On the fifth Sunday after Pascha, an incredible thing happens. The Creator of all things, the Lord of all oceans and seas, the Master of every drop of water, asks a simple Samaritan woman to give Him a drink, thirsty after a long journey. He knows that this woman had had five husbands, and the man she now had was not her husband. The well was deep, and He had nothing to draw the water, but if she knew Who He was, she would have asked Him for the living water, welling up to eternal life.
Individually and collectively, our most formidable challenge today is to make choices. What values, ideas, and priorities do we consider? As Schema-Archimandrite Raphael aptly remarked, I am the evil when I choose differently from the will of God.
A man without God is the most miserable being in the Universe. He is forever destined to be a wanderer without a purpose or destination across the arid desert of life, without a drop of water, his eyes filled with scorching-hot sand, and his heart crumbling like dry dust. A life without meaning is suffocating, as Dostoyevsky wrote. As Elder Rafail advised, the only way to find meaning in our lives is by turning around, from evil to good, from futility to the Lord. "We must make sure that when we depart and move to another world, we do not come there still-born, but re-emerge as pure and mature children of God."
The Lord still calls us, wanderers across the arid desert of life, to His wells of living water. This living water is the grace of the Holy Spirit, and those who drink it will never thirst. The well from which this water flows is the Holy Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus says to us softly, "Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone thirsty come to me and drink".
The people of Samaria pleaded with Christ to stay with them longer. So should we petition our Lord that He will never leave the city of our heart. The long journey of our lives lies across a rocky desert. We cannot hope to cross it without His living water. The Lord reminds us humbly of this truth: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst."
Hegumen Tikhon (Borisov) of Optina Pustyn
Mother Maria Litvinova: "The war took our best people and brought enormous grief. There are no words to describe it."
The Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God, one of the Twelve Great Feasts, at the end of September. On this very day in Nazareth was born the one destined to be both the Ladder and the Door to the Kingdom…
Ichthys Christian Orthodox School of St Elisabeth Convent offers all the subjects required by the national school curriculum. Most importantly, the teachers emphasise the development of a Christian worldview and understanding.
Love, kindness and warmth can do wonders: it brings an inner change in people without embittering them and teaches them to love others, as these episodes from the life of Elder Hieronymus of Aegina show.
The Great Lent is the longest fasting season of the year for the Orthodox. We all know about the importance of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. But what are the rules of fasting? Are there some things, we should not do during the Lent?
We met Elizabeth Wingård and her husband Basilius in Ichthys School where they assisted in teaching English to our students. They came to us from Sweden. Their stay in the Convent was filled with various activities.
On August 4, we commemorate Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer Equal of the Apostles, in the Belarussian Orthodox Church. There is so much one can learn from the life of this strong, devoted and brave woman.