of that times, the weapon for punishment from this kinds – the cross tree was buried in the ground on the same place, where the punishment was executed.
Following the tradition on Gologthas where Christ was crucified was buried the cross used for crucifixion.
In later times, emperor Adrian in his attempt to destroy christianity and the place of pilgrimage of Golgotha has issued an order to built a pagan shrine on the same place.
Later under the reign of Emperor st. Constantine the cross appeared in the sky in a miraculous way and again under his reign the Golgotha place which means literally translated( the place of the Skulls) was discovered.

Third Sunday after start of the Great Lent – Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross

Today 03.04.2021 we the orthodox are in the blessed period of the Great Lent. It is no coincidence the Church has set this feast on exactly this date. It is set on 3rd week of the 43 days (7 Weeks) that lasts the fasting period on the Eastern Orthodox Christian church because this is a little bit less than the half of the lent period. We know by the experience of spiritual fathers that once we start the job the hardest periods are nearby in 40% once the work is done and in that times it is a desire of the person to leave and quit the job but if he perseveres suddenly when the set goal is progressing this is overcome but then again in the end of the period of the goal to complete we start desiring to quit the started job and loose all energy put together, as a plan of the evil which wants us to always loose energy (both spiritual and physical) and never gain anything. Thus the Church set the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross to give us a way to attain new energy for the cross to be able to goodly continue in the deed of the lent. By the cross and his glorious power hence the spirit of despondency is crashed down and we're strenghtened and rejoice for the great glory our God has given us.
The_Exaltation-of-the-Holy-Cross-of-Christ-bishop-Polikarp-Bulgarian-Orthodox-Church
 

The exaltation of the cross is also a feast of everyone celebrating his own cross. The victory over death and everything was once fulfilled by Christ on the Cross. The humanity is saved already but it is up to everyone's free will to accept this salvation or not. The path is set it is the path of the Cross of Christ, meaning acceptance (humility) of all the unpleasant life events and situations, accepting everydays unexpected changes believing that this is God's providence and cross for each one of us, accepting the pain and suffering that is part of the personal cross we hold, accepting that one day our beloved and friends will pass away from this life, accepting the fact we age and the aging guarantees sufferings of the body but the spirit is refreshed by the grace of God, accepting all and enduring everyhing for the sake of the cross … 

Sunday-of-the-Veneration-of-the-Holy-Cross-Bulgarian_Orthodox-Church

The cross is a holder of the Universe and there is no power that will ever overwhelm it as it is said in the Church singings The Cross is the Holder (binds together) the whole universe. It is by the Cross all the evil has been conquered and life eternal has been giving. The path of the cross is the suffering, this is hard for the modern man to accept as we have been set to believe the only measure for success is prosperity, personal well being, physical health, posessing things. On the contrary the Christian says the most blessed and best thing one can have is the cross meaning personal suffering for and with Christ. By the suffering of the Cross Christ has glorified the bodily flesh he was possessing while being on earth in the body. By the Cross Christ has become the one begotten of all the sons of God. By the cross saints has conquered all evils and has sanctified, by the cross we still continue to progress in the goodness. 
Let with the Holy miracle making power of our Saviour's cross by the prayers of all the Saints and our Theotokos (Holy Virgin Merry) God grant to all of us christians victory of our enemies! Amen

 

The beheading of Saint John the Baptist feats in Eastern Orthodox Church – A short history of saint John Forerunners Holy Relics

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

Beheading_of_St_John_the_Baptist_Icon_IX-century

Saint John the Baptist (The Forerunner of Christ) is all known for being the baptizer of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jordan's river in Israel.

However as nowadays most people are away from the Church and from traditions, that many generations of our ancestors used to follow, little know the details of his beheading and the meaning of why he is venerated so much by so many generations in the last 2000 years.

Thus In this small article, I'll try to shed some light on the Saint John Beheading feast known in Church Slavonic world as Oseknovenie (Осекновение) = beheading and is considered a day of sorrow for the Church for the reason the biggest Old Testamental prophet, a hermit and a man of Gigantic spiritual significance Saint John the Baptist has been beheaded unfairly for having no fault at all but this happened so his righteousness raise up even more and be clear for the generations to come.

The feast of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on 29 of August in Eastern Orthodox Church, where old Calendar Churches celebrate the feast (13 days) later on 11 of September – I'll not get into details about calendars as this is a long discussion for a separate article.

It should be said in the Church saint John the Baptist is considered the highest saint among all“the first among martyrs in grace”, venerated next in glory to Virgin Mary.

The Martyrdom of Saint John happened in the 32 years after the Nativity (The Birth) of Christ as this is said in the Gospel of Mathew 14:1-12 and Gospel of Mark (6:14-29) in New Testament.

Saint-John-The-Baptist-Orthodox-Bulgarian-icon

Many of the small details, we know about saint John and his earthly living are not given in the Gospel however, but are instead given in the Chuch Tradition (that is kept in the main books and the Living of the Saints, as well as all the books written by the officially canonized saints over the years that used for Eastern Orthodox Church services Singing for many centuries).

From there we know the beheading of Saint John happened short time before the Crucifixion of Christ. After the death of Herode the Great, Romans divided the territory of Province of Palestine in 4 parts and on top of each placed his governor.

Herodos Antipa received by Emperor Augustus Galilea as a territory of Governance. He had a law binded marriage, who was a daughter of king Arepha. Herod left her and cohabited (unlawfully) with Herodias who was his mistress and brother's wife.

As Herodos was a governer and recpetively example for all his subordinate in his Kingdom and was living unlawfully with that woman saint John who knew him personally rebuked him multiple times publicly advising him to leave that woman and live with his lawfully marriaged one as it was written in God's law – that such people are worthy for death just like moreover this was the unwritten law followed by all kind of peoples of his time from noble to smallest and poorest.

Herodoes did not listened and wanted to get rid of saint Johns somehow but he was scared to accuse him for some kind of kingdom lawlessness as the knew saint John was a true prophet of God and feared the people who recognized him as a true prophet  as well as feared he might be put off throne for his evil deed if he finds an excuse to kill the prophet of God.

As the critics on Herodoes living with a concubine while being in marriage, eventually not finding any other way to shut Saint John's mouth, king Herodoes put saint John in Prison with the excuse Saint John was a rebel and preaching things against established authority (About this event is said in Bible Gospel of Luke 3, 19-20).

For his birthday Herodoes prepared enormous banquet in which in front of the many invited guests danced (Salome / Salomia) – the daughter of Herod II and Herodias and her dancing was so much pleasing for the already drunk Herod and in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired up to half of his kingdom.
Salome was still young woman and as it was the tradition then not knowing what would be the best to ask for, she asked her Mother and the Mother being in unlawful relations with Herod in her hatred for the rebuking prophet saint John asked, the head of Saint John the Baptist on a platter.

The-Beheading-of-Saint-John-The-Baptist-Salomnia-dance-in-front-of-Herodos-Sv.-Ioan-Krastitel

The dance of Salome with Saint John's head on a Platter Orthodox icon

Even though Herod was appaled by this strange request, he had to reluctanly agree to keep his word as he was a ruler of a great power and for that time, not keeping a word publicly given would make him though weak, a fraudulant and eventually this will be reason for a rumors for his unseriousness to circulate the kingdom, thus unwillingly he agreed sent soldier to the prison to behead Saint John and the Head of the saint was brought to the perverted Solome and the harlot mother of hers Herodias.

Due to Church tradition when the Head of the 'Biggest in Spiritual Power' of Man born after Christ, as the Gospel speaks was brought to the lecherous feast, the Head even in the platter continued to rebuke, the unwalfullness of Herod.
 

The Jewish famous Historian Flavius Josiphus in his historical book Antiques of the Jews wrote, the reason for beheading of Saint John was:

"lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his [John’s] power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise), [so Herod] thought it best [to put] him to death."

Flavius also states that many of the Jews believed that the military disaster that fell upon Herod as his throne fall a by the hands of Aretas his (father-in-law) was God's immediate punishment for unrighteous behaviour.
There is no exact date when behading of Saint John occured but the historians place it somewhere in year 28 or 29 A. D. (Anno Dommini).

Execution_of_John_the_Baptist_orthodox-icon


The body of saint John was buried immediately (separately from the body) as Herodias for her hatred for the prophet ordered the body to be buried separately from the head, it was buried in the small Palestinian Village (Sebaste), while Herodias took his holy head and buried it in a dung heep. 
Later Joanna (canonized later by saint known as Saint Joanna) – a wife of Herods steward, secretly went to place took the head and buried in the Mount of Olives, where it remained hidden for many centuries.

But the wrath of God is never late soon after Salome was passing a frozen river and while walking on it the ice collapsed and her body up to the head fall hanging in the water, while her head was sitting still over the water.
Just as she used to kick her feet on the ground, she was now, like dancing, making helpless movements in icy water.
 

So Salome hung until the sharp ice cut through her neck. Her head, cut off with a sharp ice, then her head was brought to Herod and Herodias, as John the Baptist's head had once been brought to them, and her body had never been found. The king of Arif of Arabia, in revenge for the dishonor of his daughter – the wife of Herod the four-owner – moved his troops against the wicked king and defeated him. The Roman emperor Guy Julius Caesar Caligula (37-41) in anger sent Herod, together with Herodias, into captivity to Gaul, and then to  . There they were consumed by the sprawling earth.


By a divine revelation the head of Saint John has been found in the 4th century (Celebrated in the Church with a special feast known as The First Finding of Saint John's the Baptist head by a governing official of Eastern Roman empire district who eventually choose to become a monk (monk Inokentij / Innocent). The head of saint John has been found by both divine revelation and the testimony of an Old Jew who confirmed the Jewish oral tradition for the burial of John the Baptist head on that exact place .
Innocent decided to build a Church and a monastic Cell in glory of Saint John the Baptist as the place was holy and sanctified by the graceous head of St. John.
Fearful that holy relics of such a high importance, might be soon stolen and sold, mocked over by unbelievers or destroyed, he immediately hide (burid) the St. John on the very same place, where he found it in the same vessel it was orginally.
Unfortunately on monk Innocent dead the Church fell into ruin was abandoned due to its desert location and eventually as it always happened in that times with old buildings, people used its construction stones for fortifying their own near village houses.

The Second Finding of the Head of Saint John the Baptist, happened some years later in 452 A.D. , during the days of Constantine the Great by two Christian monks who went for a Jerusalem for pilgrimage.who had God given revelation (Saint John himself appeared in a kind of a Vision to the two) and hsa indicated for the same hidden location where Innocent found it (laying under the Church ruins altar).
After digging on the place, the holy relic was found placed in a sack and brought with them to heir home land. On the way back they've met a potter not telling him what was inside the bag and asked him the bag to carry being lazy to do. Saint John the Baptist appeared the potter and told him to take his head and bring it away from this careless lazy monks immediately. The potter took Saint John's head home, and kept it there praying fervently to saint John the Baptist daily, soon before his death he put the head in a container and gave it to his sister.
The 1st and 2nd finding of saint Johns head is established as a feast celebrated yearly in Eastern Orthodox Church on 24 of February.

beheading-of-saint-John-icon

The feast of Beheading of Saint John in the Church is always observed in the Eastern Orthodox Churches Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Greek, Romanian, Georgian etc. with a strict fasting as a sign for the great sorrow we Christians have for the beheading of the Greatest of Prophets and Highest in sight of God born of man.

In some cultures, the pious will not eat food from a flat plate, use a knife, or eat round or red food (such as tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers etc.) on this day.

A short time after a Hieromonk Eustathius (considered by Church historians) to be part of the Arian heretical division happen to have th chance to possess the holy head and he used it frequently to attract followers to the Heretical teachings of Arius (a Lybian heretic presbyter who was condemned in 325 A.D. on the First Council of Nicea convened by Saint Emperor Constantine The Great. Being in a hardships Eustathius buried the head in a cave near Emesa (circa 810 – 820) and soon after a monastery was built on that place by God's providence.

In the year 452, St. John the Baptist appeared to Archimandrite Marcellus of this monastery and indicated where his head was hidden in a water jar buried in the earth. The relic was brought into the city of Emesa and was later transferred to Constantinople.

Saint_John_Head_Holy-relics-Caput-Sti-Joannis-Baptistae-Praecurssoris-Domini-1

The current pressumable relics of head of Saint John the Baptist kept in San Silvestro in Capite Rome

The head of John Baptist disappeared once again after it was transferred from Comana of Cappadocia during a period of Muslim raids (about 820) and was again hidden in the ground during a period of iconoclastic persecusion.
After the veneration of icons was restored in year 850, A vision was revelead by God to patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople (ruling on patriarchial throne in 847 – 857) saw a vision revealing the place where the head of saint John was hidden around y. 850. The patriarch as the order was then communicated about his vision to emperor Michael III, who sent a delegation to Comana, where the head was found. Soon after the head was transferred to city of Nyc and here on 25 of May it was placed in a church in emperor court in Constantinople. The Church feast of the Third Finding of Saint John Baptist head is established for celebration in the Eastern Orthodox Church on 25 of May.

Third-finding-of-Saint-John-the-Baptist-head-holy-relics-orthodox-icon

Currently many small particles of Saint John Head are available for generation among many Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

The-Face-of-saint-John-the-Baptist-in-Cathedral-of-Our_Lady-in-Amiens-Cathedral

The head  is claimed to be in San Silvestro (Saint Silvester) in Capite in Rome or in Amiens Cathedral, said to have been brought from Constantinople by Wallon de Sarton as he was returning from the Fourth Crusade.
There are also some sources claiming that the real head of John the Baptist is buried in Turkish Antioch or Southern France.

Amiens_-_Cathedrale_Notre-Dame_France

Amiens Cathedrale Notre Dame France – one of most magnificent Gothic edifice in Europe.

During the French Revolution the kept Head in Amiens has been secretly hidden by the Amiens city Mayor in his own home to protect this sacred relic from the destruction (as many holy relics saints disappeared or have been destroyed) by the rebellious enraged crowds fighting for the rights of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" being the goals of the Masonic bortherhoods and many secret societies in France in that time.

Also a reliquary at the Residenz in Munich, Germany, is labeled as containing the skull of John the Baptist by Catholics. In history some sources claim the St. John used to be owned by Knight Templars
А piece of Saint John Baptist skull is held at the Eastern Orthodox Romanian skete Prodromos on Mount Athos.

Further on according to Church tradition saint Luke the Evangelist went to the city of Sebaste bringing with him the right hand of Saint John the Forerunner which was conducting numerous of miracles.

Some of the Relics of John the Baptist are said to be in the possession of the Coptic Orthodox Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great in Scetes, Egypt.
It is said John the Baptist's arm and a piece of his skull can be found at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.

the_Holy-head-of-saint-John-the-Baptist-relics

It is said John the Baptist's arm and a piece of his skull can be found at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.
At the time of Mehmed the Conqueror, the skull was held in Topkapı, while after his death, his stepmother Mara Branković, a Serbian princess, brought it to Serbia. It was then kept a while at the Dionisios monastery at Mount Athos, then the skull fragment was sent to a nearby island in order to prevent the outbreak of a plague; however, the Ottoman fleet seized it and delivered it to Hasan Pasha of Algeria, who held it in his home until his death. It was then returned to Topkapı. The skull is kept on a golden plate decorated with gold bands with gems and Old Serbian inscriptions. The plate itself is stored in a 16th-century rock crystal box.

The-Face-of-saint-John-the-Baptist-in-Cathedral-of-Our_Lady-in-Amiens-Holy-Relics

The face of St. John the Baptist, in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Amiens.

St. John's arm was brought from Antioch to Constantinople at the time of Constantine VII. It was kept in the Emperor's chapel in the 12th century, then in the Church of the Virgin of the Pharos, then in the Church of Peribleptos in the first half of the 15th century. Spanish envoy Clavijo reported that he saw two different arms in two different monasteries while on a visit to Constantinople in 1404. With the Fall of Constantinople, the Ottomans seized possession of it. In 1484, Bayezid II sent it the knights of Rhodes, while they held his brother Cem captive in return. In 1585, Murad III had the arms brought from Lefkosia castle to Constantinople (henceforth known as Istanbul). The arm is kept in a gold-embellished silver reliquary. There are several inscriptions on the arm: "The beloved of God" on the forefinger, "This is the hand of the Baptist" on the wrist, and "belongs to (monk) Dolin Monahu" on the band above the elbow.

In July 2010, a small reliquary was discovered under the ruins of a 5th-century monastery on St. Ivan Island, Bulgaria. Local archaeologists opened the reliquary in August and found bone fragments of a skull, a hand and a tooth, which they believe belong to st. John the Baptist, based on their interpretation of a Greek inscription on the reliquary.The remains have been carbon-dated to the 1st century. Currently The found relics are being placed for veneration in the sea resort town  of Sozopol, Bulgaria in the Church of saint saint Cyril and Methodius.

The_Holy_Relics-of-Saint-John-The-Baptist-kept-in-Saint-Cyril-Church-Sozopol

Saint John the Baptist Holy Relics in Sozopol Bulgaria

 

Sozopol-Lithia-Lity-with-the-holy-relics-of-saint-John-the-Baptist
 A Lity (Orthodox Vespers) in front of Saint Cyril and Methodius Church in Sozopol resort Bulgaria

There is much to be said in Saint Johns beheading and many great Theology books have been written on the topic however I hope the goal of this article to give a very brief overview for the ordinary people to know our human history over the last 2000 which is highly entangled with Christian faith  succeeded to give a very brief overview on the history of the beheading of saint John the Baptist and the deep history across his holy relics veneration over the centuries.

As a closure for the Article I find worthly to share the sung troparion in the Church services glorifying of saint John the Forerunner in Old Bulgarian / Church Slavonic, Greek and English

TROPARION IN CHURCH SLAVONIC

Па́мять пра́веднаго с похвала́ми, тебе́ же довле́ет свиде́тельство Госпо́дне, Предте́че: показа́л бо ся еси́ вои́стинну и проро́ков честне́йший, я́ко и в струя́х крести́ти сподо́бился еси́ Пропове́даннаго. Те́мже за и́стину пострада́в, ра́дуяся, благовести́л еси́ и су́щим во а́де Бо́га, я́вльшагося пло́тию, взе́млющаго грех ми́ра и подаю́щаго нам ве́лию ми́лость.

TROPARION IN GREEK

Μνήμη Δικαίου μέτ' ἐγκωμίων, σοὶ δὲ ἀρκέσει ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Κυρίου Πρόδρομε· ἀνεδείχθης γὰρ ὄντως καὶ Προφητῶν σεβασμιώτερος, ὅτι καὶ ἐν ῥείθροις βαπτίσαι κατηξιώθης τὸν κηρυττόμενον. Ὅθεν τῆς ἀληθείας ὑπεραθλήσας, χαίρων εὐηγγελίσω καὶ τοῖς ἐν ᾍδῃ, Θεὸν φανερωθέντα ἐν σαρκί, τὸν αἴροντα τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου, καὶ παρέχοντα ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.

TROPARION (TONE 4)
O Prophet and Forerunner of the coming of Christ, in spite of our eagerness to render you due honor, we fall short when singing your praise. Your glorious birth saved your mother from the shame of barrenness, returned to your father the power of speech, and proclaimed to the world the Incarnation of the Son of God.

KONTAKION (TONE 3)
The woman who had been barren becomes fertile and gives birth today to the Forerunner of Christ. He is the greatest and last of the prophets, for standing in the waters of the Jordon River, he placed his hands on Christ whom all the prophets had announced, and in so doing he became a prophet himself, a preacher and a forerunner of the Word of God.

A proof Islam is false religion not pleasable to God? 717 people died during Hajj in Mecca on Greatest Muslim feast Kurban Bayrami

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The frequent deaths in Mecca in Muslim Islamic Hajj a proof islam is a false religion

This year on 24 September, for one more time on the day of Greatest Muslim feast Eid-Al-Adha in turkey known as Kurban Bayrami (translated as Feast of Sacrifice) Saudi Arabia's Hajj (during the veneration of the greatest Muslim relic Kaaba (stone)  in Mecca (said to be the birth place of Muhammad), again at least  717 poor people were killed (crushed to death) and 863 injured during Hajj's common million muslim people's prayer gathering. |

Sadly Incidents like this for Muslim pilgrims are not news and they happen quite often sadly and if taken the statistics of death toll of pilgrims for the past years is shocking.

Here are some statistics on the latest 25 years of deaths of pilgrims on a Hajj travel or those who directly died in Mecca:

Mosquee_Masjid_el_Hara_a_Mecque
 

Some notable incidents during Hajj and Mecca pilgrimages in the last 25 years include:
 

  • July 2, 1990: A stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel (Al-Ma'aisim tunnel) leading out from Mecca towards Mina and the Plains of Arafat led to the deaths of 1,426 pilgrims, many of them of Malaysian, Indonesian and Pakistani origin.[2][3]
  • May 23, 1994: A stampede killed at least 270 pilgrims at the stoning of the Devil ritual.
  • April 9, 1998: at least 118 pilgrims were trampled to death and 180 injured in an incident on Jamarat Bridge.[4]
  • March 5, 2001: 35 pilgrims were trampled to death in a stampede during the stoning of the Devil ritual.[5]
  • February 11, 2003: The stoning of the Devil ritual claimed 14 pilgrims' lives.[6]
  • February 1, 2004: 251 pilgrims were killed and another 244 injured in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina.[7]
  • January 12, 2006: A stampede during the stoning of the Devil on the last day of the Hajj in Mina killed at least 346 pilgrims and injured at least 289 more. The incident occurred shortly after 13:00 local time, when a busload of travellers arrived together at the eastern access ramps to the Jamarat Bridge. This caused pilgrims to trip, rapidly resulting in a lethal stampede. An estimated two million people were performing the ritual at the time.
  • September 24, 2015: 717 pilgrims were killed and another 800 injured during a stampede in the 2015 Hajj


The Kabba stone is the central pilgrimage place for muslims and accoriding to Islam faith it is a stone which came from heaven, there are pleny of legends and superstitious speculations regarding this stone circulating among muslims and it is hard to say which is really true, however what is sure is Hajj on Mecca has been practiced by muslims since the early days of Islam even to this very day.

From a Christian staind point going to venerate a stone is simply a venerating an idol (as a stone is a creation) and not the creator and is very different from us Christians venerating the icons, as we venerate not the icon itself but the image of personality depicted on it The Lord Jesus Christ (Christ meaning Messiah), The Most holy Theotokos Virgin Mary, John the Baptist the Angels, Archangels and Saints who immitated Christ's life and who reached immerse holines even in this life being able to perform miracles.

Tomb-of-Islam-creator-Mohammad

One really strange thing which I guess no muslim could answer is why if Muhammad was the greatest and last prophet of Allah, he did not perform any miracles in lifetime or after death. Another thing is the veneration of the grave of Muhammad (At the Green Dome) practiced in Islam that is a really strange thing and contradicts the laws of the Qu'ran instructing not to venerate anything except Ala.

I would say the main proof against Islam as being the right faith in God is the fact Muhammad died like every normal person. The greatest venerated prophet for 1.5 billion muslims more venerated even than the Isa's Allah messanger (Isa is Jesus's name in Qu'ran) died like every normal person with a peaceful death without any super-natural indication he was a prophet after his death.

In Christianity we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the son of God (The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit) which we call The Holy Trinity (a undividable unity between the 3 hyposthasis.
The proof for us Christians that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of Mankind is the empty Tomb (Grave of Christ), because JESUS HAS RISEN AND WITH BODY IN HEAVEN!
 

It is interesting that these bright days for muslims often end up with immerse sorrow for some families which loose beloved husbands in accidents like this.

Interestingly on Christian Easter feast be it Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox there is no records of tragic incidents.
Even it can be considered a miracle that on Eastern feasts in Jerusalem's Church of Resurrection where the Lord Jesus Christ has been risen (resurrected) from the dead there are no crushing incidents even though the big crowds, neither there are any burned people even though the whole Holy Sepulchure (Resurrection) church is filled with people holding lighted up candles with the every year reoccuring of Miracle Holy Fire.

The_Ressurrection_of_Christ-orthodox-icon

The lack of incidents on The day of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eastern) in my humble opionion is a clear sign that this feast is a pleasing God.

Muslims believe and claim that it is the greatest joy of all to die for (God) Allah and those incidents are sent blessing from Allah for those who died in those incidents and in a sense dying for God is a blessing if you die for God's sake as a martyr while testifying faith in God but being killed while you're on a way to venerate God seems a bit illogical to me.
I have red the Holy Bible Old Testament as well as the Qu'ran sometimes ago two books which more or less are being regarded by muslims and in none of them I found not a story of someone on the way to pilgrim God or who have promised to pilgrim God who have been killed, so I guess this kind of thinking is an invention of Mullam / Imams who try to justify the event and make it look beneficial for islaam, a justification which I believe most of people looking for truth and non muslims would never justity.

Crucifixion_by_Theophanes_the_Cretan

From a my view point the crushment of people during a pilgrimage is a clear sign God's Grace and Holy Angels doesn't guard the place but the devil is let to often kill those poor people because of the rejection of muslims of the true Light the Lord Jesus Christ as a true Son of God and a saviour of the Lord who came to give his holy life on the cross not only for Christians who believed in him but for all People from all religions in the world from all ages including the direct descending from Muhammad (as I heard from some Kurdish muslim people) Muslim.

I pray our Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on the  souls of all this Mecca pilgrimages who died yesterday and the in the past accidents through the years and to have mercy and open the spiirtual eyes of Muslim around the world and enlighten them with the truthful word of the Holy Gospel.

 

Thomas Sunday – The day of Disbelievers

Monday, April 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Origin of Halloween (All Hallows Eve) or the Day of All Saints is actually Christian

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

 

 

The-Christian_Original-of-Halloween-Cross_on-a-pumpkin

 

 

Many people would "celebrate" Halloween today, however many don't know or understand the true feast origin. It would probably news to many that halloween that is today so much associated with satanism, evil spirits and horror has christian origin! Here is what wikipedia States about Halloween quote:
 

The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word "Halloween" means "hallowed evening" or "holy evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before All Hallows' Day). In Scots, the word "eve" is even, and this is contracted to e'en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) Eve(n) evolved into Halloween. Although the phrase "All Hallows'" is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, all saints mass-day), "All Hallows' Eve" is itself not seen until 1556.

 

All-Saints-day-Latin-Roman-Catholic-icon

Before Christianization of Western societies – e.g. Irish, Old English, Scots and the other Gaelic nations, in Ancient celtic traditions Samhain (celebrated at end of October) give the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Celts believed that the spirits of the dead over the previous year come to roam the world looking for living people to possess. As a mean of protect Celts put on their face animal skin and other objects in order to be as scare as possible to drive out spirits from themselves. The Celtic people of Europe and Britain were pagan Druids (priests / educated people) whose major celebrations were marked by the seasons. At the end of the year in northern Europe, people made preparations to ensure winter survival by harvesting the crops and culling the herds, slaughtering animals that wouldn't make it. Life slowed down as winter brought darkness (shortened days and longer nights), fallow ground, and death. The imagery of death, symbolized by skeletons, skulls, and the color black, remains prominent in today's Halloween celebrations.

seasonal_activities_medieval_seasons_calendar

The "Samhain" season used to be a favourite times before Christianization and (even by some witches, later haunted by Inquisition) for occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead. They sought "divine" spirits (demons) and the spirits of their ancestors regarding weather forecasts for the coming year, crop expectations, and even romantic prospects. Bobbing for apples was one practice the pagans used to divine the spiritual world's "blessings" on a couple's romance.

Interetingly in Eastern Europe countries, there is similar traditions in multiple countries – e.g. Romania, Moldova Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia even in my own Bulgarian culture we still have regions celebrating similar pagan feast, on whose feast KukeriKukers are called the dressed people in the form and masked as scary beasts with horns dance on the streets in hope to drive away with their awful looking outlook any "evil spirits". Kukeri traditionally appear still in Eastern Bulgaria, the feast has been known to have origin from Thracians.

kukeri in Bulgaria Shiroka Lyka

It is intriguing that since, even very ancient times people believed in immortality of the human spirit and this is not coincidence, because from ancient times people know "instinctively" the soul is importal and life continues on after physical dead of the body.

The modern version of Halloween celebrated mainly by kids wandering the homes of neighbors with the question "Trick or Treat?" started being marked in that way in England, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy at least as early as 15th century.
Traditionally groups of poor children would go to homes collecting the so called soul-cakes (special burned small breads) made as an aim of remembrance of the Christian relatives who passed away – it was a very widespread custom to give food to strangers as a mean of charity  just like it is still in Orthodox Christian countries, we give away food to strangers as an aim to remembrance of our departed (and forgiveness of sins) to our relatives.

Halloween-christian-tradition-soul-cake-with-Cross-on-it

In the Middle Ages, churches displayed the holy relics of martyred saints for veneration and those parishes that were too poor to have relics let parishioners dress up as the saints instead a practice that some Christians continue in Halloween celebrations today.

Cross_and_Halloween_origin-of-feast

Unfortunately the Christian root of Halloween tradition gradually mixed with some of the old still not completely forgotten beliefs of paganism in pre-christian times and with the gradual raise of materialism, the protestant reformation, the enlightenment, the french revolution, the world wars etc. this mostly Christian traditions loose their Christian ground and left mostly its pagan element.
After Christianization of Europe from the 9th century onwards the Church, pagan traditions continued to be practiced by many, probably because the Church "mass" language and preaching was in Latin, people doesn't have bibles and many even baptized doesn't really had a good knowledge / understanding on Christian faith.
It is not a coincidence the Church's decision to place the All Hallows Eve (The Day of All Saints) on "Halloween" feast on 1  November.

Pope_Gregory_III-icon-Catholic-Pope-who-fighted-iconoclasm-heresy

The feast of All Saints on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) – (who was a defender of true Orthodox Christian faith  and openly against the heresy of Iconoclasm) who set this date to be  "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", the feast was moved to 1 November from the prior feast from 13 May suppressed.

With the emigration of many Europeans to America the secular Halloween feast has been transferred to America and set itself as one of the United States citizens tradition in which reminded emigrants for their homeland europe making the feast popularity to boast. The bloom of TV advertisement and the decrease of faith in people, increase of occult mindset in society made the feast primordial understanding to invert associating Halloween with evil which is fun in the mass. This is quite strange as evin the ancient pagans, had not associated with evil but used the feast as a mean to protect from evil. That's another sign in what kind of tragic state currently society is … sadly the feast Americanization made it to the number of "International feasts". And now there is almost no country where Halloween is not celebrated in a secular way.

It is not a hidden fact that Halloween feast for its connection with magical powers, paganism and occult is often believed and said to be 'A feast day for Witches and magicians', its considered important feast in Anton Sandor Lavey's Church of Satan.

A lot of parents nowdays does encourage their children to celebrate the feast not understanding the real Christian roots of it and teaching children to enjoy evil often without even realizing the psychological damage this makes to a kid.
Some countries such as Russia has already legislation prohibiting the pupils in school to mask like monsters and celebrate publicly the feast.
roman_catholic_christian_halloween_pumpkin
If you're a parent it is always a good idea to tell your kid that the truth is Halloween feast is not connected to darkness as it is often publicly illustrated but on the contrary Halloween tradition is early Christian one.

Saint Abraham the Bulgarian co-memoration in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

saint Abraham the Bulgarian, sv. Avramii Bolgarski

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saint Abraham Avramii Bylgarski Bulgarian Martyr saint old drawing

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

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

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

Miracle Making Spring Well Saint Abraham the Bulgarian

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

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

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

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

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


Satanism – The Root of Rock Music (part 1)


Satanism – The Root of Rock Music (part 2)

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


They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 1 of 3


They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 2 of 3


They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 3 of 3


They Sold Thir Souls to the devil part 4 of 4

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

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