Monday, December 22, 2014

Nativity of our Lord and God Jesus Christ!!

Christ is Born ! Glorify Him!!

Below are words transcribed on Meditations on the Nativity. Produced by Theosis

Pray you and be encouraged to reflecting on these precious words on who He is to each of us

Do not think it is a small thing when you hear of this birth,but rouse up your mind and tremble,being told that God has come upon the earth
St. John Chrysostoum

Today He who holds the whole Creation in His hand is born of a virgin.He whose essence none can touch is bound in swaddling clothes as a mortal man. God who created the Heavens lies in a manger. He who rained manna on His people in the wilderness is fed on milk from His mother's breast.
The Bridegroom of the Church summons the wise men: The Son of the Virgin accepts their gifts. We venerate Thy Birth , O Christ
Kontakion of Naivity

Pure is the present night ,in which the Pure one appeared, Who came to purify us. Let our hearing be pure,and the sight of our eyes chaste,and the feeling of the heart holy,and the speech of the mouth sincere! This is the night of reconciliation; let none be angry at his brother and offend him! This night gave peace to the whole world! Let none threaten. This is the night of the Most Meek One; let none be cruel!
This is the night of the Humble one, Let none be proud. Now is the day of joy; let us not take revenge for offences ! Now is the day of good will; Let us not be harsh On this day of tranquilty , let us not become agitated by anger. Today God came unto sinners;let not the righteous exalt himself over sinners! Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake;let the rich man invite the poor to his table! Today we received a gift which we did not ask for ; Let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us! The present day has opened the door of heaven to our prayers; let us also open our door to those who ask for forgiveness! Today the God head placed upon Himself the seal of humanity and humanity has been adorned with the seal of God head !
St. Ephraim the Syrian

Today the Lord is born,the life and salvation of mankind ;Today a reconciliation is made of Diviniy to humanity, and of humanity to Divinity;Today all creation has leapt for joy; today occured the death of darkness and life of humanity;today a way was made toward God for man, and a way for God into the soul
St. Macarius the Great
Today the Virgin gave birth to the Transcendent One !
And the earth offers a Cave to the unapproachable One!
Angels with the sheperds sing songs of praise,
The Magi journey wiith the star,
For unto us has been born a little child
God before all the ages
Kontakion of the Nativity
Christ is born; glorify Him !
Christ comes from heaven; go to meet Him!
Christ is on earth ;be exalted!
Sing to the Lord all the earth!
And praise Him in gladness , O people for He has been glorified!
Third irmos of the first cannon
Thy nativity O Christ our God Has shown to the world the Light of Wisdom,For by it those who worshipped the stars,were taught by a star to adore Thee, The sun of Righteousness.
And to know Thee the Orient from on high O Lord,
Glory to Thee !

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guidelines for Pious Living

Guidelines For Pious Living By His Grace Job Mar Philoxenos

There is in the heart of all of us a yearning longing for doing things that would please God. We fail often to do that as the worldly thoughts and passions encompass us. As a result, what we loose is the inner peace and tranquility that is given to those who are in communion with God. Regular practice is needed to keep off the evil and stay in communion with God. Given below are some practical suggestions that would help us to reach this goal. These guidelines for pious living are modified from the writings of one of the great Fathers of Christendom and were well received by many. In the hope that this would enable all those who wish to lead a pious life, I hereby reproduce the same. If possible get a laminated copy of this and try to follow the instructions as far as possible. Much of the tensions that fill our daily life will find relief by regular practice.

Guidelines for Pious Living

Force yourself to get up early and at a definite time. Do not sleep too much. Take seven hours maximum as a general rule, unless you are unusually fatigued. As soon as you wake up, direct your thoughts to God and piously cross yourself, thinking of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sake of our salvation. Get up from your bed at once and get dressed. Do not pamper yourself. While dressing, remember that you are in the presence of the Lord and your guardian angel. Then start your morning prayers immediately. Make a firm resolution to do everything for the Lord and to receive everything from His Fatherly Hand. Meditate in this way: maybe this is the last day of my life, then do everything the way you would-if you were preparing to come before the Justice of God.

After your prayers, start your work. Let your deeds and actions be for the glory of God. Remember that God sees you everywhere, sees all your actions, doings, feelings, thoughts and desires, and will generously reward you for all your good deeds. Do not begin anything without praying to God because the things we do or say without prayer later proved to be either sinful or harmful. Amid your labors be not downcast, and entrust your success to God's Grace. Fulfill all that is difficult for you as though it were a penance for your sin in the spirit of obedience and humbleness. Repeat brief prayers, especially the "Jesus Prayer", while you are working. If your work is being accomplished with success, as your hearts desires - thank the Lord; if without success - then remembers that this too God allows, and He works everything for good.

If you wish for a spiritually peaceful life, give yourself to God. Always and in everything think of God and His holy love for us sinners. In everything, try to fulfill God's will and to please God alone. Do not care to be respected and loved by people. Keep a vigilant watch over your feelings, thoughts and motions of your heart and your passions. Give consideration to nothing trivial where your personal salvation is concerned. In everything ask yourselves: In this case what would Jesus Christ have thought, said, or done? Be meek and humble, be silent and endure by the example of Jesus. He will not lay a cross upon you, which you are not able to carry. He Himself will help you carry your cross. Do not expect to acquire any one virtue without any sorrow and pains of the soul. Beg God to give you grace to fulfill your responsibilities in the best way possible. Obey His holy commandments - even though they may seem difficult for you. Do not dwell in idleness even for a short time, but always remain in labor and be occupied. Do everything in the name of Jesus Christ and in this way all your actions will be deeds of piety.

Flee even the smallest of sins, because one who does not commit the smallest, certainly will not fold into great and deeper ones. If you do not want to be bothered by evil thoughts, then humbly receive all disparagement of soul and bodily suffering. Every thought which withdraws you further away from God, especially filthy thoughts of the flesh, banish from your heart, as quickly as possible, as you would cast from your clothes a spark of fire that fell burning on them. Amidst temptations, do not be troubled. He, who gives you the circumstance of a battle, will also give you strength for victory. Let your spirit be at rest.

Trust in God. Pray to God that He takes from you everything that feeds your self-love, even though it may be very bitter for you. Wish to live and die for God alone, and to belong to Him entirely. If you have food and clothing, be content with it by the example of Jesus Who became impoverished for our sake.

Never argue and do not depend or excuse yourselves too much. Do not say anything against your superiors or your neighbors without need or obligation. Be sincere and simple in heart. With love, accept directions, admonitions, and being exposed by others, even though you may be wise. Do not detest or be envious or exceedingly stern in word and deeds. What you do not wish for yourselves, do not do unto others and what you wish others to do to you, do it first unto them. Be gentle, modest, careful, wise, blind and deaf, according to the situation. Remember that Jesus is present among those with whom you are and among those with whom you speak. Say nothing without thought. Bear it firmly in mind that time is short and that man must give and account of every idle word that he speak. Listen more than speak; in verbosity you will not escape sin. Beg God to give you blessing to be silent and to speak at the right time. Do not be curious about gossips; it diverts the spirit. Try to do good to everyone any kind of good and at any time you can, not thinking whether it will or will not be appreciated. If one does not obey you the first time, do not force him through debate, make use of the good yourself, which he has lost, because meekness will bring you great profit.

Before going to sleep, examine your conscience, pray to be given light to recognize your sins; think of them, beg for forgiveness and promise to reform. Then give yourself up to God, as though tonight you will have to appear before Him. Entrust yourself to the Mother of God, your guardian angel, the saint whose name you bear. Picture your bed as your coffin and your blanket as your shroud. Cross yourself and kissing the cross you wear, fall asleep under the protection of Shepherd of Israel! He will not nod or fall asleep.

During an illness, first of all, entrust yourself to God in order to strengthen your spirit in the midst of your misery, often remember and think of the suffering and the death of Jesus Christ. Ceaselessly say all the prayers you know and can. Beg God to forgive you your sins and to give you patience while ill. In all ways possible, abstain from complaining an irritation that is common when ill. Our Lord Jesus Christ underwent, for the sake of our salvation, the most painful stress and suffering and what is that in comparison that we have done or suffered for the sake of our salvation?

Go to the services in church as often as possible. Try especially to be present often at the Holy Liturgy. Go to confession and receive the holy sacraments as often as possible. Receive Holy Communion always with sincere hunger and real thirst of your soul, with a contrite heart, with reverence, humbleness, faith, trust and love. Think of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ as often as possible, begging Him to veil your sins and receive you into His kingdom. May the name of Jesus always be on your lips, in your soul and in your heart. As often as possible, meditate on God's great love to you. Glorify and worship the Holy Trinity so that you yourself may love Him with all your heart, all your soul and with all your thoughts. Doing so you will enable you to lead a peaceful life on earth and a blessed one in Heaven forever.

May God bless you.

Your shepherd in Christ,
Job Mar Philoxenos, Diocese of Delhi

This is an old article by HG Philoxenos of Memory Eternal.  Pray it heals

Friday, December 5, 2014

Joint Commission for the Dialogue between Eastern Orthodox & Oriental Orthodox Churches Revamped - Response of a Lay man

Joint Commission for the Dialogue between Eastern Orthodox & Oriental Orthodox Churches Revamped : Communique Available - Response of a Lay man

Wonderful to see that  this effort in which Fr. V.C Samuel of Memory Eternal whose memory we remembered on November 18 and many others still continue keenly. The dialogue was yet again reaffirmed in 1965 when Heads of Oriental Orthodox Church  met in Addis Ababa ( We are celebrating 50 years of this event in January 2015 - Wondering if the 6 Oriental Orthodox communities have at least had a dialogue within respective Synods and one other to commemorate and re-look the decisions and work together on path forward as One Body ) . Let us also keep in mind that all the fruit of the dialogue that  started with God as per Scriptures in St. John 17 .

The dialogue of 1964 in which V.C Samuel Achen was a participant had the theologians from both families agreeing to understand each other as having same faith and taking the effort back to their communities . However we live in an imperfect fallen world which is being redeemed an encounter with Christ and one other as Church with imperfect members from the world  .

 In 2001  I asked the OCA St. Vladimir Seminary  if they would include web pages of Oriental Orthodox  under a section as 'Other Orthodox Churches ' or 'Pre-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches ' citing the statement of 1964 met  was a quick / short email saying  ' At this point , we only list Chalcedonian Churches in communion' . However in that we are seeing visible progress  because of day to day interface b/w the Seminarians of St. Vladimir from our Oriental Orthodox  and the authorities .  I believe by the various  day to day opportunities for an encounter between the two parties like the visits of our current  North East Diocese of North America Bishop Nicholovas to assist our students there made a lot of inroads in that direction than when the theologians agreed in many things in paper. Personally I was blessed as a family from 2000 to 2003 in Calgary, Canada with the blessing and permission from the both bishops ( HG Seraphim of OCA and our HG Makarios) to have communion in an OCA parish as we had not our parish and circumstances was limiting for me to attend other OO parishes in Calgary when they had liturgy'   

Having said that , I see this statement-  '  was noted that three local Churches from the Orthodox family (Alexandria, Antioch and Romania) and three Churches from the Oriental Orthodox family (Alexandria, Antioch and Malankara- India), had already declared their acceptance of the agreed statements and proposals from the Joint Commission.'

Praying that our Synod or a Kalpana from Catholicose of East , listing in detail which agreed statements and proposals   to all parishes , that can reaffirm this as  don't think we would  want  to go through repeating history people  like Fr. V.C Samuel Achen had to face . This will help provide voice to theologians and the laity o to know and work towards an agreement is real and not in paper alone
George Varghese
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

Reference :

See a very clear balanced approach by Fr. Peter of British Orthodox Church which seem not sure if considered by these Theologians who participate in these dialogues