Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nine orders of Holy Angels

The nine orders of the angels are divided into three heirarchies, each of which is divided into three orders: the highest, the intermediate, the lower.

The first hierarch, the highest and closest to the Most Holy Trinity, consists of the SERAPHIM, CHERUBIM, and THRONES.

The God-loving six-winged SERAPHIM stand closer than all before their Creator and Mker, as the prophet Isaiah saw, saying: “And the seraphim stood around Him, each having six wings” (Isaiah 6:2). They ar fire-like since they stand before That One of Whom it is written: “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:29); “His throne was a flame of fire” (Dan 7:9); “the appearance of the Lord was like a blazing fire” (Ex 24:17). Standing before such glory, the seraphim are fire-like, as it said: “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire” (Ps 103:4). They are aflame with love for God and kindle others to such love, as i shown by their very name, for “seraphim” in the Hebrew language means: “flaming”.

After the seraphim, before the All-knowing God, Who resides in inaccessable light, stand the many-eyeed CHERUBIM in ineffable radiance. More than the other lower orders of angels, they are always radiant with the light of th knowledge of God, with the knowledge of the mysteries of God and the depths of His Wisdom; being themselves enlightened, they enlighten others. Their name “cherubim” in translation from the Hebrew language, means: “great understanding” or “effusion of wisdom”, because throught the cherubim wisdom is sent down to tohers and enlightenment of the spiritual eyes is given for the seeing of God and knowledge of God.

Thereafter stand the God-bearing THRONES (as St Dionysius the Areopagite calls them) before Him Who sits on the high and exulted throne, being named “thrones” since on them, as on inctellectual thrones (as writes St Maximus the Confessor) God intellectually resides. They are not called “God bearing” according to essence but according to grace and according to their office, as the flesh of Jesus Christ (as St Basil the Great writes) is called “God-bearing” according to essence since it was indivisibly united with God the Word Himself. The thrones are then called “God-bearing” not according to essence but according o grace, given for their service, which is mystically and incomprehensibley to bear God in themselves. Residing on them in an incomprehensible manner, God makes His righteous judgement, according to the word of David: “Thou hast sat upon a throne, O Thou that judgest righteousness.” (Ps 9:4). Therefore through them the justice of God is pre-eminently manifesed; they erve His justice, glorifying it and pour out the power of justice onto the thrones of earthly judges, helping kings and masters to bring forth right judgement.

Th middle hierarchy also consists of three orders of holy angels: the DOMINIONS, the VIRTUES, and the POWERS.

The DOMINIONS are so nemed because, being themselves free, they dominate over the rest of the angels which follow behind them. Having abandoned servile fear, as St Dionysius the Aeropagite says, they voluntarily and with joy serve God unceasingly. Also they send down power for prudent governing and wise management to authorities on the earth set up by God. Further they teach how to control the senses, how to subdue in oneself dissolute desires and passions, how to enslave the flesh to the spirit, and how to rule over one’s will and be above all temptations.

The VIRTUES, [the usual translation of the name of this order of angels as "virtues" is readily misleading if the old meaning of the word "virtue" as "power" or "force", especially as regards to divine beings (cf Oxford English Dictionary), is not remembered. Note of translator.] filled with divine strength, quickly fulfill the will of the All-High and Omnipotent Lord, strong and powerful. They both work very great miracles and send down the grace of miracle-working to God’s saints, who are worthy of such grace, in order that these may work miracles, such as heal every sickness and foretell the future. The holy virtues also help people laboring and those overburdened by the bearing of an obedience placed on them by someone – by which their names “virtues” is explained – and they bear the infirmities of the weak. They also strengthen every man in patience, so that he does not faint away in affliction but rather bears all misfortune with a strong spirit, courageously, and with humility, giving thanks for everything to God, arranging all for our benefit.

The POWERS are so called because they have power over the devil, in order to restrain the power of the demons, to repulse the temptations brought upon people by them, and to prevent the demons from harming anyone to the degree that they would wish. The powers strengthen the good ascetics in spiritual struggles and labors, protecting them so that they may not be deprived of the spiritual kingdom. They help thos wrestling with passions and vices to cast out evil thoughts and slanders of the enemy and to conquer the devil.

In the lowest hierarchy there are also three orders: the PRINCIPALITIES, the ARCHANGELS, and the ANGELS.

The PRINCIPALITIES are named thus because they have command over the lower angels, directing them to the fulfilment of divine orders. The management of the universe and the keeping of all the kingdoms and princedoms, of lands and all peoples, races and nations, is also entrusted to them since each kingdom, race and people have for themselves a special deeper and manager from the heavenly order called the principalities, for all their country. Further, the service of this angelic order (according to the explanation of St Gregory the Dialogist) consists in teaching the people to requite each person in authority according to his calling. Finally, the angels of this order raise worthy people to various honorable offices and direct them so that they take power not for the sake of their own gain and benefit, nor for the sake of love of honr and vain renown, but for the sake of honor from God, for the sake of spreading and augmenting of His holy glory, and for the sake of the benefit of their neighbors – as serving the general needs of all their subordinates.

The ARCHANGELS are called the great heralds of good news, announcing the great and most glorious. Their service (as the great Dionysius the Aeropagite says) consists in revealing prophecies, knowledge, and understanding of God’s will which they receive from the higher orders of angels and announce to the lower order, ie. the angels, and through them, to men. St Gregory the Dialogist says that the archangels strengthen people in the holy faith, enlightening their mind with the light of knowledge of the holy Gospel and revealing the mysteries of devout faith.

The ANGELS are the lowest of all the orders in the heavenly hierarchy and the closest to man. They aannounce the lesser mysteries and intentions of God and teach people to live virtuously and righteously before God. They are appointed to guard each of us who believe: they sustain virtuous people from fallen, and never leave us though we have sinned, but are always ready to help us, if only we ourselves want it.

All of the heavenly orders are also called by the common name “angels”. Although they have different names according to their situation and grace given by God (as seraphim, cherubim, thrones and the rest of the orders), yet all in general are called angels, because the word “angel” is not a denomination of essence, but of service, as it is written: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister” (Heb 1:14). But their service is different and not identical: each order has its own service; for the All-Wise Creator does not reveal the mystery of His design to all to the same degree, but from the one to the others, through the higher He enlightens the lower, revealing to them His will and commanding it to be as in the book of the Prophet Zachariah. There it is said that one angel, after conversing with the prophet, met another angel who ordered him to go again to the prophet and reveal the future fate of Jerusalem: “And behold, the angel that talked with me went forth and another angel went out to meet him, and said unto him, Run, speak to thes young man (that is, the prophet Zachariah), saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of mena and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord will be unto her a wall of fire round about” (Zach 2:3-5).

Deliberating about this, St Gregory the Dialogist says, “When one angel says to the other: ‘Run speak to this young man’ there is no doubt that certain angels send others, that the lower ones are sent, that the higher send” (St Gegory the Dialogist, Interpretation of the Gospels, #4).

We find exactly the same thing in the prophecy of Daniel, that one angel orders another to interpret the vision to the prophet. From this it is evident that angels of higher orders reveal the divine will and intention of their Creator to angels of the lower orders, that they enlighten them and send them to people.

The Orthodox Church militant, being in need of the help of the angels, celebrates the Assembly of all the nine angelic orders with a special supplication, as is fitting, on the eighth day of the month of November (Nov 21 OS) ie. the ninth month, since all these nine orders of angels will gather on the day of the Terrible Judgment of the Lord, which the divine teachers of the Church call the eighth day. For they say, at the end of seven thousand years will begin as if an eighth day, “When the Son of man shall in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him” (as the Lord Himself foretold in the Gospel – Matt 25:31). “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds.” (Matt 24:31), ie. from the East, West, North, and South.

The following is from the Minea of St Dimitry of Rostov

The Hand of God ( Father George Calciu )

My beloved, you ought to never despair, because in the worst circumstances of your life, the Lord will stretch out His hand to deliver you. I could speak to you of hundreds of instances in my life when everything seemed lost on the horizon, when I saw no hope for me, yet at that very moment God opened a door…. Countless times in my life, especially when I was imprisoned [in the gulag-tr. note], God delivered me form sin and from this world.

I remember when I was appointed professor at the theological seminary. It was during the summer time and in the fall, the Patriarch Justinian came to me at the seminary and said:

“Prepare yourself for the priesthood!”

I did not have enough theological training at the time, as I completed only the college training, not yet the Seminary, so I had some knowledge but I wasn’t too confident! When I reflected on how Saint John Chrysostom fled when he was to be ordained a priest, and on St. Gregory [the Theologian], who also wrote of his experience, I too feared! If these saints fled from the priesthood as been a great responsibility, who was I not too? Then the patriarch came to me the second time that fall and said:

“Thursday you’ll be made deacon!”

As that following Thursday was dedicated to the seminary; and I was troubled again, especially when he added:

”And on Sunday, you’ll be ordained priest.”

And it was so. I tried to pray…. but he said: “You’re ready.”

And I was ordained a priest.

Many [terrible] things have happened in life, which can trouble many people. But God freed me from all as if my guardian angel would have pulled me by the neck and deliver me from everything; from great spiritual temptations while imprisoned, threats, etc. They all passed over me like a cloud, which God drove away. And even though I was in prison with no hope to be freed, God delivered me from this also.

When I go to visit my village and meet with my fellow primary-school mates, there are only two or three left [alive], and they have not lived the gulag experience, and from my fellow high school colleagues, there are only ten left.

All these things that God works with us, we ought to see. We must see the hand of the Lord over us in all circumstances. Let’s not be carried away by temptations that we’re strong, or wealthy, or smart, or that we can accomplish much…

My brother, let’s not give into any temptation, but we ought to always say: “God willing it will do this and that” … And it [His] will be done. Do not imagine that chance, luck or fate governs your life, as our life is in the hands of God. Let us remember what our Savior said:

“Not even one hair from your head will perish without My knowledge.”

(Excerpt from: Father George Calciu’ Living Words: “To serve Christ means suffering”,

Παιδί δεν υπάκουει και αντιδρά

- Γέροντα, όταν το παιδί δεν υπάκουει και αντιδρά, πώς πρέπει να φερθούν οι γονείς;
- Για να μην υπάκουει το παιδί και να φέρεται άσχημα, κάτι θα φταίει. Μπορεί να βλέπει άσχημες σκηνές ή να ακούει άσχημα λόγια μέσα στο σπίτι ή έξω από αυτό. Πάντως τα παιδιά στα πνευματικά θέματα τα βοηθούμε κυρίως με το παράδειγμα μας, όχι με το ζόρισμα.

Περισσότερο μάλιστα τα βοηθάει ή μητέρα με το παράδειγμα της, με την υπακοή της και τον σεβασμό της προς τον σύζυγο. Αν σε κάποιο θέμα έχει διαφορετική γνώμη από εκείνον, ποτέ να μην την εκφράζει μπροστά στα παιδιά, για να μην το εκμεταλλεύεται ο πονηρός. Ποτέ να μη χαλάει τον λογισμό των παιδιών για τον πατέρα. Ακόμη και αν φταίει ο πατέρας, να τον δικαιολογεί.

Αν λ.χ. φερθεί άσχημα, να πει στα παιδιά: «ο μπαμπάς είναι κουρασμένος, γιατί ξενύχτησε, για να τελειώσει μια επείγουσα δουλειά. Και αυτό για σας το κάνει».
Πολλοί γονείς μαλώνουν μπροστά στα παιδιά και τους δίνουν άσχημα μαθήματα. Τα καημένα τα παιδιά θλίβονται. Αρχίζουν μετά οι γονείς, για να τα παρηγορήσουν, να τους κάνουν όλα τα χατίρια. Πηγαίνει ο πατέρας και καλοπιάνει το παιδί: «τι θέλεις, χρυσό μου, να σου πάρω;». Πηγαίνει και ή μάνα, το καλοπιάνει κι εκείνη και τελικά τα παιδιά μεγαλώνουν με νάζια και καμώματα και υστέρα, αν δεν μπορούν οι γονείς να τους δώσουν ότι τους ζητούν, τους απειλούν ότι θα αυτοκτονήσουν...
Όταν τα παιδιά βλέπουν τους γονείς τους να έχουν αγάπη μεταξύ τους, να έχουν σεβασμό, να φέρονται με σύνεση, να προσεύχονται κ.λπ., τότε αυτά τα τυπώνουν στην ψυχή τους. Γι' αυτό λέω ότι ή καλύτερη κληρονομιά, που μπορούν να αφήσουν οι γονείς στα παιδιά τους, είναι να τους μεταδώσουν την δική τους ευλάβεια...

YOGA!!! Δεν ασχολούμαστε με θρησκείες...και μετά φταίει η Εκκλησία.


«Δεν ασχολούμαστε με θρησκείες»
Οι υπεύθυνοι κέντρων όπου γίνονται μαθήματα γιόγκα στην Ελλάδα εκφράζουν την έκπληξή τους για τους «αφορισμούς» της Εκκλησίας. Όπως λένε, οι πολίτες που έρχονται στα κέντρα τους το κάνουν για λόγους υγείας. «Δεν ασχολούμαστε με καμία θρησκεία. Στη γιόγκα δεν μιλάει κανείς για μετενσάρκωση.

Μιλάμε για εισπνοές, τη στάση του σώματος, πώς πρέπει να τρώμε σωστά. Πράγματα που παραπέμπουν σε έναν υγιεινό τρόπο ζωής, τον οποίο μάλλον δέχεται και η Εκκλησία» λέει στα «ΝΕΑ» η Δέσποινα Λυκομήτρου που είναι υπεύθυνη του πολυχώρου Εssence Ηuman Space στου Ψυρή, όπου παραδίδονται και μαθήματα γιόγκα. «Για παράδειγμα η forrest γιόγκα που διδάσκεται εδώ έχει να κάνει μόνο με εισπνοές και την άσκηση του σώματος.

Και βέβαια, οι περισσότεροι άνθρωποι που έρχονται να κάνουν γιόγκα το κάνουν διότι αναζητούν μια άλλη ποιότητα γυμναστικής και όχι για να βρουν πνευματικό δάσκαλο...» προσθέτει.

Παρόμοια είναι η άποψη που διατυπώνει η κ. Βιβή Λέτσου που διατηρεί στην Αθήνα κέντρο στο οποίο γίνονται μαθήματα γιόγκα. «Αυτό που λέει η Εκκλησία ακούγεται στενοκέφαλο. Η γιόγκα γίνεται για σωματική και πνευματική ευεξία. Σκεφτείτε ότι εκατομμύρια Αμερικανοί κάνουν γιόγκα. Το κάνουν κυρίως για να αντεπεξέρχονται στο στρες» τονίζει.

                                 ΤΑ ΝΕΑ


Οι ινδουιστές είναι διαιρεμένοι σ εκατοντάδες αιρέσεις - σχολές που έχουν διαφωνίες αλλά και εχθρότητες μεταξύ τους. Όλες όμως αυτές οι σχολές υποκλίνονται στην Μπαγκαβάτ - Γκιτά (= Θείο τραγούδι), το «Ευαγγέλιο» του Ινδουισμού. Είναι ένα κείμενο που συναντιούνται όλοι οι Ινδουιστές. Ένα κείμενο που θεωρείται «ιερό» και «θεόπνευστο» απ΄' όλους...
Το κείμενο αυτό το μελετούν και το ψάλλουν ως λατρεία στο «θεό» Κρίσνα καθημερινά οι γιόγκι. Στο άσραμ του Σατυανάντα, στο Μακγκύρ της Ινδίας, κάθε πρωί επί μία ώρα έψαλλαν αποσπάσματα από την Μπαγκαβάτ Γκιτά, μ' ένα λατρευτικό τρόπο.
Τι είναι η Μπαγκαβάτ -Γκιτά; Είναι διάλογος, υπό μορφή ποιήματος. Κάτι σαν τη «θεογονία» το ποίημα του αρχαίου Έλληνα Ησιόδου, όπου περιγράφεται η «γέννηση των «θεών» του Ολύμπου: κάτι σαν την «Ιλιάδα» του Ομήρου, όπου με αφορμές τον πόλεμο της Τροίας «Θεοί» και ... άνθρωποι συμπλέκονται σε έχθρες και φιλίες.
Μέσα λοιπόν στην Γκιτά, κατά τη διάρκεια ενός πολέμου, λίγο πριν αρχίσει μία μεγάλη μάχη, ο «θεός» Κρίσνα αποκαλύπτει τη γιόγκα στο μαθητή και φίλο του Αρτζούνα. Ο βασιλιάς -μαχητής Αρτζούνα ρωτά και ο Κύριος (=Κρίσνα) δίδασκει. Αλλά ας δώσουμε το λόγο στο ίδιο το κείμενο που είναι αποκαλυπτικό. Όλα τα αποσπάσματα είναι από το βιβλίο Μπαγκαβάτ-Γκιτά.

Αφιερώνεται από το μεταφραστή στο γκουρού του Σουάμι, Gihanananda , του τάγματος Rainakrisna , πρόεδρο του Ramakrisna Vedanta Center του Λονδίνου και προλογίζεται ευμενώς από τον νυν πρόεδρο του Κέντρου Swami Bhavynanda .
Σύμφωνα λοιπόν με την Γκιτά, η γιόγκα δεν είναι ανθρώπινο εύρημα, ανθρώπινο δημιούργημα, όπως λόγου χάρη η επιστήμη. Η γιόγκα είναι «θεία» αποκάλυψη, δώρο, που ο «Κύριος της Γιόγκα», ο «Θεός» Κρίσνα προσφέρει στην ανθρωπότητα, μέσω του Αρτζούνα.
«Ο κύριος είπε: Στον κόσμο αυτόν από παλιά ένας διπλός δρόμος φανερώθηκε από μένα, ω αναμάρτητε. Του Γνιάνα-Γιόγκα για τους ανθρώπους της συλλογής και το Κάμμα Γιόγκα για τους ανθρώπους της δράσης» (Κεφ 3ο, στίχος 3/33).

Κι αλλού ο Κύριος (=Κρίσνα) λέει στο μαθητή του Αρτζούνα:
«Ο κύριος είπε: Αυτός ο ίδιος ο αρχαίος Γιόγκα σου φανερώθηκε σήμερα από Εμένα. Λάτρης μου είσαι και φίλος κι αυτό το μυστικό είναι πραγματικά υπέρτατο.» (κεφ.4ο, στίχος 3) .
Λίγα ακόμη από τα' αναρίθμητα αποσπάσματα της Μπαγκαβάτ Γκιτά θα μας πείσουν ότι η Γιόγκα είναι μια μορφή λατρείας με την οποία ο «θεός» επιθυμεί να λατρεύεται από τους οπαδούς του. Λέει λοιπόν ο Κρίσνα:
«Μα οι μεγάλες ψυχές ω Γιε της τιρίτχα, που έχουν θεία φύση, Εμένα λατρεύουν ,με απαρασάλευτη σκέψη, έχοντας γνωρίσει την πηγή των άρτων, την Άφθαρτη. Πάντα δοξάζοντας με και αγωνιζόμενοι με αποφασιστικότητα προσκυνώντας με, με λατρεύουν με αφοσίωση πάντα σε Γιόγκα».

H ετυμολογία της λέξης yoga πηγάζει από τη λέξη ''yug'' όπου στα σανσκριτικά σημαίνει ''ένωση''.

Αινιγματικός φιλόσοφος και συγγραφέας, ο Patanjali υπήρξε ο πιο γνωστός υπέρμαχος της Samkhya, μια από τις έξι κλασικές σχολές της Ινδικής φιλοσοφίας. Σχεδόν κάθε δάσκαλος της Γιόγκα έχει μελετήσει μέχρι κάποιο σημείο την πραγματεία του, τις Σούτρες (Yoga Sutras), που θεωρείται η πρώτη συστηματική παρουσίαση της Γιόγκα.

Η γιόγκα είναι μία αρχαία πρακτική τέχνη περίπου 3000 χρόνων, η οποία διατήρησε τις ρίζες της στην Ινδία και διαδόθηκε στη δύση από τον μεγαλύτερο σύγχρονο γιόγκι τον Παραμαχάνσα Γιογκανάντα, που γεννήθηκε στην Ινδία, στα τέλη του 19ου αιώνα και ξεκινώντας από την Αμερική, μετέδωσε τη γιόγκα σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο.

Η γιόγκα συνδέεται στενά με τη θρησκευτική πίστη και τις πρακτικές των ινδικών θρησκειών. Η επιρροή της γιόγκα είναι επίσης ορατή στο Βουδισμό, ο οποίος διακρίνεται για την αυστηρότητα, τις πνευματικές ασκήσεις, και τα στάδια έκστασης του.


. Σε ένα πιό πρακτικό επίπεδο, η Γιόγκα είναι ένα μέσο για την εξισορρόπηση και την εναρμόνιση του σώματος, του νου και των συναισθημάτων. Με την πάροδο του χρόνου αναπτύχθηκαν διάφοροι κλάδοι της γιόγκα όπως:

Χάθα (Yoga), Ράτζα (Raja), Γκιάνα (Jnana), Κάρμα (Karma), Μπάκτι (Bhakti), Κουνταλίνι (Kundalini), Κρίγια (Kriya) είναι μερικοί από αυτούς, οι οποίοι καλύπτουν τις ποικίλες ιδιοσυγκρασίες των ανθρώπων. Οι πιο διαδεδομένες πρακτικές της στο Δυτικό κόσμο, ιδίως κατά το δεύτερο ήμισυ του εικοστού αιώνα είναι η Χάθα, η Ράτζα, οι Τεχνικές χαλάρωσης και ο Διαλογισμός.



Η Χάθα Γιόγκα χρησιμοποιεί τις εξής τεχνικές αυτοελέγχου:

Κάθαρσης (Κρίγια)
Σωματικές ασκήσεις & στάσεις (Ασάνες)
Αναπνευστικές ασκήσεις (Πραναγυάμα)
Χαλάρωσης (Νίντρα)
Αποστασιοποιημένης αυτοπαρατήρησης (Πρατυαχάρα)
Συγκέντρωσης του νου (Νταράνα)
Διαλογισμού (Ντυάνα).



Η Γιόγκα έχει και κινδύνους, όταν δεν την εκτελεί κανείς σωστά.

Σαν τέχνη, η Γιόγκα χρειάζεται μέθοδο, τεχνική, καθοδήγηση από έμπειρο δάσκαλο, ατομικές προσαρμογές και διορθώσεις, σταδιακή βελτίωση και τακτική εξάσκηση.

Περιλαμβάνει ασυνήθιστες στάσεις και πολύ ακραίες θέσεις για τις αρθρώσεις.

Οι κίνδυνοι αυξάνονται όταν οι ασκήσεις γίνονται με ανταγωνιστική προσπάθεια και υπέρβαση των ορίων ασφαλείας.

Κακότεχνη Γιόγκα μπορεί να προξενήσει φθορά στις αρθρώσεις - ισχία, γόνατα, καρπούς - πόνους της μέσης, της πλάτης ή του αυχένα, αυξημένη υπερένταση και εξάντληση.

                             ΤΟΤΕ ΓΙΑΤΙ

Σεμινάρια για όλους τους εκπαιδευτικούς Πρωτοβάθμιας και Δευτεροβάθμιας Εκπαίδευσης

Η Yoga στην Εκπαίδευση

§ Για τους εκπαιδευτικούς της Δευτεροβάθμιας Εκπαίδευσης
Σάββατο 19 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009, ώρα 10.30 π.μ.
§ Για τους εκπαιδευτικούς της Πρωτοβάθμιας Εκπαίδευσης
Κυριακή 20 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009, ώρα 10.30 π.μ.

Ο Σχολικός Σύμβουλος φυσικής αγωγής Β΄ Δ/νσης Δ.Ε. Αθήνας
Γερμανική Σχολή Αθηνών

Είσοδος ελεύθερη
§ Εγγραφές κατά την άφιξη.
§ Θα δοθούν βεβαιώσεις συμμετοχής.


§ Η Yoga στην Εκπαίδευση
Για τους εκπαιδευτικούς Δευτεροβάθμιας Εκπαίδευσης
Ξένια Ντόβα, εκπαιδευτικός
Χρήστος Κωνσταντινίδης, εκπαιδευτικός
Μαρία Μαυρομμάτη, εκπαιδευτικός
Κανέλλα Περιβολάρη, εκπαιδευτικός
Παναγιώτα Ψυχογιού, εκπαιδευτικός
Νικόλαος Τριπόδης, Σχολικός Σύμβουλος

§ Η Yoga στην Εκπαίδευση
Για τους εκπαιδευτικούς Πρωτοβάθμιας Εκπαίδευσης
Ξένια Ντόβα, εκπαιδευτικός
Χρήστος Κωνσταντινίδης, εκπαιδευτικός
Σταμάτιος Τριπόδης, μοντέρ, τεχνολόγος μουσικής και ακουστικής
Κανέλλα Περιβολάρη, εκπαιδευτικός
Αλεξάνδρα Τεννέ, εκπαιδευτικός
Νικόλαος Τριπόδης, Σχολικός Σύμβουλος


Ξένια Ντόβα, εκπαιδευτικός φυσικής αγωγής, δασκάλα Hatha Yoga
Νικόλαος Τριπόδης, Σχολικός Σύμβουλος φυσικής αγωγής


10.30 - 11.00 Εγγραφές

11.00 - 11.30
§ Η φιλοσοφία της yoga και τα οφέλη της.
§ Η σωστή ευθυγράμμιση του σώματος.
§ Ο ρόλος της αναπνοής και της χαλάρωσης.

Hatha Yoga
11.00 - 13.00
Αναπνευστικές ασκήσεις (Prananayama):
§ διαφραγματική αναπνοή,
§ πλευρική αναπνοή,
§ θωρακική αναπνοή,
§ πλήρης αναπνοή (Ujjayi Pranayama).

Στάσεις (Asanas):
§ στην όρθια θέση,
§ στην καθιστή θέση,
§ στην πρόσθια στάση,
§ στην ύπτια στάση.

Βαθιά χαλάρωση (Yoga Nidra).

13.00 - 13.30 Αυτογενής χαλάρωσης (training autogeno) με σωματικές ασκήσεις.


Οι εκπαιδευτικοί που θα παρακολουθήσουν το σεμινάριο είναι απαραίτητο:

§ να φορούν αθλητική φόρμα και να έχουν γυμνά πόδια,
§ να φέρουν μαζί τους αθλητικές κάλτσες, ένα ελαφρύ φούτερ και μια πετσέτα μπάνιου.

Νικόλαος Τριπόδης
Σχολικός Σύμβουλος Φυσικής Αγωγής

Να μας πουν ξεκάθαρα τι πρεσβεύουν.

Why should a child be baptized as an infant ? ( Elder Cleopa )

There are some who say Baptism should only be given to adults because we must first have repentance and faith. Earlier I was asked to comment on this subject and recently found the teaching of Elder Cleopa on this topic.

The Elder begins his explanation by pointing out the precursors to Baptism found in the Old Testament. He writes,

There in [the Old Testament] we read how God appeared to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years of age and, among things, told him to circumcise all the men and to circumcise all the male children who would be born from that time on on the eighth day after their birth. As for him who would not be circumcised , he would perish (Gen 17: 10-14). We see, then, that God did not say to Abraham that children and youth should be circumscribed when they became adults... Some say the Baptism of babies is meaningless since they don't understand anything when they are Baptized. But what did Issac, Abraham's child, understand on the eighth day? Undoubtedly he understood nothing. His parents, however, understood. This is how it is with Baptism as well, as it is practiced in the Orthodox Church, since it is well-known that circumcision symbolizes Baptism in the Old Testament.
He gives another example of the Exodus from Egypt and the passage through the Red Sea which is also seen by Church Fathers as prefiguring Baptism. This is affirmed by Paul who says, "Moreover brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor 10:1-2). Moses had told the pharaoh , "We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds we will go." (Ex 10:9).
He then points out that on the day of Pentecost the Apostles received the Holy Spirit and preached to the people what the Spirit had tight them, telling them to repent and to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for "the promise is unto you, and to your children" (Acts 2:39).
Elder Cleopa says,

"For what promise? The promise of Baptism. Thus, the promise was for the children as well. When it is said that they were baptized, it does not say three thousand men and women were Baptized, but three sous and fouls, which means that among those baptized were children."He next presents examples of families who were baptized as recorded in the New Testament. Lydia with her whole family (Acts 16:14). The prisons guard who took Paul and Silias to his house who was Baptised with his whole family ( Acts 16:33). Then there was Crispus and his family (Acts 18:8), and Stephanos and his household (1 Cor 1:16).

He writes,

Jesus Christ likewise, made it clear that little children ought to be Baptized, for when they brought Him some children to be blessed by Him, and His disciples obstructed them, the Lord scolded them, saying: "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven; And He laid His hands on them, and departed hence" (Matt 19: 13-15). Hence , if the Lord calls children unto salvation from a young age, why would we obstruct them from receiving Holy Baptism?But how about the question of faith. Is it possible for children to be saved without faith?
The Elder responds,

"It is true that children are not capable of believing at the young age of their Baptism, but neither are they able to doubt or deny Christ. He is not saved who only believes, but he who first of all is baptized... While children do not have faith, they have godparents. These sponsors are adults who accompany the infants to Baptism and make the required confession of faith in their stead. Godparents are the spiritual parents of the children whom they baptize and undertake to guide them into a new life in the Holy Spirit... The priest conducts the Baptism based on the faith of the parents, the sponsors, and the other witnesses present.It is written in Scripture that the faith of a few can save others.
Here are examples given by Elder Cleopa,

"By faith the Roman centurion healed his servant (Matt 8:13). The servant did not believe, but on account of the faith of his master, Christ returned him to full health. Four people brought a paralytic tot he Savior: When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the also, Son, thy sons be forgiven thee (Mark 2:3-5)... On the basis of the faith of Jarius the Lord raised his twelve-year-old daughter (Matt 9:18). On account of faith of others, the Lord healed a dumb, demon-possessed man (Matt 9:32). On account of the faith of the woman of Canaan, the Savior healed her daughter, casting out the demon that possessed her (Matt 15:21). Likewise on the account of faith of a father, the Lord healed his epileptic son (Matt 17:14). These and many other testimonies from Holy Scripture make clear to us that on account of the faith of parents, and others who stand as witnesses at Holy Baptism, the Lord grants sanctification and salvation to the baptized children."We also see this practice from the early days of the Church, The earliest explicit reference to child or infant baptism is in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, about 215 A.D.: "Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them." (Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition 21:15, c. 215 A.D.)

We must also keep in mind that baptism marks the beginning of our Christian life, each of us who are baptized must continue daily to persevere in our faith until the end of our earthly life. As St. Paul says: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect... I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do... I press on toward the goal to win the prize..." (Philippians 3:12-14)

Elder Cleopa
Reference: The Truth of our Faith, Vol. II, 17-34

Being cognizant of death ( St. Luke Archbishop of Simferopol )

Before David became the King of Israel, he was a servant of King Saul. Since Saul knew that David would someday take his throne, he attempted to kill him. Once when his life was in danger, the Prophet David said to those who were his supporters: “I am only one step away from death.At one time I was almost dead.I hardly had a pulse and my heart almost stopped beating.But the Lord was merciful to me and I am still weak and I am able to speak to you only in a seated position.I wish to tell you something very important about this. I want to talk to you about being cognizant of death because it is very close to each one of us, as it was close to me last Saturday.Anyone of us can die suddenly at a time when it is unexpected.You should know that the lives of many people are ended abruptly.”

Remember always—engrave the name of the Lord in your hearts.Always remember this and do not ever forget it.When people prepare to go for a long walk or start a new chore, they gird themselves for the effort.And when they walk in the darkness of night they carry with them a lantern and this is very important because it must always light our way.

The same thing is true about our spiritual lives.We must gird ourselves and keep our lanterns lit.We must be untiring workers of God and we must struggle against Satan who tries at every turn to hinder us from reaching Christ. He tries to kill us with temptations.This is why the Lord Jesus gave us this command: “They encircled us while we had our lanterns burning.”

We must never forget that earthly life has been given to us so that we can prepare for eternal life. Our fate in eternal life will be judged and based on how we have lived our lives in this world.

You should be faithful to Christ.You should be faithful to the way of life He has shown you in the Book of Revelations written by John the Apostle and Evangelist.He tells us in that book: “Become faithful until death and you will be given the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:8).We must be faithful to God.We must serve God tirelessly every day, every hour and every moment of our lives.Our life is short, we cannot waste the few hours, days, and years living our lives aimlessly.We should always think about the hour of our death.

All of the holy ascetics always remembered the hour of their death.It was part of their daily prayer life.They even had human skulls in their cells to remind them of their own death.They would look at them with tears in their eyes knowing that they too would follow in their footsteps.They served God tirelessly and worked for the Lord just like St. Seraphim of Sarov did.They would remember every day the words of the 33rd psalm which is read at the vesper service: “The death of the sinners is evil.”Just like you, they also remember the following words: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 16:5).Sinners have a great fear of death and I have seen many examples of this in my life.But there is one particular incident that I witnessed forty years ago that made such a deep impression on me that I will never forget it.

At that time I was a provincial doctor and I was invited to the home of a very evil man.As I entered his house I was startled by the great deal of turmoil that I found there.People in the house were running all over the place.An old man was lying on a bed. His face was very red and as soon as he saw me enter the room he began to yell out at me saying: “Doctor, I beg you to save me.I am dying, I realize now that I will die.”

Where was this man before this moment in life?What was he thinking when he was terrorizing so many people during his life?What was he thinking when he was taking all the people’s money?Now death had arrived.It is here and it is too late now to say: “I am dying, and I realize that I will die.” He should have lived his life knowing someday that he would die so that he would not now be prepared for death.

Who is there in the world that does not fear death?Only he who follows Christ and lives by His commandments does not fear death because he knows the promises made by Jesus Christ in the Beatitudes: “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” (Mt 5:12).

The deaths of the saints were completely different from those of us who lack faith. St. Seraphim of Sarov died while kneeling in front of an icon of the Holy Mother to whom he always prayed.He fell asleep in the Lord on his knees for precious was his death in the eyes of the Lord.

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us: “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtakes you.”(John 12:35).While you are alive you still have the Light of Jesus Christ. In life you still have the ability to go to Church to hear the commandments of God and to hear the words of Scriptures.You should walk in that Light because when death comes, the Light will go out for you.This is so because beyond the grave, there is no remission of sins and you will receive your reward in accordance to the good deeds that you did in life.

Therefore, walk in the Light while you have the Light so that you will not be overwhelmed by the darkness, the eternal darkness of death.St. Paul the Apostle says: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
(2 Cor. 6:2).Now that we are living is the acceptable time for our salvation.Now, we should think about our salvation and to prepare ourselves for eternal life.That is what all Christians do, all those who love Christ.

Seventy years ago a doctor lived in St. Petersburg, Russia.His name was Gaaz.He had been assigned to serve the needs of those in jail.He had a very kind heart.He had a heart full of compassion and he loved all people.In his position as a doctor to those in jail, he did everything in his power to help these unfortunate people. He saw the prisoners being sent off to far away prisons in chains.He knew that they would be forced to walk thousands of miles until they reached the jails in Siberia and his compassionate heart went out to them.In order for him to feel their pain, he also wore chains on his feet and walked for hours around the yard of his home.When he was on his death bed, this holy man and physician said to the people around him the following miraculous words, words that all of us should keep in our hearts.“You should make it a priority in your lives to do good deeds for people.It is urgent for you to do this because death awaits all of us.Do not be frivolous in your lives.You should be faithful to Christ until death and God will give you the crown of life.”

The Prophet Isaiah said something which we also should remember andimprint it upon our hearts.“Be troubled you complacent ones; strip your lives bare, and gird sackcloth on your waists.” (Isaiah 32:11).

Tremble and remember death.You should always remember the time when you will leave this life and do not ever forget it.In order for us to have this mindset, and to follow Jesus Christ, we need the help of God.Without this help we will not be able to defeat the temptations of Satan.This is why we should ask God to send us Divine Grace.

Lord, have mercy on us sinners. Lord help us.

We should entreat Jesus like the idol worshipping woman did as you heard today in the Gospel reading.She was a Canaanite woman and when she saw Christ with His disciples she began calling after Him and entreating Him with the following request: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David, my daughter is severely demon-possessed.” (Mt. 15:20).But the Lord did not pay any attention to her and He silently continued his journey.The woman continued to entreat Him but He would not answer her.Finally His disciples said to Him: “Send her away, for she cries after us.” (Mt. 15:23).And the Lord answered: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” (Mt.15:24).

The woman continued to entreat Him. What did the Lord say to her?“It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” Mt. 15:26.And in response he heard an astounding answer filled with humbleness and compassion.“True Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” (Mt. 15:27), give me a crumb from your mercy.The Lord stopped when He heard this and said to her: “O woman, great is your faith.Let it be to you as you desire and her daughter was healed from that very hour.” (Mt.15:28).

Many of us live a life that is not consistent with the Christian message.Many of us are burdened with various sins.Many of us have forgotten the Word of God which says: “The sting of death is sin.” (1 Cor. 15:56).Death wounds the person who becomes a slave to sin.Then, if we areweak and if the garments of our souls are all black with sins aren’t we like the dogs?Shouldn’t we also shout unto Christ as the Canaanite woman did: “Lord, I am like a dog, have mercy on me!” “You have girded me with strength for battle and the lanterns are lit around me. Amen.”

St. Luke Archbishop of Simferopol

Prayer- (St. Theophan the Recluse)

St. Theophan the Recluse, On prayer, Homily 1 Written by Theophan the Recluse
Delivered 21 November, 1864
"On the feast day of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most-holy Theotokos, I find it timely to give you instruction in prayer - the main work of the temple. A temple is a place of prayer and arena of prayer's development. For us, entry into the temple is entry into a prayerful spirit. The Lord has the kindness to call our hearts His temple, where we enter mentally and stand before Him, ascending to Him like the fragrant smoke of incense. We are going to study how to attain this state.

Gathering in the temple, you pray, of course. And in praying here, you surely ought not abandon prayer at home. Therefore, it would be extraneous to speak to you about our duty to pray, when you already pray. But I do not think that it is extraneous in any way to give you two or three rules about how to pray, if not in the way of teaching, then simply as a reminder. The work of prayer is the first work in Christian life. If in everyday affairs the saying: "live and learn" is true, then so much more it applies to prayer, which never stops and which has no limit.

Let me recall a wise custom of the ancient Holy Fathers: when greeting each other, they did not ask about health or anything else, but rather about prayer, saying "How is your prayer?" The activity of prayer was considered by them to a be a sign of the spiritual life, and they called it the breath of the spirit. If the body has breath, it lives; if breathing stops, life comes to an end. So it is with the spirit. If there is prayer, the soul lives; without prayer, there is no spiritual life.

However, not every act of prayer is prayer. Standing at home before your icons, or here in church, and venerating them is not yet prayer, but the "equipment" of prayer. Reading prayers either by heart or from a book, or hearing someone else read them is not yet prayer, but only a tool or method for obtaining and awakening prayer. Prayer itself is the piercing of our hearts by pious feelings towards God, one after another – feelings of humility, submission, gratitude, doxology, forgiveness, heart-felt prostration, brokenness, conformity to the will of God, etc. All of our effort should be directed so that during our prayers, these feelings and feelings like them should fill our souls, so that the heart would not be empty when the lips are reading the prayers, or when the ears hear and the body bows in prostrations, but that there would be some qualitative feeling, some striving toward God. When these feelings are present, our praying is prayer, and when they are absent, it is not yet prayer.
It seems that nothing should be simpler and more natural for us than prayer and our hearts' striving for God. But in fact it is not always like this for everyone. One must awaken and strengthen a prayerful spirit in oneself, that is one must bring up a prayerful spirit. The first means to this is to read or to hear prayers said. Pray as you should, and you will certainly awaken and strengthen the ascent of your heart to God and you will come into a spirit of prayer.

In our prayer books, there are prayers of the Holy Fathers - Ephraim the Syrian, Makarios the Egyptian, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and other great men of prayer. Being filled with the spirit of prayer, they were able to up that living spirit into words, and handed it down to us. When one enters into these prayers with attention and effort, then that great and prayerful spirit will in turn enter into him. He will taste the power of prayer. We must pray so that our mind and heart receive the content of the prayers that we read. In this way the act of praying becomes a font of true prayer in us. I will give here three very simple instructions: 1. always begin praying with at least a little preparation; 2. do not pray carelessly, but with attention and feeling; and 3. do not go on to ordinary work immediately after prayer.

Even if prayer is common for us, it always demands preparation. What is more common for those who can read and write than reading and writing? However, sitting down to read or write, we do not immediately begin, but we calm ourselves before beginning, at least to the point that we can read or write in a peaceful state. Even more so preparation for the work of prayer is necessary before praying, especially when what we have been doing before praying is of a totally different nature from prayer.

Thus, going to pray, in the morning or in the evening, stand for a moment, or sit, or walk, and strive in this time to focus your thoughts, casting off from them all earthly activities and objects. Then call to mind the One to Whom you are praying, Who He is and who you are, as you begin this prayerful petition to Him. From this, awaken in your soul the feeling of humility and reverent awe of standing before God in your heart. As you stand piously before God, all of this preparation may seem small and insignificant, but it is not small in meaning. This is the beginning of prayer and a good beginning is half the work.

Having stood up in your heart, now stand before your icons, make a few prostrations, and begin with the usual prayers: "Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee. O Heavenly King…", and so on. Do not read hurriedly; pay attention to every word and let the meaning of each word enter into your heart. Accompany your words with prostrations. With this effort, the reading of prayers becomes pleasant to God and fruit-bearing. Pay attention to every word, and let the sense of each word enter into your heart; understand what you are reading and feel what you are understanding. No other rules are necessary. These two – understanding and feeling – have the effect of making prayer fitting, and fruitful. For example, you read: "cleanse us from every stain" - feel your stain, desire cleanliness, and ask it from the Lord with hope. You read: "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" - forgive all in your soul, and having forgiven everyone everything in your heart, ask for forgiveness for yourself from the Lord. You read: "Thy will be done" - completely give up your own will to the Lord in your heart, and honestly be prepared to meet everything that the Lord is well-pleased to send to to you with a good heart. If you read each verse of your prayers in this way, then you will be truly praying.

The Agony of Christ in Gethesemane

In order to facilitate the development of true prayer, take these steps: 1) keep a prayer rule according to the blessing of your spiritual father - not more than you can read unhurriedly on a normal day; 2) before you pray, in your free time become familiar with the prayer in your rule, fully take in each word and feel it, so that you would know in advance what should be in your soul as you read. It will be even better if you learn the prayers by heart. When you do this, then all of your prayers will be easy for you to remember and feel. There is only one final difficulty: your thoughts will always stray to other subjects, therefore: 3) you must struggle to keep your attention focused on the words of your prayer, knowing in advance that your mind will wander.
When your mind does wander during prayer, bring it back. When it wanders again, bring it back again. Each and every time that you read a prayer while your thoughts are wandering (and consequently you read it without attention and feeling,) then do not fail to read it again. Even if your mind wanders several times in the same place, read it again and again until you read it all the way through with understanding and feeling. In this way, you will overcome this difficulty so that the next time, perhaps, it will not come up again, or if it does return, it will be weaker. This is how one must act when the mind wanders. On the other hand it may happen that a particular word or phrase might act so strongly on the soul, that the soul no longer wants to continue with the prayer, and even though the lips continue praying, the mind keeps wandering back to that place which first acted on it. In this case: 4) stop, do not read further, but stand with attention and feeling in that place, and use the prayer in that place and the feelings engendered by it to feed your soul. Do not hurry to get yourself out of this state. If time cannot wait, it is better to leave your rule unfinished than to disturb this prayerful state. Maybe this feeling will stay with you all day like your guardian Angel! This sort of grace-filled action on the soul during prayer means that the spirit of prayer is becoming internalized, and consequently, maintaining this state is the most hopeful means of raising up and strengthening a spirit of prayer in your heart.

Finally, when you finish your prayers, do not immediately go off to any sort of work, but remain and think at least a little about what you have just finished and what now lies before you. If some feeling was given to you during prayer, keep it after you pray. If you completed your prayer rule in the true spirit of prayer, then you will not wish to quickly go about other work; this is a property of prayer. Thus our ancestors said when they returned from Constantinople: "he who has tasted sweet things does not desire bitter things". So it is with each person who has prayed well during his prayers. One should recognize that tasting this sweetness of prayer is the very goal of praying, and if praying leads to a prayerful spirit, then it is exactly through such a tasting.

If you will follow these few rules, then you will quickly see the fruit of prayerful labor. And he who fulfills them already without this instruction, of course, is already tasting this fruit. All praying leaves prayer in the soul - continual prayer in this manner gives it root, and patience in this work establishes a prayerful spirit. May God grant this to you by the prayers of our All-pure Mistress, the Theotokos!

I have given you initial basic instruction in the ways of raising up in yourselves a prayerful spirit, that is, how to pray in a way appropriate to the meaning of prayer - at home in the morning and the evening, and here in the temple. But this is not yet everything. Tomorrow, if God helps, I will teach you a second method. Amen."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ο Χριστός είναι νέα ζωή. ( Γέροντας Πορφύριος )

Ο Χριστός είναι νέα ζωή. Πως το λέω; Ο Χριστός είναι το παν. Είναι η χαρά, είναι η ζωή, είναι το φως, το φως το αληθινόν, που κάνει τον άνθρωπο να χαίρεται, να πετάει, να βλέπει όλα, να βλέπει όλους, να πονάει για όλους, να θέλει όλους μαζί του, όλους κοντά στο Χριστό.

Όταν εμείς βρίσκουμε κάποιονε θησαυρό ή ό, τι άλλο, δεν θέλομε να το λέμε πουθενά. Ο Χριστιανός όμως, όταν βρει το Χριστό, όταν γνωρίσει το Χριστό, όταν ο Χριστός εγκύψει μέσα στην ψυχούλα του και τον αισθανθεί, θέλει να φωνάζει και να το λέει παντού, θέλει να λέει για το Χριστό, τι είναι ο Χριστός.

Αγαπήσατε τον Χριστόν και μηδέν προτιμήστε της αγάπης Αυτού. Ο Χριστός είναι το παν, είναι η πηγή της ζωής, είναι το άκρον των εφετών, είναι το παν. Όλα στο Χριστό υπάρχουν τα ωραία.

Και μακράν του Χριστού η θλίψις, η μελαγχολία, τα νεύρα, η στενοχώρια, οι αναμνήσεις των τραυμάτων της ζωής, των πιέσεων, των αγωνιωδών, έτσι, ωρών. Όλα, ζούμε εκείνα εκεί της ζωής μας. Και πάμε εδώ και πάμε εκεί, και τίποτα, και πουθενά δεν στεκόμαστε. Όπου βρούμε το Χριστό, ας είναι μια σπηλιά, καθόμαστε εκεί και φοβούμαστε να φύγουμε, να μη χάσουμε το Χριστό. Διαβάστε να ιδήτε.

Ασκηταί, που εγνώρισαν το Χριστό, δεν ήθελαν να φύγουν από τη σπηλιά, ούτε έβγαιναν έξω να κάνουνε πιο πέρα θέλαν να είναι εκεί που αισθανόντουσαν το Χριστό μαζί τους. Ο Χριστός είναι το παν!

Γέροντας Πορφύριος Καυσοκαλυβίτης

Τι ζήτησα από το Θεό...

Ζήτησα από το Θεό...

Να μου δώσει δύναμη...
Κι Αυτός μου έδωσε δυσκολίες για να τις ξεπεράσω.

Του ζήτησα σοφία...
Κι Αυτός μου έδωσε προβλήματα να μάθω να λύνω.

Του ζήτησα οικονομική άνεση...
Κι Αυτός μου έδωσε νου και ικανότητα να εργάζομαι.

Του ζήτησα θάρρος...
Κι Αυτός μου έδωσε κινδύνους να ξεπερνώ.

Του ζήτησα αγάπη...
Κι Αυτός μου έδωσε προβληματικά άτομα να βοηθώ.

Του ζήτησα χάρες...
Κι Αυτός μου έδωσε ευκαιρίες να εκμεταλλευτώ.

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Creation (part 2) - Elder Ephraim of Vatopaidi

The greatest ecological disaster described in the Scriptures is the flood during Noah’s times; it took place because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6, 5). Man rebelled absolutely against God and against anything which had to do with his spiritual existence. Because of the prevailing wickedness those days, which was the result of man abusing his freedom, the Lord is forced to say: “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh” (Genesis 6, 3).

By ‘flesh’ it is meant ‘man’s carnal attitude, his beastly and full of passions life’. Thus the flood was not imposed by the Lord as a punishment but was caused by the comprehensive rebellion of mankind. There is a similar situation in the case of Sodom and Gomorra. In the conversation between Abraham and God, it is revealed that not even ten righteous people could be found in these cities, which would have aborted their destruction (Genesis 18, 20-33). However, in the case of Nineveh, peoples’ repentance annulled the city’s destruction (Jonah 3, 10). That is, man’s good intention cooperates with God’s will to shape history. The Lord is not the Judge, the Critic. We must not view the Lord through the prism of legal justice.

In the Old Testament we have many passages regarding the end of ages, describing the signs of those times in the writings of the prophets: Amos, Joel, Nahum Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. However, Jesus, the only Savior of mankind, gives an account of the hardships and the destruction which will precede the end of ages. This has been handed over to us by Evangelist Matthew, the Lord’s disciple and the Evangelists Marc and Luke. Similarly Peter and Paul, the Apostles, inform the faithful about the circumstances which will prevail during the end of ages and Christ’s Second Coming.

If one studies the passages in the Old and the New Testament which we have mentioned, he will recognize that during those days there will be a general apostasy similar but greater than Noah’s times, since the ‘son of lawlessness’, Antichrist, will reign for a short time. The last book of the New Testament, the Revelation, describes the events which will take place during the end of ages. However, because it is a prophetic book, it remains indecipherable to the many, sealed with ‘seven seals’ (Revelation, 5, 1). Only those who themselves possess the prophetic charisma are able to comprehend other prophets; therefore, the only authentic explanation of the Revelation is given by the Fathers of our Church.

We will not give an explanation of the Revelation, here; neither will we refer to the specific events mentioned, whether they have already taken place, or determine the time they will happen, since this does not have such significance for theology, neither affects our salvation. Because of its contents, this book attracts the interest of both the faithful and the heathen and intrigues them to examine it. For instance, from 1970 to 1987, 700 papers were presented on the issue. One can only imagine how many more presentations were written after the Gulf war in 1991. We, however, will only focus on the main figure of the Revelation, Christ, ‘the Alpha and the Omega’ (Rev. 22. 11) and the main event which is the establishment of God’s kingdom, namely the regeneration whereby ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ (Rev. 21, 1) will be established.

The forthcoming ecological disasters will be take place not because God will inflict them but because man is abusing his freedom. The human race will become perfectly irrational and there will be a general apostasy. The cause of such irrationality, partly seen today, is man’s unclean mind. St Maximus, the Confessor, stresses that the misuse of thoughts causes the abuse of things (St Maximus, The Confessor: Chapters on Love 2, 78). Indeed, man during the end of ages will be constantly abusing things as well as the world itself.

God will not inflict punishment. We must abandon the notion of a vindictive God. “God is love” (A John 4, 8). “Word became flesh” (John 1, 14) so “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2, 14). The purpose and the cause of the divine incarnation, as well as Christ’s emptying Himself on the Cross, was to abolish death, corruption and the Devil, who is the father of deceit and of all sin. According to Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) Christ, through His sacrifice on the Cross, does not gratify divine justice but “saves the sheep that went astray” (Matthew 18, 11), reconciles man with God and grants him deification. St John Chrysostom says that the Lord was never vindictive but it is us, humans, who are spiteful. The Lord does not need anything. He does not offer salvation in order to gain something. He offers salvation because he loves man; and He loves him because He wants to. He saves man by the free and operative love of the body of Christ. In other words, He saves us through His Church.

In the Church one experiences the end of ages as time at hand. He experiences the Kingdom of God through the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Particularly during the Holy Eucharist, the entire creation participates and is being offered to the loving Lord for ‘the unity of all’ and not just the faithful, the saints or the angels. The Divine Liturgy is not only about the salvation of the soul. The priest or the congregation does not supplicate for the Lord’s grace in order to sanctify his soul alone but he also prays for his material needs and for the rest of the creation. “For favorable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth and temperate seasons. …For travelers by land, sea, and air, for the sick, the suffering, the captives, and for their salvation…. For peace of the whole world”. By praying for the whole world during the Divine Liturgy and by giving thanks for the creation, it is demonstrated that the world has never stopped being God’s world. It also indicates that who we are, what we do, the natural environment in which we live in, can and must go through the hands of the priest as ‘anafora’ to the Lord, so that it does not remain deformed by sin but is regenerated into ‘being good always’, as St Maximus the Confessor says.

Whoever has been initiated into the mystery of the Divine Liturgy experiences it with awareness and full consciousness and comprehends that the eternal life will be an incessant Divine Liturgy, a feast of the resurrection. After His Second Coming, Christ, ‘the Lamb’ according to the Revelation, will reign jointly with all the saints and all those saved. According to St Nicholas Kavasilas: “He will be a God amongst gods; beautiful amongst the beautiful, leading the chorus” (St Nicholas Kavasilas: On life with Christ). Man, as a person, can never become a non-being or be led into a non-existence. St Simon, the New Theologian, says that the Second Coming will take place primarily for the people who gratify their passions and live in sin and not for the saints who already experience the presence of Christ (St Simon the New Theologian: Moral issues).

Hell and Paradise do not exist because of God but because of man. Indeed, Hell and Paradise exist as two ways of living but God did not cause their creation. God Himself is paradise for the saints and those saved; the same God is hell for the sinners. That is, both the righteous and the sinners will perceive God and will have their nature regenerated as an eternal entity, but the sinners will not be able to participate in the bliss and glory of the Lord. In other words, human will and freedom will not be restored; the Lord will not infringe upon man’s freedom. Righteousness indicates that the soul is healthy; sin is a sign of disease. Therefore, it is not God who punishes; rather, man has not been healed during his abode on earth.

In His Second Coming, Christ will not only restore human nature but the entire creation. Since the rest of the creation fell because of man, it will be regenerated by the sanctified man. When man attains sanctification, his surrounding environment is also sanctified. We find many such examples in the lives of the saints. A lion was attending the needs of St Gerasimos of Jordan; St Seraphim of Sarov was feeding a bear as if it was a tame lamb; elder Paisios, the Hagiorite, was known to be keeping company with snakes and other wild animals.

Along with the resurrection and regeneration of man, nature will also be absolved of corruption. According to St Simon the New Theologian, nature will become non-material and eternal. “During the regeneration, nature will become a non-material abode, beyond human perception” (St Simon, The New Theologian: Moral issues, 1, 5).

God has created time, space and substance “from what was not”; these will be regenerated into eternity “beyond perception” in the kingdom of God; they will be eternal, immaterial and incorruptible. All these gifts are granted to man by the love of the Lord. However, if man is to receive the Lord’s love, his heart must be open to Him. And that which will open a person’s heart is humility. The more humble one becomes, the closer he comes to the Lord. The more one comprehends the Lord, the more humble he becomes. At the same time, the more selfish one is the further away from God he turns. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4, 6). If man properly appreciates the love of the Lord, he will be enthused to fight “the good fight” (A. Timothy 6, 12) so that not only he will attain eternal life in the kingdom of God but he will also show his love for his brethren and his respect for the environment, while still alive.

The righteous always respect the environment. St Silouan, the Athonite, writes: “Our heart must sympathize and not only love our brethren but also ache for every being, for everything the Lord has created. Behold! This is a green leaf and you have cut it off for no reason. Even though it is not a sin, how can I say it, it causes an ache; the heart which has learnt to love, feels even for the leaf and for the entire creation” (Arch. Sofrony: St Silouan, the Athonite). Blessed Elder Joseph, the Hesychast, viewed nature as an instrument which gives thanks to the Lord. He wrote: “It is nice here, after spring-that is, from Easter up to the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Lady in August. The pretty rocks and the rest of the creation carry on theologizing, as theologians without voice- each with its own voice or its lack of it. If you touch a small twig, it immediately cries out very loudly with its natural fragrance: ‘Ouch! You don’t see me, but you’ve hurt me!’ And so on…Everything has its own voice. As soon as there is a breeze, everything moves in harmony with each other and offer melodic praises to the Lord” (Elder Joseph: An expression of Monastic experience).

He who has been cleansed from passions through divine Grace and has attained illumination “is watchful and somber in every circumstance”. He becomes a perfect person and is able to deal successfully with the issues of our times, especially with that of the environment. However reading from the Scriptures and the Holy Fathers, he recognizes that one day this world will end when Christ will regenerate it during His Second Coming. According to the Revelation, He will regenerate it into the city of the Lord, where the temple and the light will be the Lamb Himself (Revelation, 21, 22-23).

Let us, therefore, be spiritually prepared at every moment of our lives; so that we are be able to cry along with St John, the Theologian and writer of the Revelation: “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation, 22, 20).

Elder Ephraim of Vatopaidi

Creation (part 1) - Elder Ephraim of Vatopaidi

Man has been trying to make sense of the creation ever since antiquity as it is manifested in the teachings of many religions and philosophies. Generally, we may say that ancient Greek philosophers have offered three explanations as to the creation of the world: a) the Stoics and the Epicureans advocated that the world was self-existent, autonomous and eternal, b) The Pythagoreans argued that the physical elements and laws were divine and c) The Aristotelians attributed the cause of the creation to a god “who was the first mover, unmoved”. We may also argue that all subsequent theories, whether hailing from scientific or philosophical/religious circles, are divided into the following three main categories: the materialists, the pantheists and the theocrats.

However, we derive from the Scriptures definite proof that God created the entire physical and non-material world not from previously existent matter but “from what was not” (Maccabeus 7, 28) and that the Lord lives in the world (see psalms 138, 7-10) and He is not an unmoved being. These are the basic dogmas of our Church. Word-God created every living being: “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1, 3). The creation of the world from nothing does not mean that that which was created subsequently becomes autonomous and independent. It means that God and the world are two different entities which are connected with unbreakable bonds. The uncreated Lord is the only uncreated cause and the world is the created outcome. When the Lord said “Let it be light” and “it was so” or when He said “let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens” and “ it was so” or when He finally created everything that was made “and it was very good” He did not withdraw from the world ( see Genesis 1, 3-31).

The Triune God created the world in His infinite goodness and wisdom. The word ‘kosmos’ (world) means ‘kosmima’ (jewel); a jewel is an artefact which causes pleasure even to the artist. Of course the self-sufficient Lord does not need such gratification, but He wished and became Creator in an outward expression of His excessive love (which is other than the love which exists among the Persons of the Trinity).

The Lord’s presence is continuous throughout the universe; just as with His creative energy He brought all beings into being ‘from what was not’, through His ‘cohesive and observational’ energy He maintains all beings ‘into existence’ (St Gregory Palamas: Writings). The Lord’s cohesive and observational or providential, uncreated energy determines all physical and spiritual laws which govern the material and the spiritual worlds. The Lord’s uncreated energy as a cause becomes created as an outcome and is ‘altered’ into various kinds of created powers like the physical force, motion, heat, chemical and nuclear power.

The creation is the result of the divine will-which for the Triune God is the same for all three Persons- and not the product of divine substance, otherwise pantheism would govern the universe ( St John of Damascus: A publication of the Orthodox Faith). The Triune God through His uncreated energies is connected to the entire creation. As St Gregory Palamas says the simple beings (the non-living) participate in the substance-creating energy of the Lord; the living beings (animals, plants) also participate in His life-giving energy; additionally, rational beings participate in His wisdom-giving energy. Only angels and men, who attain deification, participate in His deifying energy (St Gregory Palamas: Writings).

The Lord first created the spiritual, invisible world, which includes the myriads of angels and then the material world, which became visible through His Word, the divine commands. Finally, He created man, the crown of the creation, who as St John of Damascus says, is made of visible and invisible substance. For this reason St Gregory Palamas describes man as “the major in a small world”.

Human nature was not created by command like the rest of the visible and invisible creation where the Lord “spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33, 9). In order to create man all the three Persons of the Holy Trinity came together and said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1, 26). Thus the Lord and Creator Himself took dust from the ground and created the body and breathed into his nostrils ‘the breath of life’, namely divine Grace, His uncreated deifying energies. Thus man has acquired “an abundance of life” (John 10, 10) more than any other being; namely, his adoption. St Gregory Palamas says that “the image’ of man is higher than ‘the image’ of angels. Man’s soul is the only one with intellect, word and life-giving spirit. Because the angels do not possess a material body they do not have a life-giving spirit which would give life to the attached body, like humans have”. (St Gregory Palamas: Writings. Chapters 38-39).

The creation is a mystery for man; a mystery which encompasses the creative and providential presence of the Lord in the world and at the same time proves His divine greatness. Man has the ability to penetrate this mystery and comprehend the love, all-wisdom and special providence the Lord has for His creatures. Thus, he may choose to live in constant communion with the Lord by giving thanks and glory to the One, who because of His excessive love, gives him everything and especially his deification, namely his ‘likeness’.

According to Christian anthropology, Adam, the first man, having been placed in Paradise, was given the command to ‘work and keep it’ and govern over the entire material creation ‘freely’. In order to preserve the necessary reliance on the Lord- Creator, man was issued with a prohibition; namely not to eat from a certain fruit, in order to test his free will. Adam, being free, did not keep this command and as theology says ‘the forefathers sinned” or “fell’.

Many explanations are given as to what caused man’s fall. One of the most distinctive, which is harmonized with patristic tradition, is the explanation given by St Erinaios, Bishop of Lougdounou (Lyon). He argues that Adam was like an infant, who was placed in Paradise in order to grow into adulthood by exercising his free will. After his creation, man had to be raised, grow up, multiply and gain spiritual strength before being glorified through his deification (Αγιος Ειρηναίος Λουγδούνου: Έλεγχος ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως, βιβλίο Δ). However, he was deceived and acted wrongly. For this reason repentance was given to him as an opportunity to return to Paradise. This was something which was not given to the ‘fallen angels’, who became demons; namely specific evil and crafty beings.

After the fall, the forefathers, Adam and Eve, ‘were clothed with garments of skins’ (Genesis 3, 21); namely with corruption, mortality and with the blameless passions: hunger, thirst, sleep and pain. The powers of their soul were also diffused. ‘The image’ was blackened and man’s spiritual energy, with which he was united with the uncreated deifying energy, was hidden. Thus, divine Grace, as a deifying gift, withdrew until the time man was to recall it through repentance. Repentance is an act of man’s free will; the latter remained intact.

Let us cite here the Catholic and Protestant views of the fall. The Catholics believe that after the fall, man was left with ‘the image’ untarnished but lost the special supra-natural (created) Grace, he had acquired from God, to attain ‘the likeness’. It is from this point onwards that logic prevails in the western theological and social circles. The Protestants on the other hand, believe that human nature was totally perverted after the fall, even as to ‘the image’. Thus they advocate the premise on the ‘absolute destination’.

The fall of man, who was the ‘crown of the creation’, has caused the fall of the entire creation which “has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8, 22). This explains the main teaching of our Church, which views the creation as a whole, which is being guided towards perfection and deification; man and nature together. Man and nature are not distinct in the design of the creation. Therefore man has a duty to maintain a good relationship with the rest of the creation. The fact that man remains in the fallen condition perilously prolongs the world enduring in the same condition. Thus man contributes to the perversion and degradation of nature. Therefore, the fall has not only distorted man existentially and morally but also his very same environment.

Thus the person who has an unclean heart relates towards other human beings in a way which serves his passions and acts wrongly towards nature, by abusing it. Christ himself reveals: “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7, 21-22). Man’s heart is full of passions because he does not strive for virtue, neither does he obey the Lord’s commands. St Gregory Palamas stresses: “The mind which has rebelled against God either becomes beastly or diabolical; having rebelled against the laws of nature man does not put a limit to his pleasure” (St Gregory Palamas: Homilies. KB). Abba Dorotheos says that a proper conscience defines a person’s relationship with others but also with the rest of the creation. Thus in his homily on conscience he says: “To have a proper conscience towards material things means that one does not abuse anything, neither does he let it perish nor throws it away” ( Abba Dorotheos: Ascetic Works, Teaching 3).

Nowadays we have reached such a level of irrationality, such a degree of lack of conscience and such an extensive state of rebellion that the entire human race is threatened with partial or total extinction from a nuclear disaster as a result of war or nuclear accident; from the depletion of the ozone layer as a result of the increase of harmful substances in the air and from the increased desertification and the pollution of waters.

For example, it is said that the constantly increasing average temperature of the earth causes the melting of the ice in the poles. If the polar ice melts the average level of the oceans will rise by 70 meters and areas which are inhabited by a quarter of the earth’s population will be submerged in water. It is estimated that every year, 24 billion tons of soil is lost from all continents. During the last few decades the volume of soil lost was equal to the farming land of the entire United States. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) estimates that desertification costs some 40 billion dollars a year. Almost all subsoil waters in Europe have been polluted by substances harmful to man, making them undrinkable. This is the direct result of the over fertilization of farmlands because of intensive farming. The ongoing successes in Genetics which may culminate in the human cloning will cause terrible moral and social consequences. The nuclear waste is increasing so much that the United States alone has massed seven hundred thousand tons of depleted uranium, which has become very costly to store and thus it is being used in the creation of bombs. However, these issues will be more extensively dealt with by the scientists who will speak at the conference tomorrow.

Throughout history, mankind has experienced ecological disasters which have been described in the Holy Scriptures. It is worth turning our attention to the causes of these disasters and not to the historical events themselves. In the God inspired passages of the Holy Scriptures, the incarnate Word-God and the Fathers of the Church refer to the various causes and their effects and not to the precise way they took place and progressed; they talk about the causation of beings and not their substance. The latter is something immaterial for the Holy Scriptures and the Patristic Tradition but not for science which treats it as its main subject. Scientific method, relying on the rational faculties of man, contributes towards the development of the material knowledge of substances. Theology, however, which relies on the experiences of the saints and especially on the perception of God exclusively through the mind- as defined by the Patristic writings-, leads man to experience the Uncreated One.

Elder Ephraim of Vatopaidi

Sts Cyril and Methodius on The Great treasure that is Orthodoxy

Sts Cyril and Methodius

We must invite our friends and neighbors to “taste and see” the great treasure that is Orthodoxy, for it is our responsibility, as Christians, to reach out in kindness, and with a welcoming smile, when we see strangers enter our temples.

Two Byzantine brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, brought Orthodox Christianity to the Slavs in the ninth century. The brilliance of Eastern Orthodox missionary outreach, as opposed to that of the Latin Church, was in the very use of the vernacular. These great saints who became known as the Apostles to the Slavs, left the Slavs with a liturgical language that was understandable to them. The services were not imparted in the Greek language, as though it alone was sacred enough to be used in Divine Worship, but helped them understand their new faith by worshiping in their own language.

Elder Cleopa Ilie - Γέροντας Κλεόπας Ελίε (τρίγλωσσο)

Cleopa Ilie (lay name: Constantin) was born in Suliţa, Botoşani to a family of peasants. He was the fifth of ten children born to Alexandru Ilie. He attended the primary school in his village. Afterwards he was an apprentice for three years to the monk Paisie Olaru, who lived in seclusion at the Cozancea hermitage.

Together with his elder brother, Vasile, Ilie joined the community at Sihastria herm...itage in December 1929. In 1935, he joined the army in the town of Botoşani, but returned a year later to the hermitage, where he was anointed a monk on 2 August 1937, taking the name "Cleopa" (i.e. "guide") at his baptism. In June 1942, he was appointed to hegumen deputy because of abbot Ioanichie Moroi's poor health.

On 27 December 1944, he was ordained a hierodeacon (deacon-monk) and on 23 January 1945 a hieromonk (priest-monk) by the archbishop Galaction Cordun, abbot of the Neamţ Monastery at the time. Afterwards he was officially appointed hegumen of the Sihastria Hermitage.

In 1947, the hermitage became a monastery and vice-archimandrite Cleopa Ilie became archimandrite on approval of Patriarch Nicodim. Because the Communist secret service was looking for him in 1948, he disappeared into the woods surrounding the monastery, staying there for six months. On 30 August 1949, he was appointed abbot of the Slatina Monastery in Suceava county, where he joined 30 other monks from the Sihastria Monastery community as a result of Patriarch Justinian’s decision.

There he founded a community of monks with over 80 people. Between 1952 and 1954 he was being chased again by the Securitate and, together with hieromonk Arsenie Papacioc, escaped to the Stanisoara Mountains. He was brought back to the monastery after two years upon Patriarch Justinian’s order.

In 1956 he returned to Sihastria monastery, where he had been anointed, and in the spring of 1959 he retired for the third time to the Neamţ Mountains, spending the next five years there. He returned to Sihastria in the fall of 1964, as confessor for the entire community and continued to give spiritual advice to both monks and lay people for the next 34 years. He died on 2 December 1998 at Sihăstria Monastery.

Father Cleopa Continues to Make Miracles Even After His Death

04-14-2004. The tomb of Father Ilie Cleopa, who rests at the Sihăstria Monastery, has become a pilgrimage site. Those who met Father Cleopa during the 64 years he spent only at Sihăstria come and worship at his resting place and say that they feel the blessing and the help of the holy man in achieving their wishes, just as when he was alive.Very many ill people have been miraculously cured after having taken earth or flowers from Father Cleopa’s tomb (which they carefully preserved at home) or even oil from the icon lamp at his tomb cross, which they applied on the suffering parts of their body. The miracle of the healings has spread out fast throughout the country and the monks at Sihăstria have to permanently add a layer of earth on the tomb, to replace the amount that is taken for healing.
„Several buses of pilgrims stop over at Father Cleopa’s tomb and ask for permission to take a handful of earth. Some sprinkle it in their gardens, others keep it as a sample of the Elder’s grace, to be protected from all evil, while others add just a little bit in their food”, a monk told us, adding that several times so far he has had to carry two or three wheelbarrows of earth to to Fr. Cleopa’s grave, to fill in the hollows left by the faithful. A young woman from Cluj, who knew Father Cleopa while he was alive (he had been her spiritual Father), was suffering from a terrible heart disease. She couldn’t manage to get to Sihăstria until after the Elder’s repose. She went to the cemetery and prayed near his grave; when she left, she took a little bit of earth and swallowed it, being certain that the Father’s grace will work upon her. The young woman healed and the news about the miracle spread throughout the villages around Cluj, the monk added. The Father’s cell has been turned into a museum ever since and has been visited by thousands of pilgrims from inside and outside Romania.

Părintele Cleopa (pe numele de mirean, Constantin) s-a născut într-o familie de ţărani, fiind al cincilea copil din cei zece ai familiei Alexandru Ilie. Urmează cursurile şcolii primare din satul natal, făcând apoi trei ani de ucenicie duhovnicească la schimonahul Paisie Olaru, pustnic în Schitul Cozancea.

În decembrie 1929 se alătură obştii schitului Sihăstria, alături de fratele mai mare, Vasile. Pe 12 decembrie 1932, de ziua Sfântului Ierarh Spiridon, sunt primiţi în obştea schitului. În 1935 este luat în armată, în oraşul Botoşani. În 1936 se reîntoarce la schit şi este tuns în monahism pe 2 august 1937, primind numele "Cleopa". În iunie 1942 este numit locţiitor de egumen, datorită stării de sănătate a stareţului Ioanichie Moroi.

Pe 27 decembrie 1944 este hirotonit ierodiacon, iar pe 23 ianuarie 1945 este hirotonit ieromonah de către Episcopul Galaction Cordun, pe atunci stareţ al Mănăstirii Neamţ. Ulterior este numit oficial egumen al Schitului Sihăstria.

În 1947, Schitul Sihăstria este ridicat la rang de mânăstire, iar Proto-singhelul Cleopa Ilie este făcut arhimandrit, cu aprobarea patriarhului Nicodim Munteanu. În 1948, urmărit de Siguranţă, se retrage pentru şase luni în pădurile din jurul Mânăstirii Sihăstria, iar pe 30 august 1949, Arhimandritul Cleopa Ilie este numit stareţ al Mânăstirii Slatina Suceava unde se transferă alături de 30 de călugari din obştea Mânăstirii Sihăstria, ca urmare a deciziei patriarhului Justinian Marina.

Întemeiază la Mânăstirea Slatina o obşte care numără peste 80 de persoane. Între 1952-1954, este urmărit de Securitate şi se retrage în Munţii Stănişoara, împreună cu ieromonahul Arsenie Papacioc. După 2 ani este readus în manastire, din ordinul Patriarhului Justinian.

În 1956, revine la metanie, iar în primavara anului 1959, se retrage pentru a treia oară în Munţii Neamţ, unde îşi petrece următorii 5 ani. Revine la Mânăstirea Sihăstria în toamna anului 1964, ca duhovnic al întregii obşti, şi povăţuieşte fără întrerupere atât calugări, cât şi mireni, timp de 34 de ani.

Încetează din viaţă pe 2 decembrie 1998.

[Elder Paisius (Olaru) with Elder Cleopa (Ilie) on right]

Γεννήθηκε το 1912 στη Σουλίτσα του νομού Μποντοσάνι από τους ευσεβείς χωρικούς Αλέξανδρο και Άννα, το ένατο από τα δέκα παιδιά τους. Πέντε από αυτά τα παιδιά και ύστερα η μητέρα, όταν γέρασε, εισήλθαν στον Μοναχισμό. Πρώτος του πνευματικός ήταν π. Παΐσιος Ολάρου από τη σκήτη Κοζάντσεα - Μποντοσάνι.
Το 1929 ο κατά κόσμον Κωνσταντίνος, μαζί με δύο από τ' αδέλφια του, αναχώρησαν από την πατρική τους εστία, επιζητώντας τη μοναχική άσκηση στο μοναστήρι Συχαστρία. Μετά από επταετή δοκιμασία (1939) ο δόκιμος Κωνσταντίνος εκάρη Μοναχός, λαμβάνοντας το όνομα Κλεόπας. Διακόνημά του η βοσκή των προβάτων, υποτακτικός ενός θεοπρεπούς Μοναχού του π. Γαλακτίωνος Ίλιε, ασκούμενος έτσι στην υπακοή, την ταπεινοφροσύνη, την προσευχή, την ησυχία, τη σιωπή μέσα στο φυσικό περιβάλλον της διακονίας του, εμβαθύνοντας ταυτόχρονα στα ιερά λειτουργικά βιβλία, αλλά και στους βίους των Αγίων και στα ασκητικά έργα των Πατέρων. Έτσι λαξεύτηκε πνευματικά η αυτοδίδακτη και αγνή προσωπικότητά του, ενώ αγαπήθηκε πολύ από τους συμμοναστές του, οι οποίοι σε κάθε ευκαιρία επιζητούσαν τον λόγο και τη συμβουλή του, που εμβαπτίζονταν πάντοτε στην αγιογραφική και αγιοπατερική εμπειρία. Σημειωτέον, ότι υπήρξε γλυκύτατος και πειστικότατος στις ομιλίες του, αναπαύοντας έτσι ψυχοπνευματικά τους ακροατές του.
Το 1942 ο π. Κλεόπας, αν και ήταν ακόμη Μοναχός, ανέλαβε προσωρινά την ηγουμενεία της Συχαστρίας, επειδή ο Ηγούμενος π. Ιωαννίκιος Μορόι, ασθενούσε, ενώ το 1945 εξελέγη Ηγούμενος, αφού χειροτονήθηκε Διάκονος και Πρεσβύτερος. Κατά την ηγουμενεία του αναμόρφωσε το κτιριακό συγκρότημα της Μονής, επαναφέροντάς την μάλιστα στο κοινοβιακό σύστημα.
Το 1949 ο π. Κλεόπας μετοίκησε στο μοναστήρι Σλάτινα, προκειμένου να τονώσει την πνευματικότητα και της περιοχής εκείνης. Όπως ήταν αναμενόμενο, όλα πήγαν κατ' ευχήν και ο Γέροντας απέκτησε φήμη αγίου και ελεήμονος Πνευματικού στην ευρύτερη περιφέρεια της βόρειας Μολδαβίας, ενώ άνθρωποι όλων των τάξεων και των ηλικιών προσέτρεχαν στο πετραχήλι του, ώστε ν' απιθώσουν τα καρδιακά τους βάρη, λαμβάνοντας αναψυχή και παραμυθία. Το 1953 παραιτήθηκε από Ηγούμενος. Τρία χρόνια αργότερα (το 1956) επέστρεψε στη Μονή της μετανοίας του, τη Συχαστρία, όπου αφοσιώθηκε στη μελέτη των Γραφών και των Πατερικών Κειμένων, σε συνδυασμό με την πνευματική υποστήριξη όσων είχαν ανάγκη και προσέφευγαν στην αγάπη του.

Από το 1965 άρχισε να καταγράφει τις σκέψεις, τις νουθεσίες, τις εμπειρίες του. Έτσι προέκυψαν διάφορα έργα του, από τα οποία αναφέρουμε τα σπουδαιότερα: "Διάλογος περί οραμάτων και ονείρων", "Αιρεσιολογία" ή "Περί της Ορθοδόξου Πίστεως", "Τα κηρύγματα των εορτών", "Κηρύγματα για μοναχούς", "Κηρύγματα για όλες τις Κυριακές και εορτές του χρόνου" και "Κηρύγματα για λαϊκούς" κ.ά.
Το 1974 ο π. Κλεόπας πραγματοποίησε προσκύνημα στους Αγίους Τόπους, στη Μονή Σινά και στον Άθω, το δε 1977 ξανά στο Άγιον Όρος (όπου θα επιθυμούσε να είχε μονάσει, όπως έλεγε), στη Θεσσαλονίκη, Αθήνα, Κόρινθο, Πελοπόννησο, Κέρκυρα, Ιταλία και Γιουγκοσλαβία, αναψύχοντας -όπου διάβηκε- ψυχές κατατρεγμένες.

Grave at Sihăstria Monastery

Μετά από μια μακρά ζωή ογδόντα έξι συναπτών χρόνων επί των επάλξεων του πνευματικού αγώνα για την καταξίωση του λαού ως πολιτών τ' Ουρανού στο "αρχαίον κάλλος", κοιμήθηκε οσιακά στις 2 Δεκεμβρίου 1998, αφήνοντας στους μεταγενέστερους μνήμη οσίου και αγιασμένου Γέροντα, για τον οποίον σεμνύνεται η Ρουμανική Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία και καυχιέται ο Παράδεισος!!! Είναι, άλλωστε, αξιομνημόνευτο, ότι η συνηθέστερη ευχή του π. Κλεόπα ήταν: "Ο Παράδεισος να σάς φάει" !!!


Διηγήθηκε η γιαγιά Λαμπρινή: «Η κόρη μου Σταθούλα είχε περάσει τα δεκαοχτώ της και ήταν καιρός για παντρειά. Άρχισαν τα προξενιά αλλά δεν μ' ανέπαυαν οι γαμπροί. Ήταν ευκατάστατοι, καλοί άνθρωποι, αλλά με σαλεμένη καθαρότητα. Εκείνα τα χρόνια δεν είχε τόσο λόγο η νύφη για την επιλογή του γαμπρού, και επειδή είχα την μέριμνα του γαμπρού, ήθελα πρώτα απ’ όλα να είναι καθαρός, αγνός. Η Σταθούλα δεν είχε κλίση για καλογερική, όπως εγώ, και έπρεπε να βρεθεί γαμπρός».

Μια μέρα το βράδυ που πήγα στο κρεββάτι να κοιμηθώ, πήρα ως συνήθως να διαβάσω ένα βιβλίο, και ήμουν στενοχωρημένη γιατί δεν βρισκόταν ο γαμπρός. Ο άνδρας μου κοιμόταν χωριστά για να μην τον ενοχλώ.

Μόλις είχε πάρει ο ύπνος τον άνδρα μου, άνοιξε το παράθυρο μόνο του, και μπήκε ο φύλακας Άγγελός μου. Πήρε το πνεύμα μου. Στο κρεββάτι μου έμεινε το σώμα μου μισοπεθαμένο. Βαδίζαμε - βαδίζαμε χωρίς να ξέρω που πάμε. Φθάσαμε στην Πρέβεζα. Μου λέει: «Μην σταματάς καθόλου. Θέλουμε να πάμε στην Λευκάδα». Εγώ δεν ήξερα που είναι η Λευκάδα.

Φθάσαμε στο νησί, πήγαμε σ’ ένα σπίτι στην εξώπορτα.

Μου λέγει ο Άγγελος:

Κάθησε εδώ και εγώ θ' ανοίξω την πόρτα. Να κοιτάς μέσα...

Άνοιξε την πόρτα του σπιτιού και είδα ένα νέο όρθιο, με κουστούμι, με την πλάτη γυρισμένη. Γύρισε τότε να κλείσει την πόρτα, γιατί του φάνηκε ότι άνοιξε μόνη της, και τον είδα και από μπροστά. Ο Άγγελος ήταν πνεύμα, και εγώ στην αυλή και δεν μας έβλεπε...

- Σου αρέσει για γαμπρός στην κόρη σου;
- Καλός είναι αλλά είμαστε μακρυά.
- Άγγελος είναι και αυτός, όπως και εγώ.
- Άγγελο θα πάρει η κόρη μου; Άνθρωπος είναι, πώς θα πάρει Άγγελο; ( αυτός όμως εννοούσε την καθαρότητα του).
- Από τώρα δεν θα κάνεις άλλο συνοικέσιο για την κόρη σου ό,τι και να σου λένε οι άλλοι, θα περιμένεις λίγα χρόνια, λόγω κάποιων δυσκολιών, αλλά θα σου τον φέρω τον γαμπρό μόνο του και θα βρει την κόρη σου...

Ξεκινήσαμε την επιστροφή με τον ίδιο τρόπο. Πέρασαν τρία χρόνια και πήγε η κόρη μου με τον γιό μου σ’ ένα ζαχαροπλαστείο. Εκεί ήταν ο γαμπρός. Μόλις την είδε ήρθε και την ζήτησε σε γάμο. Κατάλαβα ότι ήταν αυτός που ήθελε ο Θεός. Τον δεχτήκαμε και δόξασα τον Θεό για την μεγαλοσύνη Του.

Άλλη φορά, όπως διηγήθηκε, η Παναγία της έδειξε την κόλαση και τον παράδεισο: «Το 1982 ήμουν στην σπηλιά της Αγίας Παρασκευής στου Χανόπουλου. Προσευχόμουν μέσα στην σπηλιά με άλλες γυναίκες και σκέφτηκα: «Αχ, σπηλιά, που να σ' εύρισκα, να 'ναι δική μου αυτή η σπηλιά...»

-Όχι, όχι, μου είπε μια φωνή. Η σπηλιά η δική σου είναι της Παρθένου (της Παναγίας δηλαδή).
-Που είναι αυτή η σπηλιά;
-Θα σου την βρω εγώ, αλλά μετά από καιρό.
Πέρασαν πέντε χρόνια για νάρθει ο καιρός. Εγώ στο διάστημα αυτό έψαχνα. Άκουγα για σπηλιά και έπαιρνα καμμιά γυναίκα για παρέα και πήγαινα. Το βράδυ πού γύριζα στο σπίτι και έκανα προσευχή άκουγα φωνή: «Όχι αυτού, παιδί μου. Άδικα κουράστηκες».

Μία μέρα με κάλεσε η ξαδέλφη μου στην Άρτα για δουλειά. Εκεί μίλησε για μια σπηλιά που θα πήγαινε την άλλη μέρα με άλλες γυναίκες. Αποφάσισα να πάω. Ξεκινήσαμε το πρωί στις πέντε με τα πόδια.
Μόλις φθάσαμε η σπηλιά δεν φαινόταν εξωτερικά παρά μόνο δυο τρύπες πού χωρούσες σφηνωτά. Κοντά στην είσοδο της σπηλιάς είχε και εκκλησάκι. Είχα πάρει μαζί μου λαμπάδες και κεριά. Αναρωτήθηκα: «Είναι άραγε αυτή η σπηλιά»; Και άκουσα φωνή: «Εδώ μέσα είμαι. Κράτησε μια λαμπάδα για να μπεις στην σπηλιά».

Για να ξεφύγω τις γυναίκες είπα ότι είμαι κουρασμένη και θα καθίσω λίγο να ξεκουραστώ.
Μόλις αυτές μπήκαν στο Εκκλησάκι, άναψα την λαμπάδα και μπήκα μέσα στην σπηλιά.
Ήταν μεγάλη η σπηλιά. Μέσα είδα την Παναγία καθαρά, έσκυψα και την προσκύνησα. Τότε ξέχασα τα πάντα, ήθελα να μείνω για πάντα εκεί σ' όλη μου την ζωή. Προσκυνούσα συνέχεια την Παναγία και μου είπε:

- Φθάνει. Θα δεις πολλά εδώ μέσα, θα δεις τον άλλο κόσμο. Αυτά που θα δεις εσύ, να τα ομολογήσεις σε πρόσωπα που τα αγαπάνε αυτά. Άμα βλέπεις αδιαφορία, δεν θα λες τίποτε. Και στις γυναίκες έξω αδιαφορία θα δείξεις άμα βγεις. Αν σε ρωτήσουν θα πεις πήγα να προσευχηθώ μέσα στην σπηλιά. Τώρα όμως βγες έξω αμέσως διότι σε ζητάνε. Μετά απόφευγε τις με τρόπο και ξαναμπές να συνεχίσουμε. Θα τις ετοιμάσω και εγώ εσωτερικά να δεχθούν ό,τι τους πεις.

Βγήκα έξω και τις καθησύχασα διότι με ψάχνανε και φωνάζανε. Είχε αλλοιωθεί το πρόσωπό μου από την συνάντηση με την Παναγία, το κατάλαβαν και μου έλεγαν: «Γιατί είσαι έτσι; Τι έπαθες»;
Εγώ δικαιολογήθηκα ότι φοβήθηκα λίγο στο σκοτάδι της σπηλιάς και χλώμιασα. Τους είπα ότι θα ξαναμπώ στην σπηλιά να προσευχηθώ και αυτές το δέχθηκαν. Άναψα την λαμπάδα και ξαναμπήκα. Η Παναγία με περίμενε και μου είπε: «Μη φοβάσαι τώρα. Οι γυναίκες θα σε περιμένουν, και μόλις σε δουν θα πουν: Δόξα σοι ο Θεός».

Γεροντισσα Λαμπρινή
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