Σάββατο 20 Απριλίου 2024

When the God became a human


Pity us, O God, and spare Your inheritance by overlooking now all of our iniquities, for this accepting the fervent prayers of her who without seed gave birth to You on earth, O Christ our God, who in Your great mercy willed to take on flesh, thus assuming the form that was not Your own.
The Akathist Hymn of the Most Holy Theotokos at St. Anargroy valley road. Kenya.

Δευτέρα 8 Απριλίου 2024

Passionately Drunk


Fr. Stephen Freeman

Glory to God For All Things

The Philokalia, that wonderful collection of writings by the fathers on prayer of the heart, has as its full title, The Philokalia of the Neptic Saints gathered from our Holy Theophoric Fathers, through which, by means of the philosophy of ascetic practice and contemplation, the intellect is purified, illumined, and made perfect. Little wonder it is known popularly as the Philokalia. That word, Philokalia, means “the love of beautiful things.” It is not a reference to expensive, decorative items, but to the things which are made beautiful by their union with God. All things are beautiful inasmuch as they are united to God, Who is Beauty itself.

Another important word in the title is the adjective, “Neptic” (νηπτικός). It has a variety of translations: sober, watchful, vigilant. It refers to those who, having their earthly senses purified, have become truly aware of God and dwell in Him. This title is especially used to describe the fathers of the Hesychast tradition in Orthodoxy, the tradition of ceaseless prayer and inner stillness associated with the monastic life.

To describe these fathers as “sober,” is very insightful. For our experience with the passions, the disordered desires of our body and soul, is often an experience of drunkenness.

For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him (1 Thess. 5:7-10).

The man who is drunk is famously unaware of his surroundings. He stumbles physically, mentally and spiritually, barely aware of his own imbalance. The passions have the same ability to blind us. In anger we are aware primarily of our own anger. What we see, we see through the haze of the energy that pulses through our mind and body.

All of the passions have this property. They consume us and become the primary lens through which we see the world and with which we react. Thus we are described as in “delusion.” Those who see the world through their passions do not see the truth of things. They see their own passions.

There is a social aspect to the passions – they are not restricted to an individual’s experience. Whole societies, or significant segments within it, can be drunk with the same passions. Thus a whole society can be drunk with the passion of fear or hatred.  Such a passion is reinforced by being repeatedly affirmed by those around us. Many aspects of culture are simply a communion of the passions.

We live in an age where the passions are carefully studied and used as the objects of marketing. Those things that are sold to us (even those that supposedly appeal to our intellect) are marketed to our passions. Apple computer famously researches the “feel” of its packaging, presenting a sensual experience that is associated with quality, precision and value. It is a successful strategy across the whole of our culture.

However, those who are “drunk” with the passions also yield themselves as victims to their intoxication. Political parties pour massive amounts of money into their campaigns simply to create and nurture the passions by which people vote. We are not governed by reason or informed decisions. Most of what you or I think about political subjects is a description of the passions to which we are enslaved. The political cynicism of many is, to a degree, a recognition of our disgust with the politics of passion.

By the same token, most of the opinions we nurture are equally the product of our passions. We think, we believe, we decide, we act largely in accord with the passions to which we are enthralled. Theological debates are generally arguments between one person’s passions and another’s. It is a conversation between drunks.

And so the Church values the holy, sober fathers. These are the men and women who have walked the narrow way of salvation, “putting to death the deeds of the body.” Inner stillness is the state of freedom from disordered passions. The neptic fathers do not cease to desire (they are not Buddhists). But their desires have been purified and healed – restored to proper order. Sobriety means desiring the right thing in the right way at the right time. Traditionally, this purification and healing come as a result of a life of repentance, fasting and prayer. It slays demons and heals the wounds of the soul. All things are brought into obedience to Christ.

It is the life that Scripture enjoins:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he my devour. Rsist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world (1 Peter 5:8-9).

There is a story in the Desert Fathers that illustrates such vigilance. A community of monks once heard a rumor that one of their number was harboring a woman in his cell. They went to the elder and complained. While they became yet more agitated, the elder slipped away to the cell of the erring monk. Finding the woman there, he hid her in a large earthen vessel. He placed the lid on the vessel and sat on it. Soon the angry monks arrived at the cell and began to search for the woman. Out of respect for the elder they overlooked the vessel on which he was sitting. Finding nothing, they apologized to the erring monk and left. The elder, rose from his seat and said to the monk, “Pay attention to yourself.”

It is a call to sobriety. The angry monks were drunk with their own self-righteousness. Their sin was at least as great as the erring monk. The elder alone was sober. His sobriety hid the sin of a man from those who would have harmed him, and revealed the sin to the one who needed to be healed. The word of healing was kind and without judgment. “Pay attention to yourself.” It is the simple word of St. Peter, “Be sober.”

For all of us, in every moment of the day with regard to all things and all people, it is good to pay proper attention to ourselves.

This prayer of St. Isaac of Syria, great among the neptic fathers, is one of my favorites:

I knock at the door of Thy compassion, Lord: send aid to my scattered impulses which are drunk with the multitude of the passions and the power of darkness.

Thou canst see my sores hidden within me: stir up contrition – though not corresponding to the weight of my sins, for if I receive full awareness of the extent of my sins, Lord, my soul would be consumed by the bitter pain from them.

Assist my feeble stirrings on the path to true repentance, and may I find relief from the vehemence of sins through the contrition that comes of Thy gift, for without the power of Thy grace I am quite unable to enter within myself, become aware of my stains, and so, at the sight of them, be able to be still from great distraction.


Σάββατο 30 Μαρτίου 2024

Μητροπολίτης Καμεροὺν Γρηγόριος: Θεὸς καὶ ἄνθρωποι στὸν Παγκόσμιο Νότο

Η Σοφία Χατζή στη νέα εκπομπή του Αντιφώνου "Δια-σταυρούμενοι" συζητά με τον Σεβ. Μητροπολίτη Καμερούν κ. Γρηγόριο.
Στον ταλαιπωρημένο Νότο στο Καμερούν, οι πρώτοι χριστιανοί ζουν στην εποχή των πράξεων των Αποστόλων. Στην οδοιπορία τους βοηθούν άνθρωποι που κινδυνεύουν από ελονοσία, παράδοξες νοοτροπίες και δύσκολες συνθήκες διαβίωσης.

Επισκεφθείτε, παρακαλώ, και: Orthodox Cameroon, Cameroon


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Τρίτη 26 Δεκεμβρίου 2023



Patriarchate of Alexandria






My dear and blessed brothers and sisters in Christ,

Filled with festive joy and rejoicing for the great and illustrious day of the Birthday of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, we exclaim together with the heavenly and bodiless powers  “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men” (Luke 2:14). And on earth, peace! The moving proclamation of the Holy angels who on the night of the birth of our Great God appeared above the God-receiving Cave of Bethlehem, praising and glorifying God, as liturgical beings.

A universal, heart-felt, timeless request, remains unsatisfied after so many centuries! But what an irony! Christmas wishes for peace and happiness when fear, anxiety and terror, following the recent tragic events in the Middle East, have been spread over the globe; when innumerable people are uprooted from their homelands and take the bitter path of the refugee, without knowing the consequences and what will be their end. We are unimaginably pained by this “peace on earth” under conditions of terror!

In the twenty-one centuries that separate us in time from the unparalleled day of the Divine Incarnation, millions of people have sacrificed themselves in war operations, tons of blood have been shed on the battlefields and behind the lines, innumerable are the bloody pages of History, in which “people have shame the beasts.”

Have we ever wondered why? Because humans wanted to build a world without God; without the peace that He gives us. Some did not hesitate to proclaim His death. Most of us have banished Him from our lives to enthrone in His place our self, our vanity and our passions, our “happiness” as we define it. Or what is even most tragic, because some people in the name of God think they have the right to wreak havoc; to exterminate innocents in horrible ways; to destroy in the blink of an eye the labours and fortunes of an entire life, to plunge defenseless women and children and entire societies into fear and insecurity.

Peace according to the eternal and infallible word of our Lord goes hand in hand with justice. As long as humans wrong others, oppress them, exploit them, belittle them, peace cannot flourish.

Our ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, having the entire African continent under its pastoral and Canonical jurisdiction, has the direct and bitter experience of the peoples it has served and still serves over the centuries, of the unjust and cruel exploitation of them, of the bleeding of their wealth-producing sources, of conflict being caused between them by the powerful of the earth and of their displacement from their birthplaces.

My blessed children,

According to Christian teaching, peace is primarily a gift of God; a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We are at peace when Christ dwells in our hearts; when His eternal and unchanged Gospel law guides our steps and inspires our behavior. Peoples and nations coexist peacefully and harmoniously, when we see our fellow human beings as living images of God; if we actually respect the dignity and rights of others, persons and peoples. The word of the Apostle Paul about our Christ “He is our peace” (Eph. 2:14) assures us that the entire Gospel of Christ is essentially the only existing Science of Peace in the world.

With these paternal thoughts, we fervently bless you and paternally exhort each one of you individually: Open wide the doors of your hearts so that they may be filled with the peace of our Christ “which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). With your presence, your words and your actions, everywhere, in your family, in your work environment, in your friendly and social interactions, become peaceful people, “walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:7).

“Be at peace”, as commanded by Paul, the great apostle of the nations, “and the God of peace will be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11). And this peace is a consequence of the Nativity and a gift of the Incarnate Christ. But it is granted to those who pray and strive for it: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

A joyous and peaceful Feast of the Nativity!
May the coming year 2024 be happy, blessed and peaceful!


Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa

In the Great City of Alexandria

Feast of the Nativity 2023


Πατριαρχείο Αλεξανδρείας

Θ Ε Ο Δ Ω Ρ Ο Σ   Β’






            Αδελφοί μου αγαπητοί και ευλογημένοι,

Πλημμυρισμένοι από εόρτιο χαρά και αγαλλίαση για την μεγάλη και επιφανή ημέρα των Γενεθλίων του Κυρίου και Θεού και Σωτήρος ημών Ιησού Χριστού ,αναφωνούμε μετά των επουρανίων δυνάμεων Ασωμάτων το «Δόξα ν ψίστοις Θε καί πί γς ερήνη, ν νθρώποις εδοκία» (Λουκ. 2,14) Καί ἐπί γῆς εἰρήνη! Η συγκλονιστική διακήρυξη των Αγίων αγγέλων που τη νύχτα της γεννήσεως  του Επιφανέντος Θεού εμφανίστηκαν πάνω από το Θεοδέγμον Σπήλαιο τής Βηθλεέμ, ανυμνούντες και δοξολογούντες τον Θεό, ως λειτουργικά όντα.

Ένα αίτημα πανανθρώπινο, καρδιακό, διαχρονικό, παραμένει ωστόσο μετά την παρέλευση τόσων αιώνων ανικανοποίητο! Τι ειρωνεία όμως ! Χριστουγεννιάτικες ευχές για ειρήνη και ευτυχία, όταν ο φόβος, η αγωνία και ο τρόμος, μετά και από τα προσφάτως τραγικά γεγονότα στην Μέση Ανατολή, έχουν απλωθεί πάνω από την  υφήλιο·  όταν αναρίθμητοι άνθρωποι ξεριζώνονται από τις πατρίδες τους και οδεύουν τον πικρό δρόμο τής προσφυγιάς, χωρίς να γνωρίζουν τίς συνέπειες και την κατάληξή τους. Μας πονάει αφάνταστα τούτο το «επί γης ειρήνη» υπό συνθήκες τρόμου!

Στους είκοσι και έναν αιώνες, που μας χωρίζουν χρονικά από την ανεπανάληπτη ημέρα της Θείας Ενανθρώπησης, εκατομμύρια ανθρώπων έχουν θυσιαστεί σε πολεμικές επιχειρήσεις, τόνοι αιμάτων έχουν χυθεί στα πεδία των μαχών και τα μετόπισθεν, αναρίθμητες οι ματωμένες σελίδες της Ιστορίας, στις οποίες «οι άνθρωποι ντροπιάζουν τα θηρία».

Αναρωτηθήκαμε ποτέ το γιατί; Γιατί οι άνθρωποι θελήσαμε να  οικοδομήσουμε ένα κόσμο χωρίς Θεό· χωρίς την ειρήνη πού Εκείνος μας χαρίζει. Κάποιοι  δεν δίστασαν να διακηρύξουν τον θάνατό Του. Η πλειονότητα τον εξορίσαμε από τη ζωή μας για να ενθρονίσουμε στη θέση Του το άτομό μας, τη φιλαυτία μας και τα πάθη μας, την «ευτυχία» μας, όπως εμείς την καθορίζουμε. Ή το τραγικότερο, γιατί κάποιοι στο όνομα του Θεού νομίζουν πώς δικαιούνται να σπέρνουν τον όλεθρο· να  εξοντώνουν με φρικαλέους τρόπους αθώους· να  καταστρέφουν εν ριπή οφθαλμού τούς κόπους και τις περιουσίες μιας ολόκληρης ζωής, να βυθίζουν στο πένθος τα ανυπεράσπιστα γυναικόπαιδα και ολόκληρες κοινωνίες στον φόβο και την ανασφάλεια.

Η ειρήνη κατά τον αιώνιο και αψευδή λόγο του Κυρίου μας συμπορεύεται με τη δικαιοσύνη. Όσο οι άνθρωποι αδικούμε τούς άλλους, τούς καταπιέζουμε, τούς εκμεταλλευόμαστε, τούς υποτιμούμε, ειρήνη  δεν μπορεί να ευδοκιμήσει.

Το καθ' ημάς παλαίφατο Πατριαρχείο Αλεξανδρείας και πάσης Αφρικής, έχοντας στη ποιμαντική και Κανονική δικαιοδοσία του ολόκληρη την Αφρικανική ήπειρο, κατέχει την αμεσότατη και πικρή πείρα στους λαούς που διακονεί ανά τους αιώνες, της αδίκου και στυγνής εκμεταλλεύσεως αυτὠν, της αφαίμαξης των πλουτοπαραγωγικών πηγών τους, της προκλήσεως συγκρούσεως μεταξύ τους από τους ισχυρούς της γης και της εκτοπίσεώς τους από τους γενεθλίους τόπους.

Παιδιά μου ευλογημένα,

Η ειρήνη, κατά την χριστιανική διδασκαλία είναι πρωτίστως δώρο τού Θεού· καρπός τού Παναγίου Πνεύματος. Ειρηνεύουμε , όταν ενοικεί στις καρδιές μας ὁ Χριστός· όταν καθοδηγεί τα βήματά μας και εμπνέει τη συμπεριφορά μας ο αιώνιος και απαραχάρακτος Ευαγγελικός Του νόμος. Λαοί και έθνη συνυπάρχουμε ειρηνικά και αρμονικά, όταν βλέπουμε τους συνανθρώπους μας ως ζωντανές εικόνες τού Θεού· εάν σεβόμαστε εμπράκτως την αξιοπρέπεια και τα δικαιώματα των άλλων, προσώπων και λαών.  Ο λόγος του Αποστόλου Παύλου για το Χριστό μας «Ατός γάρ στίν ερήνη μν» (Ἐφεσ. 2, 14) μας βεβαιώνει ότι όλο το Ευαγγέλιο του Χριστού στην ουσία είναι η μόνη στον κόσμο υπάρχουσα Επιστήμη περί της Ειρήνης.

Με τις πατρικές αυτές σκέψεις, σάς ευλογούμε διαπύρως και προτρέπουμε πατρικώς τον καθένα σας ξεχωριστά: Ανοίξτε διάπλατα τίς θύρες των καρδιών σας για να γεμίσουν από την ειρήνη τού Χριστού μας «τήν πάντα νον περέχουσαν» (Φιλιπ.4,7). Με την παρουσία σας, τα λόγια και τίς πράξεις σας, παντού, στην οικογένειά σας, στο εργασιακό σας περιβάλλον, στις φιλικές και κοινωνικές σας αναστροφές, γίνετε οι ειρηνικοί άνθρωποι, « ς τέκνα φωτς περιπατετε»(Ἐφεσ.5,7)

«Ερηνεύετε», όπως παραγγέλλει ο μέγας απόστολος των εθνών Παύλος, «καί Θεός τς ερήνης θά εναι μαζί σας» (Β’ Κορ. 13,11). Και αυτή η ειρήνη είναι συνέπεια της Γεννήσεως και δώρο του Ενανθρωπήσαντος Χριστού. Χαρίζεται όμως σε αυτοὺς που προσεύχονται και αγωνίζονται γι’ αυτήν· «ερήνην διώκετε μετ πάντων κα τν γιασμόν, ο χωρς οδες ψεται τν Κύριον» (Ἑβρ. 12 ,14).

Πανευφρόσυνα και ειρηνικά Χριστούγεννα!
Καλό, ευλογημένο και γαλήνιο το ανατέλλον έτος 2024!

† Ο Πάπας και Πατριάρχης Αλεξανδρείας και πάσης Αφρικής
Θ Ε Ο Δ Ω Ρ Ο Σ  Β’

Εν τη Μεγάλη Πόλει της Αλεξανδρείας
Άγια Χριστούγεννα 2023

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December 2023 in Africa



Τρίτη 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 2023

Σουδάν: οδεύοντας προς γενοκτονία!...

Σημείωση: Η φωτογραφία δείχνει τον Άνταμ Άμπντελ, ένα νεαρό αγόρι απ’ το κέντρο του Νταρφούρ. Κάηκε σοβαρά όταν η σουδανική κυβέρνηση έριξε βόμβα έξω απ’ το σπίτι του, στο Μπούργκου του Σουδάν, στις 12 Φεβρουαρίου του 2015. Αυτές οι βιαιοπραγίες συνεχίζονται κι όλα τα σημάδια δείχνουν τώρα προς η κατάσταση φαίνεται να οδεύει προς τη γενοκτονία. Όμως, λόγω του ακραίου κινδύνου και των περιορισμών που αντιμετωπίζουν οι δημοσιογράφοι, βασιζόμαστε σε παλαιότερες εικόνες για να απεικονίσουμε τη βία που εκτυλίσσεται σήμερα. Καθώς το Νταρφούρ οδεύει ξανά προς τη γενοκτονία, οι δημοσιογράφοι πρέπει να μπορούν να καταγράφουν τη φρίκη, ώστε να σταματήσει η αιματοχυσία, και να λογοδοτήσουν οι υπεύθυνοι. Εικόνα: Adriane Ohanesian

Από το Avaaz