There was absolutely no inflammation either on his toe or on his foot. At the same time, there were small stitches where the infection had been, as if an invisible surgeon had operated on him at night while he slept and saved him from possible gangrene and from imminent amputation.
Any loss causes grief. The abandonment of a wife by her husband, of children by their father, of friends by their friend—not to mention the abandonment of the ministry by a pastor—above all causes pain and sorrow. You can’t be happy when a tragedy occurs. Likewise, the fact that the preacher of “joyful Christianity”, who taught us how to get over various crises and overcome conflicts, has given up his pastoral ministry so easily shouldn’t be a cause for happiness.
This is what Laurentian Chronicle (Codex) says: “A most curious wonder has manifested itself in Polotsk: The heavy stamping of feet was heard at night, something was moaning in the streets, demons that looked like people were rushing about. Whoever came out to see what's going on would get imperceptibly stricken with the plague by the demons, and would die from this, so no one ventured out of their dwellings.”
Unlike laypeople, who can abstain from Communion if they are feeling insulted, a priest celebrating alone does not have that option—he has to celebrate the Liturgy anyway. Therefore, we asked some Orthodox pastors to tell us how we can eliminate the feeling of resentment as soon as possible.
That was a tough time; the era was breaking into pieces. In 1990, Anya’s mother made up her mind to leave for Israel with her daughter to try her luck there. She seemed to have all the rights for it due to her origin. She soon realized that luck and happiness are not connected to a place or even origin. True happiness can only be granted by the Giver of happiness, and it grows in a pure heart, or at least a heart that is being purified.
Natalia had no idea what the Jewish woman’s reaction would be, nor did she know what else she could offer to relieve Tabitha’s sufferings. With her simple heart and sincere faith, Natalia wanted to share the thing she held dearest with Tabitha and used the Gospel as the source of her personal spiritual consolation.
It is crystal clear that our society is infected with a shortage of love. I think that our contemporaries, choked up in the general atmosphere of enmity (because of the lack of love), above all expect love from the Church. That is why above all we should tell those on the outside that God is love.
Now your flock is scattered all across the world, like nestlings without a nest, like children without shelter. You know well what the grief and sorrow of separation feels like, the pain of cutting children off from their mother. Why do you bring this same pain on others?
The holy, right-believing Prince-Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb were the first saints to be canonized in Rus’. Despite this, many Christians, and especially in our time, do not understand the meaning of their podvig. And really, where is the virtue in being meekly killed? Deacon Valery Dukhanin, Fr. Dimitry Shishkin, and Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov speak about the meaning and importance of the podvig of the holy princes and the last Russian tsar.
In our time, many laypeople ask the question: Why should people of the twenty-first century act according to rules written by monks and for monks in deep antiquity? Why should they read monastic books in which there isn’t even a remote mention of the problems that we face today?
We are now in the fourth week of Great Lent, and many of us feel some cooling compared to the first days due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. How can we keep a prayerful and focused spirit through the whole of Lent? How can we keep from losing the spiritual fruits acquired in the first days?
It is impossible to imagine a meaningful Christian life without a daily prayer rule. But what should this prayer rule be? How long or short, and consisting of which prayers? How can we prevent our daily prayer rule from becoming purely a formality? What should we pay particular attention to, and what mistakes should we avoid? And what is the most important thing in a prayer rule?
The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God is a feast very warm and dear to us, because in it is expressed the special closeness to us of the Most Pure Virgin. She spreads her veil over all those who pray, regardless of how righteous or pious we are, if only we turn to her with our whole heart.
The Fast is always the possibility to become better, to conquer ourselves, to conquer our bad habits, organize ourselves for spiritual life. If the time of the fast did not come, we would just go on spinning like hamster in its wheel in our earthly affairs and rarely remember any kind of repentance.
The fourth Sunday after Pascha is dedicated to the Gospel of the paralytic, who spent thirty-eight years by the pool of Siloam waiting for healing, and was finally delivered from his serious infirmity by the Savior Himself. That unfortunate man was physically paralyzed, while we are spiritually paralyzed to one or another degree.
The fast is not a diet or temporary vegetarianism. The fast is first of all a spiritual activity by which we attempt to bring our soul and flesh into submission. Fasting teaches us to control our nature, rule over desires that arise, and through this, to achieve the most difficult victory—victory over our own selves.
The seduction of occultism is directly connected with man's first fall into sin. The devil tempted our fore-father and mother by telling them that if they taste of the forbidden fruit, they will receive secret knowledge that will make them powerful, like gods: In the day you eat of it (the forbidden fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).