Πέμπτη 31 Αυγούστου 2017

The Holy Belt Of The Theotokos (August 31)

In The Name Of The Father,
The Son,
And The Holy Spirit.
Father Demetrios Serfes
Tropar -Dismissal Hymn [our note: closing hymn] - of the Mother of God.
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O EVER-VIRGIN Theotokos, shelter of mankind, thou hast bestowed upon thy people a mighty investure, even thine immaculate body's raiment and sash, which by thy seedless childbirth have remained incorrupt; for in thee nature and time are made new.  Wherefore, we implore thee to grant peace to the world, and great mercy to our souls.

Kontakion of the Mother of God
Second Tone
    THY precious sash, O Theotokos, which encompassed thy God-receiving womb, is an invincible force for thy flock, and an unfailing treasury of every good, O only Ever-virgin Mother.
THE MOST VENERABLE and full of grace Belt of our Blessed Virgin Mary, which is found at the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi in Agios Oros (Holy Mt. Athos), is the only precious souvenir that survives from her earthly life.
According to the Sacred Tradition and the history of our Church, the Most Holy Theotokos three days after she fell asleep she rose from the dead and ascended in body to the heavens. During her ascension, she gave her Holy Belt to the Apostle Thomas.  Thomas, a long with the rest of the holy Apostles, opened up her grave and didn't find the body of the Theotokos. In this way the Holy Belt is proof for our Church of her Resurrection and bodily ascension to the heavens, and, in a word, at her metastasis.
Monastery of Vatopedi,
Holy Mt. Athos

The Holy Belt, according to the tradition, was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself with camel hair.  The Empress Zoi, wife of Leo 6th the Wise, out of gratitude for her miraculous cure, embroidered the Belt with gold thread, as it is found today, but divided in three pieces.  Originally it was being kept in Jerusalem and later in Constantinople.  There during the 12th century under Manuel A' Komninos (1143-1180) an official holiday for the Belt was established on August 31st.  In the end, Emperor John the 6th Katakouzinos (1347-1355), who had a special love toward the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi, as is evidence by many related accounts, donated the Belt to the Monastery.  Since then the Holy Belt is kept at the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, in a silver case of newer manufacture which depicts the Monastery.  On the bottom right border of the depiction the artist made the drawing of the donor Emperor Katakouzinos along in the a sign which refers to his donation to the Monastery.
Icon from here
Numerous are the miracles, that have taken place up to today with the Holy Belt. Its value is priceless because it's associated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She has the grace and to her the miraculous power is attributed, which with many ways she transmits to the faithful.
The Holy Belt maintains unaltered the grace of the Most Holy Theotokos, because it became connected with her person and her life and because saints are spirit carriers during not their life, but also after their death.  The same phenomenon is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures when objects that the Prophet Elias and the holy Apostles wore actually performed miracles, because they had the grace of the saints. For this reason the Church attributes it honorary worship, as it does to the Holy Wood of the Cross of the Lord.
The Holy Belt has the unique grace to cure women's sterility as well as cancer patients, with a ribbon that has firstly been blessed on the Belt and is subsequently worn by the sterile women and patients. 

Relic box of the Precious Belt -Sash- Cincture, of the Theotokos

The Tropar also known as the Dismissal Hymn [Closing Hymn], as well as the Kontakion  is a translation from: The Great Horologion, translated from the Greek by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, Massachusetts, 1997., p. 594
Note of Father Demetrios Serfes: I would like to humbly thank Dejan for sending me this information in Greek, and for John Constantinidis for his translation from the Greek. 

See also

The Holy Girdle (Zoni) of the Theotokos 
Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos 
Theotokos (= Mother of God), tag in our blog
From Zambia & Malawi about Dormition of Mother of God
Dormition of the Theotokos Resource Page 
Mother of God (Virgin Mary), Orthodox Church and African peoples (& Why the Orthodox Honor Mary)
Male and Female Created He Them
The Icon of the Theotokos

An orthodox little boy from Cameroon
Photo from here & here

Dormição da Santíssima Mãe de Deus (15 de Agosto)  

Τρίτη 29 Αυγούστου 2017

Herod’s best friend!

The Beheading of the holy glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John (29 August)

ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ: Ο καλύτερος φίλος του Ηρώδη
O Nekros - Translation A.N.

We have become accustomed to imagining Saint John the Baptist as an angry
and boisterous prophet, permanently dissatisfied and grumpy, who used to rant loudly at people in a harsh manner, urging them to repent for their sins so that they won’t be annihilated by the wrath of God and burn in hell. And that may well be the case… Of course the expression “wrath of God” is an image that symbolizes man’s enmity towards God, and “hell” is man’s view of the Divine Light as a consuming fire, because of human egotism. But, the truth is that Saint John – as well as all the Prophets and Saints in every era – who, inspired by Divine Grace, possessed abundant love for mankind, and it was precisely that kind of love (and not any harsh “sense of justice” or any supposed “offence to God” and such irrelevant notions) that prompted them to persuade people to repent.
Repentance is what will help people to be saved, and mankind’s salvation is the true concern of the Prophets and the Saints; in other words, it is God’s true concern that inspires them.

In Herod’s case, we can see that the Baptist was by no means his actual enemy; on the contrary, he was Herod’s best friend (or rather, his ONLY friend!), given that Herod, a very vicious individual, most probably had no other, true friends… 

Icon from here

Everyone knows how the Baptist exercised austere criticism on Herod, given that he had stolen his brother’s wife, Herodias, and had made her his official concubine, or possibly wife. A very annoyed Herod threw John into prison as punishment for his criticisms, but, Herodias with her familiar shrewdness, instructed her daughter Salome (who charmed Herod and all his “distinguished” guests during his birthday party with her obviously sexual enticing dance) to demand the head of the Baptist on a platter. This demand was “honoured” by the king (as foolishly promised by him in public), and the Baptist’s severed head was handed to the teenage Salome, who then handed it over to her cunning mother (may God forgive them all…).
We need to point out here that the specific Herod here was Herod II (Herod Antypas), son of the old Herod, who had commanded the slaughter of the thousands of infants (in the hope of exterminating the threat of the then newly-born, prophesied King); this was Herod the Tetrarch, the so-called “Great” Herod.

But why did the Saint exercise such austere criticism on Herod? Was it to cause him political damage? Or to provide a reason for rebels to overthrow him? For social or political reasons specifically? Well, we have no reason to believe that the Saint had any such motives. Being familiar with the tradition of the Saints, we are able to perceive something else: John the Baptist’s criticism of Herod was intended to save him! And with him, his consort, Herodias, whose inspiration it was to kill the Prophet. And how was John striving to save them? Well, with his vociferous critique, John strived to curb the long-term sin of adultery that Herod had been committing. As such, John proved to be the best (if not the only) friend of the royal couple, because he was the only one who dared to publicly declare them as sinners and urge them to resort to salvific repentance.

Icon from here

But, there is something else that is indicative of the Saint’s love and concern for Herod. In Mark’s Gospel (ch.6, verses 19-20), we read the following, which pertains to the time that the Saint was imprisoned:

“19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man and he protected him. And by listening to him, he did many things, and he listened to him gladly.”
(Here is one more case where the word “feared” has the meaning of “respected” – as in the familiar Gospel quote of “…and the woman shall fear the man…”)
The fact that John conceded to talk to Herod from inside his prison, and even counselled him on certain matters - obviously for him to be proper and just – is proof that the Saint held no grudge against Herod, nor did he hate him, but on the contrary, loved and cared about him! This stance provides a very important example of how a Saint becomes a rebel against a corrupt authority: he censures it with boldness, but not with hatred. He hates corruption, the abuse of power and sinning, but continues to lovingly care about the persons, even when they are corrupt and sinful, and strives for their salvation (provided of course that they also desire it). He does not change this stance, and even gives up his own life for them.

Please, see also

The Beheading of the holy glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John (29 August)

From Herod to ISIS through Christ: No Record of Retribution! (& a lesson from the martyrdom of the African Saint Cyprian of Carthage) 

Δευτέρα 28 Αυγούστου 2017

The Beheading of the holy glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John (29 August)

The Beheading of the Venerable Head of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John - Commemorated on August 29 (icon taken from here)
Full of Grace and Truth
"The divine Baptist, the Prophet born of a Prophet, the seal of all the Prophets and beginning of the Apostles, the mediator between the Old and New Covenants, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, the God-sent Messenger of the incarnate Messiah, the forerunner of Christ's coming into the world (Esaias 40: 3; Mal. 3: 1); who by many miracles was both conceived and born; who was filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb; who came forth like another Elias the Zealot, whose life in the wilderness and divine zeal for God's Law he imitated: this divine Prophet, after he had preached the baptism of repentance according to God's command; had taught men of low rank and high how they must order their lives; had admonished those whom he baptized and had filled them with the fear of God, teaching them that no one is able to escape the wrath to come if he do not works worthy of repentance; had, through such preaching, prepared their hearts to receive the evangelical teachings of the Savior; and finally, after he had pointed out to the people the very Savior, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world" (Luke 3:2-18; John 1: 29-36), after all this, John sealed with his own blood the truth of his words and was made a sacred victim for the divine Law at the hands of a transgressor.

The Beheading of the Precious Forerunner (taken from here)
This was Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee, the son of Herod the Great. This man had a lawful wife, the daughter of Arethas (or Aretas), the King of Arabia (that is, Arabia Petraea, which had the famous Nabatean stone city of Petra as its capital. This is the Aretas mentioned by Saint Paul in II Cor. 11:32). Without any cause, and against every commandment of the Law, he put her away and took to himself Herodias, the wife of his deceased brother Philip, to whom Herodias had borne a daughter, Salome. He would not desist from this unlawful union even when John, the preacher of repentance, the bold and austere accuser of the lawless, censured him and told him, "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife" (Mark 6: 18). Thus Herod, besides his other unholy acts, added yet this, that he apprehended John and shut him in prison; and perhaps he would have killed him straightway, had he not feared the people, who had extreme reverence for John. 
Certainly, in the beginning, he himself had great reverence for this just and holy man. But finally, being pierced with the sting of a mad lust for the woman Herodias, he laid his defiled hands on the teacher of purity on the very day he was celebrating his birthday. When Salome, Herodias' daughter, had danced in order to please him and those who were supping with him, he promised her -- with an oath more foolish than any foolishness -- that he would give her anything she asked, even unto the half of his kingdom. And she, consulting with her mother, straightway asked for the head of John the Baptist in a charger. Hence this transgressor of the Law, preferring his lawless oath above the precepts of the Law, fulfilled this godless promise and filled his loathsome banquet with the blood of the Prophet. So it was that that all-venerable head, revered by the Angels, was given as a prize for an abominable dance, and became the plaything of the dissolute daughter of a debauched mother. As for the body of the divine Baptist, it was taken up by his disciples and placed in a tomb (Mark 6: 21 - 29). Concerning the finding of his holy head, see February 24 and May 25. (text taken from here)
Fresco of the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner, from Gracanica Monastery (here)
"According to Tradition, the mouth of the dead preacher of repentance once more opened and proclaimed: "Herod, you should not have the wife of your brother Philip." Salome took the platter with the head of St John and gave it to her mother. The frenzied Herodias repeatedly stabbed the tongue of the prophet with a needle and buried his holy head in a unclean place. But the pious Joanna, wife of Herod's steward Chuza, buried the head of John the Baptist in an earthen vessel on the Mount of Olives, where Herod had a parcel of land. (The Uncovering of the Venerable Head is celebrated (February 24). The holy body of John the Baptist was taken that night by his disciples and buried at Sebastia, there where the wicked deed had been done.
Icon depicting the Sacred Head of the Precious Forerunner (here)
After the murder of St John the Baptist, Herod continued to govern for a certain time. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, later sent Jesus Christ to him, Whom he mocked (Luke 23:7-12).
The judgment of God came upon Herod, Herodias and Salome, even during their earthly life. Salome, crossing the River Sikoris in winter, fell through the ice. The ice gave way in such a way that her body was in the water, but her head was trapped above the ice. It was similar to how she once had danced with her feet upon the ground, but now she flailed helplessly in the icy water. Thus she was trapped until that time when the sharp ice cut through her neck.

Detail of fresco depicting Salome holding the Precious Head of the Forerunner on a platter, from the Church of the Theotokos Hodegetria, Pec (taken from here)
Her corpse was not found, but they brought the head to Herod and Herodias, as once they had brought them the head of St John the Baptist. The Arab king Aretas, in revenge for the disrespect shown his daughter, made war against Herod. The defeated Herod suffered the wrath of the Roman emperor Caius Caligua (37-41) and was exiled with Herodias first to Gaul, and then to Spain.
The Beheading of St John the Baptist, a Feast day established by the Church, is also a strict fast day because of the grief of Christians at the violent death of the saint. In some Orthodox cultures pious people will not eat food from a flat plate, use a knife, or eat food that is round in shape on this day." (text taken from here)

For a Commentary of St. John Chrysostom on the Beheading of the Forerunner, see here.
For a homily by St. Justin Popovitch on this feast, see here.
Detail from an icon of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist (taken from here)
  O Saint John, wonderful Baptizer,
Of the Savior, you were the glorious Forerunner,
You, with your purity, touched human souls
And, as an awesome trumpet, from the Jordan resounded
From sleep and idle vices, awakening men,
When the axe was near to the root.
To you I bow, to you I pray:
Every temptation, help me to resist.
Prophet most powerful, to you I bow,
And before you kneel and before you I weep:
From your heart, grant me the strength of a lion,
From your spirit, grant me angelic whiteness.
Grant me your strength that by practice to attain
To God be submissive and to rule over myself,
To baptize by fasting, to purify by all-night vigils,
To sweeten by prayer and heavenly vision,
And to every martyrdom, walk without fear
With your courage and with a strong faith.
O Saint John, God's chosen one,
And glorious martyr for supreme justice,
You, of whom the godless armies are afraid
To my prayers, do not turn a deaf ear,
But, strengthen me by your prayers,
That as a true candle before the Lord, I stand.
(taken from here)
Icon of St. John the Forerunner, depicted as an angel, and holding his Sacred Head. His scroll reads: "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (taken from: here)
Apolytikion of St. John the Forerunner in the Second Tone
  The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.

The Sacred Head of the Precious Forerunner, St. John the Baptist of Christ (here)
Kontakion - Tone 5
The glorious beheading of the Forerunner, became an act of divine dispensation, for he preached to those in hell the coming of the Savior. Let Herodias lament, for she entreated lawless murder, loving not the law of God, nor eternal life, but that which is false and temporal.
St. John the Forerunner preaching the coming of Christ to those in Hades following his death (here)
See also:
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Clothed in the Image

Begging my readers’ patience, I will take a small anthropologist tour through our culture. What I want to draw our attention to is the place of the image. We are not only fascinated with looking at images, we place them on our bodies as well: t-shirts, tattoos, hats, shoes, pants – in short, everywhere. There is nothing unusual in this. Were we to examine primitive tribes, we would notice a vast assemblage of image-markings. People cover themselves with colorful muds, distort certain parts of their bodies, do amazing things with hair, dress themselves in utterly impractical costumes. Something is at work in the human soul that is demonstrated in all of these behaviors. My suggestion is that it is an effort to live “according to the image.”
Clothing is mentioned with an essential role in the Genesis account of human beginnings. Our sin plunges us into shame. We are “naked” and seek to “hide.” The theological unpacking of this reality is deeply important in Scripture, particularly in the New Testament. But it also reflects a simple human experience. The naked truth of ourselves is generally experienced in a shameful manner. That is to say that we feel exposed, vulnerable and in danger when various aspects of that truth are seen by others. And so, we cover up.
God provided Adam and Eve “garments of skin” in Genesis 3. Those garments have been deeply elaborated on ever since. Perhaps the deepest commentary on this is found in St. Paul:
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal. 3:27)
This would probably be more accurately rendered, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ as a garment.” The word “put on” (ἐνεδύσασθε) specifically refers to “putting on” a garment. This “putting on” is the true and spiritual fulfillment of which all efforts to clothe ourselves are a mere reflection, and often one of deep distortion.
I take us back to my first observation: we universally seek to cover or mark ourselves with something. Our appearance is a canvas which we cannot help but disguise. And, following Genesis, we can observe that we desperately want to cover or mark ourselves in order to disguise our shame – in one form or another.
It can be argued that we wear clothes because it is too sunny or cold. But our clothing long ago transcended the practical need of hairless animals. Our clothing, like most of our lives, reflects psychological and spiritual issues more than anything. The state of our soul is often on display for anyone who understands the nature of the great human cover-up.
A frequent element of our covering is the projection of power. We use various symbols and clues as signals. Identifying ourselves with a team proclaims the power of a tribe: we are not alone. Much of our political signals are aggressive in nature, not surprising in a culture in which almost all citizens feel largely powerless. Our coverings can signal beauty, strength, anger, sexual desire, any number of things in the cultural dance surrounding inner shame.
The modern fashion of tattooing (more prominent in America than Europe) is a deeper form of covering, at least in its permanence. It strikes me as interesting that such a permanent form of covering should become popular in a culture permeated by impermanence. In my part of the world, it seems less and less common to encounter people who have no tattoos.
Please understand that I am not saying that our clothing and markings are themselves shameful. They are quite the opposite. They represent protective coverings that protect us from the shame we feel and the shaming we encounter in social settings. Our inner shame surrounds our sense of identity. Shame is about “who I am.” Our coverings represent an effort to publicly proclaim, “This is who I am,” regardless of what might be the case inwardly. As such, our coverings are an attempt to say, “This is who I want you to think I am.” Many times these same created coverings are used to hide our inner shame from ourselves. The modern selfie is a fascination with the image, an effort to proclaim an existence and identity in a world where social media has become a substitute ontology: “I’m online, therefore I exist…. And they like me!”
All of this feels intensely personal as I think about it. As an Orthodox priest, I am costumed in almost every setting. In public, I wear a cassock. In Church, I am covered in vestments. But there, the covering is extremely intentional. As he vests, the priest prays:
My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed me with the garment of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of gladness; as a bridegroom He has set a crown on me; and as a bride adorns herself with jewels, so has He adorned me…. Your Priests, O Lord, shall clothe themselves with righteousness, and Your saints shall shout with joy always, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
According to Eusebius, St. James, the Brother of the Lord, wore a linen garment like the High Priest when he served in the Church’s assembly. That ancient reality, still enacted in the Liturgy, is a visible “putting on of Christ.” It is Christ who is present and leads us in our offering to the Father. The robing of the priest covers the person of the priest himself (and his shame), in order to present the Lord of glory.
To wear a uniform or costume (I don’t know what else to call it) in public is always to disappear to a certain extent. My own parishioners, when they occasionally see me without the cassock (when I’m out for a walk, etc.), do not always recognize me – at least not at first glance. It reminds me that I am not “me” to them, but “their priest.” My late Archbishop used to forbid priests to wear things like bathing suits in front of their parishioners. If we wanted to swim, we needed to go somewhere else.
It is possible to lose yourself in such a covering. A priest can begin to mistake himself for the robe he wears. Indeed, I think some are drawn to the priesthood precisely because they want to lose themselves – and for the wrong reasons. We can clothe ourselves outwardly, but if the clothing only hides our shame and does not transform it, then it becomes part of the sickness in our lives that binds us to our shame.
Just as our first experience of shame was our “nakedness” (the emptiness of our existence in the presence of God), so our salvation is expressed in terms of being clothed:
Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Eph. 4:22-25)
The “new nature,” created “after the likeness of God,” is nothing other than the very righteousness of Christ, described as a garment. But this is more than a garment – it is a “nature,” meaning that it no longer represents a garment that hides us, but something that changes us, so that the inside (“nature”) matches the outside (“righteousness of Christ”). We can be seen exactly as we are – without shame.
It is noteworthy that St. Paul completes the admonition with the commandment to “speak the truth.” This is the opposite of what takes place in almost all of our various cultural versions of clothing. What you see of others is never “who they are,” but what they want you to see, an effort that is rarely successful.
However, our holy transformation (conformity to the image of Christ) begins in Baptism, and continues as we “speak the truth,” meaning as we “bear a little shame” in the truth of our confession and repentance and in our dealings with others. It is, admittedly, a most difficult thing. The greater our inward fear and the depth of our wounds, the harder it is to trust this work of salvation. By grace, it is possible.
Nearly six years ago I had a very graphic dream that involved my late Archbishop Dmitri. It was some few months after his death. The last words he spoke in the dream have stayed with me: “I believe that soon, we shall all have to stand naked before the judgment seat of Christ.” I did not know then how important those words would become for me. May God clothe us with the righteousness of Christ and conform us inwardly to His image.

Κυριακή 27 Αυγούστου 2017

Racial Identities and Racism by Mother Katherine

Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black 2015 Conference

Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black (YT)

See also

Wade in the River: The Story of the African Christian Faith (book)
Grace and “the Inverted Pyramid”
The Heresy of Racism
Racism (tag)

The Kingdom of Heaven, where racial discrimination has no place
Fr. Moses Berry, a descendant of African slaves, Orthodox priest and teacher in USA
Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black
St. Mary of Egypt Multi-Cultural Orthodox Christian Church - Kansas City, Missouri
Christians and the immigration issue (& Orthodox Church of St Nicholas of Japan in Johannesburg)

The African Woman & the role of Woman in Orthodox Church: she must become the light of the world  
Union of Orthodox Church Mothers in Uganda  
Sunday of the Samaritan woman (5th Sunday of Pascha): "Close to God is he who in his daily life becomes the light of Christ who enlightens his neighbours..."
Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa (& the Decolonization of Africa)
African Initiated Churches in Search of Orthodoxy...
How “White” is the Orthodox Church?
Ancient Christian faith (Orthodox Church) in Africa

Eight principal areas of convergence between African spirituality and Ancient Christianity  

Saints Poemen the Great, Moses the Ethiopian & Phanourios the Great Martyr, the Saint of Lost Things (27 - 28 August)

Orthodox Christianity and Humanitarianism - Panel 2 - Metropolitan Makarios Tillyrides of Kenya

On May 7-8, 2015, the Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America sponsored a colloquium on Orthodox Christianity and Humanitarianism on the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Experts from around the world were convened to initiate an ongoing dialogue on the topic. The colloquium was made possible through a generous grant from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund.

In the Orthodox Vineyard of Africa

See also

Anargyri: Holy Unmercenary Doctors
Weak, Sick, Poor, Tired: A Story for Losers
Orthodox Church & Capitalism: Orthodox Fathers of Church on poverty, wealth and social justice
Is capitalism compatible with Orthodox Christianity?
Grace and “the Inverted Pyramid”

The Orthodox African Church (Patriarchate of Alexandria) denounces the exploitation of Africa by contemporary colonialists
Reconciliation On Social Justice: The Consequences of Low Aim
Tales from Dystopia XXI: Capitalism and alcoholism (a voice from South Africa)
Poverty in Africa (tag) 

Orthodox Kenya (tags)
About Kenya, Education, Children & Mission...
Hope for the Kikuyu (Kenya) / "The caves along the Tana River became the refuge for freedom fighters..."
Turkana, or "With God, All Things Are Possible"...

Παρασκευή 25 Αυγούστου 2017

Sierra Leone mudslides leaves 500 deads! ― Η Σιέρρα Λεόνε θρηνεί εκατοντάδες νεκρούς!...

The Orthodox Mission helping some homeless victims of the deadly flood in Freetown, Sierra Leone. 

In the New Testament, Jesus spoke of giving not only a tithe but challenged followers to give far beyond it. For instance, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all his possessions. Pursuing those values, a long monastic tradition has seen men and women taking vows of poverty to give themselves to the work of their faith. Today, while the tithe might not be practiced by a majority of Christians, most understand the practice of giving as a central part of their faith.

Fr. Themi Adamopoulo, Sierra Leone (here)

An article of fr George, Orthodox Metropolitan of Conakry & Guinea
Άρθρο του μητροπολίτη Γουινέας Γεωργίου για τη τραγωδία στη Σιέρα Λεόνε στο πρακτορείο εκκλησιαστικών ειδήσεων Ρομφαία.

Preparing the mass graves for the burial of the flood victims of Freetown. May Christ rest their souls (from here).

Orthodox Mission

Η Σιέρα Λεόνε θρηνεί περισσότερα από 400 θύματα εκ των οποίων τουλάχιστον τα 100 είναι μικρά παιδιά.
Οι αγνοούμενοι Εκατοντάδες. Δυστυχώς για μια ακόμη φορά η χώρα πλήττεται από μεγάλη δοκιμασία.
Μετά την λαίλαπα του πολυετούς εμφυλίου πολέμου, μετά την μεγάλη καταστροφή που έφερε ο θανατηφόρος ιος έμπολα,
Τώρα έσπειραν το θάνατο οι καταστροφικές πλημμύρες. Εκατοντάδες ξύλινα σπιτάκια σε μεγάλη παραγκούπολη της πρωτεύουσας καταστράφηκαν ολοσχερώς και τα συντρίμμια τους πήραν μαζί τους αθώες ψυχές
Και ιδιαίτερα αθώες παιδικές ψυχές. Ίσως είναι ρατσιστικό να πούμε ότι δεν θρηνήσαμε ομοδόξους συνανθρώπους μας, όμως δοξάζουμε το θεό και ευχαριστούμε την Παναγία μας που προστάτευσε το μικρό μας ορθόδοξό ποίμνιο.
Ο Πάπας και Πατριάρχης Αλεξανδρείας και πάσης Αφρικής κ. Θεόδωρος Β´ (που στο προσεχές διάστημα θα επισκεφθεί τη χώρα) από την πρώτη στιγμή βρισκόταν σε συνεχή επικοινωνία τόσο μαζί μου όσο και με τον π. Θεμιστοκλή Αδαμόπουλο που νυχθημερόν εργάζεται ιεραποστολικά στη Σιέρα Λεόνε.
Τώρα είναι η ώρα συμμετοχής μας ακόμα περισσότερο στον ανθρώπινο πόνο και συμμετοχής μας στον αγώνα του Πατριαρχείου Αλεξανδρείας στην Σιέρα Λεόνε.
Για μια ακόμη φορά η ανθρωπιστική συμβολή μας ως ελληνορθόδοξου Πατριαρχείου έχει αναγνωριστεί από τον Πρόεδρο της χώρας και από όλους τους συνεργάτες του.
Μέσα στα πλαίσια αυτής της αναγνώρισης και χάριν του προσωπικού αγώνα του π. Θεμιστοκλή, είναι και το πρόσφατο Προεδρικό Διάταγμα που αναγνωρίζει ως ισότιμα με τα κρατικά σχολεία της χώρας τα σχολεία της Ορθοδόξου Ιεραποστολής.



Please, see this video

The Gentle Church. Matt 5:3
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Κάντε μια δωρεά προς την Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία στη Σιέρα Λεόνε, μέσω
των ορθόδοξων ιεραποστολικών συλλόγων που συνεργάζονται με τον
π. Θεμιστοκλή Αδαμόπουλο.


See also

The Orthodox Archdiocese of Conakry and Guinea (the Orthodox Church in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Cape Verde)
Orthodox Sierra Leone (tag)