Thursday, December 28, 2017

We must eradicate every evil in its beginning to keep the soul clean ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Fasting is not just abstention from food, but primarily strict abstinence of the senses. When the senses are fed by external things, they transmit a corresponding amount of poison to the nous and the heart, which kills the poor soul’s life in God.
 Our Watchful Fathers have so much to tell us about the holy fasting of the senses. Their entire teaching is mainly directed at the purification of the nous from sinful fantasies and thoughts, and the purification of the heart from feelings that defile it. Furthermore, they teach that we must eradicate every evil in its beginning to keep the soul clean. 
As soon as any evil thought whatsoever approaches even slightly, it is absolutely necessary that we drive it away and say the Jesus prayer right away. And when in this manner we confront the thoughts coming from the senses and the devil, very soon we will feel the joy and the profit derived from the fasting of the senses. 
If Eve had restrained her sense of vision, she would not have poisoned the offspring of her womb, that is, all the people who were born from her. In short, abstinence with the senses saves man from hell.
 Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Πρέπει να προσέχουμε τι λέμε.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )


Προσοχή στα λόγια μας!

  Μερικές γυναίκες, που θέλουν να κάνουν έκτρωση, πάνε και συμβουλεύονται: «Τι να κάνω βρε αδελφή;»

«Τι θες και το κρατάς, τόσα παιδιά έχεις, δεν το ρίχνεις!»

Αυτή λίγο ήθελε, ήταν κατά το ήμισυ αποφασισμένη. Συμπλήρωσε και το άλλο μισό η άλλη με τον λόγο της και πάει, ρίχνει το παιδί και γίνεται ο φόνος! Βέβαια έχει και η άλλη την ευθύνη για τον μισό φόνο.

Ή όπως μερικές μητέρες, που δεν έχουνε μυαλό, αν τύχη η κόρη τους να κάνη ένα λάθος, την συμβουλεύουν: «Άντε, θα γίνουμε ρεζίλι, πήγαινε και βγάλτο». Πάει η κοπέλλα και το σκοτώνει το παιδί. Ποιος έχει την ευθύνη; Η μάνα, που είπε αυτήν την συμβουλή. Βλέπετε ένας λόγος τι κακό μπορεί να κάνη; Γι’ αυτό θέλει πάρα πολλή προσοχή στα όσα λέμε. Πόσο πάει να μας υποσκελίση ο διάβολος!….

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης

Monday, December 25, 2017

«... καί ἄφες ἡμῖν...» ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Ἀγαπητά μου παιδιά,


Ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστός στήν παραβολή τῶν ταλάντων ἐκθέτει, παρουσιάζει παραστατικά κι ἀνάγλυφα τίς συνέπειες τῆς μή συγχωρήσεως ὅλων ἐκείνων τῶν σφαλμάτων πού οἱ ἄλλοι ἄνθρωποι μᾶς ἔκαναν· δηλαδή τί συμβαίνει, ὅταν δέν συγχωροῦμε μέ ὅλη μας τήν καρδιά ἐκείνους πού μᾶς ἔκαναν ὁποιοδήποτε κακό.

Ἡ παραβολή τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου λέει, ὅτι ἕνας βασιλιᾶς θέλησε νά λογαριαστῆ μέ τούς δούλους του, ἐμᾶς τούς ἀνθρώπους. Μεταξύ τῶν ἄλλων παρουσιάστηκε κι ἕνας δοῦλος πού χρεωστοῦσε στόν κύριό του, τόν βασιλέα, μύρια τάλαντα – ἕνα ἀμύθητο ποσό. Ὁ δοῦλος φυσικά δέν εἶχε νά ἐξοφλήση αὐτό τό τεράστιο ποσό. Τότε ὁ κύριος του, τό ἀφεντικό του, διέταξε νά πουληθῆ ὅ,τι εἶχε καί δέν εἶχε, ἀκόμα καί ἡ γυναίκα του καί τά παιδιά του, γιά νά ἐξοφληθῆ τό χρέος. Ὁ δοῦλος βλέποντας ὅτι καταστρέφεται πλέον διά παντός, χωρίς καμμιά ἐλπίδα ἐξοφλήσεως τοῦ χρέους, ἔπεσε στά πόδια τοῦ κυρίου του. Τόν παρακαλοῦσε νά μακροθυμήση, νά τόν συγχωρήση, καί ὑποσχόταν ὅτι θά προσπαθήση νά ἀποδώση τό ὀφειλόμενο ποσό. Ἔτσι κάνουμε ὅλοι, ὅταν χρεωστοῦμε καί δέν ἔχουμε νά τά δώσουμε.
Ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου, ὅταν εἶδε τήν συντριβή του, ὅταν ἄκουσε τά παρακάλια του καί τίς μεγαλόστομες ὑποσχέσεις του, τόν εὐσπλαχνίσθηκε, τόν λυπήθηκε καί τοῦ χάρισε τό χρέος. Ὅλο τό τεράστιο χρέος τό ἔσβησε! Ἦταν στήν ἐξουσία του, ἦταν πλούσιος καί μποροῦσε νά τό κάνη.

Ὅταν ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἔφυγε ἀπό τά ἀνάκτορα τοῦ βασιλέως, κατά σύμπτωσι συνάντησε ἕνα σύνδουλό του, ἕνα συνάδελφό του, ὁ ὁποῖος τοῦ χρεωστοῦσε μόνον ἑκατό δηνάρια, δηλαδή ἕνα τιποτένιο, μηδαμινό ποσό, περίπου ἑκατό σημερινές δραχμές. Τόν κράτησε καί τόν ἔπνιγε, λέγοντάς του νά ἀποδώση χωρίς ἀναβολή αὐτά πού τοῦ χρωστοῦσε. Ὁ σύνδουλος ἔπεσε στά πόδια του κι ἄρχισε νά τόν παρακαλῆ –ἀκριβῶςμέ τίς ἴδιες λέξεις πού παρακαλοῦσε αὐτός τόν βασιλέα προηγουμένος– νά μακροθυμήση γιά λίγο μέχρι νά τοῦ δώση τό ὀφειλόμενο μικρό ποσό. Ἐκεῖνος ὅμως, ὄχι μόνον δέν μακροθύμησε, ὄχι μόνον δέν τοῦ ἔδωσε προθεσμία, ὄχι μόνον δέν τόν εὐσπλαχνίσθηκε γιά ἕνα τόσο μικρό ποσό –κι ἐνῷ ἦταν ἕνας ἁπλός φτωχός ἄνθρωπος αὐτός ὁ σύνδουλος του– ἀλλά ἀπό ἀσπλαχνία τόν ἔβαλε στήν φυλακή, ἕως ὅτου δώση τίς ἑκατό δραχμές.

Ὅταν οἱ ἄλλοι σύνδουλοι εἶδαν αὐτά πού ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἔκανε στόν σύνδουλό τους καί ὅταν μάλιστα ἔμαθαν ὅτι ὁ κύριος τους μόλις πρό ὀλίγου τοῦ εἶχε χαρίσει τό τεράστιο ποσό πού τοῦ χρεωστοῦσε, λυπήθηκαν πολύ. Ἕνα τόσο σοβαρό γεγονός δέν μποροῦσαν νά τό παραβλέψουν, νά τό ἀφήσουν νά περάση ἔτσι. Παρουσιάστηκαν μπροστά στόν βασιλέα καί τοῦ διηγήθηκαν μέ ἀκρίβεια, ἀλλά καί μέ πόνο ψυχῆς, ὅλα τά συμβάντα, τά τόσο θλιβερά, αὐτῶν τῶν δύο συνδούλων τους. Τότε ὁ κύριος ἐκάλεσε τόν δοῦλο ἐκεῖνο, τόν ἀχάριστο, πού τοῦ εἶχε χαρίσει τό χρέος, καί τοῦ εἶπε: «Δοῦλε πονηρέ, δοῦλε ἀχάριστε καί σκληρέ, ἐγώ σοῦ χάρισα ὅλο τό τεράστιο ἐκεῖνο χρέος σου, μόνο καί μόνο γιατί μέ παρακάλεσες. Δέν ἔπρεπε κι ἐσύ νά εὐσπλαχνισθῆς, νά λυπηθῆς, νά ἐλεήσης, νά συγχωρήσης τόν σύνδουλό σου, τόν φίλο σου, τόν φτωχό αὐτόν ἄνθρωπο, ὅπως κι ἐγώ ὁ κύριός σου ἐλέησα καί συγχώρεσα ἐσένα; Ἀνακαλῶ τό χαριστήριο γράμμα. Παίρνω πίσω τήν ἐξόφλησι, μιά καί φάνηκες τόσο ἀχάριστος. Ἡ θέσι σου εἶναι τώρα στή φυλακή, ἐφ᾿ ὅσον δέν ἔχεις νά τό πληρώσης. Οἱ βασανιστές θά σέ βασανίζουν, ἑως ὅτου ἀποδώσης τό ὀφειλόμενο ποσό κι ἐξοφλήσης τό χρέος σου, δηλαδή αἰώνια».

Συμπέρασμα τῆς Παραβολῆς: Ἔτσι, λέει ὁ Κύριος, καί ὁ Πατέρας μου ὁ Οὐράνιος θά μεταχειρισθῆ ἐσᾶς. Τά ἴδια θά πάθετε καί ὅλοι ἐσεῖς, πού δέν θελήσατε μέ τήν καρδιά σας, νά συγχωρήσετε τόν ἀδελφό σας, γιά ὅλα τά φταιξίματά του, γιά ὅλα ὅσα κακά σᾶς ἔκανε.

Ἡ προειδοποίησις αὐτή τοῦ Κυρίου γιά τό φοβερό, τελικό κι ἀνεπανόρθωτο κατάντημα κάθε χριστιανοῦ πού δέν θέλησε νά συγχωρήση, δηλαδή ἡ αἰώνια καταδίκη του, θά πρέπει νά μᾶς βάλη ὄχι ἁπλῶς σέ ἔννοια, σέ σκέψι, σέ φόβο καί τρόμο, ἀλλά σέ ἀγῶνα. Ἀγῶνα ἐναντίον τῆς ἐκδικητικότητος.

Τί θά ποῦμε; Τί θά ἀπολογηθοῦμε κατά τήν μεγάλη ἐκεῖνη ἡμέρα τῆς Κρίσεως, ὅταν βίβλοι ἀνοιγήσονται καί θά κριθοῦμε ἐκ τῶν γεγραμμένων ἔργων ἡμῶν ἐν τοῖς βιβλίοις; Ὅταν ὅλα αὐτά τά μικροπράγματα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, γιά τά ὁποῖα ἐκδικούμεθα καί μαλώνουμε, θά ἔχουν παρέλθει ἀνεπιστρεπτί καί δέν θά μπορέσουμε νά τά διορθώσουμε; Ὅταν τά χρήματα, τά κτήματα, οἱ ἀξιοπρέπειες, οἱ προσβολές, οἱ ὑποτιμήσεις ἐντός εἰσαγωγικῶν καί τά παρόμοια θά ἔχουν περάσει; Ὅταν τά δικά μας πταίσματα θά εἶναι ὁλόκληρη βιβλιοθήκη, ἐνῷ τῶν ἄλλων πρός ἐμᾶς μιά μόνο μικρή σελίδα ἤ ἔστω λίγες σελίδες; Πῶς ὁ Θεός θά διαγράψη ὅλους αὐτούς τούς τόμους μέ τά δικά μας ἁμαρτήματα, ὅταν ἐμεῖς δέν θά ἔχουμε θελήσει μόνο μιά σελίδα νά διαγράψουμε μέ τῶν ἀδελφῶν μας τά πταίσματα;

Τό ὁποιοδήποτε κακό πού μᾶς ἔκανε ὁ ἄλλος, ὁ γείτονας, ὁ ἀδελφός, ὁ συνεργάτης, ὁ συγγενής, δέν εἶναι τόσο μεγάλο, ὅσο μᾶς φαίνεται. Εἶναι παροδικό, δηλαδή καί σ᾿ ὅλη τήν ζωή νά διαρκέση, θά περάση κάποια μέρα. Δέν ἔχει αἰώνια ἰσχύ καί δύναμι καί ὕπαρξι. Τό κακό ὅμως πού κάνουμε ἐμεῖς οἱ ἴδιοι στόν ἑαυτό μας, ὅταν δέν συγχωροῦμε, εἶναι χωρίς τέλος. Ἔχει αἰώνια ἰσχύ καί θά τιμωρούμεθα αἰωνίως.

Ἔχουμε λοιπόν νά διαλέξουμε μεταξύ δύο κακῶν. Ἐκείνου πού ὁ ἄλλος μᾶς κάνει καί πού εἶναι παροδικό, κι ἐκείνου πού κάνουμε ἐμεῖς στόν ἑαυτό μας, ὅταν δέν συγχωροῦμε, πού εἶναι αἰώνιο. Τώρα ποιός λογικός ἄνθρωπος θέλει τό κακό του καί μάλιστα τό αἰώνιο; Ξέρουμε ὅτι οἱ παρανοϊκοί εἶναι αὐτοί πού κάνουν κακό στόν ἑαυτό τους, αὐτοί πού ἔχουν πρόβλημα στό μυαλό τους. Οἱ ἀξιολύπητοι αὐτοί ἄνθρωποι, πού ἔχουν χάσει τίς φρένες τους, κόβουν μέ γυαλιά τά χέρια τους, πατοῦν σέ ἀναμμένα κάρβουμα, αὐτοτραυματίζονται, αὐτοκτονοῦν καί τόσα ἄλλα. Ὡστόσο κανείς λογικός δέν κάνει τέτοια πράγματα. Ἐάν λοιπόν τά μικρότερα αὐτά δέν τά κάνουμε, γιατί δέν τά βρίσκουμε λογικά, θά κάνουμε τά ἀπείρως μεγαλύτερα κακά στόν ἑαυτό μας; Θά τόν καταδικάσουμε οἱ ἴδιοι στό αἰώνιο σκοτάδι καί θά τόν στείλουμε νά κάνη συντροφιά μέ τούς δαίμονες, μόνο καί μόνο γιατί δέν θελήσαμε ἀπό ἐγωϊσμό νά διαγράψουμε τά μικροπράγματα πού μᾶς ἔκαναν οἱ ἄλλοι; Θά κάνουμε ἕνα τόσο μεγάλο λάθος;

Ποῦ εἶναι ὅλες οἱ προηγούμενες γενεές, στίς ὁποῖες ἦσαν καί ἄνθρωποι πού ἔφυγαν ἀπό δῶ γιά πάντα, χωρίς νά συγχωρήσουν; Τί κέρδισαν οἱ ἄνθρωποι αὐτοί μέ τήν ἀσυγχωρησία πρός τούς ἄλλους; Δέν θά ἔχουν τώρα πιά μετανοιώσει πικρά, χωρίς ὠφέλεια καί χωρίς διόρθωσι; Βεβαίως. Ἐάν κάποιος δέν τά πιστεύη αὐτά, εἶναι φυσικά ἐλεύθερος νά κάνη ὅ,τι νομίζει. Ἕνας ὅμως πού λέει ὅτι εἶναι Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος καί πιστεύει στόν Θεό καί στό Εὐαγγέλιο, δέν πρέπει νά τοῦ λείπη τό κόκκινο μολύβι. Τί σημαίνει αὐτό;

Στά ἐπίσημα βιβλία τῶν ὑπηρεσιῶν οἱ διαγραφές γίνονται μέ κόκκινο μολύβι. Μέ αὐτό τό μολύβι ὁ καθένας, πού θέλει νά λέγεται Χριστιανός Ὀρθόδοξος, θά διαγράψη ἀπό σήμερα κάθε φταίξιμο τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ του. Ἀδελφός του εἶναι κάθε ἄνθρωπος, γνωστός καί ἄγνωστος, ὀρθόδοξος καί μή.

Τό μολύβι αὐτό θά τοῦ χρησιμεύση, ὅταν πλέον φύγη ἀπό τόν κόσμο αὐτόν, σάν κλειδί, πού θά ἀνοίξη τήν πόρτα τοῦ Παραδείσου. Δηλαδή, ἐάν δέν τά διαγράψη μ᾿ αὐτό τό μολύβι τό κόκκινο, δέν μπορεῖ νά ἀνοίξη τόν Παράδεισο. Θά βάλει τό μολύβι τό κόκκινο ἐπάνω στήν κλειδαριά τῆς πόρτας τοῦ Παραδείδου καί θά ἀνοίξη. Μέ τό νά πῆ: «Θεός συγχωρήσοι σε» καί κάνοντας προσευχή γιά τόν ἀδελφό, ὁ Παράδεισος ἄνοιξε!

Οἱ πέντε μωρές παρθένες χτύπαγαν ἄδικα τήν πόρτα τοῦ Παραδείσου τήν νύχτα ἐκείνη. Ἔμειναν ὅμως ἔξω στό σκοτάδι. Γιατί; Διότι δέν εἶχαν δείξει ἔλεος συμπάθεια, συγχωρητικότητα. Δέν εἶχαν οὔτε λάδι πού μαλακώνει τίς πληγές, οὔτε κόκκινο μολύβι πού σβήνει τά πταίσματα τῶν ἄλλων κι ἀνοίγει τόν νυμφῶνα, ἀνοίγει τόν Παράδεισο, ἀνοίγει τήν πύλη τῆς Ἄνω Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ναί, ἔμειναν ἔξω δυστυχῶς· καί ἔξω ἦταν σκοτάδι, πολύ σκοτάδι, κόλασις. Ἦταν νύχτα ἀσέληνη χωρίς φεγγάρι, παγερή νύχτα χωρίς θερμότητα.

Οἱ φρόνιμες ὅμως, αὐτές πού εἶχαν σώφρονα νοῦ καί σκέψι καί κυβέρνησι, μπήκανε στόν νυμφῶνα, μπήκανε στόν Παράδεισο καί στήν αἰώνια ζωή τοῦ φωτός. Εἴχανε λάδι, εἴχανε τήν καλοσύνη, τήν ἀγάπη, πού δέν ἐκδικεῖται, ἀλλά συγχωρεῖ ὅλους καί ὅλα.

Ἀπό ἐμᾶς ἐξαρτᾶται νά καθορίσουμε ἀπό τώρα τήν θέσι μας. Ἀπό ἐμᾶς ἐξαρτᾶται, ἐάν θά μποῦμε στόν νυμφῶνα μέ τίς φρόνιμες παρθένες ἤ θά μείνουμε ἔξω στό σκοτάδι τῆς παγερῆς νύχτας μέ τίς μωρές. Ἐφ᾿ ὅσον ἀκόμη εὑρισκόμεθα στήν ζωή αὐτή, ἐφ᾿ ὅσον ἡ αὐλαία τοῦ θεάτρου τοῦ παρόντος κόσμου δέν ἔπεσε καί τό νῆμα τῆς ζωῆς μας δέν κόπηκε, μποροῦμε νά συγχωρέσουμε. Μποροῦμε νά πάρουμε τήν ἡρωϊκή ἀπόφασι τοῦ « ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν».

Κατά τήν Κυριακή προσευχή (τό «Πάτερ ἡμῶν»), πού μᾶς δίδαξε ὁ Κύριος, μέ τήν ὁποία προσευχόμεθα κάθε μέρα, σέ κάθε ἀκολουθία καί κάθε Κυριακή, λέμε στόν Θεό· «Συγχώρησέ με, Θεέ μου, ὅπως κι ἐγώ συγχωρῶ». Ὅταν ὅμως δέν συγχωροῦμε, Τοῦ λέμε ψέμματα. Ψευδόμεθα κάθε φορά, πού προσευχόμεθα μέ τό «Πάτερ ἡμῶν», διότι, ἐφ᾿ ὅσον δέν συγχωροῦμε τούς ἄλλους, ἀπαιτοῦμε συγχώρησι ἀπό τόν Θεό. Νά συγχωροῦμε, ὁπότε κι ὁ Θεός θά μᾶς συγχωρέση. Στήν προσευχή μας νά ζητοῦμε πρῶτα νά συγχωρέση ὁ Θεός ὅλους ἐκείνους πού μᾶς ἔκαναν κακό, νά συγχωρέση ὅλων τῶν ἀνθρώπων τίς ἁμαρτίες, καί μετά νά παρακαλοῦμε νά συγχωρέση κι ἐμᾶς, πού Τοῦ φταίξαμε δυστυχῶς πολύ περισσότερο.

Κάποτε, γράφει τό Γεροντικό, ἕνας ἀδελφός, ἕνας νεώτερος μοναχός πῆγε σ᾿ ἕνα Γέροντα πνευματικό καί τοῦ εἶπε:
Κάποιος ἄνθρωπος κλέπτης γυρνᾶ καί κλέβει τίς καλύβες τῶν Πατέρων. Ἔκλεψε καί τά δικά μου, τό παξιμάδι καί τά ἐλάχιστα τρόφιμα πού εἶχα. Σκέφτομαι, πῆρα τήν ἀπόφασι νά τόν καταγγείλω στό δικαστήριο γιά νά συμμορφωθῆ, νά σταματήση τήν ἁμαρτία, νά πληρώση κι ἔτσι νά τοῦ γίνη καλό μάθημα.

Ὁ Γέροντας ὅμως ὁ πνευματικός τόν συμβούλευε καί τοῦ ἔλεγε:

Ὄχι, παιδί μου, μήν τό κάνης αὐτό, μήν τόν πᾶς στόν δικαστή, μήν τόν καταγγείλης – ἄνθρωπος εἶναι, συγχώρεσέ τον· κάνε προσευχή νά τόν φωτίση ὁ Θεός νά ἀφήση τήν κλεψιά.
Ὄχι, Γέροντα, αὐτός δέν συμμορφώνται, ἔχει πάρα πολύ καιρό πού τό κάνει αὐτό. Ἄν δέ τιμωρηθῆ, θά συνεχίση, ὁπότε τοῦ κάνουμε κακό.
Ὄχι, παιδί μου, δέν πρέπει νά τόν καταγγείλης· ὄχι στόν δικαστή. Στόν Θεό ἄφησε τήν ὑπόθεσι.

Ὁ νεώτερος στηριζόμενος στήν ἄποψί του δέν ὑποχωροῦσε. Τότε ὁ Γέροντας τοῦ λέει:

Ἐφ᾿ ὅσον τὄχεις ἀποφασίσει, πᾶμε νά κάνουμε προσευχή, νά πάη καλά ἡ δουλειά σου.

Ὅταν γονάτισαν γιά προσευχή ἄρχισε ὁ Πνευματικός νά λέη τό «Πάτερ ἡμῶν». Ὅταν ἔφτασε στό σημεῖο: «καί ἄφες ἡμῖν τά ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν», εἶπε ὁ Γέροντας:

Κύριε μήν μᾶς ἀφήνης τά ἁμαρτήματά μας, διότι κι ἐμεῖς δέν ἀφήνουμε τά ἁμαρτήματα τῶν ἀδελφῶν μας, πού μᾶς ὀφείλουν.
Πάτερ, κάνετε λάθος, δέν εἶναι ἔτσι τό «Πάτερ ἡμῶν».
Ἐφ᾿ ὅσον θά πᾶς στόν δικαστή νά καταγγείλης τόν ἀδελφό πού ἁμάρτησε, αὐτό τό «Πάτερ ἡμῶν», θά ποῦμε.

Ὁ ἀδελφός κατάλαβε, ὅτι εἶχε λάθος στήν ἄποψί του, ζήτησε συγγνώμη κι ἔτσι ὑποχώρησε καί δέν κατήγγειλε τόν πταίσαντα ἀδελφό του.

Αὐτή ἡ διήγησις εἶναι τόσο πολύ διδακτική, εἶναι τόσο πολύ ὠφέλιμη, πού ἄν συνειδητοποιήσουμε τήν ἔννοια καί τήν οὐσία της, εἶναι πάρα πολύ εὔκολο νά ἀγωνισθοῦμε, γιά νά ἔχουμε παρρησία στόν Θεό, παρρησία στήν προσευχή. Ὅταν θά συγχωροῦμε ἀφειδῶς, πλούσια κάθε ἄνθρωπο, ὁ ὁποῖος μᾶς ἔκανε κακό, θά ἔχουμε τό θάρρος, θά ἔχουμε τήν παρρησία, νά ζητήσουμε τήν αἰώνια συγγνώμη μας κι ἔτσι νά βρεθοῦμε μετά τῶν σωζομένων δούλων τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἀμήν.

Τέλος καί τῷ Θεῷ δόξα! 
 
Ἀπό τό βιβλίο: “ Ἡ τέχνη τῆς σωτηρίας”
Γέροντος Ἐφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτου
Ἔκδοσεις Ἱερᾶς Μονῆς Φιλοθέου Ἅγιον Ὄρος
Τόμος α΄
Κεντρική διάθεση:
ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ: «ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΚΥΨΕΛΗ»

Friday, December 22, 2017

Να προσευχώμεθα αδειαλείπτως.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

 Ας εξομολογούμεθα συχνά με ευλάβειαν και καθαράν συνείδησιν. 
Να τηρώμεν τας εντολάς του πνευματικού.
Να προσευχώμεθα αδειαλείπτως. 
Να έχωμεν την μνήμην θανάτου και δυνατός ο Θεός να μας αξιώση της άλλης ζωής κοντά Του, δια να συγχαίρωμεν με τους αγίους, εις την θριαμβεύουσαν Εκκλησίαν.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης

Every night, review how you passed the day... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Every night, review how you passed the day, and in the morning review how the night passed, so that you know how your soul’s accounts are doing.
 
 If you see a loss, try to regain it through caution and forcefulness. If you see a profit, glorify God, your invisible helper. Do not let your conscience prick you for long, but quickly give it whatever it wants, lest it take you to the judge and the prison (cf. Mt. 5:25 ). 
 
Does your conscience want you to attend to your prayer rule and regain prayer? Give it these things, and behold, you are delivered from going to the judge. Do not weaken the saving voice of your conscience by disregarding it, because later you will regret it to no avail.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Να τηρώμεν τας εντολάς του πνευματικού.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )


Ας εξομολογούμεθα συχνά με ευλάβειαν και καθαράν συνείδησιν. 
Να τηρώμεν τας εντολάς του πνευματικού. 

Να προσευχώμεθα αδειαλείπτως. 
Να έχωμεν την μνήμην θανάτου και δυνατός ο Θεός να μας αξιώση της άλλης ζωής κοντά Του, δια να συγχαίρωμεν με τους αγίους, εις την θριαμβεύουσαν Εκκλησίαν.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης 

Repentance recreates man... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )


To fall and be injured is human, since , even if a man’s life lasted for only one day, his mind is inclined to evil from his youth (cf. Gen. 8:21 ). But to fall and remain fallen is not human. 

Repentance recreates man; it was given to us to cure the soul after baptism. If it did not exist, rarely would a person be saved. That is why, the virtue of repentance is unending as long as man is alive, for only the perfect do not err. 

My children, every time you see your thoughts reproaching you for some sin, immediately take the medicine: repent, weep, go to confession, and behold, you return to your former and better state.


Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Με την ευχήν, από την μίαν χαράν εις την άλλην... ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Με την ευχήν, από την μίαν χαράν εις την άλλην. Χωρίς ευχήν, πτώσις εις την πτώσιν, θλίψις εις την θλίψιν και βαρύς ο έλεγχος της συνειδήσεως. Εν ολίγοις, ολίγος κόπος και πόνος με την ευχήν, πολύ χαροποιόν πένθος, κατάνυξις και δάκρυα και η γλυκύτης της παρουσίας του Θεού, ο αγνότατος φόβος Του, όπου καθαρίζει και αγνίζει νουν και καρδίαν.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης 

Do not worry about the imperfection and dryness of your prayer ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

The name of Jesus Christ, which we invoke in prayer, contains within it self-existing and self-acting restorative power. 
So do not worry about the imperfection and dryness of your prayer, but with perseverance await the fruit of the repeated invocation of the Divine Name.


Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Friday, December 15, 2017

Μη σταματάτε την ευχήν του Χριστού μας.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Παιδιά μου, παρακαλώ δια την αγάπην του Θεού, μη σταματάτε την ευχήν του Χριστού μας, ουδέ επ’ ελάχιστον. Τα χείλη σας συνεχώς να μουρμουρίζουν τον Ιησούν, τον καταλύτην του διαβόλου και πάσης μηχανορραφίας αυτού. Φωνάζετε αδιακόπως εις βοήθειάν σας τον Χριστόν μας και Αυτός πάραυτα σπεύδει ολοκαρδίως να μας βοηθήση. Όπως ο πεπυρακτωμένος σίδηρος, όταν τοιούτος γένηται, καθίσταται άκλεπτος και απλησίαστος, έτσι λοιπόν και η ψυχή του έχοντος την ευχήν με θέρμην Χριστού. 
 
Οι δαίμονες δεν την πλησιάζουν, και πως; Διότι εάν την εγγίσουν, θα καούν από το θεϊκόν πυρ όπερ εμπερικλείει μέσα του το θείον όνομα. Όποιος προσεύχεται φωτίζεται και όστις δεν εύχεται, σκοτίζεται. Η προσευχή είναι πάροχος θείου φωτός. Δια τούτο και κάθε καλώς προσευχόμενος άνθρωπος γίνεται φωτοειδής όλος, και το Πνεύμα του Θεού ενοικεί εν αυτώ. Εάν μας πλησιάζη αθυμία, ραθυμία, ακηδία κ.λ.π., ας προσευχώμεθα εμφόβως, εμπόνως και με πολλήν εγρήγορσιν νοός και το θαύμα της παρηγορίας και της χαράς, θα μας γίνη αμέσως χάριτι Θεού. 
 
Άνθρωπος που προσεύχεται δεν είναι δυνατόν να κρατήση κακίαν εις άνθρωπον, μήτε να μη τον συγχωρήση εις οιονδήποτε σφάλμα του. Τα πάντα αποτεφρώνονται, όταν προσεγγίσουν εις το πυρ της του Ιησού ευχής. Λοιπόν, παιδιά μου, αγωνισθήτε εις την σωτήριον και αγίαν προσευχήν του Χριστού μας, όπως γίνετε φωτοειδείς και αγιασθήτε. Ευχηθήτε και δι’ εμέ τον ράθυμον και αμαρτωλόν, όπως ίλεως γένηται ο Θεός επί το πλήθος των αμαρτιών μου, όσον και επί των αμετρήτων ευθυνών μου.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης

Prayer is a conversation of man with God... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Pray as often as possible. Try to feel compunction and to weep, and you will see how much you will be relieved from thoughts and grief. Prayer is a conversation of man with God. He who prays with a broken and humbled spirit is filled with divine gifts and blessings , that is, with joy, peace, comfort, illumination,and consolation and he, too, becomes blessed. 
 
Prayer is the double-edged sword that slays despair, saves from danger, assuages grief, and so on. Prayer is a preventive medicine for all diseases of soul and body. Likewise, entreat the Mother of Light, the immaculate Theotokos, to help you, for she is the greatest means of consolation after God. 
 
When a person calls upon her holy name, he immediately senses her help. She is a mother; when she was on earth, as a human being and fellow-sufferer she suffered the same things we do, and for this reason, she has great sympathy for pained souls and swiftly comes to help them.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Στόμα που ευχαριστεί πάντοτε τον Θεόν.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Στόμα που ευχαριστεί πάντοτε τον Θεόν, ου μη στερηθή των ευλογιών του Θεού, και στόμα που γογγύζει και πληγώνει τον μέγαν Ευεργέτην Του, είναι αδύνατον να μη τον παιδεύση ο Θεός. 
 
Αυτός μας έδωσε το είναι μας. Αυτός μας χορηγεί την ζωήν. Αυτός μας την διατηρεί με την ποικίλην θείαν Του πρόνοιαν. Αυτός, εχθρούς όντας πρότερον, δια του θανάτου του Υιού Αυτού μας κατήλλαξε και μας έκανε υιούς και κληρονόμους της βασιλείας Του! Αυτός μας καθαρίζει και αγιάζει δια μέσου των αγίων Του Μυστηρίων! 
 
Αυτός μας δίδει την ουράνιον και αγιωτάτην βρώσιν και πόσιν, δηλαδή το Πανάγιόν Του Σώμα και το Τίμιον Αίμα Του! Αυτός άγγελον επέστησε φύλακα εις όλην την ζωήν μας! Αυτός θα παραλάβη και την ψυχήν μας και θα την οδηγήση εις την αιώνιον κληρονομίαν! Αλλά τι ποιώ; Επιλείψει με ο χρόνος διηγούμενον, θα ευρεθώ ματαιοπονών, θέλοντας να μετρήσω την άμμον της θαλάσσης, τας απείρους ευεργεσίας του καλού μας Θεού! Κατόπιν λοιπόν τόσων αμετρήτων αγαθών να έχωμεν και γογγυσμών! 
 
Ω Θεέ μου, πάριδε την ημών αγνωμοσύνην και διάνοιξον ημών τον νουν, ίνα εννοήσωμεν το τι μας εχάρισεν η πατρική Σου καρδία και αποδώσωμεν μικράν ευχαριστίαν, όπως εύρωμεν συγγνώμην και έλεος.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Η χάρις της Κυρίας ημών Θεοτόκου να σε διαφυλάττη από κάθε τι.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Αγαπητέ μου εν Χριστώ αδελφέ…, η χάρις της Κυρίας ημών Θεοτόκου να σε διαφυλάττη από κάθε τι, που θα λερώση την ψυχούλα σου. Αμήν.
«Θλίψεις και ανάγκαι εύροσάν με…, αι εντολαί Σου μελέτη μου…» ( Ψαλμ. 118,143 ).

Αι θλίψεις διαδέχονται η μία την άλλην, έχομεν ανάγκην υπομονής. Μελετώντας δε τον θείον Νόμον, φωτιζόμεθα πώς να τας υπομένωμεν, διατί έρχονται, ποίον σκοπόν έχουν. Έρχονται δια να μας διδάξουν το να γίνωμεν φερέπονοι, δόκιμοι αγωνισταί, οπαδοί Εκείνου, που εσταυρώθη δι’ ημάς, αδελφοί όλων των Αγίων, που εβάδισαν την ακανθώδη οδόν του Σταυρού, οι μάρτυρες με το μαρτύριον, οι όσιοι με την άσκησιν, οι Χριστιανοί με την τήρησιν των αγίων εντολών και τους ποικίλους πειρασμούς, που γεννά ο κόσμος, ο διάβολος και η σάρκα. Ουδείς εσώθη εν ανέσει και άνευ πειρασμών. Άρα έπεται ότι, εάν και ημείς υποφέρωμεν πειρασμούς, πρέπει να χαιρώμεθα, διότι έτσι εβάδισαν όσοι εσώθησαν. Και εφ’ όσον και ημείς θέλομεν να σωθώμεν, άλλος δρόμος δεν υπάρχει, ει μη αι θλίψεις!

Αι θλίψεις έρχονται με τον σκοπόν να μας φέρουν πλησιέστερα προς τον Θεόν. Διότι αι θλίψεις θλίβουν, στενοχωρούν την καρδίαν και ακολουθεί κατόπιν το να απαλυνθή και να ταπεινωθεί. Όταν δε ταπεινωθή, επιβλέπει προς αυτήν ο Θεός: « Καρδίαν συντετριμμένην και τεταπεινωμένην ο Θεός ουκ εξουδενώσει», « Επί τίνα επιβλέψω, ει μη ασμών στενοχωρείται και λυπείται, καθ’ ον χρόνον έπρεπε να χαίρεται, διότι βαδίζει τον δρόμον του ιερού Γολγοθά και των Αγίων.

Η χάρις του Θεού, η τα ασθενή θεραπεύουσα και τα ελλείποντα αναπληρούσα, ας βοηθήση όλους μας να κάμνωμεν υπομονήν εις όλα, ίνα αξιωθώμεν της βασιλείας του Θεού. Αμήν.
Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης 

Do not forget your goal, my child. ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Do not forget your goal, my child. Look into heaven and see the beauty that awaits us. What are the present, earthly things? Aren’t they but ashes and dust and a dream? Don’t we see that everything here is subject to decay? Whereas things above are everlasting, the kingdom of God is endless, and blessed is he who will dwell in it, for he will behold the glory of His divine face! My child, do not forget that we are in this world only temporarily and that our life dangles by a thread and that all the desirable things in the world are vain. So, whoever despises the vain things of the world—in other words, does not passionately desire them—will participate in the eternal good things. So, when we have this knowledge of the truth, naturally we shall turn the eyes of our soul at every moment towards the eternal life, towards the heavenly Jerusalem, where the choirs of angels chant godly canticles of ineffable sweetness and wisdom. Oh, my children, how much glory your souls will have when after death they ascend to the heavens and are numbered with the angels in heaven!

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ο δε μακαριστός γέροντάς μου εδώ στην Αγία Γη,ο γέροντας Σεραφείμ ο Κυθήριος ο ηγούμενος της μονής μας, του Αγίου Σάββα,έλεγε....."Μα βρε παιδί μου ,τι μορφή είναι αυτός ο Εφραίμ ο Φιλοθείτης;;;





Καλημέρα σας. Να είστε όλοι καλά,όλοι ευλογημένοι.

Μου ζητήσατε να πω δυό λόγια για τον γέροντα της Αριζόνας, Εφραίμ τον προηγούμενο της μονής Φιλοθέου του Αγίου Ορους. Μόνον δυό λόγια να πει κανείς γι'αυτή την μεγάλη μορφή;;;Αν μέχρι τώρα έχουν γραφτεί τόσα πολλά για τον μακαριστό γέροντα Παίσιο, Ιάκωβο Τσαλίκη και τόσους άλλους πολλούς αγίους γεροντάδες των ημερών μας,...φανταστείτε τι έχει να γραφεί και να ειπωθεί μετά την κοίμηση του γέροντος Εφραίμ του Φιλοθείτου!!!!!!!!!Υψος πνευματικότητας, μέγεθος!!!!



Ειχα εξομολογηθεί κανά δυό φορές κοντά του, όταν ήμουν στον Καναδά το 1988-1992.Δεν είχα αφήσει κήρυγμα του κανένα!!! Είχα γίνει η κουραστική σκιά του!!!Δεν τον άφηνα...ρούπι,που λέμε!!!Εκανα 100-150 χιλιόμετρα για να πηγαίνω να τον ακούω.Γύριζα σπίτι στις μία-δύο μετά τα μεσάνυχτα..επιστρέφοντας από κηρύγματά του σε σπίτια κυρίως,τότε.Είχα μαγευτεί!!! Γνώρισα συνειδητά Ορθοδοξία και πίστη από τις ομιλίες του.


Από την γνωριμία μαζί του αγάπησα και θέλησα να γίνω κάποτε μοναχός,όπως και έγινε!!! Ο δε μακαριστός γέροντάς μου εδώ στην Αγία Γη,ο γέροντας Σεραφείμ ο Κυθήριος ο ηγούμενος της μονής μας, του Αγίου Σάββα,έλεγε....."Μα βρε παιδί μου ,τι μορφή είναι αυτός ο Εφραίμ ο Φιλοθείτης;;;Είχε έλθει και λειτούργησε στην Λαύρα του Αγίου Σάββα της Ιουδαίας ,πριν αρκετά χρόνια.Μα....δεν λειτούργησε άνθρωπος..αλλά άγγελος!!! Πως να τον πω;;; ασώματο,άυλο,παιδάκι μικρό,χαριτωμένο,αγγελουδάκι;;;......!!!!!".

Συχνά,του ζήταγα να μας παριστάνει ο γέροντας Σεραφείμ,πώς είχε λειτουργήσει ο γέροντας Εφραίμ στον Αγιο Σάββα.Εμιμείτο ακριβώς την αγγελική εκείνη ψιλή φωνούλα του,που σαν να έμοιαζε με μικρό παιδάκι.

Του άρεσε πολύ να τον παριστάνει......."Και υπεεεεέρ του καταξιωθήναι ημαααάς...ακούσωμεν του αγίου Ευαγγελίουυυυυυυυυυ,Ειρήηηηνη Πάαασιιιιιιιιιιι!!! Ηταν απολαυστικός να μας κάνει τον γέροντα Εφραίμ.

Τον θεωρούσε ,και φυσικά είναι,.....μεγάλος όσιος,οσιακή,ασκητική μορφή των χαλεπών ημερών μας,άγιος ήδη.............!!!!!!!

God forgives easily, by just opening Him the door of your soul ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )



How easily God forgives ! 
This will happen by just opening Him the door of your soul . God does not expect any reward for what he gives people . Even though your sins are millions or billions , for God counts zero . What does a small amount of sand in the ocean worth . All the sins of the world is simply a virus in the ocean .

There is no sin that wins the mercy of God . Thus , the sins of man are zero . When the child returns to the bosom of the Lord , always ends in front of mercy .


Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Monday, December 4, 2017

Η μετάνοια αναδημιουργεί τον άνθρωπον.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Το να πέσωμεν και να τραυματισθώμεν, τούτο έξεστι τοις ανθρώποις, εφ’ όσον και αν μία ημέρα εστίν η ζωή του ανθρώπου επί της γης, έγκειται η διάνοια αυτού επί τα πονηρά εκ γεννήσεως αυτού, αλλά το να πέσωμεν και να μείνωμεν εν τω πτώματι, τούτο ουχί ανθρώπινον. 
 
Η μετάνοια αναδημιουργεί τον άνθρωπον, αύτη εδόθη, ίνα θεραπεύη την ψυχήν μετά το βάπτισμα, και εάν αύτη έλειπεν, σπανίως θα εσώζετο άνθρωπος. Δια τούτο η αρετή της μετανοίας δεν έχει τέλος εφ’ όσον υπάρχει πνοή ζωής εν τω ανθρώπω, διότι έξεστι και τοις τελείοις να σφάλλουν. 
 
Τέκνα μου, οσάκις ίδητε τον λογισμόν να σας ελέγχη δι’ αμαρτίαν τινά, αμέσως πάρετε το φάρμακον, μετανοήσατε, κλαύσατε, εξομολογηθήτε, και ιδού επανέρχεσθε εις την προτέραν και καλυτέραν κατάστασιν.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης

Friday, December 1, 2017

Στόμα που ευχαριστεί πάντοτε τον Θεόν... ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης )

Στόμα που ευχαριστεί πάντοτε τον Θεόν, ου μη στερηθή των ευλογιών του Θεού, και στόμα που γογγύζει και πληγώνει τον μέγαν Ευεργέτην Του, είναι αδύνατον να μη τον παιδεύση ο Θεός. 
 
Αυτός μας έδωσε το είναι μας. Αυτός μας χορηγεί την ζωήν. Αυτός μας την διατηρεί με την ποικίλην θείαν Του πρόνοιαν. Αυτός, εχθρούς όντας πρότερον, δια του θανάτου του Υιού Αυτού μας κατήλλαξε και μας έκανε υιούς και κληρονόμους της βασιλείας Του! Αυτός μας καθαρίζει και αγιάζει δια μέσου των αγίων Του Μυστηρίων!
 
 Αυτός μας δίδει την ουράνιον και αγιωτάτην βρώσιν και πόσιν, δηλαδή το Πανάγιόν Του Σώμα και το Τίμιον Αίμα Του! Αυτός άγγελον επέστησε φύλακα εις όλην την ζωήν μας! Αυτός θα παραλάβη και την ψυχήν μας και θα την οδηγήση εις την αιώνιον κληρονομίαν! Αλλά τι ποιώ; Επιλείψει με ο χρόνος διηγούμενον, θα ευρεθώ ματαιοπονών, θέλοντας να μετρήσω την άμμον της θαλάσσης, τας απείρους ευεργεσίας του καλού μας Θεού! 
 
Κατόπιν λοιπόν τόσων αμετρήτων αγαθών να έχωμεν και γογγυσμών! Ω Θεέ μου, πάριδε την ημών αγνωμοσύνην και διάνοιξον ημών τον νουν, ίνα εννοήσωμεν το τι μας εχάρισεν η πατρική Σου καρδία και αποδώσωμεν μικράν ευχαριστίαν, όπως εύρωμεν συγγνώμην και έλεος.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεΐτης

Pray with the Jesus prayer... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

We live in this vain world, but it must not attract and engross our heart so as to deaden its spiritual stamina and separate it from its Maker and God. Therefore, we ought to pray constantly, my child, in order to communicate ceaselessly with our Christ and draw spiritual strength from Him, so that we may face every demonic attack victoriously.
 
 Pray with the Jesus prayer, and He, the wonder-working Lord, first of all will forgive us the multitude of our sins, and secondly, by His grace will help us defeat the flesh, the world, and the devil—our three great enemies. Moreover, prayer is the provider of joy and peace in God. Consider how much we need joy of soul and especially divine joy. Therefore, let us see to it that at all costs we take advantage of all our spare time and utilize it for prayer.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Να μη θυμώνης... ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )

Να μη θυμώνης, δείγμα εγωϊσμού είναι αυτό, η δε πραότης και η μακροθυμία, δείγμα ταπεινώσεως. Δια τούτο, παιδί μου, εάν θέλης να σμικρύνης και να εκριζώσης τα πάθη σου, την ταπείνωσιν και την αυτοκατηγορίαν αγάπησον, μόνον με αυτόν τον τρόπον κυρίως ελαττώνονται και εξαλείφονται τα πάθη.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης

The successors of the Apostles are the hierarchs, the priests, the abbots, and the elders of small synodias... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Christ said to His disciples, “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me” (Lk.10:16 ). 
 
The successors of the Apostles are the hierarchs, the priests, the abbots, and the elders of small synodias. So whoever obeys the successors of the Apostles obeys Christ Himself, and whoever disobeys them, rejects Christ. 
 
For this reason, since we want to place ourselves under obedience to Christ, we ought to show obedience , not merely obeying what we like and disobeying what we do not want. For in Gethsemane, Christ asked that the salvation of mankind happen differently from what the Heavenly Father desired. But since the Heavenly Father decided upon the Cross, Christ then replied, “Not My will, but Thy will be done, my Father” (cf. Mt. 26:29 ).

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Βάστα, παιδί μου, γερά τον Σταυρόν σου και ανάβαινε τον σωτήριον Γολγοθάν... ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )

« Ουκ άξια τα παθήματα του νυν καιρού προς την μέλλουσαν δόξαν» που μας αναμένει. Χαίρε, παιδί μου, χαράν μεγάλην, ότι ο αγαθός Θεός, εις Ον ελπίζομεν την σωτηρίαν μας, θα μας αξιώση να είμεθα όλοι μαζί εις την ουράνιον βασιλείαν και να λέγωμεν τα ρήματα του Αγίου Ανδρέου, του δια Χριστόν σαλού «ω μακαρία η χειρ, η ταύτα ποιήσασα». 
 
Η άνω Ιερουσαλήμ, η ευφρόσυνος πόλις, η αχειροποίητος, αναμένει τα τέκνα του Θεού, δια να τα περιθάλψη και να τα ξεκουράση με την μεγάλην της απόλαυσιν, τα τέκνα που εις την ζωήν αυτήν πάσχουν και οδυνώνται φέροντα το σώμα το πολύμοχθον.
 
 Το Αρνίον το σφαγιασθέν δια την ιδικήν μας σωτηρίαν, Αυτό θα λούση και ημάς με το Πανάγιον Αίμά Του, θα πλύνη την βρώμα των αμαρτιών μας και θα μας αναπαύση αιώνια!
 
Βάστα, παιδί μου, γερά τον Σταυρόν σου και ανάβαινε τον σωτήριον Γολγοθάν, ο Οποίος θα μας οδηγήση εις την ζωοφόρον Ανάστασιν, όταν θα σαλπίση εν τη εσχάτη ημέρα η μεγάλη σάλπιγξ και θα φανερωθούν τα κρυπτά των ανθρώπων. Τι μεγάλη και αγία ημέρα δια τας σωζομένας ψυχάς, διότι τότε θα απολαύσουν πλήρως την ευλογίαν του Θεού! Τότε θα ανοιχθούν οι πνευματικοί θησαυροί της απείρου Θεότητος εις άπειρον απόλαυσιν άνευ διακοπής εις αιώνας αιώνων!
 
Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης

No matter how much we may suffer, the time will come when all will end... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

 No matter how much we may suffer, the time will come when all will end and each one of us will be given repose in accordance with his labors. Are you afflicted? Are you in pain? Do you weep from the pressure of sorrowfull events? Are you weary? Take courage, for through such things the kingdom of God is acquired. But if you have it easy in everything and do not remember God, then grieve, for you are not walking the path that leads to God. 
 
Afflictions, sicknesses, and torments weary us continually so that we abhor this world and desire the world there, where Cherubim and Seraphim hymn God, where there is the real and true repose, the day without evening, the blessed light; while things here, in comparison with the eternal things, are dark and abominable. May our holy God grant us spiritual understanding, so that we always prefer the everlasting things, the highest good, our sweet God.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Δωρεάν σώζει τον άνθρωπον ο Θεός.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )

Δεν γνωρίζεις, παιδί μου, ότι δωρεάν σώζει τον άνθρωπον ο Θεός; Βεβαίως οι κόποι δείχνουν την προαίρεσιν του ανθρώπου και όχι αυτοί καθ’ εαυτοί δύνανται να απαλλάξουν τον άνθρωπον εκ των παθών του, αλλά δια να μάθωμεν να ελπίζωμεν εις τον Θεόν και όχι εις τους κόπους μας.
 Επιτρέπει ο Θεός μετά από κόπον να μην έχωμεν φυλαχθή από το κακόν. Συν τω κόπω να λέμε λοιπόν ότι, εάν δεν φυλάξη ο Θεός τον άνθρωπον, τα έργα του είναι άνεμος και φεύγουν κούφια.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης

A novice of her own son: On Gerontissa Theophano, the mother of Elder Ephraim of Arizona



The Monastery of the Archangel Michael on the Greek island of Thassos is a podvoriye of Philotheou Monastery on Mt. Athos. Gerontissa[1] Theophano, the mother of Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona, spent the final years of her life there and departed to the Lord on February 27, 1986. The gerontissa of the monastery, Abbess Ephraima, blessed us to record stories of Gerontissa Theophano, as well as recollections about her from sisters of the monastery.

In the Monastery of Archangel Michael and generally in Elder Ephraim’s spiritual family everyone calls Gerontissa Theophano “Grandma.” “Grandpa” is Elder Joseph the Hesychast, the spiritual father of Archimandrite Ephraim, and “Grandma”—Gerontissa Theophano. About how this common woman, spending the large part of her life in the world and having raised three sons, one of whom became an Athonite abbot and great elder, ascended to such spiritual heights, we will try to speak in this article.


We hope that the example of this Orthodox Christian, having combined within herself the virtues of motherhood and monasticism, would inspire our God-loving readers, both laity and nuns, to try to imitate her measure of strength in podvigs and prayerful labor. We also hope that readers of this article will come to love Mother Theophano, and begin to turn to her for prayerful help and beseech her intercession and teaching, undoubtingly believing that she has found boldness before the Lord God, Whom she so loved and Whom she sincerely served with her whole heart until her final breath.



Gerontissas Theophano (left), and Macrina

Person of prayer
Gerontissa Theophano (in the world Victoria Moraitis) had true maternal love for people. Her character was strict, but with love. She was severe first with herself and only then with others, with those whose souls were given to her to care for by the Lord, for her children and the young novices. Gerontissa was a person of prayer, and moreover was quite merciful and gracious, despite her severity.
She was always a faithful woman, regularly going to church, but in early childhood she lived without any special podvigs and had no elder who could direct her in the spiritual life. She loved to visit new places and go on various trips. But after a fire in her house, and after a miracle associated with this fire, she turned to Christ with her whole heart. Soon afterwards the Lord sent her a spiritual father.


“All together we’re not worth one Victoria”
As is known from Elder Ephraim’s book My Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Fr. Ephraim (Karaiannis), a disciple of Elder Joseph who had left the Holy Mountain and settled in the city of Volos, became her family’s spiritual father. He became the spiritual father of the community of which Victoria and her friends were members. Some of them got married and others chose the monastic path in life. Victoria stood out among them; she was so modest and God-loving, and had such a gift of prayer, vigil, and philanthropic works that her spiritual father Elder Ephraim said of her: “All together we’re not worth one Victoria.”


Podvig in the world
Victoria’s husband, Dmitry Moraitis, was also a believer. He went to church but didn’t have the same zeal for God that his wife had. However, he never put up any obstacles in her spiritual life and podvigs. For example, Victoria constantly labored in fasting, both during and outside the Church fasts. Preparing to receive the Holy Mysteries of Christ, she, according to pious Greek tradition, kept the so-called “triimeron”—a complete three-day fast, eating absolutely nothing for three days. At the same time she had to do all of the necessary housework, and raise her children. After three full days of abstention she communed of the Holy Mysteries of Christ and would eat a little food that day, to begin again the next day preparing for Communion, and, accordingly, to begin a new three-day fast.

At night she often awoke and arose to pray, locking herself in the kitchen. She prayed on bended knee, with tears and many prostrations. Her son John, the future Elder Ephraim, would say to her: “Mama, when you finish praying, wake me up and we’ll pray a little together.” Thus, from childhood, thanks to his mother, he loved nighttime prayer. When he was small it was hard for him to pray for a long time, but he tried to arise and pray at least a little bit, as much as he was able.

As I already said, Gerontissa Theophano’s husband allowed her everything connected with fasting and the spiritual life, but himself did not seek to emulate her in her podvigs. He was a so-called “moderate Christian.” He had his own work—a small carpenter’s workshop, where he worked with his sons, from an early age teaching them his craft and dreaming of leaving them his workshop as an inheritance. In the end this work was inherited by Elder Ephraim’s older brother Nicholas. He works there to this day, now together with his sons and grandsons.


In wartime


Elder Ephraim's family
Dmitry and Victoria had four children. First they had a daughter, Elena, born in 1924. Victoria was an orphan, and before marriage she had to clean the neighbors’ houses to feed herself. So from eleven years old she was out in society. One of the women she worked for was especially kind to her, took care of her, and even helped her get married. When Victoria had a daughter, she named her after this woman, Elena. Elenitsa, as they called her at home, died in early childhood. Then three sons were born to Victoria: Nicholas (1926), John (the future Elder Ephraim, 1928) and Christos (1930). During the Second World War Greece was occupied. A famine began in Volos and other cities. They had to collect and gather grass to survive. Additionally, the peaceful inhabitants were constantly in danger from the occupiers, but Victoria’s prayer saved her family and children in these difficult years. More than once the future elder and his brothers avoided death literally by a miracle.

In these years, to help his parents somehow feed the family, John and his brothers would haggle for every little thing at the city market: bagels, quinine, buttons, matches… One of these days, when John and Nicholas had just gone off to trade, the market was surrounded by Germans who seized everyone there, saying that everyone would be immediately shot. Just a few minutes before, Nicholas had briefly left the market for some necessity, and therefore he wasn’t captured, but John was among those whom the Germans took to be shot.

At that last moment the residents convinced the Germans to release at least the women and children. John was about fifteen years old, but he was short and thin from hunger and of weak health, looking younger than his age. In Greece in those years the young boys wore short pants, like shorts, in winter or summer. The elder was a head shorter than the boys his age and at fifteen still wore these short pants. In those years clothes were generally worn for a long time, literally to tatters. It saved him: thanks to his children’s clothes, small stature and thinness he passed for a child, and at the last moment they released him together with the women and other children, and the Germans shot all the boys and men that day.
Another time at the same market the soldiers captured and beat the elder’s older brother Nicholas half to death, for no reason.
They often saw people hanged in those days. In those years they lived in an atmosphere of constant fear and terror. Only faith and prayer supported Victoria and her family. When the bombing began, all their neighbors fled to the bomb shelter or hid in basements, but Victoria stood on her knees before her icons and prayed. So strong was her faith.


Notice from the Lord
From the very beginning Victoria knew that one of her children would become a monk. She received two notices from the Lord about it. Here’s the story about how I learned about these notifications. When I spoke with Gerontissa Ephraimia and the sisters of the Monastery of the Archangel Michael they couldn’t exactly remember what kind of notice it was.
Then Gerontissa Ephraimia concluded: “There is only one way to find out how it was: we have to talk with someone that Gerontissa Theophano personally told about this event, with some person who knew her well in her lifetime.” Then I mentally asked Gerontissa Theophano and Elder Ephraim to send me such a person, because I didn’t want to write something not corresponding to truth.

On the last day of my stay in Greece, when I was at one of the elder’s monasteries, the Monastery of the Ascension of the Lord in the village of Proti in the district of Serros, a group of pilgrims from the city of Volos came there—the birthplace of the elder and Mother Theophano. Among the pilgrims was Elena Ksenia; learning that I came from Arizona, she spoke with me and said she had been a spiritual child of Elder Ephraim since she was twelve (she is now sixty-five). Immediately after that she began to tell me, of her own initiative, the story of this vision, for which my own narration would not be good enough. I recorded the story in her words:
“Gerontissa Theophano, whom I met in Portaria, once told my mother about how the Lord had sent her two signs about Elder Ephraim. They were like visions between dreams and reality. The first time she saw three crowns flying to heaven. Two of them were laurel crowns, and one was golden and this crown flew in the direction of the Holy Mountain. She was pregnant then and didn’t know then how many children she would still have.

When her third child was born, the future Elder Ephraim, in the first forty days after birth, one day, also between sleep and waking, she heard a voice: ‘Victoria, come forth, look at your son, an elder, who came from the Holy Mountain.’ She thought in amazement: ‘How can it be? I just bore this child! When did he manage to become a monk?’ But still she went outside and saw the elder: her newborn child a few days from birth, but in the form and image of a hieromonk, in full abbatial vestments, decorated with flowers and gold.”


“Not halfway, but completely and exactly as demanded”


Elder Ephraim in youth
Knowing that John should become a monk, Victoria was especially exacting towards him. But she was a loving, albeit strict mother. The elder’s brother Nicholas notes that she always demanded that the children precisely carry out her instructions: “Not halfway, but completely and exactly as demanded.” In 1947, Elder Ephraim left for Athos. His father didn’t want to let him leave the house and didn’t bless him to become a monk: he needed a helper at the carpentry workshop, where there was always a lot of work. Then John’s mother helped him secretly leave. She went against her husband’s will in this case, because she knew that the will of God was that her son become a monk.

When John turned nineteen and the family’s confessor, Fr. Ephraim, blessed him to go to Athos, his mother helped her son prepare in secret everything he needed for the trip. His father, knowing his son’s strong desire to leave for Athos, strictly controlled him and required him to be report in on where he was and when he would return. At that time there were catechism courses at their parish, something like a school for youth, which John regularly visited. His father didn’t allow him to go to these lessons, which his spiritual father, Fr. Ephraim, held. On the day he left for Athos his mother advised him to write a note to his father that he had gone to the catechism class and would return later. In his talks the elder would say that even this corresponded to reality: for how many catechetical lessons did he have to endure on Athos in the beginning?

John left a note, grabbed the things he had prepared and headed on foot for the port, to the pier to get on the boat to Athos. His father, returning from work, asked Victoria where their son was. She showed him the note and, having read it, he calmed down. However, later, when the hour had passed when John usually returned from the lessons, his father got worked up and began to interrogate his wife. In the end she was obliged to reveal the whole truth. Then his father, angrily shot back: “This will not be,” grabbed a bike and dashed for the pier, hoping to catch up with his son and bring him back home. Along the way he fell off the bike and hurt himself pretty badly, such that he was in no condition to continue his pursuit. He had to return home with nothing. In his conversations the elder concluded that, obviously, it was the will of God that he got on the boat that day and sailed for Mt. Athos.


Accepting the monastic tonsure He wrote his mother just one letter from Athos, in which he wrote: “Here, mama, we don’t wash ourselves with water. We wash ourselves with tears.” Then there was no news from him for many years. As we know, the first time the elder left Mt. Athos, according to the last will of Elder Joseph, after his death, was to visit his hometown of Volos, and take upon himself the spiritual direction of the sisterhood which at that time lived in one house in the village of Stagiares in the Pelion region. It was then that he met his mother again, and, as we know, she didn’t even recognize him—so much had the elder changed over the years, spent in ascetic labors.

In 1962, with the blessing of Elder Ephraim, the sisterhood from Volos bought a small plot in the village of Portaria on the mountain in Upper Volos to build a monastery there. There was no monastery there before that. The miraculous icon of the Mother of God which had been in the house in Stagiares before that was immediately transferred here.

After transferring the icon to the new place they began to work on building repairs, and the beautification of the territory, and in 1963 the sisterhood relocated to Portaria. Soon Elder Ephraim celebrated the first tonsure in the newly-constructed monastery—over his own mother Victoria, who was named in tonsure Theophano, and her friend who was named Matrona. Elder Ephraim named his mother in honor of the blessed queen Theophano († 893/894), the wife of Leo the Wise. The elder greatly reveres her and therefore named his mother in her honor, and after her many of the elder’s abbesses and nuns also received this name.


The first and best novice After her tonsure, Gerontissa Theophano did not stay in Portaria, but returned home for some time. By this time her husband, Elder Ephraim’s father, had already died, but her youngest son, Christos, was not yet married. Gerontissa lived at home with her youngest son until he got married, and then finally relocated to Portaria, to the monastery.
Soon after the tonsure of his mother, Elder Ephraim tonsured Maria who he named Macrina—she became the abbess of the monastery in Portaria. Gerontissa Theophano was her sponsor in the tonsure, and therefore Matushka Macrina considered her her gerontissa and spiritual mother. For many years in Portaria they shared one cell and continued in joint prayerful podvigs, as they had done in the world, in Victoria’s home, locking themselves at night in the kitchen, to spend hours kneeling in collective prayer. They were great women of prayer. The locals bear witness: they saw how two pillars of fire would rise from the monastery at night to Heaven—the prayers of Gerontissas Theophano and Macrina.
Thus Gerontissa Theophano became the first and best novice of her own son. As the nuns say, she had true obedience and unceasing prayer, and therefore she had a lot of temptations.


Gerontissa was always the first to church Gerontissa Theophano lived in Portaria until 1983. By that time her health had worsened, and the climate in Portaria did not suit her. Then, because of her sickness, Elder Ephraim decided to transfer her to the newly-opened Monastery of the Archangel Michael on the island of Thassos.



The Monastery of the Archangel Michael
During the final period of Gerontissa Theophano’s life in the monastery on Thassos, the sisters said that she was always the first to church. She always stood during the services, never sitting anywhere. In Greek churches, in addition to stasidi along the wall, usually there are rows of chairs, usually in the back but sometimes in the front of the church, and the faithful periodically sit down to rest, because services in monasteries are very long.

Gerontissa Theophano always prayed standing with her prayer rope, never letting go of her prayer rope. Because of her unceasing prayer she endured much from demons who heard and saw firsthand. She told the sisters that only had she just entered her cell to rest before the night services, and lied down upon her bed, when demons came to her, not allowing her to sleep. They called her: “Hey, old woman! old woman!” and pulled her from every side, tossing her blanket, and she saw them. Once they pestered her so much that she absolutely could not fall asleep in the evening. They finally left her not long before the beginning of the service, and matushka dozed off. Then came the pounding on the semantron[2], gathering the sisters for the service. Seeing that she hadn’t come to the church, Sister Isidora went to her cell to wake her. She began to knock on the door of her cell, and Matushka Theophano thought it was the demons again harassing her, and answered from behind the door: “Go away, stop hitting me!” Later she said the devil beat her all night, not letting her sleep.


The final test When gerontissa turned 92 (Decemebr 20, 1983) she had a stroke and became paralyzed. Until the very last day before her illness she independently took care of herself and helped in the kitchen, making food for the sisters and teaching them how to make prosphora and various other household things. She was a great homemaker, and whatever she undertook turned out well. Moreover, she was very hard-working, never stopping for rest, all the time either praying or working.
The first Lent after her stroke everyone thought she would die. Elder Ephraim came to Thassos from the Holy Mountain and spent forty days—the whole of Great Lent—with his mother. He saw a great number of demons all around her, who gave her soul no rest. He began to fervently pray and beseech the Lord to deliver his mama from the demonic powers. By his prayers, Gerontissa received relief from her illness, came to and remained lucid until her blessed repose which occurred two years later. In one of his recorded talks, Elder Ephraim talks about his mother’s blessed repose.


Elder Ephraim’s story about the blessed repose of Gerontissa Theophano


Elder Ephraim at the grave of his mother
“The climate on the island of Thassos suited her better than in Portaria, so I moved her there. She gradually drew near to the end of her life. Two years before her death, at the age of 92, she was paralyzed. From that time she didn’t completely raise herself from her bed. But, glory to God, as the Gospel says: And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Mt. 19:29).
This is what happened with my mother: during her illness she was surrounded by caring daughters—the sisters of the monastery who took care of her with great zeal. And where in the world will you find such love now?! Her nurse, one of the sisters of the monastery, so loved my mother that there are no words! She was so nice, so kind, and even slept together with her, head to head…

When a crisis came during my mama’ illness, something happened which happens very rarely, but when it happens it’s only with spiritual people for the sake of testing them and for gaining experience. It happened one night. Mama was as if dead already several days—she didn’t eat, didn’t drink, and didn’t open her eyes. She didn’t drink a single drop of water. She was dehydrated, with closed eyes—how dying people usually look…

When she was in such a state I was there with her, together with the nun-nurses and Gerontissa. It was dark, lampadas were burning. The night before, at about the same time, her eyes opened at some point. She opened her eyes and looked around, as if she was expecting something to happen or that already happened, with some kind of uneasiness, as if listening to something, or seeing something or someone. This was the first time after being unconscious for so many days that she showed some attention to the world around her. Lying, because she was unable to move, with open eyes, she looked all around, to the right, left, up, and down. And as the moments flowed by, her face more strongly revealed a state of terrible agony and terrible fear—a whole river of fear. I saw such fear reflected on her face as when some killer is drawing near with a knife, ready to cut you.

I began to cover her with the sign of the Cross, repeating aloud the Jesus Prayer to calm her. I understood that what was happening was a demonic temptation. After a while the danger passed, and the invisible powers departed. Mama calmed down, and she was still conscious. Then I asked her: ‘Mama, what happened? What’s with you’—‘Oh… so many, they are so many!’ And from that moment mama began to pray: ‘O Mother of God, save me! O Mother of God, save me!’ Day and night! From that point her mouth never stopped. Day and night she besought salvation from the Mother of God.

It is striking that she had no thoughts, only prayer—sick people usually easily succumb to thoughts. By her way of life—constant podvigs and labors—mama acquired exceptional patience, and this patience helped her maintain prayer this whole time. I asked her: ‘What happened?’—‘The Mother of God helps me!’ And again the prayer continued: ‘O Mother of God, save me! O Mother of God, save me!’

After some time, when the torment was over, she completely calmed down and shut her eyes. The next day at the exact same time her eyes again opened. The same fear and agony was again displayed on her face. The exact same scenario happened again. It was all quite excruciating.

Then I wondered: why does the devil have authority over this holy soul? I, of course, understood that this temptation was allowed so she could obtain a crown, that through this ordeal she could acquire boldness before God. And at some point, when she was in such a state, I said to myself: ‘It’s not fitting that this should continue. It’s time to end this.’ I went to my cell, got on my knees and began to pray: ‘O Lord, I beg Thee, do one of two things. Either take her right now, that she could have peace already, because she is worthy of peace, or banish the devil away from this holy soul. She has already labored for Thee so much, and now her time for rest has arrived.’ This is how I prayed.

When her eyes opened again the next day at the same time, she was calm. ‘Mama, how are you?’—‘They left…’ The trial was over. From that very moment began the blessed final period of her blessed life. Days passed in this blessed state. Her appearance gradually changed, she became more and more beautiful. Of course, this beauty was not physical, but spiritual. I wanted to photograph her. The grace in her was clearly apparent. Thus she gradually drew nearer to death.”


“I saw how her soul ascended unhindered to Heaven” “The following year, after Nativity, in Christmastide, I went to the monastery to see her again,” continues Elder Ephraim’s narration. “She spoke and understood what was happening, and unceasingly repeated the prayer. In the final moments of her life her face was transfigured, blessedness shining upon it. She turned to the right, revealing her widely shining eyes and glanced off to the side as if she saw something there. In that moment I felt such Paschal joy in my soul, such resurrection, as if I had suddenly gathered the grace of ten Paschal nights.

It was the first time I felt this in my life. Of course, when my elder Joseph departed to the Lord there was something special then too, but here it happened with my own relative. I felt such happiness at that moment, and also felt and saw … I don’t know, in what manner it happened, but I saw how her soul ascended unhindered to Heaven.

When the doctor arrived he couldn’t believe that she had already died—she looked so alive. Her body was warm and soft, like the body of someone living. ‘Lord, have mercy! I can’t believe it!’ the doctor exclaimed. It was incorruption. I told the doctor that Christ said: death is but a dream, and every person will awaken on the day of the Second Coming at the sound of the archangel’s trump.
When the doctor left, we sewed her up in a monastic habit, with three crosses sewed on top. Meanwhile I continued to feel such strong Paschal joy, that I wanted to go out on the street and sing ‘Christ is Risen!’ She was so beautiful after death. She was 95, but she looked like she was 15. It was the result of her whole life, all her labors; it was a reward for all her labors.”


Her relics were found to be “very beautiful”





Gerontissa Theophano's grave at the cemetery. There is no cross on it because her relics have already been removed.
The sisters of the monastery told me that when Gerontissa Theophano’s coffin was carried to the monastery cemetery, sheep came and doves flew over. The sheep managed to get themselves out of their pen, ran to the grave, all bleating at the same time, and turned around and ran back to their pen. Then from somewhere above their appeared a flock of doves which flew over the grave and disappeared into the heights.

Her relics were found to be “very beautiful.” In Greece the tradition still exists of taking bones around the third year after death and placing them in an ossuary—not only on Athos but in other monasteries and even among the laity in regular cemeteries. By the color and smell of the relics you can hypothesize about the postmortem state of the soul of the departed. For example, there are cases when the body does not dissolve, or the relics emit a foul odor—then it is considered that things are bad for the soul of the departed and it stands in need of prayerful help. Family members begin to order forty-day prayers for the dead and distribute alms for the repose of the soul. There are particular signs by which you can know that the soul of the departed found grace from the Lord: an amber color to the relics and a sweet fragrance emanating from them. It even happens that the relics of some Orthodox acquire incorruptibility.





So, when they opened Gerontissa Theophano’s grave, her relics were fragrant and had the most amber color, by which it could be determined that her soul found salvation. A reliquary was made for her head which is now kept in the Monastery of the Archangel Michael on the island of Thassos.
Through the prayer of holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us!

Olga Rozhneva, Olga Zatushevskaya

Translated by Jesse Dominick 
 
source : http://www.pravoslavie.ru/

Monday, November 20, 2017

Εν τω Παραδείσω…( Ἐφραίμ ἀρχιμανδρίτου, προηγουμένου μονῆς Φιλοθέου, Περί τοῦ Γέροντος Ἰωσήφ τοῦ Ἡσυχαστοῦ)


Λίγες μέρες προ της δικής του κοιμήσεως προς νουθεσία μου και βοήθειά πνευματική ο Γέροντας μου είπε: «Παιδί μου νιώθω μέσα μου ολόκληρο Παράδεισο. Χάρι πολύ μεγάλη, ευλογία Θεού. Βλέπεις οι κόποι της νεότητος τι κέρδος έφεραν. Βλέπεις ότι τίποτε δεν πήγε χαμένο; Το κάθε τι το μέτρησε ο Θεός. Και για ένα ποτήρι νερό αξιώνεται μισθού ο Χριστιανός. Πολλώ μάλλον οι κόποι οι μοναχικοί ενώπιον του Θεού τυγχάνουν άνταποδόσεως εδώ μέν με χάρη και ευλογία, στον άλλο κόσμο κατατίθενται στην τράπεζα του Θεού. Και όταν ο μοναχός απέλθη από τούτον τον κόσμο, όλο αυτό το ποσόν θα το «σηκώσει», όταν βρεθεί επάνω στον άλλο κόσμο. Δηλαδή οι καταθέσεις των κόπων τον περιμένουν και ανάλογα του ποσού που θα έχει απ' εντεύθεν κατατεθεί εκεί θα γίνει και ο άνθρωπος πλούσιος εν τω Παραδείσω».

Sin and Repentance.. ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )


To fall and be injured is human, since even if a man's life lasted for only one day,
his mind is inclined to evil from his youth. But to fall and remain fallen, is not human.

Repentance recreates man, it was given to us to cure the soul after baptism. If it
did not exist, rarely would a person be saved. That is why, the virtue of repentance is
unending as long as man is alive, for only the perfect do not err.

My children, every time you see your thoughts reproaching you for some sin,
immediately take the medicine: repent, weep, go to confession and behold, you
return to your former and better state.


  Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Thursday, November 16, 2017

There is no happiness anywhere except in Christ. ... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

 It is from God that you are being tested, because He is training you for battle; He is drilling you, just like the soldiers who are trained through severe labors in their drills. There, first they learn the theory of warfare, and then at the sound of the trumpet in the real war, since they have already been trained, they rush into the battle with the inner assurance that they know how to fight, and they are ready to sacrifice themselves for their cause and ideology. You are also in a similar situation: since you have been called to become soldiers of Christ and to fight against His enemy, He trains you in order to ascertain your love towards Him: “Who is it that loves me, but he who keeps my commandments?”(cf. Jn 14:21 ). 
 
Take courage, my children; remain loyal and dedicated to Him Who has loved you with perfect love. Before a battle begins, the generals boost the soldiers’ spirits by singing various battle hymns and relating various stories of heroic deeds to kindle their sense of self-sacrifice. This tactic gives them great strength and bravery in the battle about to be fought. Likewise, we too should contemplate, as the Saints did, the struggles of the martyrs and of the holy monks: how they lived ascetically, how they renounced the world and everyone, and how nothing prevented them from following the path that leads to Jesus. This contemplation will greatly strengthen your good disposition and intention, for there have been many who were unaware of the concealed traps, with the result that their souls succumbed to temptation and thus they fell from the hope of eternal life. 
 
Contemplate the love of our Jesus; the love of Jesus will overpower every other natural love. The more we renounce, the more love of God we shall enjoy. Let us attend on high, where Jesus sits at the right hand of God. Let our eyes look on high, for the eternal and everlasting things are above, not below; for everything here is dust and ashes. 
 
Reflect on the luxuriousness of heaven: the infinite wisdom of God is there; inconceivable beauty is there; the angelic melodies are there; the riches of divine love are there; the life free from pain is there; the tears and sighs will be taken away there; only joy, love, peace, an eternal Pascha, and an unending festival are there. “Oh, the depth of the riches and knowledge of God!” (cf. Rom. 11:33 ). “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9 ). Attend to the prayer; persevere in prayer, and it will put everything in order. Do not yield at all; remain firm in your holy goal. 
 
Remain beside Jesus to live with spiritual happiness. There is no happiness anywhere except in Christ. So-called “happiness” outside of Christ is incorrectly called happiness, since it is obtained with reprehensible means and since it ends quickly and leads man to the eternal unhappiness. 
 
Struggle, my children; the angels are weaving crowns with flowers of paradise. Our Christ regards the struggle as a martyrdom—what is more excellent than to be a martyr for Christ!
 
Elder Ephraim of Arizona