Orthodox Thought for the Day


Friday, January 31, 2014

Excise the passion that besets you

So, I beg you, let each of you show interest now at least, even if not in the past, to excise from the soul whatever blemish you have perceived to be troubling you more than other passions, and by recourse to pious thinking as though by some spiritual sword rid yourself of that passion.  God, you see, has given us the power of thinking that is adequate and capable, if we were prepared to ponder a little, of subduing each of the passions rising within us. For this reason the grace of the Spirit has left written for us in the pages of the sacred writings the lives and conduct of all holy people so that we might learn all the deeds of virtue they performed, people of the same nature as ourselves, and that we might not be lazy in the practice of virtue. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

On trusting God

When we believe in God and have trust in His fatherly providence and concern, then we do not think of ourselves; instead we know that God is aware  of our needs and looks after our problems, from the simplest to the most serious one.  The only things we must want is to allow God’s love and providence to function for us.  When we have this kind of faith and inner disposition, we are able to see God’s miracles––God Himself––who is always close to us under all circumstances.  In order to experience this we must reject any form of worldly assistance or human hope, and with a pure heart, unhesitatingly and trustfully devote our mind to God.  Then the grace of Christ will fill our souls at once. 

Some people have the wrong impression, however; they think they can be involved in worldly matters and be attached to material possessions, and at the same time, expect the help of God’s providence.  God’s help to people who think this way can be destructive, for it prolongs their attachment to worldly things. God helps them by letting them be exposed to temptations and difficulties; this will eventually make them loath worldly matters and totally devote their hearts to God. 

Did God create evil?

Believe that all that is in the world, both all that is seen and all that is unseen, was made out of nothing by God; and is governed by the Providence of its Creator, and will receive a change to a better state.  Believe that evil has no substance or kingdom --- either unoriginate or self-existent or created by God; but that it is our work, and the evil one's, and came upon us through our heedlessness... not from our Creator. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy is the Christian...

Happy is the Christian who studies and follows the teaching of Christ.  He is happy in this temporary life and in the life after death.  Yes, he will be happy after death, because the soul does not vanish after death, is not perishable like the body, but continues to live, to exist.  Through death, it is simply separated from the perishable body. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Give thanks unto the Lord

The Scripture tells of different ways of how God has fought on our behalf to attain the good so that we might have abundant occasions to thank Him for His benefits.  Psalm 106 immediately begins with ‘Give thanks to the Lord because He is good, for His mercy endures forever.’  This verse is an acknowledgement of thanksgiving; they are not merely words, for we are bidden to glorify God for His goodness only.  Both the good and salvation for mankind come from God, for all things come through His grace and goodness. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

To live a serene life

Forgive and pray, in order to live your life serenely. And do not do to others that which you do not want them to do to you, or return the evil which they have done to you. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A manifestation of God's love for us

These afflictions from the Lord, Who watches over us, do not happen to the servants of God without benefit, but for a trial of true love toward the God Who created us.  For as the toils of the contests lead the athletes on to their crowns, so also the test, through tribulations, leads Christians on to perfection, if we receive, with appropriate patience, and in all gratitude, what is dispensed to us by the Lord.  All things are directed by the goodness of the Master. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

For the Holy Theophany season

Noah's Ark marked out by its course the sign of its Preserver.  The Cross of its Stearsman and the Wood of its Sailor Who has come to fashion for us a Church in the waters of baptism: with the three-fold name He rescues those who reside in her, and in place of the dove, the Spirit administers her anointing and the mystery of her salvation.  Praise to her Savior.  St. Ephraim the Syrian

Friday, January 17, 2014

On sickness of the body

When you see your body wasted away through sickness, do not murmur against God, but say, The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord, Job 1:21.  You are accustomed to look upon your body as upon your own inalienable property, but that is quite wrong, because your body is God's edifice. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

St. Nina, Enlightener of Georgia

St. Nina, Equal to the Apostles, is celebrated today, January 14.  John Sanidopoulos has more than one entry on his site pertaining to St. Nina—they are all very good reading.  By visiting John's site, you can also learn about St. Nina's cross and the finding of the Lord's Robe in Georgia.  Start with the one below and continue on to his site to learn more, if desired.  You'll find the link at the end of the article below.   

Many years to all named Nina and Nino among us! 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Saint Nina the Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia

St. Nina (Nino, Christiana) the Equal of the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia (Feast Day - January 14)
By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Nina was a relative of St. George the Great Martyr and Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Her parents belonged to the nobility in Cappadocia and since they both were tonsured in the monastic state, Nina was educated under the tutelage of Patriarch Juvenal. Hearing about the people of Georgia, the virgin Nina, from an early age, desired to go to Georgia and to baptize the Georgians. The All-Holy Mother of God appeared to Nina and promised to take her to this land. When our Lord opened the way, the young Nina, indeed, traveled to Georgia where, in a short period of time, she gained the love of the Georgian people. Nina succeeded in baptizing the Georgian Emperor Mirian, his wife Nana and their son Bakar, who, later on, zealously assisted in Nina's missionary work. During her lifetime, Nina traveled throughout Georgia, mainly to convert the entire nation to the Faith of Christ, exactly at the time of the terrible persecution of the Christians at the hands of Emperor Diocletian. Having rested from her many labors, Nina died in the Lord in the year 335 A.D. Her body is entombed in the Cathedral Church in Mtzkheta. She worked many miracles during her life and after her death.


Virgin most beautiful, Nina of noble birth,
By Divine Providence became the Apostle to the Georgians,
In defiance of the persecution by Diocletian, the Emperor,
With the Cross, she baptized Emperor Mirian
His wife Nana and his son Bakar,
Through them, all the people and the elite of the leaders,
With the Cross of the Son of God, baptized them all,
Saint Nina, Apostle to the Georgians.
From her youth, Nina prayed to God
That Djul (the Rose) - Georgia, she baptized.
For that which she prayed to God, the good God granted:
From Nina's hand, the Cross shown
To docile Georgia where it shines even now,
Where Nina's hand blesses even now.
There is Nina's grave, overwhich a church glistens,
Glorifying Saint Nina and the Lord Christ.

The earliest life of St. Nina by Tyrannius Rufinus, Historia Ecclesiastica (Book I, chapter 10):
At that time also the Iberian nation, who live in the clime of Pontus, accepted the laws of God's word and faith in the kingdom of heaven. This so excellent deed was brought about by a certain captive woman who had fallen among them, and who led a life of faith and complete sobriety and virtue, and day and night unceasingly offered up prayers to God. The very novelty of this thing began to amaze the barbarians, and they diligently inquired what it meant. She told them simply the truth of the matter, namely that she was wont thus to worship Christ her God. The strangeness of this name seemed to the barbarians the most astonishing feature of the whole business. As often happens, however, her very persistence aroused among the womenfolk a certain curiosity to see whether such devotion might not win some reward.

It is said to be a custom among them that if a child falls ill, it is carried round by its mother to each individual household, so that if anyone knows of some trustworthy remedy, he may administer it to the sufferer. Accordingly, when a certain woman had carried her ailing child to everyone, as the custom was, but without finding any cure in all the homes she had visited, she came at last to the captive woman so that she too might declare anything she knew of. The captive woman affirmed that she knew of no human remedy, but assured the mother that her God Christ, whom she worshipped, could grant the child that deliverance of which men had lost hope. Placing the infant on her hair cloak and furthermore offering up a prayer to the Lord, the captive woman then gave back the child cured to its mother.

The report of this spread to many, and the renown of the marvellous deed reached the ears of the queen who, being afflicted by some very grave bodily complaint, was in the greatest desperation. She asked for the captive woman to be brought to her. The latter, however, declined to go, lest she should seem to diverge from the retiring way of life fitting to her sex. Then the queen commanded them to carry her to the captive's cell. After laying her likewise on her hair cloak and calling on Christ's name, the captive woman raised her up immediately after the prayer in good health and spirits. She taught the queen that Christ, Son of God Almighty, was the Deity who had bestowed this cure on her, and that she should invoke Him, whom she ought to acknowledge as the source of her life and health. For it is He who distributes kingdoms to kings, and life to mortal men. And the queen, returning joyfully homewards, in answer to her husband's enquiry revealed the source of her sudden restoration to health. But when in his joy at his wife's recovery, he ordered presents to be sent to the woman, the queen said, "O King, the captive woman prizes none of these things. She rejects gold, despises silver and nourishes herself by fasting as if by food. The only way in which we can reward her is by worshipping that God Christ who cured me according to her prayer."

At that time, the king paid no attention to this and put the matter off, although his wife often recalled it to his mind. At length one day while he was hunting in the forest with his retainers, the light of day was clouded over with dense murk and disappeared in the horror of pitch-black night, making it impossible to proceed. His companions dispersed in various directions and lost their way, and he remained alone enveloped in impenetrable gloom, without knowing what to do or where to turn. Suddenly his spirit, tormented by despair of being rescued, was lit up by a thought: "If indeed that Christ whom the captive had preached to his wife was God, then let Him now deliver him from this darkness, that he too might forsake all other gods to worship Him." And forthwith, as soon as he had made this vow in thought alone, and before he had time to express it in words, the light of day was restored to the world, and led the king unharmed to the city.

Revealing immediately to the queen what had occurred, he summoned the captive woman, bidding her instruct him in the ritual of worship, and affirming that he would from now on venerate no other god but Christ. The captive woman appeared, and preached Christ the Lord, expounding the rites of prayer and the form of worship, in so far as these could properly he known to a woman. In addition, she told them to build a church, and described its shape.

The king accordingly summoned together all the folk of his nation, and related the events which had happened to him and the queen from the very beginning. He instructed them in the faith and, albeit himself not yet initiated into the Mysteries, became the apostle of his own nation. The men believed thanks to the king, the women thanks to the queen, and with a single mind they set to work to build a church. The surrounding walls were quickly erected, and the time came to set up the columns. When the first and second pillars had been raised, and they proceeded to lift the third, they employed all forms of machinery and the strength of oxen and men, but when it had been elevated to a slanting angle, it proved impossible by any manner of effort to raise it the rest of the way. The redoubled and often repeated efforts of all the men failed to move it from its position, and everyone was reduced to exhaustion. The whole people was seized with astonishment, and the king's resolution began to fail him. Nobody knew what was to be done.

But when at nightfall everyone went away, and both the toilers and their toil fell into repose, the captive woman remained alone on the spot and passed the whole night in prayer. And behold, when the king and all his people arrived full of anxiety in the morning, he saw the column, which so many machines and so many men could not shift, standing upright and freely suspended above its pedestal - not set upon a ditch but hanging in the air about a foot above. As soon as the whole people witnessed this, they glorified God and began to declare this to he a proof of the truth of the king's faith and the religion of the captive woman. And behold, while they were all paralyzed with amazement, the pillar slowly descended on to its base before their eyes without anyone touching it, and settled in perfect balance. After this the rest of the columns were erected with such ease that the remainder were all set in place that same day.

After the church had been built with due magnificence, the people were zealously yearning for God's faith. So an embassy was sent on behalf of the entire nation to the Emperor Constantine, in accordance with the captive woman's advice. The foregoing events were related to him, and a petition submitted, requesting that priests be sent to complete the work which God had begun. Sending them on their way amidst rejoicing and ceremony, the Emperor was far more glad at this news than if he had annexed to the Roman Empire peoples and realms unknown.

These happenings were related to us by Bacurius, a most trustworthy man, himself king of that very nation, and commander of the guards in our court (who was most scrupulous about religion and truth), at the time when he resided with us at Jerusalem on cordial terms, being then in command of the frontiers of Palestine.

See also here, here and here.

O handmaiden of the Word of God, who in preaching equaled the first-called Apostle Andrew, and imitated the other Apostles, enlightener of Iberia and reed pipe of the Holy Spirit, holy Nina, equal of the Apostles, pray to Christ God to save our souls.

Let us sing praises to the chosen of Christ, Equal-to-the-Apostles and preacher of Gods word, the bearer of good tidings who brought the people of Georgia to the path of life and truth, the disciple of the Mother of God, our zealous intercessor and unwearing guardian, the most praised Nina. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The bottom line on abortion

"...A favorite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that the definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one.  

Fetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy. Why, you may well ask, do some American doctors who are privy to the findings of fetology, discredit themselves by carrying out abortions? Simple arithmetic: at $300.00 a time 1.55 million abortions means an industry generating $500,000,000 annually, of which most goes into the pocket of the physician doing the abortion.  

It is clear that permissive abortion is purposeful destruction of what is undeniably human life. It is an impermissible act of deadly violence. One must concede that unplanned pregnancy is a wrenchingly difficult dilemma. But to look for its solution in a deliberate act of destruction is to trash the vast resourcefulness of human ingenuity, and to surrender the public weal to the classic utilitarian answer to social problems.  

As a scientist I know, not believe, know that human life begins at conception. Although I am not a formal religionist, I believe with all my heart that there is a divinity of existence which commands us to declare a final and irreversible halt to this infinitely sad and shameful crime against humanity." Dr. Bernard Nathanson 

More about Dr. Nathanson (who reposed in 2011):

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Repent for these things

It is necessary to repent for not sufficiently loving others and for not being sensitive enough to the misfortunes of others. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

On personal freedom & salvation

God our Savior wants all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). Grace does not compel anyone. Men have the God-given freedom to accept it and to work with it or to reject it. Those who embrace it are saved and those who withdraw from it are lost. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Go to the spiritual gym

Prayer should not depend upon our mood or good will.  If we are in a bad state, it’s because we are filled with sin.  Thus, we need to repent.  Every day, examine your conscience and repent.  Force yourself to pray regularly every day.  If you don’t want to do that, then you need to repent of that.  You must understand how necessary this is.   Know that the devil lurks and waits to destroy your soul, and that you are always in danger.  Prayer alone will give your soul the strength to resist.  In order to acquire spiritual muscles, you have to go to the spiritual gym. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Unworthy of respect

The more someone seems to us to be unworthy of any respect,
the more we need to respect them.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On excuses

External circumstances can never serve as
excuses for the deficiencies in our interior life. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

A short, blessed meditation for Holy Theophany

Icon depicting the Gate of Heaven, surrounded by Angels, from the Phiale of Great Lavra on Mount Athos (source)
In Mesologi lived a most-pious woman named Vasiliki (they called her Koula), who was married to Demetrios, a fisherman by trade. The two were very pious and very simple people.

When Vasiliki was young, on the day of Theophany, she saw "the heavens opened", and the Angels of God chanting. Because of this she said: "This day, do not leave from church, even if your house is burning, because the heavens open."

From the January 5, 2013 posting on Full of Grace and Truth BlogSpot:  "The Heavens opening on Theophany."


Saturday, January 4, 2014

A prayer before Holy Communion

A prayer of St. Dimitry of Rostov

and advice from Elder Nazarius concerning it:

I advise you to memorize the prayer of St. Dimitry of Rostov, which is profitable at the time of communion, and whose words follow. Approaching with such thoughts and feelings, say within your mind:

"Open, O doors and bolts of my heart, that Christ the King of Glory may enter!
Enter, O my Light, and enlighten my darkness;
Enter, O my Life, and resurrect my deadness;
Enter, O my Physician, and heal my wounds;
Enter, O Divine Fire, and burn up the thorns of my sins;
Ignite my inward parts and my heart with the flame of Thy love;
Enter, O my King, and destroy in me the kingdom of sin;
Sit on the throne of my heart and reign in me alone, O Thou, my King and Lord."

With such good thoughts partake of the Divine Mysteries. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A miracle of St. Herman of Alaska

As a resident of New Hampshire, not so far removed in distance from the Orthodox Church in Claremont, I found this account particularly heart-warming: 

Wondrous is God in His Saints!
Pres. Candace