February 21, 2024

Fr. John Romanides as a Professor of Dogmatics at Holy Cross School of Theology in Boston (8 of 8)

f. Death and Selfless Love

"Death is the devil's weapon throughout the world; it is also God's weapon against the devil. God created man for selfless love. Man in turn fell into a double death. Deprived of divine grace, he is unable to do good, even if he wants to do good. As long as he is under the state of death, he is unable to live according to his original purpose.

He has within himself the instinct of self-preservation, which manifests itself in two ways - psychologically and physically. Everyone wants to secure themselves. When he tries to secure himself psychologically, he sins. When he strives psychically, then he takes steps towards salvation. Man seeks physical security, because he needs food, shelter, clothes, etc. (to be protected from the elements of nature). It is obvious that he is automatically interested in himself. If not, he will kill himself. Being concerned about physical security is a natural phenomenon. It is not a sin. Christ Himself cared about it. These are called blameless passions, but they are not considered sins (sadness, lamentation, etc. are blameless passions when they have a good purpose). According to the Platonists, all these are sins, due to the body being the prison of the soul; they belong to the appetitive and incensive parts of the soul.

February 19, 2024

"If a Priest, Be a Priest; If a Ploughman, a Ploughman" (Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By  Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
In Parliament recently, when they were debating the Bill on the "civil marriage of homosexuals" and "adoption", the phrase "If a Priest, be a Priest; if a Ploughman, a Ploughman" (ἤ παπᾶς παπᾶς ἤ ζευγᾶς ζευγᾶς) was heard as a response to the Church and its spokesmen, some journalists considered it a contemptuous response to the Archbishop, after the positions formulated by the Church on this matter.

The Origin of the Phrase

Takis Natsoulis in his book Words and Proverbial Phrases (Λέξεις καί φράσεις παροιμιώδεις) writes about the origin of this proverb:

"If a Priest, be a Priest; if a Ploughman, a Ploughman". This is also an expression that we hear regularly and the first person who said it and it reached our time was the Old Man of Morea, Theodoros Kolokotronis.

One day when they had appointed a meeting, in order to go and hold an ambush, after receiving information that they would pass through an Arvanite village, one of his lads was late in coming. He was a priest who had given up his teleliturgical duties and had dedicated himself to the holy struggle of liberating his homeland from unbelieving enemies. Where he was ready to give the order to the troops to begin, seen from afar was Papa-Lefteris coming running.

When the Old Man asked why he was late, he replied that, as he was passing through the village, he saw the widow of the ill-fated Thanasis who was killed, trying to plow her field, but it was impossible for her. "Then I felt sorry for her and remained behind to help her."

"If a Priest, be a Priest; if a Ploughman, a Ploughman," Kolokotronis told him then and ordered them to begin.

February 18, 2024

Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin 

What should we do, listeners, in such a case when we do not receive from God what we ask for, despite the fact that we ask ourselves for something good, we ask with all our hearts, we ask with repentance for our sins? What to do? We must continue to pray more and more, and we will receive what we pray for.

The Canaanite woman mentioned in the current Gospel serves as the surest proof of this. She had a sick daughter possessed by an evil spirit. Jesus Christ appears in the country where she lived. Knowing about His miraculous power, the Canaanite woman hurried to Him and began to ask for the healing of her daughter. Jesus Christ at first did not answer a word to her request. She, despite this, did not retreat from Him. Jesus Christ refused her, but she did not stop asking, and even more persistently asked Him. How did it end? The mother’s prayer was heard: her daughter immediately recovered (see: Matt. 15:22–28).

Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew Resource Page

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
(2 Corinthians 6:16-18; 7:1)

February 16, 2024

The Childhood Home of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi Consecrated in Cyprus

In the village of Druseia of Paphos, a large number of people arrived from various regions of Cyprus to attend the consecration of the restored family home of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi, who reposed in 2009 at Vatopaidi Monastery on Mount Athos.

It was in this house where he lived his childhood years with his peasant family and from where he left for Mount Athos to become a monk at the age of 15. Prior to this, he had to drop out of elementary school in the 4th grade in order to help his parents with the agricultural work.

This house, once deserted after the death of his parents Pantelis and Eugenia, was left to remind the few relatives of the humble mother and father of the late Elder, but also of the childhood of little Socrates, which was Elder Joseph's name before his monastic tonsure.

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