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Η ΠΑΝΙΣΧΥΡΗ ΠΡΟΣΕΥΧΗ του ΑΡΧΑΓΓΕΛΟΥ [ΜΙΧΑΗΛ Η προσευχή αυτή, είναι αρχαία. Είναι αχειροποίητος!  Εμφανίστηκε στον προθάλαμο της Μονής στο Κρέμλ της Εκκλησίας του Μιχαήλε Αρχιστράτιγε (Αρχιστράτηγου Μιχαήλ). Σύμφωνα με τη ρωσική παράδοση, ο άνθρωπος που θα διαβάσει αυτήν την προσευχή, από την ημέρα εκείνη, δεν θα τον αγγίζει ούτε διάβολος, ούτε κακός άνθρωπος και με κολακεία δεν θα προσβληθεί η καρδιά του. Καί αν πεθάνει, τότε και κόλαση η ψυχή του δεν θα πάρει. Kύριε Θεέ, Βασιλεύ Μέγα, Άναρχε! Απόστειλον, Κύριε, τον Σον Αρχάγγελον Μιχαήλ, επί τον δούλον Σου (όνομα) ίνα ρύσης με από εχθρών ορατών και αοράτων. «Αρχάγγελε Κυρίου Μιχαήλ, δος ειρήνην και ευημερίαν τω Σω δούλω (όνομα). Αρχάγγελε Κυρίου Μιχαήλ, των δαιμόνων μαχητά, πολέμησον τους εχθρούς τους πολεμούντας με, ποίησον αυτούς ώσπερ αμνούς και απόστρεψον αυτούς ως ο άνεμος την κόνιν. Ω Μέγα Αρχάγγελε Κυρίου Μιχαήλ! Αρχιστράτηγε, Πρώτε των εξαπτερύγων Χερουβείμ και Σεραφείμ και πάντων των Αγίων, γενού μοι προστάτης και βοηθός εν ταίς θλίψεσι και ταίς στενοχωρίαις μου, εν τη ερήμω, εις τας οδούς, εις τους ποταμούς, και εν τη θαλάσση γενού μοι γαλήνιος λιμήν. Σώσον με, Αρχάγγελε Μιχαήλ, από των πονηριών του διαβόλου, όταν ακούσης με, τον αμαρτωλόν δούλον (όνομα), καλούντα το όνομά Σου το Άγιον. Γενού μοι βηθός ταχύς και επάκουσον της προσευχής μου. Ω Μέγα Αρχάγγελε Μιχαήλ! Νίκα πάντας τους εναντίους μου τη δυνάμει του Τίμιου και Ζωοποιού Ουράνιου Σταυρού του Κυρίου, ευχαίς της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου, των Αγίων Αγγέλων, των Αποστόλων, του Αγίου Προφήτου Ηλιού, του Αγίου Νικολάου του Θαυματουργού, του Αγίου Ανδρεου του διά Χριστόν Σαλού, του Αγίου Μεγαλομάρτυρος Νικήτα και Ευσταθίου και πάντων Σου των Αγίων. Ω Μέγα Αρχάγγελε Μιχαήλ! Βοήθει με τον αμαρτωλόν δούλον Σου (όνομα), σώσον με από σεισμού, πλημμύρας και πυρός, από αοράτων ενθρών, από ανοήτου θανάτου, από παντός κακού και από πονηρών δαιμόνων, Μέγα Μιχαήλ Αρχάγγελε Κυρίου, νυν και αεί και εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων.  Αμήν».
Aggressive Secularism The aggressive secularization of the United States and other Christian nations As an American I have watched with sadness, the eroding of our Christian values and standards of living. When I was in grade school, each day was begun with the reading of the Bible, broadcast over the intercom system (yes, we had the technology when I was little). At my graduation from high school, there were two public gatherings in the gym, the first being the baccalaureate service, where the minister chosen by the seniors gave an inspirational address, and religious hymns and patriotic songs were sung. The second public gathering was the actual graduation ceremony. The baccalaureate service is long gone from the American scene, found, as it were, to be an unconstitutional infringement on the separation of Church and State. Gone, also, are the student Christian organizations, banned as they were, from the use of public school facilities, again on the basis of the separation of Church and State. Many of these same schools have given over classroom use to Muslim students, for their required prayer services. Our courts have aggressively moved to push the Christian faith further from the public forum. Attacks toward public displays of religious themes, such as the Ten Commandments, Nativity Creches, and even crosses from the graves of soldiers, have increasingly become the norm. There is even a movement to force police and fire department chaplains to remove the cross from their badges, something we’ve all vowed to resist. This aggressive move towards secularism has increasingly become a part of American foreign policy, with the move to pressure other countries to follow our lead. Just as the Russian Revolution was supported, in the very beginning, by the anti-monarchist sentiments of the American government, so too, are we seeing an increase in the negative attitudes of the American government towards the rise in power and influence, of the Russian Orthodox Church. At a time when our governmental leaders are pushing Christianity from the public forum, we criticize the Russian government because of it’s close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. We even question the sincerity of Russian leaders Orthodox faith, perhaps because we know that many of our own leaders have put on the veneer of being Christian, for political survival. Russians know the dangers of aggressive secularism, having suffered seventy years of state sponsored atheism, and many Russians look with amazement at what they see as American capitulation to a secularism that has promoted a sort of state atheism of it’s own. That the Moscow Patriarchate sought the prosecution of the group Pussy Riot, for the desecration of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, with their “punk-at-prayer,” invasion of this sacred temple of God, was greeted by many Americans as a simple act of childishness that should be “forgiven”, is further indication of just how far we have fallen as a Christian nation. We no longer see anything as a sacrilege, because we hold nothing to be sacred. The Moscow Patriarchate has announced a “War on Aggressive Liberalism”, and called upon believers to fight the “anti-clerical forces” and “false values of aggressive liberalism.” The Patriarchate will not sit back complacently, and watch a replay of the rise of anti-Church forces that hurled the Russian people into the dark days of the Communist aggression against the Church, and against believers. The same forces that are aggressively seeking to discredit the clergy, divide Russian society, and turn Russians away from their temples, is at work in the United States. The time has come for all Christians to stand firm, and resist the forces of aggressive secularism. Whether we be Russian, Canadians, British, Greeks, or Americans, we need to stand united, and work to return Western civilization to her Christian roots. As Americans, we need to make sure our governmental leaders know that we will not allow our nation to make war, either in reality, or in theory, against a land that is attempting to return Christ to the centrality of their national identity. Russia is not our enemy, and to treat her as such, is certain to further erode the American way of life. We can not continue, as a nation, to place profit, worldly influence, military power, and oil, over and above our Christian values, for to do so will lead to our certain doom. A Bishop from Chicago stated: “I shall die in my bed, my successor shall die in prison, his successor will die as a martyr in the public square”. God will protect his Orthodox Church from the Gates of Hell…but the blood of the Martyrs waters the roots of the Church. With love in Christ, Abbot Tryphon Source
Great Lent
Beginning of Great Lent In the Orthodox Church, the last Sunday before Great Lent—the day on which, at Vespers, Lent is liturgically announced and inaugurated—is called Forgiveness Sunday. On the morning of that Sunday, at the Divine Liturgy, we hear the words of Christ: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses...” (Mark 6:14-15). Then after Vespers—after hearing the announcement of Lent in the Great Prokeimenon: “Turn not away Thy face from Thy child, for I am afflicted! Hear me speedily! Draw near unto my soul and deliver it!”, after making our entrance into Lenten worship, with its special melodies, with the prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, with its prostrations—we ask forgiveness from each other, we perform the rite of forgiveness and reconciliation. And as we approach each other with words of reconciliation, the choir intones the Paschal hymns, filling the church with the anticipation of Paschal joy. What is the meaning of this rite? Why is it that the Church wants us to begin the Lenten season with forgiveness and reconciliation? These questions are in order because for too many people Lent means primarily, and almost exclusively, a change of diet, the compliance with ecclesiastical regulations concerning fasting. They understand fasting as an end in itself, as a “good deed” required by God and carrying in itself its merit and its reward. But the Church spares no effort in revealing to us that fasting is but a means, one among many, towards a higher goal: the spiritual renewal of man, his return to God, true repentance and, therefore, true reconciliation. The Church spares no effort in warning us against a hypocritical and pharisaic fasting, against the reduction of religion to mere external obligations. As a Lenten hymn says: “In vain do you rejoice in not eating, O soul!For you abstain from food,But from passions you are not purified.If you persevere in sin, you will perform a useless fast!” Now, forgiveness stands at the very center of Christian faith and of Christian life because Christianity itself is, above all, the religion of forgiveness. God forgives us, and His forgiveness is in Christ, His Son, whom He sends to us so that by sharing in His humanity we may share in His love and be truly reconciled with God. Indeed, Christianity has no other content but love. And it is primarily the renewal of that love, a growth in it, that we seek in Great Lent, in fasting and prayer, in the entire spirit and the entire effort of that season. Thus, truly forgiveness is both the beginning of, and the proper condition for, the Lenten season. One may ask, however: Why should I perform this rite when I have no “enemies?” Why should I ask forgiveness from people who have done nothing to me, and whom I hardly know? To ask these questions is to misunderstand the Orthodox teaching concerning forgiveness. It is true that open enmity, personal hatred, real animosity may be absent from our life, though if we experience them, it may be easier for us to repent, for these feelings openly contradict Divine commandments. But the Church reveals to us that there are much subtler ways of offending Divine Love. These are indifference, selfishness, lack of interest in other people, of any real concern for them—in short, that wall which we usually erect around ourselves, thinking that by being “polite” and “friendly” we fulfill God’s commandments. The rite of forgiveness is so important precisely because it makes us realize—be it only for one minute—that our entire relationship to other men is wrong, makes us experience that encounter of one child of God with another, of one person created by God with another, makes us feel that mutual “recognition” which is so terribly lacking in our cold and dehumanized world. On that unique evening, listening to the joyful Paschal hymns we are called to make a spiritual discovery: to taste of another mode of life and relationship with people, of life whose essence is love. We can discover that always and everywhere Christ, the Divine Love Himself, stands in the midst of us, transforming our mutual alienation into brotherhood. As I advance towards the other, as the other comes to me—we begin to realize that it is Christ who brings us together by His love for both of us. And because we make this discovery—and because this discovery is that of the Kingdom of God itself: the Kingdom of Peace and Love, of reconciliation with God and, in Him, with all that exists—we hear the hymns of that Feast, which once a year “opens to us the doors of Paradise.” We know why we shall fast and pray, what we shall seek during the long Lenten pilgrimage. Forgiveness Sunday: the day on which we acquire the power to make our fasting—true fasting; our effort—true effort; our reconciliation with God—true reconciliation. —Father Alexander Schmemann Great Lent On   the   Monday   following   the   Sunday   of   Cheesefare,   we   formally   begin   the   40-day   Great   Lent and,   of   course,   one   of   its   features   is   its   rigorous   fasting   (cf.   the   section   entitled   Fasting   in this   chapter).   In   addition,   there   are   some   special   features   of   the   liturgical   Services.   The usual   Liturgy   of   St.   John   Chrysostom   is   not   served   on   the   weekdays   of   Great   Lent   (with   the exception   of   the   Feast   of   the   Annunciation),   but   is   replaced   by   the   special   Liturgy   of   the Presanctified    Gifts,    at    which    the    faithful    commune    of    the    Holy    Gifts    which    were presanctified   at   the   previous   Sunday's   Liturgy.   In   addition,   the   penitential   Service   of   Great Compline   is   sung,   at   which,   on   the   first   four   days   of   this   first   week   (as   well   as   on   Thursday of   the   Fifth   Week)   the   Great   Canon   of   St.   Andrew   of   Crete   is   read.   This   Canon   is   a   long penitential composition of 250 verses expressing the longings of a guilty and penitent soul. This   week   we   are   also   introduced   to   the   moving   Lenten   prayer   of   St.   Ephraim   the   Syrian, setting   forth   the   essence   of   spiritual   life.   This   prayer   is   said   at   each   of   the   liturgical   Services throughout the weekdays of Great Lent and the first half of Passion Week. The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair? lust of power and idle talk.But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and Cove to Thy servant,Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my Brother; for Blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen All   of   the   Sundays   of   Great   Lent   (with   the   exception   of   Palm   Sunday)   the   usual   Liturgy   of   St. John   Chrysostom   is   replaced   by   the   longer   Liturgy   of   St.   Basil   the   Great.   This   Liturgy   is especially characterized by its longer and very moving prayers. First Sunday of Great Lent Sunday of Orthodoxy The   First   Sunday   of   Great   Lent   is   dedicated   to   the   final   triumph   of   the   Church   over   the iconoclasts   and   the   restoration   of   the   Holy   Icons   to   the   churches,   which   took   place   on   the First   Sunday   of   Lent,   March   11,   843.   Thus   it   is   called   the   Sunday   of   Orthodoxy.   As   the Orthodox   triumphed   during   the   iconoclastic   controversy   because   of   the   dedication   of   the Martyrs   and   Confessors   who   suffered   for   the   Faith,   so   too,   we   strive   to   imitate   these   Martyrs by   our   own   ascetical   self-denial.   A   special   feature   of   this   day   is   the   Office   of   Orthodoxy,   at which   a   procession   with   the   Holy   Icons   is   made,   and   sixty   anathemas   pronounced   against various heretics and heresies of the 4th-14th Centuries. Second Sunday of Great Lent St. Gregory Palamas The    Second    Sunday    of    Great    Lent    is    dedicated    to    St.    Gregory    Palamas,    Archbishop    of Thessalonica.   St.   Gregory's   triumph   over   the   heretics   of   his   time   is   seen   as   a   renewal   of   the Triumph   of   Orthodoxy   of   the   previous   Sunday.   Another   theme   of   this   Sunday   is   that   of   the Prodigal   Son   as   a   model   of   repentance,   for   which   a   special   Canon   is   devoted   at   this   Sunday's Matins. Third Sunday of Great Lent Veneration of the Cross The   Third   Sunday   of   Great   Lent   is   dedicated   to   the   Cross   and   the   bringing-out   of   the Precious   Cross,   which   closely   parallels   the   ceremonies   of   the   Feast   of   the   Exaltation   of   the Cross   on   Sept.   14.   At   this   time   we   are   reminded   of   the   upcoming   crucifixion   of   the   Lord   and strengthened to persevere in our Lenten struggles. The Fourth Sunday of Great Lent St. John Climacus The   Fourth   Sunday   is   dedicated   to   St.   John   Climacus   (of   The   Ladder),   Abbot   of   Sinai,   who, because   of   his   ascetical   writing   (The   Ladder)   serves   as   a   model   of   a   true   Christian   ascetic. The   Ladder   is   appointed   by   the   Church   to   be   read   during   Great   Lent.   In   the   course   of   this week   (the   Fifth   Week   of   Great   Lent)   the   Great   Canon   of   St.   Andrew   of   Crete   is   read   on Thursday   in   its   entirety,   as   well   as   a   Canon   to   St.   Mary   of   Egypt.   In   addition,   St.   Mary's   Life   is read.   On   Saturday   of   this   week   the   Akathist   Hymn   to   the   Most-Holy   Theotokos   is   sung   with everyone   standing   (Akathistos   means   not   sitting).   It   reminds   us   that   we   are   dependent   on the protecting intercession of the Holy Theotokos at all moments of crisis and danger. The Fifth Sunday of Great Lent St. Mary of Egypt The   Fifth   Sunday   of   Great   Lent   is   dedicated   to   St.   Mary   of   Egypt.   St.   Mary   was   a   harlot   living in   the   Egyptian   city   of   Alexandria   who   later   repented   and   lived   the   rest   of   her   life   in   solitude in   the   Egyptian   desert,   serving   as   a   model   of   repentance   to   all   Christians.   The   end   of   this week the Sixth marks the end of Great Lent and the beginning of Passion Week.
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair? lust of power and idle talk.But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and Cove to Thy servant,Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my Brother; for Blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen