Posts Tagged ‘Holy’

In Praise of Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebaste – a medieval work by Saint Clement of Ohrid (The Wonderworker)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2022

Holy_40_Martyrs-martyrdom-Bulgarian-icon

I consider / think for the will of the same mind and the equality of wisdom of these fourty martyrs and in amazement, I resort to Christ,  by whom clearly comes every good giving and every gift, as the Many-Blessed Paul said and blessed: “Thou are Christ – a God’s power and wisdom.” And with that power, were filled the many-blessed fourty warriors, martyrs for Christ.

They shone in the world like the brightest stars and illuminated the whole universe with the rays of the knowledge of God, having among them the spiritual sun – Christ. Illuminated by its light and adorned with great beauty, they blossomed with special faith like fragrant lilies, abundantly watered with the dew of the Holy Spirit. Decorating themselves with good deeds, they became beloved of their Lord, because in purity and love they surpassed each other. They shone like lamps with spiritual radiance: some with fasting and abstinence, others with good faith and hospitality; some with kneeling prayer and sincerity, and others with humility and meekness; some with vigilance and sincere love, and others with love and mercy for the poor. Indeed, the power of the Holy Spirit was with them, urging them to every good deed and by faith protecting them from every calamity.

And so, they were as homogeneous in appearance and beauty. Weaved through faith and love like a golden necklace, they were connected to each other by unanimity. Leaving the vain way of life, they zealously wished to stand before the unspoken glory of God through good deeds and sincere love. They urged each other to hurry to the holy path of feat. Instead of armor, they put on the faith, and instead of a shield, they armed themselves with The Cross and appeared in battle like Lightning – Riding against thousands and tens of thousands and were glorified with Victory. They fought a double war – with Visible and Invisible enemies.

Ivory_Relief-from-Constantinople_40_Martyr-10th-century-now-kept-in_Bode-museum-Berlin

Ivory Relief icon 40 Martyr 10th century from Constantinople now kept in Bode museum Berlin

The devil, who could not see their beauty and faith, as well as their pure life, fought against them by entering the malevolent court of Licinius, who was autocratic at the time. He raised persecution against Christians. Wanting to deceitfully capture the faithful martyrs, Licinius forced everyone to worship idols. But the ancient prophet proclaimed and said: “Lord will not leave the rod of the wicked on the lot of the righteous, so that the righteous do not stretch out their hands to iniquity. Lord, do good to the good and to the righteous at heart! ” With this light they illuminated themselves, striving brilliantly and wonderfully in martyrdom, despising the ordinary pleasure of joy. Cheering each other on, they said to each other, “Brethren, let us not be afraid of this short-lived torment, which passes quickly like a shadow, but brings us into the eternal dwellings. Therefore, brothers, stand firmly armed against the adversery-enemy, so that we may be adorned with victorious crowns of Christ God!
Because for the sake of earthly life and for the sake of the mortal king we did not spare ourselves in battles, but, having fallen into many troubles, protected by the power of God, we emerged victorious, then – if we try to follow him, taking upon ourselves his voluntary sufferings, we hope that he will be with us, as he promised: “When you are taken to assemblies, to authorities, to prisons, to kings and princes, and to tormentors for my name's sake, do not worry about what to say or what to answer, for I will give you words and wisdom that all your adversaries will not be able to resist or contradict. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body and can do no harm to the soul; but be afraid of him; who, after the murder, has the power to throw into hell. "

With these words, they learned and supported each other, and powerfully trampled on the devil's cunning. They gladly endured all kinds of sorrows, saying to themselves the apostolic word: "God is not unjust, brethren, to forget your labor."

40_Holy_Martyrs-of-Sebaste-Sebastia-in-the-ice-cold-lake-icon

40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste martyrdon in the Lake Εκκλησιαστικό Μουσείο (Alexandrupoli, Greece Church Museum)

When they stood at night, in the cold, in the middle of the swamp, near the town of Sebastia, here is one of them, turning away, ran to the bathroom (built near the plateau) and, touching the heat, it melted like ice and died. And suddenly an unspeakable light shone from the sky on them, and the cold turned from it into warmth. And forty crowns descended from heaven upon their heads. Only one wreath remained, with nowhere to stop.The guardian, seeing this miracle, took off his clothes, jumped to the martyrs and cried out in a loud voice: “I believe in the Son of God Jesus Christ, in whom even these holy martyrs believe; may He honor me with the same glory, so that I may complete with them a martyr's deed! ” And immediately the crown of unspeakable glory descended on his head and stood. This is God's mercy, as the Lord Himself said, "The last shall be first, and the first last."

oly_Forty_Martyrs_Church-in-Veliko-Tarnovo-Trnov-Bulgaria
Church of Holy Martyrs, ex-Capital of Bulgarian Empire Tarnovo / Trnov, Bulgaria

Therefore, how can we praise the most holy company, from which this wretched man fell away, as Judas once fell away from God's chosen company, and as the devil fell away from the angelic staff and from the light and became the ruler of darkness and deserved eternal torment. His envy engulfed this wretched man. But still the devil was trampled by the invincibles.

The church nourished them with spiritual food, crowned them with the brightest wreaths; he made them companions of the angels and showed them to the whole universe as bright lamps. With their miracles they shine more than the sun. The prophet announced about them in antiquity, saying: “You have tested us, O God, you have melted us as silver is melted; put men over our heads. We went through fire and water and you set us free. " As they desired this eternal peace, they left behind the beauty of life, houses, wealth, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, wife, children, and even despised their lives, according to the Lord's command. That is why the Lord has miraculously shown all His favor to them. Indeed, they were vessels of good use, chosen for the service of the only ruler and our savior, Jesus Christ. Nothing could separate Christ's love from them: no fire, no water, no other suffering.

That is why today we celebrate their memory with respect and, giving them the due praise, we say: "Rejoice, all-honorable and wonderful company of the most glorious army!"

They became like the disembodied forces and surpassed them; for they, being disembodied, stand in their place and enjoy the unspeakable beauty. And the martyrs, having swum the earthly ravaged sea , illuminated the whole world with their blood. With spiritual wings, they flew up and stood before the unspeakable glory of God. They abundantly heal the sick, cast out demons, alleviate suffering, enlighten churches, keep the peace, guide people to good deeds, cast out demons and quickly destroy their cunning, enrich the poor in two ways – mentally and physically – destroy heresies. Shining with the brightest dawns, they became great advocates – martyrs for the faith.


Chapel_of_the_Forty_Martyrs_holy-martyrs-holy-relics-Church-of-Holy-Sepulchre-Jerusalem

Chapel of the Forty Martyrs containing the Holy Relics Church of Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem


So what mouth or which tongue will be able to praise these heavenly lamps, which appeared brighter than the sun? With their pure relics, they illuminated the whole world like stars. They warmed the day's frost, ignited by the Holy Spirit. And fiery flames extinguished them, as once the godly youths in Babylon. With their golden bones they illuminated the streams of the river, adorned all the churches with their fragrant relics, delighted the world with their unspeakable miracles, banished deception, and planted the truth, stepped on the devil, rejoiced Christ! That is why the right hand of the Almighty adorned them with bright wreaths and illuminated them with the rays of the unspeakable light, honored them wonderfully and with the honor to stand before God, clothed them with God-woven clothes, filled them with the power of the Holy Spirit and made them equal to disembodied forces. . That is why God is wonderful among his saints, always glorifying those who glorify him, and miraculously honoring them with unspeakable miracles. I want to tell one of their many miracles, namely how children listen to their noble mother.

Sveti-40_Mychneici-Bylgaria-Holy-40-Martyrs-Manastir_-_Vrachesh-Bulgaria

A Nun Monastery near Vrachesh Village, Bulgaria – Monastic Church

When these blessed martyrs surrendered their holy souls into the hands of the Lord, one of them was still breathing. His mother, seeing that he was left alive, rejected the female weakness, took male audacity, took his beloved son on his shoulders and, following him (after the car loaded with the bodies of the martyrs), said to him: "Do your best, Sufferer for Christ, be courageous and strengthen your heart, and may my soul rejoice for you! Do not fall away, as Judas once fell away from the apostles, nor as one of you has now fallen away, but give God all your hope and your spirit, and he will support you; for, behold, Christ is standing before you, brother, to receive your soul and await your arrival. ” As she spoke this, her son, carried by her, surrendered his soul into the hands of the Lord. She took it, placed it with the saints, and said, "Rest, child, with your holy company, and remember me with them in your holy prayers, so that I may accomplish your martyrdom." Then she returned with joy, praising God. Have you heard, brethren, of the love and boldness of the Christ-loving mother? How she feared neither the king, nor the tormentor, nor the sword, nor the fire, but only the life-giver of God.

Merdanya_monastery_40_Martyrs-after-the-battle-of-Klokotnitsa-by-Bulgarian-ruler-Ivan_Asen-II-near-Lyaskovec

Church of 40 Holy Martyrs in Merdanya Monastery near Lyskovec Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (The monastery in thankfulness to the martyrs for helping the Bulgarian King Ivan Asen II in the Famous Medieval battle of Klokotnitsa which occured on 9th of March year 1230 near the Village of Klokotnitsa – As a result, Bulgaria emerged once again for short time as the most powerful state in South-Eastern Europe)

Therefore, if we reject from ourselves any fear of men, let us make room in ourselves for the fear of God. May he enlighten our souls and hearts! May we always abide in fasting, in purity and sincere love, in meekness and obedience, abstaining from all evil. Let us adorn ourselves with good deeds, like these most holy martyrs, glorifying the Most Holy Trinity, one in three persons – the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit – now and always, and forever. Amen!

Text originally existing in Church Slavonic and translated to Bulgarian language by Archimandrite Dr. Atanasii Bonchev (who was also the Author of the Book the Living of the Saints used in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church even today)
 

The Menaion (one of Liturgy service books) of the Eastern Orthodox Church lists the names of the Forty Martyrs as follows:

  • Hesychius, Meliton, Heraclius, Smaragdus, Domnus, Eunoicus, Valens, Vivianus, Claudius, Priscus, Theodulus, Euthychius, John, Xantheas, Helianus, Sisinius, Cyrion, Angius, Aetius, Flavius, Acacius, Ecditius, Lysimachus, Alexander, Elias, Candidus, Theophilus, Dometian, Gaius, Gorgonius, Eutyches, Athanasius, Cyril, Sacerdon, Nicholas, Valaerius, Philoctimon, Severian, Chudion, and Aglaius.


A curious fact is in the Eastern Orthodox Church, there is a prayer mentioning the Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste is also placed in the Orthodox Wedding Service (referred to as a "crowning") to remind the bride and groom that spiritual crowns await them in Heaven also if they remain as faithful to Christ as these saints of long ago.

Hearing on the enormousness of Saintship of the Holy Fourty Martyrs and their endurance. 
Let us ask them for their holy prayers for more peace, love, faith and hope and endurance and patience on the hard trials each one of us face constantly!

Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebastia Pray the Lord Jesus Christ so we find mercy in God!

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 King Boris feast and a Holy Liturgy in the Great Basilica of Pliska – 2nd of May 2018

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Pliska-Great-Basilica-air-view-biggest-medieval-church-Europe

Pliska is the first capital of Bulgaira and an ancient city that traces its roots back to the Baptizmal of Bulgaria by Saint King Boris (The Baptizer of Bulgarian lands and Slavonic People) the feast is of a great importance for Bulgaria to be pressent on the map of Europe over the last XV centuries since Bulgaria's establishment in 681 A.D. 

 

Pliska which is an enormous architectural complex dated from IX / X century hsa played a pivotal role for the Baptizmal process of Bulgarian nation as it was King Boris's palace at that time and the Christianization of Bulgarians and Slavonic (natioons) people started exactly in the newly built so called Great Basilica of Pliska  which was an archibishop seat and a central Monastery and Palace Church of Bulgaria, the building was completed approximately in 875 A.D. and was the biggest Cathedral church in Europe for about 1000 years onwards with the gigantic area of 2,920 square meters (31, 400 ft).

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska-walls-reconstruction

20 century reconsturction of the Church walls based on descriptions from history annals 

The Basillica was build on top of ruins of older Bulgar pagan temple and has martyrium (a place dedicated to a martyr who has been martyred there) as many of the ancient Churches had. It is believed that the martyrium may be Saint (Boyan) Enravota – the first Bulgarian saint (circa 833). The basillica has a form of a Cross shaped mausuleum.

 

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska-left-part-of-the-alter

Reconstruction of walls left part of the Altar


The archibishop residence was north and south of the basillica on the northern yard there was a residential building with a bath which included hypocaust (an ancient water warming system). Building south of the cathedral was used as school and scriptorium. Nearby the basillica are situated necropolis (most likely monk graves).

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska_Sarcophagus-near-altar

Pliska Sarcophagus near the Great Basillica Church altar

As with every basilica of that time there is a special allocated place of the Church for nobles. Yard northside was used as a kitchen and a dining room and accomodated other monsatic buildings.


The Old Basilica reconstruciton original model should have looked something similar to below picture which is found in the Museum (which holds a little part of the artefacts found) situated about 1.5 kilometer from the Basilica.

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska_Reconstruction-model

A presumable reconstruction model of the Old Basilica

On 2nd of May KIng Boris Feast in 2015 for a first time since many centuries in memoriam of 1150 years since Christianization of Bulgaria in the Great Basilica was served an Eastern Orthodox Christian (an open air) Holy Liturgy headed by the Bulgarian Patriarch Neofit with many Metropolitans guests from other Eastern Orthodox national Churches where the ex-president Rosen Plevneliev and the Living ancestor King Simeon the III-rd was present.

1150-years-baptismal-of-bulgaria-feast-patriarch-Neofit-Pliska-Great-Basilica

Patriarch Neofit Patriarch and head of Bulgarian Orthodox Church blessing in Great Basilica y. – 2018

The event in 2015 was continued with the idea to become an yearly event on the feast of Saint King Boris each 2nd of May yesterday in 2018 by the Metropolitan of Varna and Veliko Preslav his eminence Metropoltian Ioan (John).

metropolitan-holy-liturgy-Preslav-2018

Orthodox Christian Believers in the Great Basilica Preslav 2018 (People gathered being transported by free of charge buses organized by the Eparchy from Dobrich, Varna, Shumen, Targovishte 

holy-liturgy-2018-Preslav-1-fr-Peter-reading-Apostle

Fr. Peter reading The Apostle readings

his-eminence-Metropolitan-of-Varna-and-Veliki-Preslav_Ioan

Metropolitan Ioan (John) of Varna and Veliki Preslav Blessing in Holy Liturgy 2018

Holy-Sacraments-in_Great-Basilica-2018-metropolitan-Ioan-and-his-deacon

The Holy Altar with the Holy Sacraments in Pliska Basilica in 2018 (Metropolitan Ioan and his deacon)

The Church service was a big gathering for the region (if we take the fact that the current town Pliska has about 900 citizens and is in practice a village), the overall present people were perhaps about 200 to 250. More than 1/3 of the priests (38 priests) from the whole Eparchy served the service together with the Bishop. The weather before the service was rainy but just after the service and onwards, it came sunny again just like it was saint King Boris with all the Christian saints rejoiced to see so many Christians gather together just like the times when Christianity started to spread from this same place over the lands of Bulgaria country and later during the golden age throughout the territories of Bulgarian Empire and all the Slavonic borderlines such as nowadays Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia. 

The whole set of pictures from saint King Boris feast in Pliska can be seen on the official  website of Varna and Veliko Preslav eparchy here

Trip to Ruen Monastery Saint John of Rila – The birthplace of a saint, a God piece of Heaven beauty on earth

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

ruenski_monastery-beautiful-mountain-view-near-birthplace-of-a-saint

Last Saturday me and my wife Svetlana together with a Christian friend family (Tsvetomir and Dimitrina with their < 2 years old boy – Boris) went to a small 1 day pilgrimage trip to Ruen Monastery – (Ruenski manastery). The holy cloister is situated very near Skrino village, the birth village of greatest Bulgarian saint saint John of Rila. The village is located about 90 km from Sofia and is very near to town of Boboshevo. To reach Ruen Monastery when coming from Sofia, the traveller has to move in direction of "Kulata / (The Tower)" and to pass the village of Djerman and Usoika. Then before entering the village of Skrino there is a 5 km steep car road leading to the monastery.

ruenski_manastir_near_sightview

Saint John of Rila lived in Skrino until his twenties and due to Christian tradition he accepted monkhood in the nearby monastery next to Skrino and a bit later started a hermit life dwelling himself in his first hermit cave situated near Skrino. The Cave of hermit dwelling of Saint John of Rila is now situated about 200 meters from Ruen Monastery and represents a tiny cave encraved in a rock. The rock is so small that maximum of 2 people can be in cave together. It is amazing how a man could live in such a small space.

hermit_cave_of_saint_John_of_Rila_near-his-birthplace
 

Current Ruen monastery Church is recently rebuild in 1995 and the rest of monastic buildings are completed in y. 2002, but according to history it is known a monastery was existent on same place known in medieval times under name "The Holy Father" in  XV century.

Veneration to Saint John of Rila was so high in mid centuries that obviously people recognized Saint John of Rila among the greatest saints.

The nature view near monastery is breath taking .. On the road to it there is Struma river the monastery itself is situated in Vlahina mountain from it there is a sightview of part of Rila mountain.

piece-of-heaven-on-earth-near-ruenski-monastir

Near the monastery buildings there are two paths one leading to the Cave of Hermitage of Saint John of Rila and another one leading to a place with a Cross visible from throughout the region.

the-cross-on-top-of-mountain-ruenski-monastery

The monastery though being among the newest rebuilded ones in Bulgaria has already 3 saint holy relics, one of which is Holy relics from Saint George the Victorious. We had the blessings by God's grace to also meet RuenAbbot Father Ioan (John). We asked the father how many monks are inhabiting the monastery just to get the humorous answer that half of the inhabitants are present (meaning currently in the monastery there are only 2 monks). Fatehr John was evidently very young kindhearted  person  probably in his 30s. He was quite hospitable and invited us for tea and cookies in the small monastic dining room. We had quite a few spiritual talks and spoke on hardship of being a monk in nowadays confused world.

We were send with the Father's blessings and a gift – an icon of saint John of Rila and a book with the history of the monastery from ancient times to now – the book included also the Testament of Saint John of Rila

On our way back before entering Boboshevo we stopped to see and pray near an ancient Church from the 5th century consecrated under saint Theodor (Stratilat) – a Christian martyr saint from the 4th century who lived near Black Sea.

church-saint-Theodor-stratilat-church-5th-century

The Church is an unique Cultural monument as it contains wall patings probably dating back to at least 10th century or even earlier.

sv-teodor-cyrkva-5-vek-bylgaria

Thanks God the weather was quite warm for the Winter season leaving impression Spring has come 🙂

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

Monday, July 30th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 18:1-5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Abba Anthony the Great Coptic Oriental orthodox Icon

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

Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon Abba Anthony and saint Paul

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

Coptic Oriental Orthodox Icon Tobias old testamential Book story

Tobias Old Testamential Story coptic icon

Holy Family Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox Icon

Holy Family – Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox oriental icon

Christ the Saviour Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Christ the Saviour – Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental icon

Saint Athanasius defender of pure orthodoxy Oriental Orthodox icon

Saint Athnasius coptic orth icon

The Dormition of Holy Theotokos Mother Mary Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon

The Dormition of Virgin Mary Coptic icon

A list of Christian Metal website resources on the Net for Christian Metal lovers

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

I’ve been an old times Metal head. The moment I accepted Jesus Christ as a Lord and Saviour and been visited by the Lord’s Holy Ghost grace, my life changed severely. I found out most of the metal bands, I used to be regularly listening to is against Christ and anti-christian in essence, I still however hold my love for Metal as my teenage years were dominated by Metal Music. Happily I found there is plenty of nice Metal music a Metal head could enjoy that are written for glorification of Christ and hence did not have the negative spiritual anti-christian charge that is so typical for a lot of the bads in the metal music world. Recently I’m not listening to as much music as few years from now but still every now and then I like playing some of my old Christian metal loved bands. I was maintaining a small list of Christian metal nice bands I found and playlisted on youtube. If you’re a metal geek you might enjoy my old christian metal playlist here 🙂.

For Christians, who are looking for online Christian Metal community I also suggest you check out Firestream – The believer’s Heavy Music Refugee . There are plenty of other interesting places on the net dedicated for Christian metal fans;;;

I will end up this post with 2 videos of one very favourite Ukrainian Christian Metal band – Angel 7;

Angel 7 – Jesus the Saviour

Angel 7 – The Last Day

There are probably plenty of other nice Christian Metal sites and resources on the net; surely I’m missing a lot here? if you know some other good Christian Rock / Metal resources please drop a comment.

How a monastery celebrates a brotherhood monk name day – the feast of (Saint Sergii from Radonezh) in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Saint Sergii of Radonezh Orthodox icon

Now it is my 4th day being in Pomorie Monastery with Kimba. The monastic life is not so boring as I thought back in the days 🙂
Yesterday I was drived to the Kamenar pub, by one of the workers here in the monastery (with the monastic car an old Ford);
We went to the restaurant in Kamenar village with the blessing of the abbot has blessed that we go and enjoy ourselves for few hours there with a group of tourists staying for (1 or 2) weeks in the monastery.

The pub was quite a news for me as it was a nice looking place with a lounge and swimming pool, this seemed quite unusual for especially since it was located in a village with 200 or 300 hundred of people living 🙂
The village pub had even a billiard table, the coin price there was on the shocking 25 stotinki (0.13) euro cents! 🙂
In the pub came an orthodox priest dressed like a casual person and started singing some traditional old Bulgarian songs (typical for singing in the different regions in BG). The guy was really talented and his memory seem to be very strong, since he was able to sing by heart about 10 songs in a row !

Besides that the priest voice was very beautiful. When I later had a talk with the guy it appeared, he learned professional singing before he became an Orthodox priest some years ago.
What really shocked me when the priest started singing in Italian Luciano Pavaroti, he sang it so well so you can hardly find out if it is not really the real authentic Luciano voice 🙂

This priest and the overall people in the pub had a great fun, as the place and people in were quite spirited; Actually I felt in a while like being in Emil Kosturica's movie 🙂 🙂 🙂

Being over with yesterday I will say few words on my monastic experience today ….
The Church bell rang early in the morning to summit the monks for the early morning prayer followed by a Holy Liturgy served. The Holy Liturgy today served was a co-memoration of the feast of Saint Sergii of Radonezh.

Cause it is weekly day here there were not too many people in the monastic Church. The monastery monks were there,few other people and some Russian pilgrim woman. By the way I'm more and more being convinced that many of the Russian people are very pious oriented and have strong faith in God than us bulgarians. Sadly it appears (from my observations so far) Russians generally are richer in faith.
It is sad that Russian Orthodox Christianity is stronger than ours in Bulgarian, especially when we take the fact historically Russians have received the Orthodox Chrisitian faith and language from us Bulgarians …

One of the key figure (brothers) monks Father Sergii is having a name day here, so due to that and because it is not a fasting day today (Thursday), the traditional monastic dinner was bigger and more rich than usual. Some youghurt mixed with cucumbers (Tarator) as we call it in Bulgaria was served with a little salad a few pieces of Banica and even little meat balls (for people eating meat).
The Abbot of the monastery was not served meat as I heard from the cook lady he is completely abstaying from meat since about 10 years already; some of the monk brother didn't eat meat as well.
The dinner started about 12:20 in the usual dinner room. For another day the food in the monastery was tasting super-delicious.
It is rather interesting that the food here is more delicious than the food we usually eat at home; Probably the food is so delicious because large portion of the food on the table is monastic-grown and besides that a food blessing prayer is said everytime before eat time. Earlier times I've heard many others who visited and eat food in monasteries that the monastic food is tastier and more delicious than we ordinary people have on our tables, however I was sceptical until I experienced it myself, these days.
Cause the food is so tasteful, I consume here usually twice more food than I usually eat at home 🙂

I recommend anyone who didn't eat a meal in a monastery (yet) to try this at least once in a lifetime ;;;

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

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

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

Христос Воскресе ! Воистину Воскресе!

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

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

Христос Възкръсна! Наистина Възкръсна!

 

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

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

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

Monday, March 26th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

st. john Lestvichnik Orthodox Christian icon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creator of Linux kernel Linus Torvalds with a biblical name, Pope Linus second Pope of Rome

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Western Roman Catholic Pope Linus picture, Pope after Saint apostle Peter

Linus's name is encountered once in the Scriptures (The Holy Bible) in the second book part of the New Testament scriptures:

I really like King James English version of the bible, here is the text extracted from there, mentioning Linus's name:

2 Timothy 4:21
Doe thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee,
and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. (From KJV 1611 Translation)

Here is a modernized version of the same verse taken from the New American Standard Bible Version (1995):

2 Timothy 4:21
Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you,
also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

- New American Standard Version (1995)

Other curious fact maybe, even uknown to Linus Torvalds himself is Saint Linus used to be the first bishop of Rome, after the Apostles bishopship.
This makes Saint Linus the second in place Roman Catholic Pope after Saint Peter in early Western Church. There are some early sources which says Pope Clement I was the second pope of Rome, however probably this sources are erroneous, since some very important early written sources like the Apostolic Constitutions states Linus was the first bishop of Rome and was ordained by St. Paul. The same documents says Pope Linus was succeeded by Pope Clement – ordained by saint Peter.

Below's paste is taken directly from BibleGateway.com cofirming about Pope Linus being the sacond Roman Catholic Pope:

Linus
(a net), a Christian at Rome, known to St. Paul and to
Timothy, (2 Timothy 4:21) who was the first bishop of Rome after the apostles. (A.D. 64.)

Something Pope Linus is known with is, to have issued a church decree that woman should cover their heads in church.This ancient church tradition is still observed more or less in the Orthodox Church. It is not known much about how Saint Pope ruled the early Western Church but since the western and eastern Church used to be in communion in these early days, this means the nowdays Roman Catholic saint Linus is probably a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well.
According to some unprovable written sources Pope Linus later suffered martyrdom and was buried in Vatican Hill next to saint apostle Peter.

St. Linus according to Church tradition passed away in the 1st securury A.D.
Below's paste is taken directly from BibleGateway.com a multilingual website location for reading the bible

Linus
(a net), a Christian at Rome, known to St. Paul and to
Timothy, (2 Timothy 4:21) who was the first bishop of Rome after the apostles. (A.D. 64.)

I've merged a picture of how saint Linus used to look with one of the pictures of Linus Torvalds. It's rather funny they actually look alike 😉 🙂 🙂

Saint Linus and Linus Torvalds creator of GNU Linux kernel

The creator of GNU/Linux kernel Linus Torvalds might not be a saint in Christian sense, but his deed is definitely saintly as he initiated the creation of the Linux kernel and decided to share its source and publish it under GPL (General Public License).
The phenomenon of GNU / Linux Free Operating System existent today and specific type of development is definitely a miracle. The general philosophy of sharing with neighbor your software is also very close to the Christian philosophy of sharing. Actually too many of the ideas of the free software and "open source" movements resemble purely Christian ideas.

The software sharing philosophy has become a reality thanks to Richard Stallman and his GNU Project, however the existence of GNU / Linux as a complete operating system become reality thanks to the Linus torvalds kernel efforts which is known under the code name Linux. Talking about names, maybe not much will know, that Linux kernel used to have a different name in the early stage of its development, its first code name was FreaX