|Orthodox Calendar 2021|
Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the seven deacons (1st c.). Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787). St. Theophanes Graptus (“the Branded”), confessor and hymnographer, bishop of Nicaea (850). Synaxis of the Elders of Optina: Sts. Leonid (repose) (1841), Macarius (1860), Moses (1862), Anthony (1865), Hilarion (1873), Ambrose (1891), Anatole I (1894), Isaac I (1894), Joseph (1911), Barsanuphius (1913), Anatole II (1922), Nektary (1928), New Hiero-confessor Nikon (1931), and New Hieromartyr Archimandrite Isaac II (1937).
New Hieromartyr Juvenal (Maslovsky), archbishop of Ryazan and Shatzk (1937).
Sts. Nectarius (397), Arsacius (405), and Sinisius (427), archbishops of Constantinople. St. Cainnech (Kenneth), abbot, of Aghaboe (Ireland), and missionary in Scotland (600). St. Ethelburga, foundress of the monastery of Barking (England) (ca. 676). St. Gommar, patron of Lier (Neth.) (775). Commemoration of the Miracle from the Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut of Phoenicia (7th c.). St. Sabbas, fool-for- Christ, of Vatopedi, Mt. Athos (1349). St. Philotheus (Kokkinos) of Mt. Athos, patriarch of Constantinople (1379).
Thoughts for Each Day of the Year
|Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the 7 Deacons is not to be confused with Saint Philip one of the Twelve Apostles (November 14). This Philip was born in Palestine, was married and had children.|
|Saint Theophanes, Confessor and Hymnographer, Bishop of Nicea was the younger brother of the Saint Theodore the Branded (December 27).|
|Leo Nagolkin, the future Saint Leonid, was born in Karachev in the Orlov Province in 1768. As a young man he worked for a merchant, making long and frequent trips on his employer’s business. He met all sorts of people, and this experience helped him later in life when visitors of diverse backgrounds would come to him for spiritual advice.|
Olga RozhnevaOn September 7/20 we celebrate the memory of the great Optina elder, Macarius. The saint’s life is deeply edifying for contemporary people. What kinds of lessons can we learn from the elder’s life?
|Saint Moses (Putilov) was born on January 15, 1782 in the city of Borisogleb in the Yaroslavl province, and was baptized with the name Timothy.|
Olga RozhnevaSt. Hilarion was a skilled spiritual physician. He taught people who were suffering to go over their whole previous life from the age of seven, to recall forgotten unrepented sins, in which were often hidden the reason for a spiritual illness.
St. Hilarion of OptinaIn the pure writings of the Holy Fathers, we see that he who desires to cleanse his heart of the passions must call on the Lord for help—this is so. We cannot say the Jesus Prayer without our thoughts being plundered. With beginners, God does not demand undistracted prayer: it is acquired with much time and labor. As the writings of the Holy Fathers say: "God gives prayer to him who prays,” thus we must nevertheless continue to pray, orally, and with the mind.
|St. Ambrose, elder of Optina offered to those who came to him with various sorrows and trials a special, brief prayer rule that is possible for any Christian to read. The elder knew from his own experience the effectiveness of these prayers, how they strengthen one's enfeebled spirit, and how they scatter the enemy's attacks if read with faith and hope in God's almighty help. This prayer rule, comprised of the Psalms of David, we offer here together with extracts from the letters of St. Ambrose.|
|God’s abundant benevolence that resided in him, was the source of those spiritual blessings that allowed him to serve those that visited him, comforting the grieving, strengthening the faith in those that were wavering and directing everybody toward the path of salvation.|
Archpriest Sergius ChetverikovWhy do people experience depression? "Depression, according to Mark the Ascetic, is a spiritual cross sent to us in order to cleanse our former sins. Depression comes also for other reasons: from offended self-love, because we are not getting our own way; also from vainglory, when one sees that his equals enjoy greater privileges; from stressful situations during which our faith in God's Providence and hope in His mercy and omnipotent help is put to test.
Hieromonk Vasily (Roslyakov)Today we too, in approaching the coffin of our holy Father Ambrose, Elder of Optina, rejoice with same inexpressible joy of Christ’s resurrection. Hymning the Tomb of our Savior, we say, “How life-giving, how much more beautiful than paradise, and more resplendent than any royal palace proved Thy tomb, oh Christ, the source of our Resurrection!” And in the troparion to St. Ambrose we sing, “As to a healing spring do we come to thee, Oh Ambrose, our father!”
Fr. Sergius Chetverikov"The love that animated Fr. Ambrose was of the kind that Christ commanded his disciples to have. It differs greatly from the feeling that the world knows as love. It is no less poetic, but it is broader, purer and knows no bounds. Its main difference is that it gives everything and asks nothing in return."
St. Ambrose of OptinaThe Eastern Orthodox Church, from apostolic times until now, observes unchanged and unblemished by innovations both the Gospel and Apostolic teachings, as well as the Tradition of the Holy Fathers and resolutions of the Ecumenical Councils, at which God-bearing men, having gathered from throughout the entire world, in a conciliar manner composed the divine Symbol of the Orthodox Faith [the Creed], and having proclaimed it aloud to the whole universe, in all respects perfect and complete, forbade on pain of terrible punishments any addition to it, any abridging, alteration, or rearrangement of even one iota of it.
St. Ambrose of OptinaOn June 27/July 10, the Church celebrates the uncovering of the relics of St. Ambrose of Optina. We offer to our readers a letter from the forthcoming book by Pokrov Publications, St. Ambrose of Optina. Letters to Laymen.
Olga Rozhneva“When these three fields are cleansed, then other passions stemming from them are also imperceptibly cut off with them—that is, anger and remembrance of wrongs, earthly sorrow, envy, hatred, coolness and laziness regarding prayer and works of piety.”
Olga GlagolevaIn the history of Russia, as in world history, there are saints who serve as “milestones,’ as it were, on the road to the Most High. One such righteous one was St. Ambrose of Optina, whose memory is celebrated on October10/23.
St. Ambrose of Optina"Strive in all things to live according to the Divine commandments, and remember that the Lord is present and sees the disposition of your heart. While fulfilling an obedience, consider that it has been given by the Lord through a person, and that your salvation depends on your zeal in fulfilling it."
|"The Lord is nearer to us than it seems, and through people and situations He always guides us through life by the prayers of our venerable and God-bearing father Ambrose, elder of Optina, and of all the saints—of course, for those who follow Christ."|
|From a very early age, Alexis wanted to become a monk. He even thought about going to the Roslavl forests to live with the hermits at that place.|
|Saint Joseph of Optina was born on November 2, 1837 in the village of Gorodishcha in the province of Kharkov.|
Novice Elena ShamoninaI used to need one-on-one talks, and the elder’s constant attention. Now I would be happy just to sit and listen to phrases from batiushka’s talks with others.
Olga RozhnevaAugust 12 is the commemoration day of Venerable Anatoly (Potapov), one of the last of the Optina elders. In contrast to the preceding Optina saints, there was no one left to compose the life of this elder after the Revolution. There remained only fragmented memories of pilgrims, notes of spiritual children, and letters of the elder, in which biographical details were often lacking, but in which his image rises up brightly and vividly. We honor the memory of the elder and reminisce with these recollections.
Subdeacon Matthew LongElder Nektary said of Elder Anatole when a pilgrim had gone to him for advice, “Well now, that’s good that you wound up going to Fr. Anatole for guidance. Some people seek me out as an elder; but I—what can I tell you—I’m just a pie without a filling. But Fr. —well, he’s just like a pie with filling.”
|The last of the famous elders of Optina, Nectarius, was born in the town of Yeltz of poor parents, Basil and Helena Tikhonov, in 1857 or 1858. He was baptized in the Yeltz church of St. Sergius and given the name Nicholas.|
Olga Rozhneva“Everything is gained by prayer. You are only approaching the first step, you haven’t yet ascended it, only approach it and you still have to enter the door, but you can’t go in by any effort if God’s mercy is not there. That is why you first of all need to ask, “Open unto me the doors of Thy compassion, O Lord!”
|The Martyrs Zenaida and Philonilla lived in Tarsus in Cilicia during the first century, and were related to the holy Apostle Paul.|
|The relics of Saint Theophanes lie in the Near Caves of Saint Anthony.|
Dmitry LapaSt. Kenneth became renowned for his sermons, which were full of inspiration and rated very highly by his contemporaries. Among other things, the saint was a well-known spiritual poet and theologian as well. These written works include commentaries on all four Gospels, known as the “Chain of St. Canice”.
|Saint Philotheus was a native of Thessalonica, and received the monastic tonsure at an early age. After living for a time at Mt Sinai, he went to Mt Athos and became the igumen of the Great Lavra.|