If you happen to be in Belarus's capital Minsk and you're a Christian you would definitely will be interested to see the spiritual side of Belarus. I was in Minsk with my wife for a month and had the chance to go for a pilgrimage in st. Elisaberth's Orthodox Christian Convent.
In Belarus about 80% of population of population are Orthodox Christians with about 7% Catholics, some 4% protestants and 9% atheists. I'm Orthodox Christian myself so mostly I kept interest in exoeriencing Orthodox religion life there. The religious life in Belarus so deeply impressed me so I decided to even document it here.
I was in a couple of Orthodox Churches during the Great Lent first week attending afternoon (Great) Repentence services canon of St. Andrew of Crete. And was amazed how many people are religious in this God fearful country. All Churches where I was during the Great Canon or Holy Liturgy was so full of people that you cannot even enter the Church if you're late for the service. People attending were also very concentrated on the service and most of the people came to services bringing most of which holding a book with the Great Repentance Canon following the service and concentrated in praying and doing ground prostrations. One thing to note is Belarusian Orthodox Church is a sub-division of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Belarusian doesn't have their own patriarch but are under the patriarchy of Russian and all Moscow patriarch – Kiril I.
Few weeks ago for Sunday of All Orthodoxy (Triumph of All orthodoxy) for Holy Liturgy service me and Svetlana with a close friend of her Tatyiana went to St. Elisabeth's Monastery. Monastery is named in honour of St. Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova – which is the last Russian Grand Princess of the Romanov family later executed with her husband and kids by Communists Bolsheviks, canonized by ROC in the 1990s.
The monastery as almost all Churches in Belarus is so full of people you cannot move (it seems in Russian Orthodox Church – there is an amazing spiritual awakening at the moment). I wanted to confess and even though I was in the Church building before beginning of the holy liturgy and there were two priests to confess the queue of people to confess was so long that confession lasted until the end of the Holy Liturgy. In order to able to confess I've waited on the "confession queue" for about 2 hours and a half. Even though Holy Liturgy completed confession continued and those who confessed after the Church service end was also offered the Holy Sacraments. Another stunning thing for me was the amount of young and obviously intelligent people who was in the Church – just to compare here in Bulgaria, seeing young people in most Churches and monasteries is a rare thing ..
Saint Elisabeth's Monastery is the only monastery situated in (very near 19 km away) fromMINSK on Vigotskogo 6 str. We reached the monastery by taking bus from regular Minsktrans (state's bus company) city bus nr. 26, other bus and trolley riding there are – bus 18 and trolley 33, 38, 55. Monastery was established in 1990 after dissolvement of USSR and is situatuated on a place where previously there was no church or a monastery. The SisterHood in monastery is enormous by size and consists nowadays of 7 Churches!!!
The main Church of the Monastery has saint relics from all around the known Orthodox Walls, to venerate all the saint relics you will need at least 20 minutes!! The Holy Relics of the monastery are so much that they remind me very much of Monasteries I've seen on Holy Mounth Athos. The spiritual father of the monastery is father Andreya Lemoshonka.
From ruromrs the sisterhood in monastery consists of about 120 sisters (and even maybe more), some of them are Nuns and others are the so called "Sisters of Mercy" (something like the "White Sisters" moveing in the Roman Catholic Church) – woman who deliberately decided to help the monastery often walking the streets shops and metro stations collecting charity for poor, sick and people in need. Sisters of mercy are something exception and seeing a lady dressed in white robes on the street or metro with a prayer book at hand is something rare to see in today's crazy materialistic world. Some of this kind sisters of mercy are novice nuns in the monastery and others are just worldly woman with family whom the monastery employes on a small renumeration.
The cloister is a unique place next to the majestic Church buildings, the monastery has a coffeteria where you can have a coffee / snacks or even a dinner after service, there is a Church shops full of icon and all kind of orthodox spiritual literature,a Christian games for kids (Orthodox Lotto, kids collapsible Churches from cardboards) as well as a food store with fasting and non-fasting food and even a shop for Christian clothing "Православная Одежда".
Orthodox Clothes Shop near St. Elizabeth's monastery Minsk
A Honey Store – St. Elizabeth Monastery Belarus
Orthodox Foodstore near St. Elizabeth Monastery Misnk
In one of the Churches there is a 3 floor tiny shop first floor sell icons, books and faith related things, monastic souvenirs and on the second floor there is a herbal pharmacy with healing herbs for almost all kind of physical and nervological disorders etc. Part of monastic life is the evening and morning service which occur everyday in the monastery. The spiritual father of a monastery Andreya Lemoshonka who is a married priest is also leading frequent lectures on faith and is often helping people coming to him for a spiritual advice, a problem or question related to faith. The Nuns are fasting each Monday, Wednesday and Friday – fasting also in Mondays even though this fasting day was only observed in ancient Church and in many Orthodox monasteries, Monday fastings (In veneration of Angels) is no longer observed – i.e. sisterhood life is very strict. Near the monastery is situated a Mental Hospital and one of the duties of nuns is to often visit the mentally sick there. The sisterhood helps orphanage homes and is bringing for Holy sacraments often a lot of sick children.
Part of monastery service is sheltering the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts offering them encouragement and work in the small monastic farm. The monastery has also workshops where people with disability work in making gloves, icons, decorations, souvenirs embroided by hand. Near the monastery there is a wooden shop where one can order all kind of custom crafted wooden wardrobes, chairs or anything wooden you like for your home.
What I saw there make my heart joyful. It seems Minsk Monastery achieved something which is rarely seen in Orthodox world a symbiosis between Faith, charity and a monetary funding model that works. The monastery very much reminded me to an Orthodox movie Forpost and to the Godly initiate inBulgaria by father Ioan of Novi Khan who by his efforts, Gods help and the charity of hundreds of bulgarian takes care for about 150 homeless orphans in a monastery.
'Forpost' (Outpost) – What the Church Can Accomplish.
As a closure word I want say Thanks and Glory be to the Holy Trinity The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit! for blessing me to the pilgrimage journet to St. Elizabeth's monastery!
Morning Prayers from Optina Desert / Утренние молитвы Оптина Пустынь
It is a blessing to listen the morning prayers in ancient Church Slavonic, it is double blessing when listening morning prayers as prayed from Optina Desert. Optina Desert(Optina Pustyn) , also known as the Optina Hermitage Monastery is one of the ancient monasteries in Russia. It is not clear exact date when monastery was established, but its establishment was no later than the 15th century. Optina word means Living together. Nuns lived in the cloister before y. 1504. The monastery is very notable with theOptina Elders and played key role in spiritual life of Russia during the 19th century.Optina cloister is very famous for their Startsy (Elders) people who possess the graceful gifts from God for healing, foretelling events to come, possessing the gift of spiritual guidance etc. From the 19th centuries to nowdays this place has attracted crowds of people looking for spiritual guidance (advise), englightnment or a blessing for important thing to partake in life. Many of the Russian most famous people of all time likeFyodor Dostoevsky, Vasily Zhukovsky, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, and Vasily Rozanov visited visited the monastery. Optina cloisterpossesses one of the richest spiritual libraries in the world, collected with help of Slavophile Kireyevsky brothers (who are buried within the monastery walls).
The starets Saint Amvrosy is said to have been a prototype of Father Zosima in Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov. The monastery is most famous with a group of saints the Optina Elders among which is the most famous oneVenerable Ambrose of Optina (5 Dec 1812 – 23 October 1891)
The holy Fathers made the Optina Hermitage (or Poustinia) a focus for the powerfulrenewal movement that spread through the Church in Russia beginning early in the nineteenth century, and continuing up to (and even into) the atheist persecutions of the twentieth century. Saint Paisius Velichkovsky (November 15) was powerfully influential in bringing the almost-lost hesychastic tradition of Orthodox spirituality to Russia in the eighteenth century, and his labors found in Optina Monastery a 'headquarters' from which they spread throughout the Russian land. The Optina Elders were spiritual masters who became renowned throughout the Orthodox world for their holiness and spiritual gifts. Among them the most known are: Schema-Archimandrite Moses, Schema-Hegumen Anthony, Hieroschemamonk Leonid, Hieroschemamonk Macarius, Hieroschemamonk Hilarion, Hieroschemamonk Ambrose, Hieroschemamonk Anatole (Zertsalov) and Hieroschemamonk Barsanuphius. The monastery was destroyed during the Russian Bolshevik Revolution and many of the fathers faced exile torture and martyr death by the communist authorities. In 1987 with the beginning of Perestroika, Optina Pustyn was one of the first abbeys to be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. In the 1990s its most notable startsy were glorified as saints. Otpina Elders are commemorated together on October 10 (October 23 on the Gregorian Calendar). A very important prayer left as heritage from Optina's Elders is the prayer of the Optina Elders Prayer of the Optina Elders
Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.
Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Thy Holy Will.
For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in all things.
Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy Holy Will.
Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.
When things unforeseen occur , let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee.
Teach me to behave sincerely and rationally toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.
Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.
Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love.
The Orthodox Christian Morning Prayers in English
Morning Prayers From the "Jordanville" Prayerbook
Having risen from sleep, before any other action, stand reverently, considering thyself to be in the presence of the All-seeing God, and, having made the sign of the Cross, say:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Then pause a moment, until all thy senses are calmed and thy thoughts forsake all things earthly; and then make three bows, saying:
The Prayer of the Publican:
O God, be merciful to me a sinner. Thrice.
The Beginning Prayer:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen.
Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.
O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Thrice.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. . – O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot but our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name's sake.
Lord, have mercy. Thrice.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Our Father, Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Troparia to the Holy Trinity:
Having risen from sleep, we fall down before Thee, O Good One, and the angelic hymn we cry aloud to Thee, O Mighty One. Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou. O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
From bed and sleep hast Thou raised me up, O Lord: enlighten my mind and heart and open my lips that I may hymn Thee, O Holy Trinity:
Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.
Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Suddenly the judge shall come, and the deeds of each shall be laid bare; but with fear do we cry at midnight. Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy. Twelve.
Prayer of Saint Basil the Great to the Most Holy Trinity:
As I rise from sleep, I thank Thee, O Holy Trinity, for through Thy great goodness and patience Thou wast not angry with me, an idler and sinner, nor hast Thou destroyed me with mine iniquities, but hast shown Thy usual love for mankind; and when I was prostrate in despair, Thou hast raised me up to keep the morning watch and glorify Thy power. And now enlighten my mind's eye, and open my mouth that I may meditate on Thy words, and understand Thy commandments, and do Thy will, and hymn Thee in heartfelt confession, and sing praises to Thine all-holy name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
O come let us worship God our King.
O come let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.
O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged. For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me. For behold, Thou hast loved truth; the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom hast Thou made manifest unto me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; the bones that be humbled, they shall rejoice. Turn Thy face away from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence,! and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and with Thy governing Spirit establish me. I shall teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall turn back unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness. O God, Thou God of my salvation; my tongue shall rejoice in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I had given it; with whole-burnt offerings Thou shalt not be pleased. A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit; a heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise. Do good, O Lord, in Thy good pleasure unto Sion, and let the walls of Jerusalem be builded. Then shalt Thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.
The Symbol of the Orthodox Faith:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ. the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God, begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father by Whom all things were made; Who for us men, and for our salvation. came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prop! hets. In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen.
Prayer I, of St. Macarius the Great:
O God, cleanse me a sinner, for I have never done anything good in Thy sight; but deliver me from the evil one, and let Thy will be done in vi me, that I may open mine unworthy mouth without condemnation, and praise Thy holy name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer II, of the same saint:
Having risen from sleep, I offer unto Thee, O Saviour, the midnight hymn, and falling down I cry unto Thee: Grant me not to fall asleep in the death of sin, but have compassion on me, O Thou Who wast voluntarily crucified, and hasten to raise me who am reclining in idleness, and save me in prayer and intercession; and after the night's sleep shine upon me a sinless day, O Christ God, and save me.
Prayer III, of the same saint:
Having risen from sleep, I hasten to Thee, O Master, Lover of mankind, and by Thy loving-kindness, I strive to do Thy work, and I pray to Thee: Help me at all times, in everything, and deliver me from every worldly, evil thing and every impulse of the devil, and save me, and lead me into Thine eternal kingdom. For Thou art my Creator, and the Giver, and Provider of everything good, and in Thee is all my hope, and unto Thee do I send up glory, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer IV, of the same saint:
O Lord, Who in Thine abundant goodness and Thy great compassion hast granted me, Thy servant, to go through the time of the night that is past without attack from any opposing evil: Do Thou Thyself, O Master, Creator of all things, vouchsafe me by Thy true light and with an enlightened heart to do Thy will, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer V, of St. Basil the Great:
O Lord Almighty, God of hosts and of all flesh, Who dwellest on high and lookest down on things that are lowly, Who searchest the heart and innermost being, and clearly foreknowest the secrets of men; O unoriginate and everlasting Light, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning: Do Thou, O Immortal King, receive our supplications which we, daring because of the multitude of Thy compassions, offer Thee at the present time from defiled lips; and forgive us our sins, in deed, word, and thought, whether committed by us knowingly or in ignorance,. and cleanse us from every defilement of flesh and spirit. And grant us to pass through the night of the whole present life with watchful heart and sober thought, ever expecting the coming of the bright and appointed day of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, whereon the judge of all shall come with glory to reward each according to his deeds. May we not be found fallen a! nd idle, but watching, and upright in activity, ready to accompany Him into the joy and divine palace of His glory, where there is the ceaseless sound of those that keep festival, and the unspeakable delight of those that behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance. For Thou art the true Light that enlightenest and sanctifiest all, and all creation doth hymn Thee unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer VI, likewise by St. Basil:
We bless Thee, O Most High God and Lord of mercy, Who ever doest with us things both great and inscrutable, both glorious and awesome, of which there is no measure; Who grantest to us sleep for rest from our infirmities, and relaxation from the labours of our much-toiling flesh. We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us with our iniquities, but hast shown Thy loving-kindness to man as usual, and while we were lying in despair upon our beds, Thou hast raised us up that we might glorify Thy dominion. Wherefore, we implore Thy boundless goodness: Enlighten the eyes of our understanding and raise up our mind from the heavy sleep of indolence; open our mouth and fill it with Thy praise, that we may be able steadily to hymn and confess Thee, Who art God glorified in all and by all, the unoriginate Father, with Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thine All-holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos:
I sing of thy grace, O Sovereign Lady, and I pray thee to grace my mind.
Teach me to step aright in. the way of Christ's commandments.
Strengthen me to keep awake in song, and drive away the sleep of despondency.
O Bride of God, by thy prayers release me, bound with the bonds of sin.
Guard me by night and by day, and deliver me from foes that defeat me.
O bearer of God the Life-giver, enliven me who am deadened by passions.
O bearer of the unwaning Light, enlighten my blinded soul.
O marvellous palace of the Master, make me to be a house of the Divine Spirit.
O bearer of the Healer, heal the perennial passions of my soul.
Guide me to the path of repentance, for I am tossed in the storm of life.
Deliver me from eternal fire, and from evil worms, and from Tartarus.
Let me not be exposed to the rejoicing of demons, guilty as I am of many sins.
Renew me, grown old from senseless sins, O most immaculate one.
Present me untouched by all torments, and pray for me to the Master of all.
Vouchsafe me to find the joys of heaven with all the saints.
O most holy Virgin, hearken unto the voice of thine unprofitable servant.
Grant me torrents of tears, O most pure one, to cleanse my soul from impurity.
I offer the groans of my heart to thee unceasingly, strive for me, O Sovereign Lady.
Accept my service of supplication and offer it to compassionate God.
O thou who art above the angels, raise me above this world's confusion.
O Light bearing heavenly tabernacle, direct the grace of the Spirit in me.
I raise my hands and lips in thy praise, defiled as they are by impurity, O all immaculate one.
Deliver me from soul corrupting evils, and fervently intercede with Christ, to Whom is due honour and worship, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ:
O my plenteously merciful and all merciful God, Lord Jesus Christ, through Thy great love Thou didst come down and become incarnate so that Thou mightest save all. And again, O Saviour. save me by Thy grace, I pray Thee. For if Thou shouldst save me for my works, this would not be grace or a gift, but rather a duty; yea, Thou Who art great in compassion and ineffable in mercy. For he that believeth in Me, Thou hast said, O my Christ, shall live and never see death. If, then, faith in Thee saveth the desperate, behold, I believe, save me, for Thou art my God and Creator. Let faith instead of works be imputed to me, O my God, for Thou wilt find no works which could justify me. But may my faith suffice instead of all works, may it answer for, may it acquit me, may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory. And let Satan not seize me and boast, O Word, that he hath torn me from Thy hand and fold. But whether I desire it or not, save me, O Christ my Saviour,! forestall me quickly, quickly, for I perish. Thou art my God from my mother's womb. Vouchsafe me, O Lord, to love Thee now as fervently as I once loved sin itself, and also to work for Thee without idleness, diligently, as I worked before for deceptive Satan. But supremely shall I work for Thee, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer IX, to the Holy Guardian Angel:
O holy angel that standeth by my wretched soul and my passionate life, forsake not me a sinner, nor shrink from me because of mine intemperance. Give no place for the cunning demon to master me through the violence of my mortal body, strengthen my poor and feeble hand, and guide me in the way of salvation. Yea, O holy angel of God, guardian and protector of my wretched soul and body, forgive me all wherein I have offended thee all the days of my life; and if I have sinned during the past night, protect me during the present day, and guard me from every temptation of the enemy, that I may not anger God by any sin. And pray to the Lord for me, that He may establish me in His fear, and show me, His servant, to be worthy of His goodness. Amen.
Prayer X, to the Most Holy Theotokos:
O my most holy lady Theotokos, through thy holy and all-powerful prayers, banish from me, thy lowly and wretched servant, despondency, forgetfulness, folly, carelessness, and all filthy, evil, and blasphemous thoughts from my wretched heart and my darkened mind. And quench the flame of my passions, for I am poor and wretched, and deliver me from many and cruel memories and deeds, and free me from all their evil effects. For blessed art thou by all generations, and glorified is thy most honourable name unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayerful Invocation of the Saint Whose Name we bear:
Pray unto God for me, O holy God pleaser N., for I fervently flee unto Thee, the speedy helper and intercessor for my soul.
Song to the Most Holy Theotokos:
O Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.
Troparion to the Cross:
Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou victory to Orthodox Christians over enemies; and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.
Then offer a brief prayer for the health and salvation of thy spiritual father, thy parents, relatives, those in authority, benefactors, others known to thee, the ailing, or those passing through sorrows. And if it be possible, read this commemoration:
For the Living:
Remember, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Thy mercies and compassions which are from the ages, for the sake of which Thou didst become man and didst will to endure crucifixion and death for the salivation of those that rightly believe in Thee; and having risen from the dead didst ascend into the heavens and sittest at the right hand of God the Father, and regardest the humble entreaties of those that call upon Thee with all their heart; incline Thine ear, and hearken unto the humble supplication of me, Thine unprofitable servant, as an odour of spiritual fragrance, which I offer unto Thee for all Thy people. And first, remember Thy Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which Thou hast provided through Thy precious Blood, and establish, and strengthen, and expand, increase, pacify, and keep Her unconquerable by the gates of hades. calm the dissensions of the churches, quench the raging of the nations, and quickly destroy and uproot the rising of heresy, and b! ring them to nought by the power of Thy Holy Spirit. Bow.
Save, O Lord, and have mercy on the Russian Land and her Orthodox people both in the homeland and in the diaspora, this land and its authorities. Bow.
Save, O Lord, and have mercy on the holy Eastern Orthodox patriarchs, most reverend metropolitans, Orthodox archbishops and bishops, and all the priestly and monastic order, and all who serve in the Church, whom Thou hast appointed to shepherd Thy rational flock, and through their prayers have mercy and save me, a sinner. Bow.
Save, O Lord, and have mercy on my spiritual father N., and through his holy prayers forgive my sins. Bow.
Save, O Lord, and have mercy on my parents, Names, brothers and sisters, and my kindred according to the flesh, and all the neighbours of my family and friends, and grant them Thine earthly and spiritual good things. Bow.
Save, O Lord, and have mercy on the aged and the young, the poor and the orphans and widows, and those in sickness and sorrow, misfortune and tribulation, those in difficult circumstances and in captivity, in prisons and dungeons, and especially those of Thy. servants that are persecuted for Thy sake and the Orthodox Faith by godless peoples, by apostates, and by heretics; and remember them, visit., strengthen, comfort, and by Thy power quickly grant them relief, freedom, and deliverance. Bow .
Save, O Lord, and have mercy on them that hate and wrong me, and make temptation for me, and let them not perish because of me, a sinner. Bow.
Illumine with the light of awareness the apostates from the Orthodox Faith, and those blinded by pernicious heresies, and number them with Thy Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church. Bow.
For the Departed:
Remember, O Lord, those that have departed this life, Orthodox kings and queens, princes and princesses, most holy patriarchs, most reverend metropolitans, Orthodox archbishops and bishops, those in priestly and clerical orders of the Church, and those that have served Thee in the monastic order, and grant them rest with the saints in Thine eternal tabernacles. Bow.
Remember, O Lord, the souls of Thy departed servants, my parents, Names, and all my kindred according to the flesh, and forgive them all transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, granting them the kingdom and a portion of Thine eternal good things, and the delight of Thine endless and blessed life. Bow.
Remember, O Lord, also all our fathers and brethren, and sisters, and those that lie here, and all Orthodox Christians that departed in the hope of resurrection and life eternal, and settle them with Thy saints, where the light of Thy countenance shall visit them, and have mercy on us, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Bow.
Grant, O Lord, remission of sins to all our fathers, brethren, and sisters that have departed before us in the faith and hope of resurrection, and make their memory to be eternal. Bow.
It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever-blessed and most blameless, and Mother of our God. More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Lord, have mercy. Thrice.
O Lord, bless.
And the dismissal:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, our holy and God-bearing fathers and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen.
Whoever believes in Christ he has an everlasting life, as Christ promised us. Faith, Hope and Love are the three essential things we should always keep in heart. I myself being a Christian often forget about importance of Hope. It is one of the spiritual weapons we Christians should hold firmly in our life. I've been in situation, where all around is failing and I'm miserable and powerless, in those moments I should remember more often the Holy Scripture advices that Hope should always be with us. Below preach is the words of Pope Shenouda the Coptic Oriental Church patriach, I believe we can only learn and astonish on his graceful words.
His Holiness Pope Shenouda Words on Hope – Hope Christians unfailing all time weapon
Let by this holy patriarch words, God bless Christians with a good hope. It is the beginning of the Great fasting in the Orthodox Church worldwide, so now we need hope more than ever! By the prayers of all saints oh Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us sinners …
A curious custom of the Coptic Church is the liturgy that prays and sings it in Coptic, the original language of ancient Egypt. The Church keeps alive the language of the pharaohs, which was written in hieroglyphics, hieratic and demotic and now a modified version of the Greek alphabet, Egyptian written in Greek and demotic (the Copt) was gradually being forgotten, lost ground to the Arabic and thus became incomprehensible. However, the Coptic Church preserved the ancient Egyptian language by tradition thanks to its rites. The video shows images and also religious Copts of pharaonic Egypt, the Copts are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians who have become Christians
O lord Jesus help me.coptic hymn – An coptic hymn in arabic language (not coptic) with english subtitle
Coptic orthodox St Mary Hymn
One can see the Roman Catholic influence on some of the shown icons. The music however is simply terrific! The Coptic Christian spirituality can be felt. It is well known fact from egypt a lot of monks has spread Chrisian faith in Western Europe.
Je Nai Nan Lord have mercy, coptic orthodox hymns جي ناي نان, ارحمنا
Oh poor Christians of our age we are. We have no love we have nothing.
Coptic Orthodox Hymn: The Virgin M.A.R.Y العدرا م ر ي م (English Subtitles)
"O Sing Unto Him…" Coptic Orthodox Hymn
Blessed is He (Evlogimenos Palm Sunday Festal Hymn English) – Orthodox Hymn (Coptic Rite)
I live in the Netherlands, here people are slowly forgetting their faith who made them what they're now. The state of Christian Church is so weak. We have no prayer power. We walk sick, we don't live like brothers, Oh Lord help us and re-unite your sheeps and put us back in your farm. Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy
Coptic Orthodox Hymn: Aripsalin – آربصالين O sing unto Him who was crucified, buried and resurrected, who trampled and abolished death, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Take off the old man, and put on the new and superior one, come closer to greatness of mercy, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + All you Christian people, the priests and the deacons, glorify the Lord for He is worthy, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Come to us O three children, whom Christ our God has lifted, and from the Devil has delivered, praise Him and exalt Him above all. For the sake of your God the Messiah, the Giver of all good things, come unto us O Hananiah, praise Him and exalt Him above all. O Azariah the zealot, morning and noon and the evening, glorify the power of the Trinity, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Behold Emmanuel [our Lord], is now in our midst O Mishael, proclaim with the voice of joy, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Gather now and persevere, and proclaim with the priests, bless the Lord all His works, praise Him and exalt Him above all. The heavens declare the glory, of God until this day, O you angels whom He has made, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Now all you powers of the Lord, bless His honored name, O sun and moon and all the stars, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + And also you rain and dew, sing praises unto our Savior, for He is the God of our fathers, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Glorify the Lord O clouds and winds, together with the souls and the spirits, O you cold and fire and heat, praise Him and exalt Him above all. You also nights and days, light and darkness and lightning, glorify the Lover of Mankind, praise Him and exalt Him above all. You trees and all that springs on the earth, and all that moves in the sea, mountains and the forests, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Praise without ceasing, the Lord the King of the kings, O you rivers and seas, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + And we also seeing them, let us say with all these things, bless the Lord all you birds, praise Him and exalt Him above all. O snow and ice, cattle and wild beasts, bless the Lord of lords, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Bless the Lord as befits Him, and not like the heretics, all you sons of men, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + O Israel offer before Him, honor and glory in a joyful voice, all you priests of Emmanuel, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + You servants of the true God, the souls of the righteous, and the humble and the charitable, praise Him and exalt Him above all. God my God is the One, who saved you from danger, O Sedrach Misach and Abednago, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Hurry with great haste, O you righteous of the Lord, and all the creatures He has made, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Coolness and repose without ceasing, grant unto all of us, that we may joyfully proclaim, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + And also Your poor servant Sarkis, make him without condemnation, that he may join all those and say, praise Him and exalt Him above all.
I've been deeply saddened to learn Pope Shenouda III – of Alexandria – A patriarch of the Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church passed the Spirit to our Heavenly Father on 17 of March 2012. Even though officially Copt Christians are not in communion to us the Eastern Orthodox Church which my Church – Bulgarian Orthodox Church belongs to.
I've had the blessing from God to know a Coptic Orthodox Christian Baky and from what I've seen in him Copts faith is still strong. And from what, I've seen and heard from Baky and researched on the internet as well as experienced in listening their Coptic Orthodox songs I conclude, the Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church is still very spirit filled and have a great love for God. And Generally it seemed to me, their faith seemed to be stronger than our faith of many not to say most of the people who belong to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church…. Maybe it is just me or my wrong perception or maybe their church is less hunted than ours I don't know. One monk in a Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery in Pomorie said that "the Copts Christianity community is still stronger because the spiritual attack they suffer is less severe than to us the Eastern Orthodox Church" as they're not communion with the biggest part of the Orthodox Church. All this are just assumptions, only God knows how situation is. What I know is coptic music is gracious. From Eastern Orthodox point of view Coptic Orthodox Church has broken the communion with us because, they decided to reject all Church Patriarchs assembly decisions after the 4th century. So the situation with Copts is that they have conservated a big part of Christianity that used to be until the 4th century but lost the assembly of the Orthodox Church fathers. Of course as a consequence of the many centuries, some things in the Coptic Orthodox Church did changed and they're not perfectly preserved in the 4th century as they original intention was. For example, I noticed many Coptic Orthodox Church building architecture has similar patterns like some of the old Roman Catholic Churches. I guess this is normal, since we all used to be one Holy Apostolic Church in the past as we still recite during every Holy Liturgy service served in our Orthodox Churches. Another thing that is different from us the Eastern Orthodox Church is the copts Churches have a sitting bench just like in the Roman Catholic Church, I've heard they don't use them much from Baky but still the fact they have it is something probably adopted by Roman Catholics influence. Another thing I've seen from checking various things about copts on the internet is some of their copt Church icons iconography seems to be a bit influenced by Roman Catholic iconography, though I'm not completely sure about this because I don't know if Roman Catholics didn't took the iconography styling from the copts and not vice versa. A lot of the Coptic Orthodox Oriental Church langauge contains chantings from Greek and Church Slavonic. I've seen copts icons on which the language used is Greek and Ancient Bulgarian / (Church Slavonic). Some of their prayers also contain many Greek words. One of the basis prayers Lord Have Mercy, I've heard in Coptic Orthodox Churches is Greek also. Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison – with meaning (Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy). Before his passing, I've heard Pope Shenouda was hospitalized in Egypt Hospital? (if my information source is not mistaken), then I heard he was sent in a special Hospital in America. I thought they have helped him in the American hospital, but it seems they couldn't as it was Jesus's will to call the Coptic Patriarch in his his heavenly kingdom. Pope Shenouda the IIIrd was the 117 "Pope" (coming from the latin Papa (Father)) of Alexandria. As I hope Shenouda the III-rd is hopefully now in the heavenly kingdom, let him pray for me and us the still living Christians on this sinful world … Here is the funeral Church service of the Pope Shenouda. I hope this will be a blessing for some dear Christian brothers or sisters.
We Christians, need the pope prayers as the times, when we live are very mixed and we need the great mercy of Jesus Christ our Saviour to be able to endure and by his mercy and promise to receive Salvation in the end of our lives.
Well I haven’t blog for a while so I decided to give a shot. And Glorify God! Again!At Monday I had my defense of the the Change Management project we handed in inMr. Vinke’s pigeon box. I trusted to God and prayed fervently. The Monday wentjust flawless Glory be to the Holy Trinity (The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit)! Amen!Everything went quite well during the Management Meeting. Each 3 who constructed my groupwere able to partake at the right moment. I was really calm and peaceful during the whole meeting!Cause of God’s mercy and power who was helping me and helping us. Our teachers who pretended to bea Managers in a company gave their point on our Change Management Plan. They tried to squeezeus with unfortable questions. Happily we had a reasonable answers on most of them. What’s left now is to fix few minor things about the plan and then hand it in to the teachers.Afterwards I hope if everything is ok, each one of 3 of us will receive an individual task andwill start working on it. Am let me recall some memories from the day before. Max (a black guy),who happens to be my neighbor and a Christian also invited me to join his protestant presbetyrianChuch he attend. I accepted since I feel a need to be in the Church and the Orthodox Church missesme so much.. Well we went to a building with a hall in which the protestant Church gathered together.The reason I accepted to join that Church was that they preach in English there.I was quite stunned when I found out that the pastor is actually a female (a black one).They started with a sort of entry speech or at least it looked like this to me.The service continued as the pastor went out preaching. Oh boy, Oh boy what a preach it was,I couldn’t believe on my eyes. The pastor acted completely like a general she was screamingpassages of the Holy Bible, stressing out on some of the things. Blaming the pplthat they fail to understand the Bible she asked them that the ppl ask God for enligthmenton what this passages red. Then the service moved by as a few individuals were invitedto share testimonies of what God has done for them during the week.. A little laterthere was a sort of prayer session where everybody was praying with different prayer,it was like an uncontrolled crowd in which each one of them acted completely different.Some of them were screaming hysterically at moments I was scared to be honest.Then the pastor took the bottle of oil and started laying hands upon some of the pplof the Church, Oh God they were shaking falling down on the ground, screaming makinggrimaces, it was an awful things to see .. I was not aware if the people were pretendingor this is real. The pastor was Chasing away demons out of the ppl, or at leastshe told me later that this is what she does. It was such bad place to be I was eageringto be out of this place as fast as possible as the ppl (Church) acted like a sect.The Pastor wanted to lay hands on me either but I rejected the proposition with the words,”No, No, I’m Orthodox”. Later I tried to explain to some of the ppl my concernsabout what is wrong in this church according to me. And a woman (a real piggy one),started arguing with me with the arguments that I quote her here “i’m God”, was likeshit this guys are even blasphemous. Luckily some of the other members of the Churchcorrected the questionable lady that she is wrong although she was unwilling to acceptthe fact. Later I had a little chat with the pastor and her husband plus onemore lady. Let’s say that their belief was closer to the Faith reality than the rest.But still I was really shocked from the experience … I don’t know if they’re wrong or rightall I know and want is that God have mercy over them and me and guide us to know his truth completely.About today: Well let’s say a peaceful they it was, except the fact that one of the webservershad died. And was not acceptable for around an hour and a half. As soon as a colleagueinformed me I restarted the failed apache. I could say I haven’t done much from middaytill the early afternoon I spend in the University accompanied by Ina. We had fewtalks about stuff and so on and so on. When I came back “home” to the dorm.I worked a bit. I spend some time learning some english words in an effort to enrich my vocabulary.Since there is a Adobe Flash Player 10 for Linux for already a few weeks. I decided to installit on my laptop. Well it took me some time until I installed it correctly. Now I haveAdobe Flash 10 on my Debian machine! It seems this version of Flash includes a possibilityto use cameras with flash. I was curious about how does this new release of flash performscomparing to the old Adobe Flash 9. According to a Benchmarking made on Linux and Macit is said that Flash 10 tend to be less CPU hungry and in general peforms better than it’spredecessor. The whole article could be red on the here . Let me conclude that post with a cool thing. A friend of mine has referred me to the following “Virtual Barbershop” check it out here link . Be sure that you listen it on headphones otherwise you won’t be able to fully enjoy it! :)END—–
Today I made my general medical check-up. Now I’m waiting for the results I hope they would be fine. But ofcourse it’s up to God.
Today I had 2 hours of driving lessons from 8 to 10. Right after that I went to the medical clinic to make blood tests.
Thanksfully blood taking procedure was fast and painless, it was kind from my mother to address me an hour, so when I went to the clinic I went directly to the lab where they took a blood sample from me.
A little later we went to “Banicharnica” which is a common cheap fast breakfast place here in Bulgaria. And after that we visited few shops and Bought some clothes. Now after a while I’ll have to go to the “DSK” bank and send the rest of the money which I owe for my room in the hostel in Holland.
And towards evening I have one more driving lesson. Tomorrow it’s my driving practical exam. It’s up to God’s will if I pass or fail. So I hope that God would be mercyful and send his word and grant me that exam, because I know by the word of Christ that without his divine mercy we alone can’t do anything.
It’s such a pain into my heart. Yesterday I and Mitko was walking down to see how is in Mino’s coffeewhen we met a beggar actually I have seen this man a lot of times he is 37 … now he even broke hisarm. It hurts when I remember him. We talked a little with him and as I understand he is a ProtestantChristian … he is so young and It hurts I really hope God Almighty would do something for this man… he is an alcoholic, but in everything he speaks he is searching for truth .. He told me a partof his story he used to have a family and children but his wife divorced him and 2003 or 2004 andtook him everything he has since then he is on the street. For 3 years he is looking like an old anddying man he said he sleeps under a balcony and even when he gains some money begging there areguys who came and rob him … Today he said he haven’t eat food for 2 days and he is still not hungry ..I tried to speak with him telling him God can get him out of living on the street but he said healso wants but it’s not God’s will to have a living place I hope this is not true.I really Pray and Beg to God and hope the Lord would have mercy over this man.END—–
Today in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate the great miracle of our saviour Christ appearing to st. Apostle Thomas, who failed to believe to the rest of the holy apostles that they have seen our saviour alive.
Thomas wanted said that he won’t belief if he doesn’t touch and see the incorruptable risen body of our saviour Jesus.
Our Lord by his great mercy has appeared once again to the pupils dinnering with them. Thomas was with the teachers and the door was locked (as the fear of persecution for Christ’s testimonial was among the aposltes). Suddenly our Saviour entered the room where all the pupils were gathered through the locked door (a Glorious miracle inconceivable for our minds).
As the Lord knew about Thomas weak belief and his disbelief in his prophecised Resurrection in the third day, when Christ entered he has addressed Thomas and told him to come forth and see and touch his wounds and see that a spirit has no bones and flesh, (obviously Thomas erroneously thought that the resurrection from the death would be in spirit and no physical body will be present (this kind of belief today is also wide-spread inside many heretical christian groups)). The Lord continued on and told Thomas, “Thomas you have seen and believed, now blessed is those who haven’t seen me and believed”!
Here is part of the daily troparion:
Touch my rib with a hand, Thomas, speaks Christ, and come and touch (feel) the scars from the nails.
With faith do test it, and be a believer and not a non-believer. Thomas has touched with a finger to the Master and loudly shouted:
"You are my Lord and my God, most merciful Glory to you!"
This Sunday is also the day marking the end of the bright week of the Resurrection. Let we all the Orthodox Christians be a believers as Thomas and be blessed in accordance to our saviour’s word, as we haven’t seen the Lord’s Risen glorified body as Thomas and the rest of the holy apostles did.
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