Saturday, December 29, 2007

Orthodoxy & Literal Interpretation

Of Our Father Amongst The Saints

Maxim Martyr


Biblical Text.

Genesis 3:17 ¶And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

What is the ground that’s cursed by God for the sake of Adam’s deeds, and what does it mean for man to eat of it in sorrows? What does it mean, then, for it to bring forth to man thorns and thistles, and for man to eat the herb of the field? What does it mean for man to eat bread in the sweat of his face? For at no time has anyone seen a man to eat either earth, or grass, or brambles; nor do they who eat bread consume it together with the sweat of their faces, as that story tells us.

The ground that’s cursed for the sake of Adam’s deeds is his body, that’s endlessly being cursed by his actions, that is, by the passions of his earth-bound mind, and by the unfruitfulness of his virtues, which are the works of God. Of his own body is man then being fed with the pains and many sorrows which it brings forth, rejoicing only in the little pleasure that it has to offer. From his own body spring forth to man then, aside from its rotten pleasures, the worries and thoughts as thorns, and the great temptations, dangers and perils as brambles and thistles. And these then, in their turn, sting him from all sides, -through reason, desire, and anger-, so that he may barely be able to procure for, and eat of the bread that is for the maintenance of his health and welfare of his body, which becomes like unto a grass that fades away and withers. But even this is done through a lengthy repeating of pains “in the sweat of his face”, that is, through the tiredness and enslavement of the senses, which are then being compelled to eagerly explore the sensible things. And the toil to sustain his life here, either by a certain skill, or by any other such clever method, is to man then as bread.

The 14,000 Innocent Infants Slain By King Herod

The 14,000 Innocent Infants Slain By King Herod.

Troparion - Tone 1

We beseech You, O Lord of mankind, to accept in supplication the suffering which Your saints endured for Your sake, O Lord, and heal all our infirmities.

Kontakion - Tone 8

When the King was born in Bethlehem, the Magi came from the East. Having been led by a star from on High, they brought Him gifts. But in exceeding wrath, Herod harvested the infants as sorrowing wheat; the rule of his kingdom has come to an end.

King Herod was actually pro-choice, and all that he really wanted to do was merely to set these poor women finally free from the oppression of the patriarchal society in which they lived, and to whose men-made rules they were unwillingly subjected to: `t'was a men's world back then, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The Fifth Day After Christmas.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Holy Arch-Deacon And Proto-Martyr Stephen

The Holy Arch-Deacon And Proto-Martyr Stephen.

Troparion - Tone 4

O Protomartyr and mighty warrior of Christ our God, You are victorious in battle and crowned with glory, O holy Stephen! You confounded the council of your persecutors, beholding your Savior enthroned at the right hand of the Father. Never cease to intercede for the salvation of our souls!

Kontakion - Tone 3

Yesterday the Master assumed our flesh and became our guest; today His servant is stoned to death and departs in the flesh, the glorious Protomartyr Stephen.

The Third Day Of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Synaxis Of The Holy Mother Of God

The Synaxis Of The Holy Mother Of God
And Ever-Virgin Marry.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone

He, who was begotten of the Father before the morning star, without a mother, becomes incarnate of you today, without a father. Wherefore, a star announces the good news to the Magi. Angels with shepherds praise your immaculate birth-giving, O Full of Grace.

The Second Day Of Christmas.

Psalms 84:3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

The Birth Of Our Lord, God, And Saviour
Jesus Christ.

Troparion - Tone 4

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the Light of wisdom! For by it, those who worshipped the stars, were taught by a Star to adore You, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know You, the Orient from on High. O Lord, glory to You!

Kontakion - Tone 3

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! Angels with shepherds glorify Him! The wise men journey with a star! Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!

Stefan Hrusca - Your Birth.
(The Christmas Troparion)

Second Vespereal Reading

Numbers 24:2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. 3 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: 5 How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! 6 As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. 7 He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. 8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. 9 He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee. 17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. 18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.

Third Vespereal Reading

Micah 4:6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.

Fourth Vespereal Reading

Isaiah 11:1 ¶And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 10 ¶And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Fifth Vespereal Reading

Baruch 3:35 This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of him 36 He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. 37 Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men. 4:1 This is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endureth for ever: all they that keep it shall come to life; but such as leave it shall die. 2 Turn thee, O Jacob, and take hold of it: walk in the presence of the light thereof, that thou mayest be illuminated. 3 Give not thine honour to another, nor the things that are profitable unto thee to a strange nation. 4 O Israel, happy are we: for things that are pleasing to God are made known unto us.

Sixth Vespereal Reading

Daniel 2:31 ¶Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Seventh Vespereal Reading

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Angel of Great Advice, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Eighth Vespereal Reading

Isaiah 7:10 ¶Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. 8:1 ¶Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz. 2 And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. 3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. 4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria. 9 ¶Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Holy Nun-Martyr Eugenia Of Rome

The Holy Nun-Martyr Eugenia Of Rome.

Your lamb Eugenia, O Jesus, calls out to You in a loud voice: I love You, O my bridegroom, and in seeking You, I endure suffering. In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, for I have offered myself in love. By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
You left the passing glory of the world to follow Christ, keeping spotless the brilliance of your soul, O inspired Martyr Eugenia, worthy of all praise!

Apolytikion in the Third Tone

Being mystically moved by the Spirit, thou didst sing God's praise, thereby receiving the clear light of divine knowledge in thy heart; and shining bright as the sun with a righteous life, thou overcamest the devil in martyrdom. O Eugenia, thou most glorious Martyr of the Lord, entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.

Stefan Hrusca - White Flowers

Stefan Hrusca - White Flowers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stefan Hrusca - The Deer's Carol

Stefan Hrusca - The Deer's Carol.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

275 Pretty Darn Good Reasons On Why Any Sane Person Should NOT Be(come) Orthodox ... Ever!

And here they are, Ladies and Gentlemen [pun intended], in all their nakedness [pun intended]:

According to the divinely-inspired words of our Holy Prophet and God-Seer Moses, as recorded in his Second Book, that of Exodus, -in the fifteenth verse of the nineteenth chapter-, as well as following the saintly advice of the Glorious and divinely-appointed Apostle Paul, as written in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, -in the fifth verse of the seventh chapter-, the Holy Fathers unanimously decree that husband and wife should abstain from the rightful pleasures that are, by the very nature of things, normally tied to married life, for the entire duration of such holy time-periods as those dedicated to feasting and fasting ... Until now, nothing of spectacular: I mean, it sounds reasonable enough, ... right?

Well, then: let's just take a closer look at what that actually means ... shall we?

During Spring-time, we have a contiguous two month long time interval, comprising Meat-Fare Week, the six weeks of Great Lent, Great and Holy Week, and -last, but not least- Bright Week, in which the performance of weddings [and other such wedding-related things, which this author will leave to the imagination of the reader] is, by Canon Law, strictly forbidden.

In the summer time, when the weather is fine, for a contiguous time period of approximatively a month (more or less), ranging from the next Sunday following Pentecost, and all the way up to the 29th of June, when we end our month-long fast by celebrating the Feast of the Holy, Most-Glorious Chief-Apostles Peter and Paul, the same things are required of us, as have been described above.

The exact same goes then for the two contiguous weeks of the Fast of the Falling-Asleep of the Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, celebrated in the Fall, prior to the 15th of August, ... as well as for the contiguous two month long time span, consisting of the Christmas-Fast, which is celebrated in Winter, and the two weeks between the Lord's Birth and His Baptism, which immediately follow the Feast.

... Which would amount, according to my calculations, to about five months of marital abstinence each year: BUT, WAIT! THERE'S MORE! WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET!

The remaining time, amounting to about seven months, is, obviously, comprised of such insignificant little time-units we call weeks ... which weeks consist, obviously, of seven days, out of which two are Fast-Days: Wednesdays and Fridays; and two are Feast-Days: Saturdays and Sundays ... which leads to more than half of this remaining time-frame being forbidden to the two spouses for fulfilling each their respective duties towards each-other.

So, in conclusion, a little math: 12-5 = 7; 3/7 * 7 = 3; 3*30 = 90; 365-90 = 275. Hence, also, the name of this article.

Now, I beg of ye, please do not misunderstand me, my dear Gentlemen and my fair Ladies: but isn't this cross a bit too hard to bear, ... even for normal, every-day people, who maybe do not wish, or feel the desire, to often or frequently express their passionate feelings for one another ?

Why do some Orthodox even want to become monks anyway? ...

We Shall Die, And We'll Be Free!

Valeriu Sterian - The Revolution Anthem.

Oh Lord, Come, Oh Lord,
To See What's Left Of People!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Second Snowfall

Salvatore Adamo - Tombe La Neige.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Orthodoxy & Textual Criticism

Of Our Father Amongst The Saints

Maxim Martyr

Questions, Bewilderments, And Answers.

Question Seventy-First.
In some manuscripts of the Apostle it stands written “We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed”; yet in others “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed”. (1 Corinthians 15:51) Please, I beg thee, show me which version should be received and what the things written therein mean?
I think that if one were to honestly and in all piety receive both versions, he will by no means derail from the Apostle’s teaching, for even the most ancient of manuscripts contain them both.

The first one, “We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed”, must be understood in the sense that we shall all one day have to suffer the falling-asleep through death, but not all of us shall be changed by the receiving of the glory and courage. That this is so is shown by the same Apostle more clearly in another place, by saying: “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked” (2 Corinthians 5:3).

And the second one: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” must be understood in the sense that not all of us shall fall-asleep with the falling-asleep for a certain time, so that we might be needing a grave and share of the falling-apart through corruption or decomposition, but rather that those living at that time will suffer only a short death, having no need for the falling-asleep for a certain time, for only shortly thereafter will the resurrection take place. Yet all will be changed, that is, they will be clothed in incorruption.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Holy Hierarch Nicholas, Archbishop Of Myra In Lycia

The Holy Hierarch Nicholas,
Archbishop Of Myra In Lycia.
In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you. Hierarch Father Nicholas, entreat Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
You revealed yourself, O saint, in Myra as a priest, for you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ by giving up your soul for your people, and saving the innocent from death. Therefore you are blessed as one become wise in the grace of God.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Proto-Romanian Saints: The Scythian Monks

Dionysius Exiguus,
The Father Of The
Anno Domini Era,
And The First Known Medieval Latin Writer
To Use A Precursor Of The Number

Nicetas Of Remesiana,
The Author Of The
Te Deum Laudamus.

John Cassian,
Friend And Disciple Of Saint
John Chrysostom,
Founder Of
Saint Victor's Abbey In Marseille,
Had A Great Influence On St.
Benedict Of Nursia,
The Founder Of Western Monasticism;
Condemned The Teachings Of
Augustine Of Hippo.

Having cleansed yourself through fasting, You attained the understanding of wisdom, and from the desert fathers You learned the restraint of the passions. To this end through your prayers grant our flesh obedience to the spirit. For you are the teacher, O venerable John Cassian, of all who in Christ praise your memory.

Kontakion - Tone 4

As a venerable monk, You consecrated your life to God, and radiant with virtue, O John Cassian, You shine like the sun with the splendor of your divine teachings, Illumining ever the hearts of all who honor you. Entreat Christ earnestly in behalf of those who praise you with fervent love.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy John Cassian, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion in the First Tone

Thy words breathe forth the sweetness of heavenly cassia, dispelling the foul odour of passion and pleasures; but with the sweet fragrance of thy discretion and temperance, they make known the spiritual ascents in the Spirit, leading men on high, O righteous Father John Cassian, divinely-sent guide of monks.

The Icon Called Extreme Humiliation,
The King Of Glory,
Illustrating The
Theopaschite Formula
Of The Scythian Monks:
One Of The Trinity For Us Has Suffered.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Romania's National Holiday

The Romanian National Anthem,
Flag And Coat Of Arms.

Stefan Hrusca - Colindul Ardealului.

Romania's Regional Map.

Romania's Administrative Map.

Romania's Physical Map.

Peles Castle, Sinaia.


I. The National Assembly of all Romanians in Transylvania, Banat and the Hungarian Country, gathered by its rightful representatives at Alba-Iulia on the 18th of November/1st of December, decrees the unification of those Romanians and of all the territories inhabited by them with Romania. The National Assembly proclaims above all the inalienable right of the Romanian nation to the whole Banat bordered by the Mures and Tisa rivers and the Danube.

II. The National Assembly grants to the territories mentioned above provisional autonomy until the meeting of the Constituency chosen by suffrage universal.

III. Regarding this matter, the National Assembly proclaims the following fundamental principles for the foundation of the new Romanian State:

1. Full national freedom for all the co-inhabiting peoples. Each people will study, manage and judge in its own language by individual of its own stock and each people will get the right to be represented in the law bodies and to govern the country in accordance with the number of its people.

2. Equal rights and full autonomous religious freedom for all the religions in the State.

3. Full democratic system in all the realms of public life. Suffrage universal, direct, equal, secret, in each commune, proportionally, for both sexes, 21 years old at the representation in communes, counties or parliament.

4. Full freedom of the press, association and meeting, free propaganda of all human thoughts.

5. Radical agrarian reform. All the assets, above all the big ones, will be inscribed. The wills by which the heir consigns the land to a third party will be abolished; meanwhile, on the basis of the right to cut down estates freely, the peasant will be able to his own property (ploughing land, pasture, forest), at least one for him and his family to labour on. The guiding principle of this agrarian policy is promoting social evening, on the one hand, and giving force to production, on the other.

6. The industrial workers will be granted the same rights and privileges that are in force in the most advanced western industrial states.

IV. The National Assembly would like the peace congress to accomplish the community of free nations so that justice and freedom be ensured for all big and small nations alike and in future war is abolished as a means of controlling international relations.

V. The Romanian gathered in this National Assembly greets their brothers in Bukovina who broke away from the Austro-Hungarian Empire yoke and united in their fatherland, Romania.

VI. The National Assembly greets with love and enthusiasm the liberation of the nations subjugated until now in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, namely the nations: Czechoslovak, Austro-German, Yugoslav, Polish and Carpatho-Russian and decides that this greeting should be conveyed to all the other nations.

VII. The National Assembly meekly evokes the memory of those brave Romanians, whose blood was shed in this war for our dream to come true, as they died for the freedom and unity of the Romanian nation.

VIII. The National Assembly expresses their gratefulness and admiration towards all the Allied Powers, which by their brilliant battles waged stubbornly against an enemy trained for many decades for war released civilisation from under the terror of barbarity.

IX. To continue to manage the affairs of the Romanian nation in Transylvania, Banat and The Hungarian Country, the National Assembly decides to found a Great National Romanian Convention, that will have all the rights to represent the Romanian nation any time and everywhere in the relations with all the nations of the world and to make all the necessary decisions in the interest of the nation.