Posts Tagged ‘mount athos’

Testament of a great saint – Testament of Saint John of Rila – Spiritual guidance for people from last ages

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

one-of-greatest-saints-of-all-times-orthodox-holy-icon-st-John-of-Rila

[1.] I, John, the humble and sinful, who has never done anything good on earth, when I came into this wilderness of Rila, I found no man over here, but only wild animals and impenetrable thickets. I settled alone in it among the wild animals, without food nor shelter, but the sky was my shelter and the earth my bed and the herbs my food. But the good Lord, for the love of whom I disregarded everything and endured hunger and thirst, frost, the heat of the sun, and corporal nakedness, did not abandon me, but like a merciful and child-loving father he lavishly satisfied all my needs. What shall I contribute to the Lord for all he has given me? Many are his benefactions to me, for he looked from his holy height at my humbleness (cf. Luke 1:48) and lent his support to me to go through everything—not I, but the might of Christ, which is in me—because every good gift and every perfect gift is from him (James 1:17).

[2.] Seeing you today gathered together in the Lord here, where, as I told you, no man has dwelled until now, but only wild animals, and foreseeing that the end of my life here is soon coming on, because of this I made up my mind, before my departure (II Tim. 4:6) from life here, to leave you the present fatherly testament of mine, just as carnal fathers leave their children an earthly inheritance of silver and gold and other property, so that when you commemorate your father in the Holy Spirit, you do not forget his testament.

[3.] I know, my beloved children in God, I know you very well, that you, being beginners, are not confirmed yet in the monk’s life, but fear not, for the Lord’s "power is made perfect in weakness" (II Cor. 12:9). Just because of this I made up my mind to write for you this rough and ignorant testament of mine, so that you will keep it always in your minds to become stronger in body and soul, in the Lord, and go forward through the virtues in fear of God. Because I believe in my God, whom I have served since my youth and to whom I submitted zealously, after my departure, this wilderness, which until now was terrible and uninhabited, will be inhabited by a multitude of desert-citizens. What was written about it will be fulfilled: "The desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband" (Is. 54:1; Gal. 4:27).

Св. Йоан Рилски. Стенопис от XIV в. в църквата на Земенския манастир.[4.] Because of this I beg you, my children, whom I have gathered in the Lord, I beg of you, my flesh and blood, do not neglect your father’s admonition and together with the apostle I say: “I am in travail again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). I beg you and make you swear on the dread name of God not to violate or abandon anything after my death, but everything I have written let be carried out, as it is written and as you have promised before God. Whosoever oversteps or violates something of it, let him be damned and separated from the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, to have no share with the saints, who were pleasing to God ages ago, but let his share be with those who had crucified the Lord of Glory (Acts 7:2) and with his betrayer Judas, to be erased from “the book of life” (Phil. 4:3) and not to be inscribed [in it] with the righteous.

[5.] First of all, I bequeath to you the obligation to preserve the holy faith immaculate and unaffected by any false teaching, just as we received it from the holy fathers, without "being led away with diverse and strange teachings" (Heb. 13:9). Hold fast and keep the traditions you have heard and seen from me. Do not deviate either to the right, or to the left, but walk along the royal road. Keep yourselves carefully away from worldly fascinations and always remember why you have come out of the world, and why you have despised it and worldly things.

[6.] Now again, keep yourselves away from the avaricious snake, “for the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Tim. 6:10), according to the apostle, who calls it a second idolatry. Because for the hermit wealth consists not in silver and gold,5 but in perfect poverty, in the denial of his personal will, and in lofty humbleness. I am not telling you this as my commandments, but [I am] recalling for you the commandments of Christ. For he told his holy disciples and through them everybody who had renounced the world: "Take no gold, nor silver, nor a bag, nor copper in your belts" (Matt. 10:9) and so on. For gold and silver are great enemies of the monk and bite those who have them like a snake.

holy relics of-one of greatest saints of all times Bulgarian saint John of Rila Rila mountain bulgaria

[7.] If we, however, have undoubted hope in God, he will not leave us deprived of anything, for he himself says: “A woman may forget her children, yet will I not forget thee” (Is. 49:15). Also in another place: “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be yours as well” (Matt. 6:33). For in the beginning, when I came to this wilderness, the sly enemy attempted to allure me, for the pious king sent to me a lot of gold.6 For the sake of God I refused to see him, for I understood that it was a perfidy of the devil. I did not accept it, but returned it to those who sent it, for I thought to myself: “If I wished to have gold and silver, and suchlike things, why came I into this terrible and impenetrable wilderness, where I found no man, but wild animals?” So I saved myself from the intrigues of the sly tempter, who endeavors to trip us up in those things, which we renounced willfully. That is why you are not to look for any of these things, “for your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matt. 6:32) before your prayer [is offered].
 

[8.] Nor look to be recognized and beloved by earthly kings and princes, nor put your hope in them, leaving the heavenly King, with whom you enlisted to be soldiers and "wrestle not against flesh and blood," but "against the ruler of the darkness of this world" (Eph. 6:12). For the prophet Jeremiah also threatens us speaking so: "Cursed be the man that hopeth in man" and the rest. Enumerating the evils, he adds that "blessed is the man that hopeth in the Lord" (Jer. 17:5-8). Do not say: "What shall we eat, or drink, or in what shall we be dressed?" for the gentiles seek after these things. "Look at the birds of the air: for they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matt. 6:26). As soon as you have come out of the world, do not go back, neither with your body, nor with your mind, for, as it is said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of Heaven" (Luke 9:62).

[9.] The Apostle [Paul] too, however, teaches us to "forget what lies behind and strain froward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3:13). What does "forgetting those things which are behind" mean, my children? Nothing else except to deliver to oblivion all those things which, coming out of the world for God’s sake, we have left and despised, and to strive towards the feat which lies before us, to which we were called by our taskmaster, our most gracious God and Lord Jesus Christ, who has enabled us to endure his gentle yoke, "For his yoke is easy, and his burden is light" (Matt. 11:30).

[10.] As the grace of the Holy Spirit brought you together, so must you endeavor to live with one heart and one mind and one spirit, directing your eyes only towards the eternal reward, which God has prepared for those who have loved him. The communal life is in every way more useful for monks than the solitary one, for solitude is not suitable for the many, but only for a few who are perfect in all monastic virtues. The common life, on the other hand, is useful in general for everybody, about which the patristic books tell us and teach us sufficiently. The spirit-speaking prophet David glorified it saying: "See now what is so good and so pleasant as for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1). In addition to this, one spirit-moved ecclesiastical hymn writes in this way: "Because in this the Lord promised eternal life." But also our good Master Lord God Jesus Christ, does he not say to us himself, by his immaculate lips: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them"? (Matt. 18:20). Our God-bearing fathers say for the solitary life: "Woe to him that is alone when he falls; and there is not a second to lift him up" (Eccl. 4:10).

[11.] That is why, children, as the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the prophet glorifies the communal life, do you not neglect it either, but on the contrary, confirm it and be like "one body in the Lord" (Rom. 12:5), which has different members. Some of them form, however, the head which governs, others the feet which toil and bear, so that there is formed from all a single spiritual body in the Lord, created with a single mind and logical spirit, and directed by spiritual reasoning, in no wise having divisions. When such a dwelling and life in God is arranged, then he himself will be in the midst of you, governing you invisibly.

[12.] Do not seek the first place and authority, but remember those who have said: "If one would be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all" (Mark 9:35). Elect for yourselves preceptors and appoint superiors, whom God will show you, that is, men "of good report" (Acts 10:22) among everybody in spiritual matters and surpassing everybody in intelligence and spiritual discernment, and able to pasture well and comfortably the flock entrusted to them down the meadows of piety and of the life-giving commands of Christ. For these men it is proper to seek confirmation more from God than from our opinion.

      7. According to Goshev, "Zavetât," pp. 449–61, this author’s Parainesis had been available in a Slavonic translation since the reign of Symeon (893–927).
 

[13.] If, as our great father and monastic preceptor, the reverend Ephraem Syrus says,7 all of you begin to desire authority and presidencies, and all of you to be abbots, and all of you preceptors, and interpreters, and teachers, and among you spring up rivalries, quarrels, disputes, zealousness, calumnies, haughtinesses, envy and other passions indecorous for monks, then certainly be aware that Christ is not among you, for Christ is not the teacher of discord and dissent, but of peace and unity. For he prays to God the father for his holy disciples to be united, that is, of one mind—they themselves and everybody who believes in him through them, and says as follows: "Holy Father, keep them in thy name that they may be one, as we are" (John 17:11). In another place: "I do not pray for them only but also for those who believe in me through their word that all may be one" (John 17:20–21). If you will be one, be at peace one with another. For he said to his disciples, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you." (John 14: 27) For such is this peace of Christ, children, that again he speaks, saying, "Not as the world gives, do I give to you" (John 14:27). But this peace of Christ surpasses every mind. This is the peace, about which the prophet talks: "And his peace has no bounds." But also the apostle teaches us saying: "Strive for peace with all men and for the holiness, without which no man shall see God" (Heb. 12:14). May you have such a peace, now, among you, and let you arrange everything for God with great unity of mind and heart, so as not to enrage your own God and master.

[14.] If somebody is found among you who sows weeds, discords and other temptations, you have to eliminate at once such a man from your assembly, so that this will not be transfigured into a devouring canker, according to the apostle, and not to spread the evil among the good ones, and “lest any root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble by it, and the many be defiled” (Heb. 12:5); and the wicked wolf not trouble the peaceful flock of Christ, because this sort [of men] will appear. For of them Christ prophesies saying: "For it is necessary that temptations come; but woe to the world for temptations to sin!" (Matt. 16:7). For this and you, children, keep away from these things and do not allow them to live among you, but divert them away from yourselves as the shepherd chases away the scabby sheep from the pure flock.

[15.] Living together for the Lord’s sake and bearing the burdens of one another, do not neglect those who live in solitude and "wandering over deserts and in mountains, and in dens, and in caves of the earth, of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:38), but supply them as much as you can, in order to hold them as your petitioners before God, for the prayer of the pious may achieve much.

      8. For the translation of some of the late antique classics of ascetic literature into Slavonic, see Dujcev, "Réforme," p. 262.
 

[16.] Instruct yourselves in the Lord’s law day and night (Ps. 1:2). Read often the patristic books and try to be imitators of our holy fathers Antony, Theodosios and the others, who shone like lamps in the world with their good deeds.8 Hold firmly to the church rule, leaving or neglecting nothing of this, which is established by the holy fathers.

[17.] Manual labor must not be neglected by you, however, but work must be in your hands, and the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” must be permanently on your lips, as well as the memory of death in your mind. This was the practice of the ancient desert fathers. They did not eat their bread in vain, and they not only lived themselves by labor of their own hands, but they gave to the needy too, and so they were not disappointed in their hope. “For,” says the apostle [Paul], "it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace; not with foods which have not benefited their adherents" (Heb. 13:9). He says too: "Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Heb. 13:1–2).

[18.] Establish the newly enlightened from your own race in the faith and instruct them to abandon the indecent pagan rites and the evil customs which they keep even after the acceptance of the holy faith. But they do this because of ignorance, and thus they need to be brought to their senses.

[19.] I had much more to say to you, my beloved children in the Lord, but it is impossible to write everything. I deliver you to him who is the source of all wisdom and reason, and the true Comforter— to the Holy and life-giving Spirit, in order that he himself gives you wisdom, to bring you to your senses, to enlighten you, to teach and instruct you in every good deed.

[20.] Now I leave you our beloved brother Gregory for instructor and superior in place of me, about whom all of you testify that he is able to govern you well and according to God, and you elect him by consensus as superior, even though he does not want it, but because of obedience and humility he acquiesces to your request. After him, [choose] whomever God will show you. As for myself, I wish henceforth to live in quiet and silence, to repent my sins and to beg mercy of God. Have mercy on me, your sinful father, always in your prayers that I may receive mercy on judgment day, for I have done nothing good on earth and fear that judgment and torment prepared for sinners like me. So may the blessing of God be with you all, guarding and protecting you from all evils. Amen.

I have written this in the year from the creation of the world 6449 ( = A.D. 941) on the twenty-fifth day of the month of March.

I, the humble and most sinful John, first inhabitant of the wilderness of Rila, sign with my own hand and confirm the above-written [testament].

© 2000 Dumbarton Oaks
Trustees for Harvard University
Washington, D.C.
Printed in the United States of America

Rila: Testament of John of Rila

Date: 941 Translator: Ilija Iliev

Here is also some more information of Rila Monastery for those who want to learn more what is consequence of a living of a great saint.

The monk John laid the foundations for what was to become the greatest monastery of medieval Bulgaria circa 930–31 in the mountains to the east of the Struma river valley in western Bulgaria.2 Born around 876–880, not much more than a dozen years after Boris-Michael (852–889), ruler of the Bulgars, had accepted Christianity in 865, John began his monastic career at the monastery of St. Dimiter near his birthplace, then lived for many years as a hermit. His final settlement was a site north of the Rila river, to the east of the present Rila monastery. Remains of the foundations of the first buildings are to be seen in the meadows south of the hermitage dedicated to St. Luke.3 Jealous of his independence, John refused to welcome the Bulgarian ruler Peter (927–969), who came to pay him homage. John’s Testament, translated below, was issued March 25, 941 to regulate the cenobitic community and is his only literary work. John then retired to his accustomed solitary life, and died on August 18, 946. He was a popular subject among hagiographers; seven lives in Bulgarian and two in Greek were composed between the twelfth and the nineteenth centuries.

B. Subsequent History of the Monastery in Medieval Times

Little is known about the Rila monastery during the Byzantine dominion over Bulgaria (1018– 1185). The earliest Slavonic life of John of Rila, the so-called "Popular Life," was composed in Bulgarian towards the end of this period, as was the first life in Greek, authored by George Skylitzes, an official on the staff of the Byzantine governor at Srédetz (modern Sofia) during the reign of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143–1180), that now survives only in a Slavonic translation.5 The monastery’s fortunes revived considerably later during the Second Bulgarian Empire (1186–1396). Rila and several other monasteries, richly endowed by the Bulgarian rulers with new lands and villages, seem to have enjoyed considerable prosperity in the fourteenth century.6 There is also a charter of 1378 preserved in the monastery of the last Bulgarian king, Ivan Shishman (1371– 1393), that confirms the tax exemptions of the monastery’s existing properties and awards new lands as well; it refers to similar charters now lost that earlier Bulgarian monarchs had awarded to the monastery dating back to the middle of the thirteenth century.

Earlier in the fourteenth century, Rila had benefited also from a local patron, the protosebast Hreljo, a local lord and sometime vassal of the Serbian tsar Stephen Dusan (1331–1355), who erected a new monastery on the site of the existing Rila monastery, to the west of John’s original foundation, which continued in operation as the "Old Hermitage." Hreljo built a 75-foot protective tower, still preserved, in 1335. It included living quarters for Hreljo and his family as well as a chapel on the top floor dedicated to the Transfiguration.7 A brick inscription records Hreljo’s erection of this structure. In 1343 he also built a stone church, which survived until 1834. There were similar towers built at this time for the monasteries on Mount Athos (see (51) Koutloumousi [A4]), and there is one still existing at the Hilandar monastery. Forced to become a monk at the order of Dusan, who distrusted his loyalty, Hreljo was strangled to death by hired assassins in his tower in 1343, probably also at Dusan’s instigation. Hreljo’s gravestone, broken into many pieces, is preserved in the monastery’s museum and speaks of his entry into the monastery and unnatural death.8

In 1385, Dometian, the monastery’s superior, had John’s Testament recopied while hiding away the original along with the foundation’s other valuables for fear of the Turks, who had taken Srédetz in 1382. At about this time too Evtimij, the last Bulgarian patriarch of Turnovo, wrote his widely popular version of the Life of John of Rila.

C. Rila under Ottoman Rule

The Turkish sultans Beyazid I (1389–1402) and Mehmet I (1413–1421) issued firmans confirming the privileges Rila had received earlier from Bulgarian monarchs, but this did not save the monastery from later depredations, with the result that it was abandoned by the middle of the fifteenth century.9 There was a revival, however, in the second half of the century. Around 1460, the three brothers David, Joasaf and Teofan, sons of a certain Jakov, bishop of Krupnik, worked to strengthen and repair the damaged buildings. Shortly thereafter, a pact was reached in 1466 with the Russian monastery of St. Panteleemon on Mount Athos obliging Rila and the former institution to assist one another as needed in the future. Permission was obtained from the Turkish authorities in 1469 to transport the relics of John of Rila from Turnovo, the old capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, where they had been since 1195. The translation considerably increased the Rila monastery’s prestige. A dependency (metoh) dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul was built to the southwest of the main monastery in 1478.

Firmans issued by sultans Beyazid II (1481–1512) in 1498, Selim I (1512–1520) in 1519, and Murad III (1574–1595) confirmed the monastery in the possession of its properties, but like the earlier series of firmans, these did not succeed in protecting the foundation from the depredations of various brigands.10 Beginning in 1558–59, the monks succeeded in establishing direct relations with Russia, whose rulers they hoped would be sympathetic to their complaints of oppression at the hands of their Ottoman masters.

Despite extremely difficult conditions, which continued well into the second half of the eighteenth century, including attacks by robbers in 1766 and 1779, the monastery not only managed to survive but served as a kind of center of Bulgarian culture. Additional churches were built as dependencies towards the end of the eighteenth century and in the early years of the nineteenth century, then a complete reconstruction of the main monastery was begun in 1816.11 A fire in 1833, however, destroyed all the buildings there except for Hreljo’s tower and his fourteenthcentury stone church. The monastery was rebuilt once again in 1834 while the church was torn down to make room for a larger structure; both the monastery and the nineteenth-century church still stand today, along with Hreljo’s tower, the only medieval structure preserved on the site. Analysis Experts have endorsed the essential authenticity of the document.12 It is an example of the testamentary genre of monastic foundation documents, whose author seems to have made some use of (3) Theodore Studites and even (4) Stoudios.13 There are indeed some resemblances to the former document, such as the statement of purpose [3], the prohibition of changes [4], and the admonition to preserve the faith [5]. The use of the wilderness topos in the brief foundation history [1] also has a close parallel in (29) Kosmosoteira [1], a twelfth-century document. On the whole, however, this is a distinct document with its own concerns for the ordering of monastic life at Rila.

A. Lives of the Monks

Like his Stoudite predecessors, John of Rila endorses [10] the cenobitic lifestyle, but also urges his monks to establish [15] relations with and support neighboring solitaries. This coexistence of cenobitic and eremitic lifestyles, prefigured in John’s own career, would be one of the notable characteristics of Byzantine monasticism. The author demonstrates an acquaintance with the ascetic tradition of late antiquity, quoting [13] Ephraem Syrus and recommending [16] the study of patristic literature, in particular the Lives of St. Antony, founder of anchoritic monasticism, Theodosios the Koinobiarch, “and others” as well as respecting canon law. John also invokes [17] patristic authority for the practice of manual labor.

B. Constitutional Matters

While there is genuine disciplinary content in this document, its chief purpose, as in most testaments, was to designate [20] a successor, here the monk Gregory. John then announces his intent to retire into seclusion as part of an arrangement for assuring an orderly succession to the superiorship that is similar to that proposed in the eleventh century in (22) Evergetis [13]. C. Financial Matters

Aside from the commitment to self-sufficiency that seems implicit in his endorsement of manual labor, there are no indications of how John expected the foundation to support itself financially. He proudly asserts [7] that he refused a royal donation, perhaps an annuity like the solemnia attested in Byzantium in the tenth century, and he advises [8] his community not to seek favors from “earthly kings and princes” [8]. This deliberate shunning of material support is unusual. Many later founders did not fear for the independence of their foundations when accepting imperial largess or tax exemptions (e.g., (13) Ath. Typikon [36] or (19) Attaleiates [22]), nor did Rila itself long after John’s death. As Dujcev ("Réforme," p. 263) surmised, John probably was concerned about Bulgarian monasticism being too submissive to secular authority, understandably given the prior history of Bulgarian monasticism under royal patronage.

An Orthodox Christian view of Roman Catholicism / My Orthodox Christian perspective on Roman Catholicism

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Roman catholic Church from Orthodox Christian perspective Emblem of the Papacy

Last Sunday  ( The day of the Resurrection – Voskresenie ) – as called in the largest Orthodox Christian country Russia), I've attended a Roman Catholic Holy Mass.

The reason for me to attend a Holy Mass in the Roman Catholic Church  Saint Martinus  Kerk in Arnhem, the Netherlands, was my desire to have a better understanding on Catholicism.

 st Martinus Roman Catholic Church view picture

I should add I'm firmly Orthodox Christian and I know pretty well the evils Roman Catholic initiated Crusades have done I have no intention to be in any prayer or Eucharistic Union with Roman Catholics ever. Besides that I went to the Holy Mass service with the blessing of my priest, as I've asked him if he will bless me to go and be their with only educational aim.

The reason I don't want to pray or commune with them is pretty simple Roman Catholic Crusaders with their aggressive attempts tried to convert Bulgarian nations to Roman Catholicism on a multiple times.

Just to mention few of the other historical reasons which make me look with scepticism to Roman Catholics is the fact that  on Holy Mount Athos where we Bulgarian Orthodox have our strong spiritual fortress the monastery of Zographus under the patronage of Saint George the Glorybringer , Roman Catholic crusaders killed 26 of our monks with no evident reason coming and burning all of them, while they were all together in a prayer to the Lord. Nowadays the 26 Martyrs for Christ are saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church – as the 26 saints from Zographus (Zograf). Along with the 26 Zographus martyrs was also the monastery abbot who in advance is known to have been notified by the Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) about the coming of the Crusaders (Cross scoffers – as they were called by our country priest fr. Veliko in Dobrich once).

It is known fact by every Orthodox Christian who seriously considers his faith and research in it about the erroneous nature of Roman Catholicism. We the Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics are no longer in Eucharist Union since the great schism. It is true the consequences around the West and East Church were very complex and partially two-fold, as it happened in times where the Country Government (Empire Government) was more or less bounded with the Church. However even though that it is a fact we Orthodox stayed keeping the decisions of the Holy Fathers taken priorly on the Ecumenical Church Councils in this number keeping  the Necene Creed of Faith intact, where Roman Catholics changed it. It is also a fact in the Roman Catholic Church a supremacy of one person over the whole Christiandom was claimed a doctrine now recognized by early Church. The problems with Roman Catholics after the Schism and their division from the Christ truth has progressed severely as one can see in some events like the Witch Huntings / The Inquisition, The Crusaders marches, the doctrine of the infallability of the Pope and many many other doctrines which are ridiculous and out of truth and away from the teachings of the early Church Holy Fathers.

Just to name a few of the huge mistakes of Roman Catholics in their understanding of faith;

  •  The layman in Roman Catholic Church is administered in communion only the Flesh of Christ (The Bread which mystically gets transformed to Christ's Body), where only priests receive holy communion of both the Blood and the Flesh of Christ – Even the simplest reading of the Holy Gospel shows clearly this is a big mistake; We read in Holy Gospel Christ instructing us his pupils to eat his flesh and drink his blood which are being shed for our sins. Christ further says in the Gospels, whoever did not drink his blood and eat his flesh he is no one with our saviour Christ (The Messiah).
     
  • A multiple times of Holy Liturgy is served on the same alter, again breaking Church dogmatical truths decided in assembly during the few early Church Ecumenical Councils.
     
  • The wrong understanding of supremacy of saint Apostle Paul and interpreting erroneously parts of the Holy Gospels and chapters from Holy Bible's New Testament. Roman Catholics says the saying that the keys to the kingdoms of heaven will be given to saint Paul means saint Paul is the person who allows people enter heaven and he is given spiritual authority and the Grace of the the Lord Jesus Christ to spread his salvational grace to the rest of layman (the newly baptized members of the Church)
     
  • The erroneous understanding that the Priest within the Roman Catholic Church is a mediator between God and man. In orthodox Church the priest is considered an unworthy servant just like he multiple times says both during Holy Liturgies (like Holy Mass Church services) and even during people's confession.
     
  • The confession practice in Roman Catholic mistakes, in Roman Catholic Church the person does not openly confess to the priest eyes to eyes like in our Orthodox Church, the person has to confess in a special room, where both of the sides the Layman and Clergyman does not see each other. The priest symbolizes God who hears the confession in secret. The problem with this is again the same the priest is there just a "substitute for God". Just as a frame of comparison in Orthodox Church, we always confess openly in front of the priest face to face and most importantly in front of a Christ's icon which is always put near. In orthodox Church it is Christ's icon which Symbolizes God and actually it is just a symbolism and the icon itself is not representing God. During Orthodox Confession we know God and his Holy Angels is present and listen to the confession with no any representative. One more general problem with Roman Catholic Confession is the fact that if the confessing person does not see the priest face to face, his guiltiness of having confessed in front of a person is much lessened. According to our Orthodox Christian Church it is exactly those guiltiness during confession of layman to priest face to face which often makes us experience shame and is 1 barrier during next time we're thinking or willing to do the same sin. It is much to be said here probably but as the aim of this article was completely different I will stop here with Roman Catholic errs.

Even all its problems we cannot simply reject the importance of Roman Catholic Church easily and we should say through the ages even though not possessing the Grace of Christ in fullness as our Orthodox Church has it, still a lot of the ancient understandings and beliefs (but again not all) concerning our Christian faith are present in Roman Catholics. After all Roman Catholic Church is the closest to belief and Christian liturgical practices to the Orthodox Church. However the problem with it again is that what the Roman Catholic Church offers is not complete and from perspective of the many saints in our Orthodox Church, the teachings of  the Roman Catholic Church is not salvational.

Now after having all this, I will go back to the topic of my article, which was to give ,my personal Orthodox Christian perspective on Roman Catholicism. What I say may not be all truth and I'm not a representative of Orthodox Church in any way but it is my just observations based on my knowledge about our Orthodox Christian faith and my common sense, I'm just a layman in Orthodox Church, so i'm prone to sinfulness and mistakes. Thus if I'm mistaken forgive me.

I. What I've noticed in the Roman Catholic Church to be wrong from perspective teaching of the Holy Fathers and practice in our Orthodox Church

1. First thing noticable in the Roman Catholic Church was on the entrance of the Saint Martinus Church (which btw is located in Steenstraat just 2 minutes walk from the city center)

st_Martinuskerk_-_Arnhem_The_Netherlands-Christ-on-a-throne

On the entrance there is a huge statue of Christ the saviour surrounded by Angels. We know well that in orthodox Church we rejected statues as they profane understanding of the depicted person and along with that are in no difference to idols. Some might argue the situation with the Holy icons is also like with statues, but in reality it is not due to the fact the icons are the icon painter best attempt to display Christ and the Holy Theotokos the saints, the martyrs and all that is in heaven. With Stone Statues instead of icons the depiction is much more profaned and even looking grotesque to the observer (profaning the person it illustrates, also it is fact that many of the worldly rulers like Napoleon and many ancient kings ordered creation of Stones, even in old testament it was a stone statue which was ordered to be venerated instead of God, also in the old testament it was the Golden calf which is again a statue which served to be an idol for people …. there probably hundreds or even thousands of reasons one can easily see, by simply reading the Holy Gospels).

Another thing about the statues is the material of statues is usually a stone or a variation of stone the stone is hard or impossible to burn and does not have heat or hardly possesses heat, also it never used to be a living matter but is indifferent. All materials in icons is just for a contrast made of organic substances.


2. The enormous size of the Cathedrals and the General Church architectures

The Cathedrals size is subject of praise and admiration. It is really a miracle that such a majestic buildings occur, I or anyone sane person canno simply skip that.
However this enormous sizes of Cathedrals makes the person feel little and insignificant for God. Where in fact we read in the Holy Gospels; I recite by memory "…. for God so much loved the Lord so he gave his only begotten son so nobody perish but all be saved through faith in the name of his only begotten son our Lord ….". The sharp architecture of domes (coupols) in the Roman Catholic Church I find rather (impudent) / bold to God,  and in my view it spills lack of humility.

3. The benches in the Church, though it is great to have benches in the Church having benches for everyone doesn't seem like something too good. After all one has a week time to stay on his chair at home and usually the time spend in Church service is about 1.5 to 2 hours time. It is good to have some benches for the old people whose health does not allow them to stay right, but having a bench for all is just an extra confort which brings the heart and mind back to the earthly thoughts.

4. The Crucifix of the Lord Jesus Christ – on the crucifix in Roman Catholic Churches we see our Lord Jesus Christ crucified being in torture on the Cross.

In Orthodox Church Christ is on the Cross but already peacefully given the spirit – as the Lord Jesus said – "Lord in your hands I command my spirit". Having depicted Christ torturing might trigger in non-believers and even in believers a thoughts on the topic of sadism.
Other error noticable was on the Crucifix itself, in Roman Catholic Churches the Lord's legs are pierced by one nail. Whether we know in Orthodox Church tradition, both of the legs of our Lord Jesus Christ was pierced with 2 nails.
Actually in the few other Cathedrals where I've been and all across the Roman Catholic art I've seen I see this kind of inclanation to depict moments of the suffering and death of Christ. Nothing bad with that but I think this is too much. After all even though all the Crucifix is the center of our Christian faith, we should not forget the rest of the Holy Scriptures. It is my view by concentrating on Christ's suffering to Golgotha (Christ's trial) and our Lord's Crucifix, we tend to forget about the rest of the Holy Scriptures. For comparison in the Orthodox Church every fresco icon painted and icons reminds is in much bigger details to events from Holy Gospels and life events of the saints. The "visual information" provided in our Orthodox Church through frescos and holy icons is much more and better selected reminding us always of all the Holy Scriptures just like every Holy Liturgy is a remembrance of Christ's eathly life,  crucifix for our sins, Glorious Resurrection, descendance to Hell and Ascendance to Heaven …..


5. The Priest's position towards people; heading most of the time backwards the Holy Alter and backwards the Alter Crucifix and the 12 apostles.

In the Orthodox Church during our Holy Liturgy the priest most of the time is praying and heading his face to the East (In our Churches the alter should always be headed East). In Roman Catholic Church, I've noticed a lot of alters are positioned South, West, North. During most of the Holy Mass goes the priest is staying with his back towards the Holy Alter …. in a way looks like turning back to God. As the layman pray towards his face it symbolically seems like the laymen are praying to him like he being a mediator. I know according to Roman Catholicism dogmatism this is not so, but really for me it looks like so.
 

6. 6 candlers burns on the Alter instead of the usual 7 or 8 in our Orthodox Churches

6 in itself is not a bad number, but I really see no reason for 3 candles to burn on one side of the Crucifix and 3 more to burn on the other side (overall numbering 6).
Even in Jewish old testament tradition the Menora is burning a 7 candles, ancient Church followed some of the old times tradition just we can see even to this day. According to Ancient even pre-Church existence faith tradition it was never 6 candles to burn on the alter.
 

7. The position of "icon" depicting the Last Supper.

Maybe it is just in st. Martinus Kerk in Arnhem and not all practice in all Roman Catholic Church parishes, however on those one it rather striked me. The Last Supper showing the Lord Jesus eating with the 12 Holy Apostles is positioned on parallel hight with legs. Really it looked like pure mockery with Christ and the Holy Eucharist. It is common sense that tells me this painting can only go over the head of the Priest or layman. It is exactly like this in our Orthodox Churhces. Above the head of us above the Dveri (Alter Portals) is located an icon with the Last Support…


8. The too much talking by priest and clergy during the service.

I had the impression that the overall prayers and singing in glorification of God is less than the General "talks" which seemed like a lecture by the priest right during the service. I don't speak Dutch so I could not understand all but the gestures of the priest and the overall face expression and intonation was clearly showing he is definitely not reading prayers or from the Gospel. Here is good time to say he also read from the Holy Gospels, as far as I could understand (at least it looked l ike this I don't speak Dutch so don't know for sure), here I liked that whether there was a Gospel Reading there was silence and there was no priest or deacon with the incense-burner (censer) disturbing the Holy Gospel readings. This is something good, but on the other hand in some of our Orthodox Churches (in smaller ones) though the incense  incense-burner is making noises still it is hear-able for the layman, so this is not really a big issue in our Orthodox Church. Something else here that rather striked, me that along with the clergy a woman was reading or even talking things on a microphone right on the middle of the Holy Mass !
 

9. The side alters which even didn't have a Crucifix on it

st. Martinus Cathedral is with 3 Alters, one central and 2 side on left and right. On the left side Alter I clearly remember on the top of the Alter was (Mother Mary? holding a Cross). I've longly heard that in Roman Catholic Church there are wrong doctrines about  Virgin Mary (like the doctrine that Mother Mary was sinless), but having an Alter like this in my view is wrong. On the Center of the Alter the only proper thing that seems to fit my understanding is a Crucifix. We also have an icon of Mother Mary on our Orthodox Church alters, however it is an icon positioned on the left side and not on the center of the Alter. In the Center of the Alter is always Christ on the Cross who completed our salvation and redemption on the Cross for us all.
 

10. The late time in which the Church service started

The Church service started about 11:10 or 11:15. I have not heard or know any Orthodox Church that starts the Holy Liturgy after 10:30. Actually if I'm not mistaken there is an ancient church rule  saying  the Holy Liturgy should over no later than 12:00 oclock? I heard this and did not investigated so I'm not completely certain if it is true or not? If any orthodox brothers and sisters knows drop a comment.


11. The feeling impression of incompleteness of the Holy Mass

I didn't have the temper to stay until the end of the Holy Mass. I stayed maybe about 45 minutes. It all started nice music, Organs sounded peaceful and beautiful. It felt a bit like a symphonious orchestra concert, but it was peaceful so in beginning I like it. Later when the Priest and clergy came it all changed, especially when the priest and the Lady started speaking to people on the Microphone. This was like an interruption of the prayer and the natural way it all go. This happened on a few occasions so it was a mixture of harmoneous Organ Instrument sounds  with the (Church choire accompany) and the priest and lady interfering. I respect all so I don't want to offend any of the devoted Roman Catholics but I just tell how it looked like to me. So if you're a Roman Catholic insulted please Forgive me
 

12. Donations demand before the end of the Service and before distributing the Holy Communion

I stayed in the Church until the moment, they asked for donations. I'm not Roman Catholic and don't agree or wanted to help Roman Catholic Church, as it is not my Church and besides that it preaches incomplete Christianity. I stand up and went out of the Church. Moreover I'm a poor person, and can't afford to help them so but anyways as I said even if I could have possibility I would not give them donation but would rather give my donation to the mostly poor Orthodox Church. Later I've figured out the donation part is followed by the Eucharist Liturgy part, as I've studied a bit about Roman Catholicism as explained by a devoted Roman Catholics. The problem with asking for donation right before the Eucharist and the transfiguration of the eucharistics – holy gifts is the layman's attention is totally distracted from the main purpose of the service – the Holy Eucharist.

II. What I liked (enjoyed)  in the Roman Catholic Church

st-Martenius-Arnhem1816-organ-above-Church-entry-door

1. The Choire and the Organ

I liked the quire and the organ, it felt like peaceful to listen to that, but that's all it was  more human symphology than divine one. However, an instrument existence during the service sacrifices part of it is spirtiuality. The organ is not spirited (Not a living soul), and thus from purely spiritual point of view it is much better that we don't have any musical instruments in the Orthodox Church. There is a believe in the Orthodox Church, that we use only people's voices (singing) to glorify the Lord for the reason, man was the most higher creation of God and therefore it is righteous that God is glorified by using the voice of his most magnificient creation the man.

2. The meditation idea in the Roman Catholic Church

I liked those partially but same time I rejected the idea. The idea that they speak of meditation might implant in the unknowing non-Christian the idea that in the Church people go to meditate instead of praying. It gives the idea the goal of Christianity is to just be in some kind of  "inactive" peacefulness. The heroism of attending the Grace of Christ is somehow missing all this 'meditation'. It is also rather easy for people to think that Buddhist meditation is like Christian meditation. The Church had an entrance on the Right Corner, which I liked. There was a fresco remake of an Orthodox icon depicting the Holy Theotokos with Christ. It was a quite place like Paraklis (small chapel), where one can spend some time alone and pray to God asking for help and forgiveness of sins. In this little room I saw a notebook, where different people have written petitions to the Holy Theotokos, for physical healing, life blessing and all kind of petitions we humans have. I really liked that a lot in some form there is a similar "non written" tradition in our Orthodox Church, as people write their petitions on small piece of papers and put them under icons or near the Alter walls or just leave them somewhere in Monasteries and Church buildings. However though I liked that after thing for it I realized this is not 100% inline with faith, for the reason God knows every person on earth's heart and his presence is virtually everywhere, we know he even knows our thoughts before we think them. So what would be the reason to place them on piece of paper, where we can pray it simply with few words – he already knows it


3. What else I liked about the Roman Catholic Church (Synthesized)

I liked in the Roman Catholic Church, a lot of the well organized brochures, Church singing notes papers, leaflets and general organization in the Church. If we talk about simply organizing, they definitely beat us Orthodox. Everything in the Church seemed well coordinated. The Church choire sing very well and obviously well coordinated too. This however is also something which might be put to trial. Such a well coordinated organization that is in the Roman Catholic seems to human. If we look in the nature, we see the coordination of things are there but not to the moment of perfection. The strive of Roman Catholics for perfection in both buildings and general organization is therefore I think not in consonance with the natural life as God created it. Also the lack of such "strict" organization in the Orthodox Church is an evidence of people's free will and unique identity.

4. The many people attending Holy Mass (people have faith)

Another thing I very much liked is the Roman Catholic Church was mostly full with people including a lot of young people under 30 years old.Maybe 1/6 of all people in the Church was from 15 to 30, 35 years. I don't know if the Sunday 1 of December 2012, when I attended the Church it was a big feast for Roman Catholics as I'm not aware of their Gregorian Church calendar, however it seems like a normal Sunday and still there were plenty of people attending, meaning people had faith.Sadly as of time of writting in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, one can very rarely see people under 40 or 50, most of people attending Church services are over 50, though sometimes young enter our Churches to light up a candle and for private prayer.

Conclusion

I will close this post with a video, I've searched on the Internet aiming to explain Roman Catholicism. It is not a critical but made by Roman Catholics, still the info it presents is interesting and partly what is said of symbols discussed is valid for Orthodox Christians priesthood too. After all the Roman Catholic Church though it has went away from the source is still preserving some general patterns of original true Christian faith kept and preserved in the Orthodox Church through the centuries.

With all said I pray and Hope God will turn back Roman Catholics to the True One Holy Apostolic Church – The Orthodox Church, but I realize for this happen it will be very difficult if not impossible. But wondrous are the deeds of the Lord

Roman Catholic Mass explained

The video is probably taken from a Roman Catholic Monastery and probably served under the old Roman Catholic Rite, this is the reason why the priest and the "server" (The Ipodiaconus) is all the time praying and headed to the Holy Alter. The Roman Catholic Holy Mass has nothing to do with what is on the video. Probably in Roman Catholic monasteries the Spiritual life is in a much higher state than in the regular country Churches. Notice on the video, where the Dove (bird) symbol of The Descending of the Holy Spirit is placed it is on the level of the knees of the priest, just like I saw the Last Support in the Roman Catholic Church in Arnhem, it seems this error is repeated is in many if in not all Roman Catholic Churches.

As a conclusion I should say, I'm glad the Roman Catholic Church is existent here in the West. After all Roman Catholics do pray the Lord's prayer and surely there are people among them who are trying to live a true Christian life. I've noticed many Roman Catholic Churches has an Orthodox Icon or some kind of copy of an Orthodox icon. Being out on the street and walking, it is good to see the sign of the cross on a Church building, even if this building is not orthodox. Also all Roman Catholic Churches just like us Orthodox do embed a particle of a saint inside the Church alter. With the reason the Eastern and Western Church was one in the past it is likely big number of the Roman Catholic Churches has a saint Relic particles in their alter and by this the whole building is sanctified. Also it is not rare to find a  an Eastern Orthodox Church saint Holy Relics somewhere kept across Roman Catholic Churches. Though we the Orthodox Christians are prohibited to pray together and take communion in an Roman Catholic Church it is always nice to enter a Roman Catholic Church and experience few minutes of silence and see a Cross and images reminding us for Christ, Virgin mary the Martyrs, the eucharist and God's greatness.

St. Maximus The Confessor Holy Relics (incorruptable right hand) is for veneration in Varna

Friday, July 1st, 2011

St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Christian icon

Today by God’s gracy I was blessed to go to Varna’s Cathedral Church (“Dorminion of the Theotokos”) on a small pilgrimage trip to venerate the Holy Relics of Saint Maximus the Confessor.

The saint relics which are there for veneration today 30/Jun and 01 of July are the saint’s right hand which was slaughtered in the 7th century. Today 14 centuries later, the saint right hand holy relic is still intact (the skin of the hand is dried but it’s intact!).
This is a great miracle of God who does clearly show the truthfulness of Orthodox Christian faith. The saint’s holy relics are temporary moved from Holy Mount Athos monastery St. Apostol Paul, where kept.
As one can read in saint Maximus biography, st. Maximus is one of the biggest Orthodox Christian martyr from the time before the great Church Schizm.

St. Maximus the Confessor was a Christian monk and a great Church scholar. He became a monk choosing willingly to abandon his great richness and political life because of Christ.

The Saint’s title The Confessor is given because of his great suffering for Christian faith.

Sv. Maxim Izpovednik many miracles icon

Because of the saint’s firm staying in faith during an icon fighting heresy emperor Hiraclious (Iraklii) slandered the saint and he was send to a trial where he was immediately vilified as a state traitor.
A severe beating was ordered to be done on the saint and the whole ground was sprinkled with his blood, the saint’s torturers also cut his tongue and his right hand was chopped off.
The heretical torturers were ordered to slay down his right hand and his tongue in order to prevent the saint to confess/preach and write down about the Orthodox Christian faith.

The descpile of the saint Anasthasius has also faced the same faith. After the butchery the two saints were walked around the city streets to mock them publicly behind the shocked crowds eyes.

Even though the sadistic torments by God’s providence saint Maximus the Confessor did not died immediately but was sent to exile in today’s Dobrudja (Dobrich) region in Bulgaria.

Saint Maximus has died in his old age, aged 82 in August 680 A.D. Even though being a disabled because of the martyrdom, during his exile the saint was able to write a lot of treatise books against heresies and especially against Monotheistic Christian heresy, and a lot of other writting concerning the proper spiritual christian life. The saint’s major works are titled, Ambigua An exploration of difficult passages in the work of Pseudo-Dionysius and Gregory of Nazianzus, focusing on Christological issues and Mystagogy – A commentary and reasoning on the Eucharistic liturgy.

According to Church tradition after the saint’s tongue was cut in order to prevent him to preach the Christian faith correctly, God did a miracle where even without a tongue he preached the Gospel to the masses and he heretical emperor who ordered his suffering and the saint tormentors were publicly disgraced.

Saint Maximus the Confessor is considered a saint also in the Roman Catholic Church.

The saint was canonized officially about 22 years after his death on the oecumenical Church saints assembly in year 682.
After Saint Maximus’s death on his tomb many healing miracles occured.
On the place where he was buried three bright lights looking like candlesticks could be seen burning (a clear miracle atteting of the Holy Trinity) as the thrurthful one God.
God’s great omen on his tomb is also a clear sign that Maximus the Confessor has been accepted in the eternal paradise with God with all the rightous.

Let God always strenthen us and help us, to all us who does venerate the saint. Let God by his Holy prayers deliver us from all heresies and grant us grace to stay firm in the true Orthodox Christian faith now and forever.
Amen!

40 Days since our beloved brother in Christ (ipodeacon Georgi Nedev) has presented himself in God

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Holy Mount Athos st. Georgi the Glory Bringer - Zographus Monastic main Church
Holy Mount Athos st. Georgi the Glory Bringer – Zographus Monastic main Church

I start this post with the St. George Zographus Monastery’s main Church as the Zographus Monastery on Holy Mount Athos was our brother Georgi last eartly place he wanted to spend the remaining of his eartly life.

Today it’s the 40th day since our brother in Christ (ipodeacon) Georgi Nedev has presented his humble soul to our Saviour Jesus.

ipodeacon Georgi Nedev on a Bishop Church service holding the metropolitan sceptre

This is the only picture I have of our brother Georgi

His living was as humble as his departure from this life and his passing I believe in the eternal life with God.
Georgi had the severe desire to become a monk in Holy Mount Athos and has multiple friends in there which loved him and often prayed for him.
Now on this 40 day in our Bulgarian monastery in Holy Mount Athos, Saint George – The GloryBringer (Zographus) monks will be serving a requiem service (Panihida – as we say in Slavonic)

His departure was striking and sudden for of us in the Church community here in Dobrich’s Holy Trinity Church, as well as not less shocking for the Holy Mount Athos Zographus monks Christian community who loved our brother sincerely.

Some short biographic facts about our brother ipodeacon Georgi Nedev are here
Unfortunately the bio-facts I know about Georgi are very little, as I only knew him for a couple of years. Even though the short time I used to know him, I can say I was blessed through him and I’m exteremely grateful to him, it was through him I’ve learned a bit more about Holy Mount Athos and our Bulgarian monk community that is in Zographus, as well as some very minor details concerning the spiritual Church life that I’ve never thought about.
It was thanks to him I was being encouraged on numerous times in terrible times of desparation and loss of faith and track in life.

Thanks to him I was being explained for a first time, how one can go for a pilgrimage journey to Holy Mount Athos and how one can get the pilgrim’s permit documentation related to going there called in greek diamontirium
He also told me about numerous miracles about Holy Mount Athos, and explained me one needs to pray to the Holy Theotokos Virgin Mary and ask her that is being allowed to enter this holy place.

This last lent, even though his sickness Georgi was regularly visiting the evening services in the Church and was dilegent in his spiritual life.

I remember him expressing his enormous joy the last time I saw him on a Holy Liturgy for he took the Holy Communion.
After the Church service, I asked him how is he, his answer was; I’m not feeling well, but praise be to God! for I was able to take the Holy Communion

Many times when I asked him what are his future plans, he used to answer I don’t know anything, it’s all in the God’s will (hands) for me.

You can see yourself how great his dedicated for God was by his own words.

As our priest, who used to be his confessor said, “Georgi was a righteous man and God took him early on”.

Let eternal be your Memory beloved brother Georgi now and Forver and Ever! Amen!

Our beloved brother in Christ Ipodqkon Georgi (Atonski / from Mount Athos) has passed away

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Ipodqkon Georgi Atonski from Dobrich

Below I post the only picture I have of this beloved brother in Christ ipodqkon Georgi You see our brother on the right side of the Metropolitan of Varna and Great Preslav Kiril.
Georgi served as an ipodqkon in the Church Holy Trinity here in Dobrich and was well known and loved by the Church community there.
He also was a really good loving and decent man completely devoted to our Orthodox faith, standing firm in the faith.
He worked for many months in Holy mount Athos as a repair workers cook, where he cooked for about 70 people.

Before he worked in Holy Mount Athos, he used to be a restaurant chef in Sandanski.
Since about 6 or 7 months time he become sick, his assumption for the sickness was that it might be of a bad sploit old food which was consumed by accident by him and the rest of the workers.
He shared with me that all of the workers felt sick after eating it but all of them except him has vomited the food afterwards.

He gets poisoned and urgently transfered back in a hospital in Bulgaria. Consequently he went under a lot of examinations which failed to proof the exact type of sickness he was suffering from.
He was prescribed to eat only fasting food (some bread, apples, oil and a few of other light meals). He was prescribed a lot of medications he tried but none of them really helped him and he on a numerous times has shared with me he is not feeling weel, though I was not really believing his health situation is so severe.

The exact state he was experiencing was infirmity, headaches, skin rushes, he could hardly stay on his foots for more than few hours, as lastly he shared with me.
He also got rashes from most of the food he consumed. His life was a real tragedy as I remember I saw him just 3 weeks ago and he was about to go to Sofia for some examinations.
Even though his hardships in life, he was not loosing faith and believed all that was happening was according to God’s will and did accepted his sickness with humility.
During the about 7 months he spend in sickness he was many times being hospitalized in Hospitals in Dobrich, Varna and Sofia.

In each of the hospitals he spend a couple of weeks on injections and live sustaining medical systems.
During this periods, when he was in his home here in Dobrich somewhere in Balik, he often chatted with me over Skype, giving me good spiritual advices.
He also often called my landline phone to consult on various stuff concerning his problems with his notebook. As in the last days he could only lay and use the computer.
The computer he had was one of the few possessions he had, in his last days he did not have money at all as all of his savings were spend for examinations and drugs…

I remember still one time when I walked with him towards the bus-station and I was in a terrible desperation, being faithless.
He instructed me I should pray and told me not to despair and stop smoking as I was nervously smoking…
He lived a life similar in many ways to the life of the saints. He had a strong love for monasticism and had the desire to either become a monk or priest.
He told me many miraculous things he has seen and heard when he was in holy Mount Athos.

Last time I saw my beloved brother Georgi near the Church saint George (sveti Georgi) and for my grief I behaved partly as an asshole, and I repent I was not behaving better.

In this last time I saw him he shared for his great gratitude for God that he was allowed to visit the holy Lands (Jerusalem) The Holy Sepulchure church in Jerusalem.
Even in this last days, obviously living in infirmity he had his strong dedication to the Church and come to the Church services for Resurrection / (Easter) and was mostly being present on holy liturgies in Sundays.

The last time I saw him in the Church he did the Gospel and red some psalms. He was always serious and looked for the spiritual in everything, very rare kind of person to meet today.
Georgi blessed me with a couple of small icons (two copies of icons of Saint Georgi [Fanailska and Araviiska] miraculous icons from mount Athos as well as an icon picture of the Altar of Holy Sepulchure Jerusalem church), and I pray in front of them when I pray to God.

These are two of the icons brother Georgi give me as a gift and blessing from Holy Mount athos:

Saint Georgi Zographus miraculous making icon

Saint Georgi Zographus Miracle making icon

Saint Georgi Fanuilska Zographus Bulgarian Monastery miracle making icon

My beloved brother in Christ Georgi (God Forgive him / Bog da prosti) has also blessed me with a wonderful digital movie about the Bulgarian monastery in Holy Mount Athos Zographus. The movie about Zographus is explaining thoroughfully the history of the holy cloister and showing the originals of the Holy miraculous icons and monks who spoke about today’s spirituality and what is it to be a monk on holy mount athos (one of the most holy places on earth today).

I know also that Georgi was a wonderful a really talanted cook (even a chief) as he was responsible to take an eye for 6 cooks during his work as chief in Sandanski.
In the just recently passed away Resurrection day, he has cooked an Easter cakes and banica as well as some other meals using a holy mount athos recipee.

After the Resurrection early Holy liturgy was over we ate together with the brothers and sisters from Georgi’s delicious meals praising God and rejoicing for our Lord has Resurrected from the dead…
I will really miss my namesake (adash) as I used to call him often. I just hope one day I would see him again if by God’s grace I’m allowed to enter Heaven.
Just about 1 year ago his mother passed away, then some few years before his father has passed away and now not more than a year after his parents he is gone as well.
When I look over this tragedy it’s really hard to understand it but using the Holy Scriptures, one can easily understand why it happened that way as,

His early departure from this life is according to the words in the Holy Bible in Isaiah 57:1:


The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

I hope ipodqkon Georgi will find grace in front of God to pray for me the sinner and the rest of us who’re still living in ours sins on this sinful earth.

As the memory of the righteous lasts forever he will be forever remembered as I believe he was in the number of the rightous …

Please Orthodox Brothers and sisters pray for ipodqkon’s Georgi’s soul that our merciful God forgives him his trespasses and grants him an ever lasting joy with all the saints in the heavenly church, in paradise!

God forgive you our and my beloved brother Georgi! Let your memory last forever. Amen!

Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery st. martyr George Zograph few monks songs from Holy mount Athos for download

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Zograph Monastery Holy Mount Athos complex distant picture

A friend of mine who is a devoted Orthodox Christian (and ipodqkon Georgi), regularly visits Holy Mount Athos as a pilgrim.
On a few times he has been there serving to the workman who are currently restoring a number of monastery building which has been abandoned for quite some time.

Every Sunday morning he also goes to the Monastery Church St. George Zograph for the monks Holy Liturgy service.
He send me few recordings he made with his phone during the Holy Liturgy monks chanting. The recording’s quality is quite raw as however still it’s very invaluable piece of spiritual music, which I think every spiritual person will highly regard and enjoy.

Here are the 12 songs which he send me over skype I hope the songs, will be enjoyable and a spiritual blessing to some Christian brothers and sisters out there:

Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 1
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 2
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 3
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 4
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 5
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 6
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 7
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 8
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 9
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 10
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 11
Zograph Monks Church Service Chanting – Song 12

Mounth Athos Sideview

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Mount Athos

This wonderful picture of Mounth Athos – Holy Mountain (A monk republic situated in Northern Greece) was taken by my kind-hearted girlfriend Dorothy (Angellyca / GrimminaGroll) , during her trip to Kabala and some other Tourist destinations in Greece, while on a boat crossing near Mount Athos. I hope she won’t be very angry with me that I post her picture, but I felt obliged to do so!

So Thank you Dear Dorothy, and please don’t be mad at me 🙂