Monday, May 18, 2009

Holy Week and Pascha...

Christ is Risen!

Please check out my most recent post about Pascha on Mt. Athos which can be found below the last few posts (because it is in chronological order in terms of the events and not in terms of the postings)



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More on the Simple Villagers...

Some friends just e-mailed me to tell me that they were aware of a Greek publication containing this very story by Fr. Nicholas. If anyone out there is interested and reads Greek, here it is:

All in all, after taking a look at the story, my short synopsis wasn’t too far off the mark (surprising for my memory, being as old as I am :)). Anyway, a few things to mention:

The council members (επιτροποί) were illiterate simple folk

Fr. Nicholas was working simultaneously as an assistant to some very important theologians in the university and as a “preacher” (priest, whose job it is to give sermons on Sundays at various churches) in a few villages. He said that he experienced a deep loneliness in this job because he felt as though none of the simple villagers understood what he was saying. He would look out and see that they weren’t catching the meaning of his sermons. One day, as I mentioned, he was invited for coffee by the members of the council and the priest. The members quite simply told him, after expressing their concern with the fact that their church had not yet been consecrated:

[the following is my own humble translation from the article. Despite the awkwardness of it, you should get the idea]

“You know what we did, we decided to fast for 3 weeks, so that God would show us [whether the Liturgy was actually working or not]. We did it, and the truth is, one Sunday before the Bishop came to do the consecration, we saw, at the time of Divine Liturgy again this light.”

I [Fr Nicholas] began to be alarmed:

“Which light, what light?”

“That light, the eternal light, you see the sun afterwards and you think that it is dark, a light which descends and you really see; you see many things, conditions, the present, the past, the future inside of it etc.”

I began to get shaken up; I was with people who had the experience of St. Gregory Palamas and St. Simeon the New Theologian and of course also the other member confirmed this and the simple priest also said “yes, yes it was all like that...” It was a shocking experience for me, and of course it didn’t stop there, but I began to search for the council-member, this simple man.

“How do you live (after experiencing the shock which stayed with me for years). How do you live?

“Ehh...How do I Iive? Poorly.”

“What do you do, how exactly do you spend your day, what exactly do you do throughout the day?”

“I don’t do entirely that much,” He said “I don’t have something special; I love God, but I’m just a little patient.”

He had patience, do you know what that means? It [Patience] means: this cross of freedom, embracing others. Within that, God is revealed. This is the magnificent teaching. Hesychasm is experiential physiology. Don’t think--you theologians (he was addressing this in a sermon to theologians)--that hesychasm is individualized application as the hindus practice or those who dispense with the will to see the spectacle. It is this opening in society, and in this way the big revelations occur, of which I, naturally, as the doctoral candidate and beyond was not worthy, neither have I been worthy ever since.

Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Simple VIllagers...

I have been sitting in on a Ecclesiology class taught by Fr. Prof. Nicholas Loudovikos here in Thessaloniki. It was an extremely interesting class, but I feel compelled to try and paraphrase one story that he told, which particularly stuck out in my mind:

(WARNING: This story is translated from memory and certainly contains mistakes. You’ll get the general idea though. I’ll ask him to repeat it to me again so I can make sure that everything is correct)

Fr. Nicholas was describing his earlier days and gave the following story as an example of the piety of the laity and how necessary it is for us all to actualize our individual charisms in the Church--the body of the Christ. He was telling us that when he was a young priest he was sent to help out in one of the nearby villages with a priest. He was asked to give the sermons, and he mentioned that he began to become angry with the villagers because he didn’t think that they understood the sermons that he was preaching because of how educated he was and how simple they were. One Sunday, he went with the priest and some of the elders (parish council members) for some coffee at a nearby cafe. As they were sitting there one of the elders began to talk about a particular occurrence in their parish. It so happened that at a certain point they were wondering if their church had yet been consecrated by a Bishop. It was realized that indeed it had not been consecrated. The villagers, being of a simple disposition, were worried that the Holy Spirit would not come down for Liturgy if the church was not consecrated. They were so concerned with this dilemma that they decided to fast for 3 weeks and pray to God to reveal to them whether or not the Holy Spirit came down during liturgy. On the third Sunday of their fast they all gathered for liturgy and suddenly, during the liturgy, the whole room was filled with bright light and everything was illuminated in an amazing way. They realized from this that the Holy Spirit did indeed come down during liturgy. From then on Fr. Nicholas wasn’t mad at them for not understanding his sermons.

Glory to God in His Saints (both known and unknown)!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What to Look Forward to...

*Account of Mike’s Paschal experience on Mt. Athos

*Πάμε Σαντορίνη! Bright Week Trip to the Islans

*And much more...

Sorry for being offline for a bit...but that will change, God-willing, in a bit :)

with love,