Posts Tagged ‘saint john’

A night vigil Holy Liturgy service in German Monastery near Sofia

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Reading Time: 3minutes

This Friday 18.10.2013 I was to a Night Vigil in German Monastery – Saint John of Rila Sofia,Bulgaria.

German monastery near Sofia Bulgaria picture

The reason for the Night Vigil was the Dormition of the Greatest Bulgarian hermit Saint – St. John of Rila (Mountain).

sveti Ioan Rilski Chudotvorets - The Miracle Maker Orthodox Christian holy icon

The whole Christiandome knows well about the reachless spiritual achievements of Saint John who become monk in 25 years of age. After spending few years in a monastery nearby his birth village Skrino. Soon after accepting monkship, the saint came out of the monastery and lived for over 30 years as Hermit in the Mountain of Rila, he lived in a small cave which nowadays is about 5 kilometers from the biggest active monastery in Bulgaria – Rila Monastery. Rila Monastery was established by direct followers of st. John of Rila. In the last days of his earthly live Saint John of Rila wrote a small testament to his followers, which is a great spiritual work and guidance for modern times Christians even to this day. The saint is highly venerated in Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Greece as well as Russia. A well known fact is the great love of one of the greatest new times Russian saint Saint John of Kronstadt for st. John of Rila and the Bulgarian lands. Its interesting and maybe less known fact by Russians that Saint John of Kronstadt's Christian name was given after saint John of Rila and not after Saint John the Baptist as many might thought.

sveti Ioan Kronstadtski snimka new times Russian saint

German Monastery is under official Governance of Bulgarian Zographus Monastery Saint George the Glory Bringer situated in Holy Mount Athos. German monastery is situated in 40 minutes walking from a small village near end of Sofia German after which the monastery is named. To reach the monastery the easiest way is to use Sofia's public bus transport and catch Bus Number 6 and go down of bus few meters away from beginning of German village. The Abbot of the monastery Hieromonk Father Pimen is part of the brotherhood of Zographus monastery and is leading German Monastery with Blessing of Abbot Amvrosij of Zographus monastery. The Night Vigil in venerance of Saint John Started around 21:00 and was a unique experience. Saint John of Rila Troparion and prayers were sung and recited many times. There was evening service as well as other prayers part of the Vigil I'm not aware of. Here in Sofia there is Orthodox Youth movement consisting of about 30 or 40 people and many of this people came for the Night Vigil. The little Church was full with people aging from 25 to around 60.

Seeing so many people who hunger for spiritual live here in Bulgaria was God's miracle which filled me with joy and hope that still the Bulgarian nation is not totally lost as many might think already. The Night Vigil continued until 04:30 early in the Morning the service was done only in Candles just like it used to be in the days of first Christians, just like it is served daily in Holy Mount Athos Zographus monastery. A Holy Liturgy only in Candles is something rare to experience these days so I'm very thankful I took part in it. I met a lot of young interesting people many of which was involved in IT (programmers, system admins) just like me also had a love for Christ. After the end of service there was an official festive dinner organized by the Abbot Father Pimen. Food consisted of Fish, Cabbage, Mixed cream-cheese with caviar lemon and bread and some waffles for dessert along with wine and juice. Like always in Churches in Monasteries blessed food is always mostly delicious. German monastery is situated near Mountain and there is no Mobile networks in it so being there you feel cut from the noisy quickly goign daily life and you can enjoy the silence. Near the monastery are woods and fresh clean air. Being there just makes you forget about all the stress and business and shrink in thoughts about life meaning. I highly recommend this blessed place to every Christian who somehow has a journey to Sofia. I'm thankful to God for giving me opportunity to visit this blessed place. This is second time I visit the monastery and hope in coming weeks I'll have opportunity to be there again.

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.

Orthodox Christian Saints Incorruptable bodies, A Miracle proof of the truthfulness of Christianity

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes
There is a miracle of incorruptable holy relics (Incorruptable Bodies) of many of our Orthodox Saints in the Orthodox Church.
Little or none is actually known in the non-orthodox christian realm about this great miracle proof of the truthfulness of our faith.

The incorruptability of saints has been a phenomena longly known to exist, some of the incorruptable bodies of saints are still preserved already for more than 10 centuries.

The phenomenon of incorruptable bodies is a sure sign for saintship in the Church. There are dozens of orthodox christian saints whose bodies are still intact.
Our Orthodox Church teaches that the incorruptability of the saints body is given by God’s grace for all us the believers as a confirmation of the Resurrection of the Dead, which is about to come in the Great day of the Lord as the scriptures teaches.

A good example for incorruptable body which exists for 10 centuries in the bulgarian lands are the incorruptable holy body of St. John of Rila.
St. John of Rila is the greatest known Bulgarian saint also officially recognized by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as the patron saint of Bulgaria (protector of all Bulgaria).

In below’s videos I present you the antiphon of St. John of Rila:

Antiphon translated to English means (Song of Praise) dedicated to some Christian saint and is actually an Orthodox well-known Church term.

Saint John’s incorruptable bodies is still kept in his established monasteryThe Rila Monastery .
Each year on the saints feast his incorruptable body is being bringed out of the monastery for a procession around the Church monastery.

On that day all the pilgrims who are looking for St. John’s spiritual intercession in front of God (The Holy Trinity) are lined up to venerate the great God servant St. John of Rila.

Unfortunately there is no video that has video-taped the incorruptable body of Saint John of Rila. However there are plenty of videos which shows a lot of incorruptable bodies of saints some of which are even Roman Catholic.

Along with the saints bodies incorruptability, many of the saints bodies does emit a specific a flower like odor, nevertheless the body is a thousands of years old.

Here is an example of a saints remains which is considered incorruptable, his body is preseved for more than 60 years without any special chemical threatment.

What is most important is many believers does receive a spiritual blessing or get healed from various spiritual or bodily diseases, when they look up for the holy intercession of the saint, who has been honoured by God with incorruptableness.

Before a saint’s body is recognized as a saint and his body as incorruptable, usually there are testimonials by christian layman for healings by his holy prayers during his earthly living.
Some of the saints which are found to have incorruptable bodies has happened after a few years they have been put in a normal earthly grave.
In holy mount athos there is a tradition that (if I remember correctly 5 years) after a monk’s death and burial, his grave is being digged out to collect his remains and put it in a ossuary.

After this 5 years some of the holy monks remains are found to possess this miraculous graceful incorruptable bodies.

As we know from Holy Bible, the body is the temple of the holy spirit my logical interpretation of some of the saint’s incrorruptability is rooted in there saint’s way of living as they have achieved the Holy Spirit (The Spirit of God) in an immeasurable quantities that, the Spirit of Truth that’s being flowing out from their incorruptable bodies is still sustaining the body and prevents the natural laws to destroy it.

The bodily incorruptabilities of our Orthodox saints is also a clear sign for the truthfulness of Orthodox Christian faith.
The incorruptability is also a direct violation of the natural laws by God’s great providence and mercy and I guess is given as a stimulator of us whose faith in our saviour Jesus Christ and in God the Holy Trinity – The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, to whom be glory now and forever and ever Amen!