“Elder, how can we have a pure heart?”
“By exercising humility, seeking peace, sacrificing ourselves, being unselfish, confessing our sins, asceticising, and praying, especially by saying Jesus' prayer - these are all the actions that make us pure and cleanse our hearts from all things unnecessary.”
“Elder, is Jesus' prayer enough to make us pure?"
“No, you cannot become pure just by saying Jesus'Prayer. One must do so with humility and appropriate exertion. If you pray, but are not humble or exert yourself, your prayer is useless. Conversely, if you do the rest, but neglect the prayer you are not going anywhere. Ascetise and pray for God's help, and your heart will become pure. Asceticism and prayer should go hand in hand.”
One present-day elder from Mount Athos said, "Humility is like a spring: the more you strain it, the higher you fly. The more you humble yourself, the more you grow in the spirit.
"Seeing someone whom they dislike or envy, some people exclaim, "I saw him and went in a rage. I wish I never saw him again." In their heart, they feel a searing pain of the same kind that will torment them in eternity, many times more intensely. It would be best for everyone if we never experienced this pain. God forbid!"
Four church fathers, Romanian by origin, ascetised in cells around the Chapel of the Most Holy Theotokos at Pantokrator Monastery on Mount Athos. They led a virtuous monastic life, but three agreed to leave their cells and move elsewhere because there was no water where they lived.
They asked the fourth to join them, but he refused. No amount of persuasion could change his mind. Instead, he implored his other three brethren to pray together so that God would give them some water, which they all needed badly. He had been praying for it all the time, his eyes full of tears. Now he was praying to God and the Mother of God that his four brethren would not leave. The Good Lord heard his prayers and saw his deep faith and contrite heart.
The Mother of God appeared to him in a dream. She showed him where to dig for water. The four fathers dug where she said and found a holy spring that still exists today in Kapsala. It is dedicated to the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotokos.
The three fathers who wished to leave finally left, but nobody knows the name of the fourth monk, who prayed and received help from the Lord and the Mother of God.
The history of venerating the icon of the Mother of God, brought at the end of the 14th century to the Polish city of Czestochowa, remains underexplored. Ancient Russian calendars and menologies do not mention it.
The Great Lent has begun. What is the meaning of these forty days, why are they divided into weeks, and how does each week lead us to the Great and Holy Pascha? Paul Pinson explains.
The Great Lent starts on February 27 in the Belarusian Orthodox Church this year. The sisters of Saint Elisabeth Convent will embark on this journey to Easter by reading what the Church Fathers have said about the three pillars of Lent.
Christ cautions us not to liken ourselves to the five unwise virgins whose lamps faded when the Bridegroom Christ came: "keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25: 13).
During the period of Great Lent we cry for our sins and for ourselves, because at this time it is more or less typical of our nature. However it is much more difficult to overcome our sin-corrupted nature and find the strength to rejoice.
The Apostle Luke is mostly known as one of the four Evangelists. In fact, he told us more than the other three about our Lord’s childhood, as well as about His mother Mary.
Speaking of marriage and celibacy, Apostle Paul taught: "he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better." Should we take it to mean that celibacy is superior to marriage?
Demetrius parental Saturday is a day of special commemoration of the dead in the Russian Orthodox Church. This is a memorial Saturday before the remembrance day of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki (October 26 / November 8).