Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

Double Feast in our Bulgarian Orthodox Church – feast of Annunciation and comemmoration of St. John Lesstvichnik

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Reading Time: 3minutes

One more year, we are into the great Lent and we're given the Grace to hear the Good tidings (Good News) handed down by Archangel Gabriel to our Virgin Lady (The Mother of God). We hear the GOOD NEWS that our Lord Jesus Christ is conceived immaculately and is to be born from the Holy Theotokos most pure body:

Here is a little part of the Gospel New Testamention reading from Luke for the day:

28 The angel went to her and said, Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
34 How will this be, Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin?
35 The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.
37 For no word from God will ever fail.
38 I am the Lord’s servant, Mary answered. May your word to me be fulfilled. Then the angel left her.

You can also read the feast troparion and some more information on this great Christian feast here

This year, today's feast also coincides with the comemmoration of one great Church Father – Saint John (monk) Lestvichnik .

st. john Lestvichnik Orthodox Christian icon

St. John Lestvichnik is honoured as one of our great ascetic saints across all Orthodox Christian dome.
Actually Lestvichnik word (comes from ancient Bulgarian / ancient Slavonic) and is a title. st. John received the Lestvichnik title as his spiritual life was so high and up to God, like climbing from earth to Gods heavens.

The meaning of Lestvichnik is "of the Ladder". After his title name Lestvichnik was named also his greatest life work Lestvica, which translated to english means Ladder

To read more about st. John Lestvichnik living a good Egnlish translation is here

Just in case to preserve, this great saints short living (english translation), I've made a mirror of st. John Lestvichnik (short) living here

St.John Lestvichnik (of the Ladder) 12th, 13 century icon

Lestvica is a very popular ancient monks living rule (guidance text);
"a true instruction for those following after invariably, and as such would be a ladder of affirmation, which would lead those wishing it to the Heavenly gates…"

Lestvica was written by st. John Lestvichnik, after a 40 years ascetic seclusion in (speachless solitude
The monks spiritual instructions rules and advices work "The Ladder" bears the title Ladder described by st. John like so:

"I have constructed a ladder of ascent...
from the earthly to the holy...
in the form of the thirty years of age for the Lord's maturity, symbolically I have constructed a ladder of 30 steps, by which, having attained the Lord's age, we find ourselves with the righteous and secure from falling down".
The purpose of this work, is to teach – that the reaching of salvation requires difficult self-denial and demanding ascetic deeds. "The Ladder" presupposes, first;
1. a cleansing from the impurity of sin – the eradication of vices and passions in the old man;
second;

2. the restoration in man of the image of God. – Although the book was written for monks, any christian living in the world can receive from it the hope of guidance for ascent to God as well as get a support for better spiritual life.
The Monks Theodore the Studite(Comm. 11 November and 26 January), Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 25 September and 5 July), Joseph of Volokolamsk (Comm. 9 September and 18 October), and others – in their instructions relied on "The Ladder" as an important book for salvific guidance.

Fifth Sunday of the Great Lent. And the Venerable Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church feast

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes
Saint Mary of Egypt Orthodox Icon

The Fifith week and the fifth Sunday of Lent is preparation for the Holy Week (right before Eastern).
In the Gospel readings on the fifth Sunday it’s being told how God on his way for Jerusalem revealed for a time to his deciples (The Holy Apostles), that his way is the way of the cross, the suffering and death and that the high-priest and the jewish scripture interpreters will betray him, will violate him spit at him, beat him and crucify him and most importantly that he will be Risen on the third day.

The pupils has been terified walking with him on the way to Jerusalem and haven’t really understood the Lord’s prophetic words.

The mother of John and Jacob for example asked the Lord that her sons be allowed to sit on his right and on left side of the Lord’s throne, without knowing like the rest of the desciples that the Lord’s way of unbelievable suffering, which the desciples comprehends a bit later.

The cross’s road of suffering is a predetermined path not only for Christ’s desciples but for the whole Orthodox Church in general and for all the believers inChrist’s name.
God does alone has carried out suffering for the human sin and sinfulness and bears it together with man entering and changing human’s history and completing his redemption for us on the cross.
On this land a man without a revelation of God, never could understand that God is love, that God is good, even if they are already talking about two thousand years all the saints and Fathers of our Church.
God is love and sacrifice himself for man, so our suffering is noble by his feat, carried out for good, because the truth because of the transfiguration of man. His sacrifice is the noblest sacrifice of this world.

But in essense as many ordinary people say in the suffering there is nothing good and noble. The sufferings however after Christ’s sacrifice in his “house-building” plan to transfigurate the man’s personality does prooved miraculous for many Christians throughout the centuries.

A very light example of such a transfiguration of the human’s personality (soul) can be clearly seen in the example of saint Mary of Egypt’s living whose memory do celebrate in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church today (in the Fifth Sunday of the great Lent).

St. Mary of Egypt has lead a very unusual way of living, which is really striking to be comprehend even for us the modern Christians.

Her living is a God’s omen for all generations of Christians and is in clearly distinctive with ours.

As we can read in short in her living, from a very rich and prosperous prostitute touched by Christ’s love after entering an Orthodox temple by the Mercy and the great prayers of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) she has decided to loose all earthly preasures and all the old unrightous way of living and start living a saint hermit life in the desert, she has fought the devil’s temptations and the consequences of sin and God’s wrath for the sinful way of live she has lead for so monay ears before she has turned to Christ in humility in about 25 years alone in the desert!

That’s clearly a God’s great miracle and faith simulator we should thanks God for ..

Her living is a very bright example that we should not despair ourselves about our salvation, and that God takes care for everyone who puts his faith in him and decides consciously to let behind his sinful way of living and evil and starts fighting with it.

God grants us our earthly living and waits throughout our whole earthly live for us to turn back from our sins and change for good.

St. Mary of Egypt is a great example for us who belief in Christ today about how much a repentance could work out in our lives.

From one of the greatest city sinners she has turned into a saint by repenting for her previous sinful life for 25 years.

After the end of her great trial period in the desert, seeing her great repentance God has granted us all the gifts of healing and miraculness of the Holy Spirit.

I would not stop into details of the great saint’s living I’ll just say it’s worthy to check her living in http://orthodoxwiki.org/Sunday_of_St._Mary_of_Egypt and be seriously astonished!

Let us take st. Mary of Egypt for a leading example in our lives and hope that God will have mercy on us and grant us her humbleness and repentance for our great sins we stand in daily ..

Save us Oh Lord by the prayers Saint Mary of Egypt!