Christ is Born ! – Image Source: Holy Cross Monastery
Happy Nativity Christ was born 2022 years ago ! I wish a happy Nativity (Christmas). ILet with the birth of Christ, his light and eternal dominion is born in us and lights us, as the star lighted the Magis who followed the Christmas star.
I wish my dear readers Peace, Love, Hope, Faith Good spiritual and bodily health and God's mercy by the prayers of the Holy Mother of God.
Saint Alexander Nevsky Largest Cathedral, Sofia Bulgaria. Tallest (53 m) and largest (by area and volume) cathedral in the Balkans and one of the 3 largest Eastern Orthodox Churches in Europe.
I wish you also a Happy New 2022 year ! Let the new year bring you new power to fight evil and do more good. Let the new year be peaceful, full of Grace and kindness to each of my dear readers ! Let the new year bring you more wisdom and understanding on everyone's life destination and bring you understanding on what is the proper things to do that would bring more joy and for our family, colleagues at work and people who surround is over the coming 12 months time.
Let each those who were sorrowful become joyful, those who hurted, get healed and those who worked hard find fruits out of their hard labor. Let those who hunger find food and those who are in pain find relief ! Use your obtained knowledge wisely and not only work on the mind but work on the soul so they both become better !
Many of us today in the world who are baptized and members of the Church or do at least accept the Christian principles deeply routed in most of the Civillized developed workd tend to excuse themselves for not being good and doing the righteous things, thinking it is hard to stand for the christian principles and norms in a general antichristian atmosphere pointing it as a reason to not follow the guidance recommendations of the Church.
However we should not excuse ourselvse with the circumstances or the Church clergy who seems to us to not follow properly the spiritual vows. We should not excuse with time we're living in as it is reflected in perfect examples in the spiritual life of the saints and the practice of monks, who always have the golden rule to not excuse themselves for anything in the world for not following Gods perfect will and predestination in the good.
Lets look at the first Christians who lived, did their life was easier or more favourable than today for confessing the faith ? Even materially if we think at the times back then most people were poor, they have attained everything they had with a hard labour and was busy 24/4 / 7 days a week, there was no medicine for almost nothing except few herbal treatments, there was no dentist, no electricity and no transport. The doctors who can help at times of sickness were few, in the beginning of Christianity, it was prohibited to be Christian and being a Christian was a sure sentence for death sooner or later, not to mention that emperors and the powerful of the day were requesting from people obedience in anything they say and slavery was popular and even many much more than today lived all their live in slavery both physical and spiritual (as most people did not have the chance to hear the Graceful words of the Holy Gospel). Priests were scarce, there was practiculally no education and there was no easy way to produce and keep information, paper was not there. Having a book was only possible for few of the richest people who were the top layer of society. The few knowledgable who can read or knew solution to the innumerable problems of man were considered nobles (Elders / wise men) had been often wanted and scarce as well as kept near the "top management" people who governed society society – kings, emperors, governors or amy man. This is rawly how the world looked back then. Even though that people both Christians and non Christians had been more stronger in spirit and had been unshakable in their decisions for confession their life credo.
Those old nobles have been divided generally speaking into two categories the fraudants: Wizards (whose wisdom was received by the demons)
Second truthful ones Servants of God the prophets the righteous, the Jewish priests who confessed truely the One True God, the saints and other gifted people by God.
The most likely location of holy relics of Prophet Daniel Tomb of Daniel at Susa, Iran
Among the truthful ones perhaps most significant for elevating the humanity from the worst to perfect are the prophets, who has the revelation from God directly from God, to be leaders and examples for perfection of the religion, moral and political life for the Old Testamental choosen people the Jews and respectively after Christ's crucifix the Christians who has held their place as the true choosen children of God and through them for the gentile.
Today we celebrate the memory of one of the supreme prophets who has lived in world for all ages – Saint Prophet Daniel his name is delivered from Jewish and means "God (El) is my judge".
Daniel and the Stone Slavonic Icon (Bulgarian ?)
Prophet Daniel is the biblical hero of the Book of Daniel who interprets dreams and receives apocalyptic visions. His book is one of the most notable prophetic book in which in a hidden way it is said what is expecting the world until the end of the times.
The Prophet Daniel appears in the Old Testament in the Book of Daniel as a captive carried away to Babylon by order of Nebuchadnezzar after the fall of the kingdom of Judah during the sixth century before Christ. His ministry as a prophet came late in his life. He is commemorated by the Church on the December 17.
While remaining loyal to his faith in the one God, Daniel attained a high position of the court of Nebuchadnezzar and was known for his skill in the interpretation of dreams (Daniel 1:17 and 2:14) and of mysterious handwritings on the wall. He is included in the Septuagint among the prophets and was referred to by Christ as a prophet in Mark 13:14 and in Matthew 24:15. The precise time and circumstances of Daniel's death are not recorded. By tradition his age at death was near 100 years. A number of places have claimed to be his place of burial, including Susa in present day Iran, Daniel's Tomb in Kirkuk in Iraq, as well as Babylon, Egypt, and Tarsus.
He is a descendant of Jude's knee, he was descending of noble rich family, presumably he might have descendent even from king's line an evidence for that is the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II, after the conquest of Jerusalem in (year 607 B.C.) give an order to select the best and most educated and intelligent from the captured jews with the goal to learn the Chaldean language and receive education, and prepare for a government service.
These young man has been put into many temptations as the custom of the chaldean civillizations was pagan and contradicted the jewish. Four of the chosen ones were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (who as an attempt to change the mindset and are identity of the ones and distant them from their original jewish mindset, were renamed with the Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah even though the babylonization attempts of their identity, have shown severe firmness and continued to follow the Jewish Law of Moses.
As they were part of the kings palace courtiers, they lived surrounded by luxurity, they did not forget God's law diligently they prayed and eat as food only bread and fruits, refusing any food given by the Kings table as this food has been consecrated to the pagan idols the babylonians were worshipping.
The good God seeing the perseverance in goodness of the youngsters and their fortitude in confession of truth and strict follow the Mishrah (the law of the jews) gifted them with amazing abilities to understand visions and dreams.
Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, late 3rd century/early 4th century.
At the beginning the four were not among the famous ones in the babylonian kingsdom, however they became famous as the king has called them to interpret a troubling dream he had – a dream the king immediately forgot. Noone among the wise mand and wizards couldn't neither tell the kings dream nor tell what it meant thus, by God's providence the 4 ones whose fame continuously grow in kingdom were summoned and Daniel could interpret the kings dream and the meaning of it. The king out of amazement decided for future to always council the the 4 God people, as he saw their wisdom exceeded the wisdom of the other liege in the kingdom. Daniel and his 3 friends were tested by the fire, as they have been thrown in fiery furnace fire, as a punishment for their rejection to obey a Golden pagan idol statue as god, breaking the king's decree.
Icon Source: Pinterest
In the burning enormous fire the king was amazed to see not 3 but 4 people (the fourth one was an Angel of God who was protecting them). The fire not only did not damaged them even though it was all throughout their body but did not even burn the clothes or the hairs on them.
Prayer of the Three Holy Youths known in Church as "The Song of Daniel"
The Prayer of the Three Holy Youths is a component of the biblical Book of Daniel. It is a segment of a larger component called The Prayer of Azariah and the Prayer of the Three Holy Youths which. although part of the Septuagint text, is considered by Protestants as part of the Apocrypha rather than a fully canonical part of Scripture, and so appears in most English-language bibles as a seperate section. If included within the larger text of Daniel, it would appear in the third chapter of between verses 23 and 24.
In Orthodox Christian worship, the prayer is the basis of the seventh and eighth biblical canticles sung at Orthros. Although the text of the canticles are generally not read in contemporary practice, the hymns sung as part of the canon reference the theme of the Three HolyYouths. At Vespers of Holy Saturday, the text of the prayer is heard as part of one of the fifteen Old Testament readings prescribed for that day. In Byzantine practice, the closing refrains to each verse "bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever" are chanted elaborately.
The song constitutes a hymn of thanksgiving to God for deliverence from the fiery furnace into which the three young men, Ananias, Azarias and Misael (also known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) had been cast by the Persian king Nebuchadnezzar. They were cast into the furnace for refusing to worship a golden idol that Nebuchadnezzar had created. However, an Angel of the Lord entered the furnace and protected the three young men. In liturgical practice, the event is seen to presage the Resurrection of Christ, thus its inclusion in the canon.
The Abingdon Bible Handbook (ISBN 0687001692) suggests that the Prayer was based on an earlier composition and was added to the existing text of Daniel sometime in the second or first century B.C.
The Song of the Three Holy Youths
Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: thy name is worthy to be praised and glorified for evermore: For thou art righteous in all the things that thou hast done to us: yea, true are all thy works, thy ways are right, and all thy judgments truth. In all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon the holy city of our fathers, even Jerusalem, thou hast executed true judgment: for according to truth and judgment didst thou bring all these things upon us because of our sins. For we have sinned and committed iniquity, departing from thee. In all things have we trespassed, and not obeyed thy commandments, nor kept them, neither done as thou hast commanded us, that it might go well with us. Wherefore all that thou hast brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast done to us, thou hast done in true judgment. And thou didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful forsakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most wicked in all the world. And now we cannot open our mouths, we are become a shame and reproach to thy servants; and to them that worship thee. Yet deliver us not up wholly, for thy name's sake, neither disannul thou thy covenant: And cause not thy mercy to depart from us, for thy beloved Abraham's sake, for thy servant Issac's sake, and for thy holy Israel's sake; To whom thou hast spoken and promised, that thou wouldest multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that lieth upon the seashore. For we, O Lord, are become less than any nation, and be kept under this day in all the world because of our sins. Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before thee, and to find mercy. Nevertheless in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted. Like as in the burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after thee: for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in thee. And now we follow thee with all our heart, we fear thee, and seek thy face. Put us not to shame: but deal with us after thy lovingkindness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies. Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord: and let all them that do thy servants hurt be ashamed; And let them be confounded in all their power and might, and let their strength be broken; And let them know that thou art God, the only God, and glorious over the whole world. And the king's servants, that put them in, ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood; So that the flame streamed forth above the furnace forty and nine cubits. And it passed through, and burned those Chaldeans it found about the furnace. But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven; And made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them. Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed, God in the furnace, saying, Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. And blessed is thy glorious and holy name: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou in the temple of thine holy glory: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever. Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the cherubims: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever. Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and above ail to be praised and glorified for ever. O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever, O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever, O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: bless and exalt him above all for ever. O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O let the earth bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye things that grow in the earth, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye mountains, bless ye the Lord: Praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye fowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O Israel, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever: far he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace and burning flame: even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us. O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious: for his mercy endureth for ever. O all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, praise him, and give him thanks: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Daniel and the Lions Den
Daniel was also thrown at another time in a Den hole with Hungry Lions (a typical fun for Romans usually the victim was a very dangerous criminal), however in adverse to the well known natural laws instead of cutting him into pieces eating him the Lions started licking the legs of Saint Prophet Daniel.
The Grace of God in Holy Prophet Daniel restoring the original Lions nature of grass-feeding animals as they were. The abundance of Grace of the Holy spirit of the Lions turned them to treat the prophet as Cats would their beloved master.
Daniel and the Lions (Book of Daniel 6:16-24)fresco of catacomb of Saint Marcellinus and Peter in Rome
Daniel and his friends, even though the paganism has followe their faith and establishment of the fathers, even though the hardship. How sad it is that today many of us are excusing with the time and the situation or encirclement as a reason to not follow the prescription spiritual cures of the Church (The holy mysteries, Confession, Repentance, Fasting and Holy Communion).
No ! We should not excuse ourselves with the situation and time of living. Are the first Christians lived in more benevolent world and did this stopped them from following Christ's teachings strictly and go for a martyrdom to them following the bright examples of the prophets ?
Church Troparion sung on Church service (Tone 2)
Great are the accomplishments of faith, for the Three Holy Youths rejoiced in the fountain of flames as though in the waters of rest; and the prophet Daniel appeared, a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep. So by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!
Kontakion sung on Church service (Tone 6)
You did not worship the graven image, O thrice-blessed ones, but armed with the immaterial Essence of God, you were glorified in a trial by fire. From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying: Hasten, O compassionate One! Speedily come to our aid, for You are merciful and able to do as You will.
Troparion of Saint Daniel and the three Jewish Youths Feast sung in Church (Church Slavonic)
Today 17 of December, we celebrate prophet Daniel and the the three Jewish youths Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were chosen to serve the worldly emperor, but they preferred ofthe One God and be God's choosen people than to choose the temporary world glory.
Let us also follow the example of saint Daniel and the three Youths, and follow the Gods revelations, the divine revelation moral law nevertheless of the environment and the circumstances, because God shows mercy to those who love him and his laws.
Let by the Holy Prophets Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah God have mercy on us all the sinners ! Amen!
Text Translated from Bulgarian from Father's Karamihailev Preach (A Priest in Bankia's Church Saint Cyric and Julita) with inclusions
Historical and other references used:
1. The Holy Bible also briefly mentions three other individuals of this name: The Book of Ezekiel (14:14, 14:20 and 28:3) refers to a legendary Daniel famed for wisdom and righteousness. In verse 14:14, Ezekiel says of the sinful land of Israel that "even if these three, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness."
2. In chapter 28, Ezekiel taunts the king of Tyre, asking rhetorically, "art thou wiser than Daniel?" The author of the Book of Daniel appears to have taken this legendary figure, renowned for his wisdom, to serve as his central human character. 3. The Book of Ezra (8:2) mentions a priest named Daniel who went from Babylon to Jerusalem with Ezra. 4. The First Book of Chronicles (3:1) mentions a son of David called Daniel.
5. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Prophet_Daniel 6. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Prayer_of_the_Three_Holy_Children 7. Orthodox Church Service Liturgical Books (Chasoslov) 8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel 9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_(biblical_figure)
The Venerable Filothea (Filotea) is born in the Byzantine city of Polivot in (Southern Thrace). She was a fruit of a continous prayers of her parents. Received a good education for the time and reached adulthood, her parents give her for a bride (in arranged marriage against her will) which was a standard practice of its time. Even merrying using her enormous wisdom she was able to persuade her husband to live vestal life (the marriage was not consumed). In relatively short years her husband passed away. She has moved to a Insland nearby the close lake, built a small hermit cell hut and prayed and fasted incessantly living a a holy hermit life in solitude, night vigils, tears and repentance and stillness. Because of her zealoutry God has given her the Grace of Miracle working prayers and the wisdom to teach. A well known spiritual persons, cleargyman, priests, deacons and people come to her to hear her graceful words and councils as well as to receive a healing through her holy prayers.
Cause of her absitence of food and sleep and praers all over the clock she lost body weight, forseeing her death she has presented herself to the Lord on 7th of December (the exact year of her death and the age are unknown, presumably she lived somewhere in the XII century). Her holy relics turned to be incorruptable (a sign for immerse holiness, among with wonder working healing miracles were considered some of the conditions for considering a deceased person a saint – for more on inccorruptability of saint relics check out my previous article here).
In the beginning of XIII century her holy relics were solemnly carried with honor from Polivot to the Capital of Second Bulgarian Empire Tarnovo by King Kaloyan. There her holy relics stayed by God's great providence for 200 years, being visited by the whole Christiandome for veneration.
After the fall of Bulgaria under the Ottoman yoke (year 1393). Probably to save the holy relics from destruction, they were taken to the far North Bulgarian borders in the Fortress of Bdin (today city of Vidin) and after staying for a while once the fortress was taken over by Mohameddans, taken a by the Serbs, and later Wallachs (todays Romanians) has taken the relics from Serbs, once the Serbian lands were invaded.
Currently her holy relics are present the old Wallachian Capital Curtea de Argeș (near river of Argeș).
Holy Relics of Saint Filothea, one of the most famous places for Christian veneration in Romania (Saint Demetrius of Besarabia – another Bulgarian saint, Saint Filotea, and Saint Petka of Bulgaria are among the most venerated saints in Romania today)
The main source we have for the living of Saint Filothea (Filotheus) is written by Saint Patriarch Euthymius of Tarnovo Bulgaria (born circa 1325, died c.1402 / 1404). It is a very long document describing a lot of interesting details about Saint Filothea's healing miracles after she prayed with crying to the Lord even before she died. The miracle healings, chasing out of demons and restoration of eye sight and other glorious things continued even after she passed out to Christ to multitudes of people who prayed in front of her relics with faith.
Saint Patriarch Euthymiuus of Tarnovo, the main source author for today's Filoteas Living
During her life she spoke to the people coming to her a lot of his sacred methodical words. She told them before her death:
"The time has come for me to leave here, so I thought it right to remind you of the traditions and decisions of the Orthodox faith by the Holy Apostles and the Divine Fathers. You know that the Orthodox faith is the head of our lives. In your efforts to give it to us pure and immaculate, the Holy Apostles suffered various kinds of death. , and to keep the church traditions unshakable, and not to waver here and there from different winds.
However, the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for her and did not allow his Church to be completely destroyed. But he gave her help, and fate led her to victory. I, the poor, have been brought up in piety since my childhood, and I received it from my parents as a precious treasure. Therefore, as a holy peak in the Church, I ask you not to forget the tradition of the Holy Prophets and Apostles, as the great apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: and others to learn! " (Tim. 2: 2)
You deserve to hold the true faith and not listen to pagan fables at all. They can rebuke us a thousand times, they can insult us a thousand times, but a lie will never defeat the truth, nor will malice prevail over wisdom. For, they reduced the name of the Deity in the creation, in men – oh wickedness! – in trees, in stones, cats, dogs, and are not ashamed to think that creation came into being by itself, and do not understand, the unthinking, in their evil wickedness and wisdom, that everything was brought from non-being into existence by one true God, Who created heaven and earth and everything visible and invisible. And the gods, who did not create the heavens and the earth, may perish! (Jeremiah 10:11). Let those who make them and who hope in them be like them! (Ps. 113:16; 134:18). Therefore the Gentiles were deceived, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Considering themselves to be wise, they proved foolish, and changed the glory of one God in the likeness of quadrupeds, reptiles, and birds (Rom. 1: 21-23). Let the wretched see where the celestial bodies and earthly beings in the air and water came from, and most of all where the even more primitive came from – heaven and earth, air and aquatic nature! Who mixed and divided them? What is their communication with each other – separation and consent? Who moves and leads them? How does one element, which is contrary in nature, run away with another harmlessly in the fullness of one world? How do they exist in agreement without consulting and talking? All this is the work of divine providence, and they left the Creator and honored and served creation instead of the Creator (Rom. 1:25) and wander in vain and rage against our pious faith and against pious Christians, to whom they impose ruthless torture and force them to renounce the sweet name of Christ.
You do not pay attention to their threats, even if they lead you to the torturous wheels, to the boiling cauldrons, to the sword or fire, do not be afraid of their horrors! (Isa. 8:12, 70s). Another life and another age that awaits us awaits us, where the prophets rejoice, the apostles rejoice together with the figures of the Venerable Lent, with the angels and archangels, with the martyrs and all the saints. Always think this, write this in your hearts! Take care of yourself and the whole flock, among which God has appointed you shepherds and teachers (Acts 20:28), in order to keep yourself and them pure and undefiled!
Everything in this world will be beautifully and habitually scattered like dust and forgotten, only virtue lasts forever and ever. Therefore, try to keep yourself clean and to lead the entrusted flock to lively pastures, so that the Lord of all, seeing this diligence of yours, may reward you with a reward worthy of your labors and make you worthy of His kingdom! "
Romanian Contemporary Icon of Saint Filothea
A high-ranking and famous man named Navkratius, from the city of Amoria, was appointed by the then king to be the governor of Greece. It happened to him to fight the godless Agarians (The Turks), and after the two sides fought, by the unknown destinies of God, his whole army was defeated: some were killed, and others were captured and taken to Sicily. Along with the others, a stratilat (army commanded) was captured, but his name was Artavan, from the town of Philomelia. Taken away by the ungodly, they were imprisoned in a gloomy dungeon and guarded with great care. Thus detained there, they were perplexed as to what to invent and what to do. And overwhelmed with grief, they called for the help of Almighty God and His loved ones.
Then Artavan remembered St. Philothea and began to tell them about her glorious miracles and that she had received the gift of healing various ailments and diseases. As he listened to Stratilat Navkratius, his heart burned and he began to call for her help. And because he was filled with divine desire and was inflamed with fervent faith, he could not wait to hide it for a long time, but he quickly got up and raised everyone to earnest prayer, shedding tears. And all of them unanimously rushed to earnest prayer and called for the help of the God-loving Philotheus, saying:
"Christ-related slave, undefiled bride, pure dove, abode of the Holy Spirit, if you look mercifully on us humble and desperate, and free us from this terrible dungeon, we will be trumpets of your countless miracles, with a loud voice we will we preach, and we will spend the rest of our lives chaste and pure. O Venerable Mother, do not despise us, for we are bitterly distressed in this terrible and miserable dungeon! "
With such prayers they spent the whole night, with hot tears and heartache. When they had finished this all-night vigil and finished their prayer, they lay down to rest and give a little sleepy consolation to the body. Everyone fell asleep in their place, the reverend appeared to them and rejoiced their hearts with words of consolation, saying:
"Your prayer has been heard and God has not despised your sighs. So go in peace and return to your homes, thanking God for your gratitude, who frees prisoners from bondage!" (Ps. 67: 7).
They awoke with joy, the iron chains lay fallen from them, the dungeon was wide open. They believed the vision to be true, and immediately left the open dungeon, the guard lying as if dead, and fleeing freely. But before they went home, they first went to the island to pay their respects to the reverend. After fulfilling this obligation, each of them returned home and told all the glorious miracles of the Venerable Philoteia.
After this spread everywhere, and managed to enter every ear, a leper, full of faith and fervent zeal, quickly came to the church of the Venerable Mother, called for mercy and with diligent requests and frequent bows, long sleepless nights, fasting and torture tormented himself and he relentlessly spent in her divine temple. The Blessed One, seeing his long diligence and his bodily leprosy, which had almost ended, immediately bowed to mercy, appeared in the dream of the church cleric and ordered him to anoint him with oil from the holy chandel of the Immaculate Conception all over his body. When he awoke, the cleric quickly obeyed the order. and not many days later he sent him safe to his home to glorify and thank God, as well as to His close friend.
A lot of time passed and many miracles happened. The Greek kingdom was exhausted and its scepter holders found themselves in difficult circumstances. Finding the right time, the Romans stormed the Greek state and inflicted unbearable misery.
At the same time, the Bulgarian kingdom became very strong and powerful, and it encompassed and conquered all the surrounding areas. At that time in Bulgaria the tsarist scepter was ruled well and even magnificently by the pious and glorious tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207). Seeing the Greek kingdom completely exhausted, he attacked it manfully, and many cities and villages were captured and ruined. And having gathered all the good, he brought it to his glorious city of Tarnovo – the whole nation with all the animals moved to their country. As he did all this, he heard the miracles of the Venerable Philotheus, and his heart was greatly inflamed. Because it is usually a matter of the souls of the pious to show zeal for virtue and to show zeal in every way.
After conquering the whole region and subduing it to his authority, he came to the place where the venerable body of the reverend lay, filled himself with unspeakable joy, praising God and diligently thanking Him. He fell before the reverend relics of the reverend, flooded them with his tears, and reverently kissed them. He then ordered an all-night vigil and gave many alms to the poor. In the morning a divine liturgy was celebrated, which was attended by the king in great joy and merriment with all his army. And he made the good decision to bring the reverend's body to his country.
Holy Venerable Mother Filothea pray the Lord to have mercy on every suffering and needy, poor, sick, weak and low and all the people who remember your holy memory and summon your prayers !
Article Sources: 1. The Living of Saints by dr. Atanasii Bonchev and bishop Partenij 2. The Living of Saint Filothea written by Saint Patriarch Euthymius of Tarnovo
Today 17 of January in Bulgarian, Greek and Romanian Orthodox Church and those Churches which are using the so called New Church Calendar, celebrate the feast of our Holy Venerate Father Saint Anthony the Great. I have a special love or better to say saint Anthony has a special love for me. Saint Anthony is a father of the fathers and one of the most desert hermit monks. Saint Anthony was illiterate and poor in worldly knowledge but abundant in the science of sciences the knowledge of God. Today most of the society is completely educated and still most of people even among the highly educated rich in worldly knowledge are complete spiritual beggars. I myself am one of them. We're all filled with worldly wisdom, read and stay uneducated about the truth as the Holy Apostle says. But we have our Holy Father Saint Anthony by whose prayers still God shows mercy to us. Let by his holy prayers, we the highly literate of worldly knowledges attain faith and spiritual knowledge.
Saint Anthony The Great Troparion in Arabic – The father of desert fathers
Oh Holy Hermit Father Anthony pray the Lord our souls be saved !
The anime Living Story of Saint Peter and Saint Fevronia is a modern story remake of an ancient Church living of two bright Russian saints. The official movie genre is orthodox christian kids animation movie. The 14 minutes cartoon re-tolds the living story of St. Peter and st, Fevronia in a playful and entertaining way like for kids or youngsters. Nomatter the movie primary target audience is children, the cartoon is great to see for adults people as well :). The movie genre is orthodox christian kids animation movie. The plot is based on a true (historic record) story of two saints venerated each year across Orthodox Churches around the world.
The original story I watched was a Bulgarian translation from Russian. But since I found it to be so valuable, I look for a translated video and got one in youtube.Take 14 minutes break and watch it, I'm sure you will like it so much, that probably give it a second time glimpse alone or with your wife, children or girlfriend.
Unfortunately, the english title is mis-translated as it says "Tale" and not "Story" and there is difference in meaning between this two words. It is not tale as tale is made up story and this is not a made story but a story based on the two saints who lived in the end of 12 and beginning of the thirteen century. Here is in short the real Church living: The two saints were living in Murom Russia. Peter was prince and Fevronia a poor maid a daughter of a beekeeper who made his family living by collecting wild honey in the forest.
Prince Peter was striken by a severe sickness and in a vision it was revealed to him, that the only one that can cure him is Fevronia (a village maid living in the village of Laskovo Russia. The prince went to her and since he saw she is a pious, good and wisdom rich maid promised her, if she manage to heal him to take her as a bride to his place. By her warm prayers to God and herbs, Fevronia succeeded in healing the prince sickness. Being fully restored st.Peter changed his mind and wanted to break his promise to marry her, cause the young made not part of the aristocratic Russian society. He didn't yet reached his home and the sickness, came back. This time with a deep repentance, he came back to Fevronia and she cured him again. Then the prince merried her and made her a princess of Murom
However there love in Christ had to went through high temptations. Once the couple married, the prince proud boyars requested the prince to leave his new bride, as they didn't wanted to accept a simple girl as Fevronia will be governing them. Being in uneasy situation prince Peter prefered to leave his governing power and castle but to stay with his life. Together by boat by the near river Oka they left the kingdom. Soon after Gods wrath came Murom because of people's rebellion and the people requested the chased prince family to be restored to power. Pushed by the peasents, the boyars bringed back the couple to power. The two saints governed their kingdom with great wisdom, love and mercy to the people.
In their old age the decided to become monks in separate monasteries. St. Peter received his new monk name David and princess Fevronia took the nun name Evphrosia (Evfrosia). Even living a sepate monk / nun life the couple continued having a deep love to each other and asked God to take them from this earthly life on the same date. God answered their prayer granting them to depart this earth on the same day in the same hour! Like in life even in death people tried to separate them. Fevronia was put in a coffin in the nun monastery, where Peter was prepared for a monk funeral in the man monastery and they put them in separate graves. In the morning the graves were empty and their bodies were found buried together in one grave. People realized it is Gods will they are buried together and left them buried together. Today the incorruptable bodies of the two saints can be seen and venerated in Holy Trinity's nun monastery in the town of Murom Russia. St. Peter and St. Fevronia are considered patron of the Christian marriage, couple's love and family happiness. It is common that many young people are, asking for the two saints prayer intercession in front of God for getting a good spouse in life and good marriage.
Also the two saints are oftenly asked for prayer for improving a marriege bindings. The two saints feast day is like the Orthodox Antipode of the Roman Catholic feast of couples in love – St. Valentine.
As you see, St. Peter and St. Fevronia living is full of wisdom and true spirituality, and there is plenty we the modern disbelieving people can learn from it. Let God by the two saints holy prayers have mercy on us.
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