Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy fire








Where and when does the miracle occur?

The ceremony, which awes the souls of Christians, takes place in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. The date for Pascha is determined anew for every year. It must be a first Sunday after the spring equinox and Jewish Passover. Therefore, most of the time it differs from the date of Catholic and Protestant Easter, which is determined using different criteria. The Holy Fire is the most renowned miracle in the world of Eastern Orthodoxy. IIt has taken place at the same time, in the same manner, in the same place every single year for centuries. No other miracle is known to occur so regularly and so steadily over time. No other miracle is known to occur so regularly and so steadily over time. It happens in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the holiest place on earth, where Christ was crucified, entombed, and where He finally rose from the dead.

Ceremony of Holy Light

In order to be as close to the Sepulchre as possible, pilgrims camp next to it. The Sepulchre is located in the small chapel called Holy Ciborium, which is inside the Church of the Resurrection. Typically they wait from the afternoon of Holy Friday in anticipation of the miracle on Holy Saturday. Beginning at around 11:00 in the morning the Christian Arabs chant traditional hymns in a loud voice. These chants date back to the Turkish occupation of Jerusalem in the 13th century, a period in which the Christians were not allowed to chant anywhere but in the churches. "We are the Christians, we have been Christians for centuries, and we shall be forever and ever. Amen!" - they chant at the top of their voices accompanied by the sound of drums. The drummers sit on the shoulders of others who dance vigorously around the Holy Ciborium. But at 1:00 pm the chants fade out, and then there is a silence. A tense silence, charged from the anticipation of the great demonstration of God's power for all to witness.
Shortly thereafter, a delegation from the local authorities elbows its way through the crowd. At the time of the Turkish occupation of Palestine they were Muslim Turks; today they are Israelis. Their function is to represent the Romans at the time of Jesus. The Gospels speak of the Romans that went to seal the tomb of Jesus, so that his disciples would not steal his body and claim he had risen. In the same way the Israeli authorities on this Holy Saturday come and seal the tomb with wax. Before they seal the door, they follow a custom to enter the tomb, and to check for any hidden source of fire, which would make a fraud of the miracle.

How the miracle occurs

"I enter the tomb and kneel in holy fear in front of the place where Christ lay after His death and where He rose again from the dead... (narrates Orthodox Patriarch Diodor - ed.). I find my way through the darkness towards the inner chamber in which I fall on my knees. Here I say certain prayers that have been handed down to us through the centuries and, having said them, I wait. Sometimes I may wait a few minutes, but normally the miracle happens immediately after I have said the prayers. From the core of the very stone on which Jesus lay an indefinable light pours forth. It usually has a blue tint, but the colour may change and take many different hues. It cannot be described in human terms. The light rises out of the stone as mist may rise out of a lake — it almost looks as if the stone is covered by a moist cloud, but it is light. This light each year behaves differently. Sometimes it covers just the stone, while other times it gives light to the whole sepulchre, so that people who stand outside the tomb and look into it will see it filled with light. The light does not burn — I have never had my beard burnt in all the sixteen years I have been Patriarch in Jerusalem and have received the Holy Fire. The light is of a different consistency than normal fire that burns in an oil lamp... At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature, so that I am able to light my candles from it. When I thus have received the flame on my candles, I go out and give the fire first to the Armenian Patriarch and then to the Coptic. Hereafter I give the flame to all people present in the Church."
While the patriarch is inside the chapel kneeling in front of the stone, there is darkness but far from silence outside. One hears a rather loud mumbling, and the atmosphere is very tense. When the Patriarch comes out with the two candles lit and shining brightly in the darkness, a roar of jubilee resounds in the Church.
The Holy Light is not only distributed by the Archbishop, but operates also by itself. It is emitted from the Holy Sepulchre with a hue completely different from that of natural light. It sparkles, it flashes like lightning, it flies like a dove around the tabernacle of the Holy Sepulchre, and lights up the unlit lamps of olive oil hanging in front of it. It whirls from one side of the church to the other. It enters some of the chapels inside the church, as for instance the chapel of the Calvery (at a higher level than the Holy Sepulchre) and lights up the little lamps. It lights up also the candles of certain pilgrims. In fact there are some very pious pilgrims who, every time they attended this ceremony, noticed that their candles lit up on their own accord!his divine light also presents some peculiarities: As soon as it appears it has a bluish hue and does not burn. At the first moments of its appearance, if it touches the face, or the mouth, or the hands, it does not burn. This is proof of its divine and supernatural origin. We must also take into consideration that the Holy Light appears only by the invocation of an Orthodox Archbishop.

The miracle is not confined to what actually happens inside the little tomb, where the Patriarch prays. What may be even more significant, is that the blue light is reported to appear and be active outside the tomb. Every year many believers claim that this miraculous light ignites candles, which they hold in their hands, of its own initiative. All in the church wait with candles in the hope that they may ignite spontaneously. OOften unlit oil lamps catch light by themselves before the eyes of the pilgrims. The blue flame is seen to move in different places in the Church. A number of signed testimonies by pilgrims, whose candles lit spontaneously, attest to the validity of these ignitions. The person who experiences the miracle from close up by having the fire on the candle or seeing the blue light usually leaves Jerusalem changed, and for everyone having attended the ceremony, there is always a "before and after" the miracle of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem.

How old is the wonder?

The first written account of the Holy Fire (Holy Light) dates from the fourth century, but authors write about events that occurred in the first century. So Ss. John Damascene and Gregory of Nissa narrate how the Apostle Peter saw the Holy Light in the Holy Sepulchre after Christ's resurrection. "One can trace the miracle throughout the centuries in the many itineraries of the Holy Land." The Russian abbot Daniel, in his itinerary written in the years 1106-07, presents the "Miracle of the Holy Light" and the ceremonies that frame it in a very detailed manner. He recalls how the Patriarch goes into the Sepulchre-chapel (the Anastasis) with two candles. The Patriarch kneels in front of the stone on which Christ was laid after his death and says certain prayers, at which point the miracle occurs. Light proceeds from the core of the stone - a blue, indefinable light which after some time kindles unlit oil lamps as well as the Patriarch's two candles. This light is "The Holy Fire", and it spreads to all people present in the Church. The ceremony surrounding "The Miracle of the Holy Fire" may be the oldest unbroken Christian ceremony in the world. From the fourth century A.D. all the way up to our own time, sources recall this awe-inspiring event. From these sources it becomes clear that the miracle has been celebrated on the same spot, on the same feast day, and in the same liturgical frame throughout all these centuries.
Every time heterodox have tried to obtain the Holy Fire they have failed. Three such attempts are known. Two occured in the twelfth century when priests of the Roman church tried to force out the Orthodox church but by their own confession these ended with God's punishment. [3,4] But the most miraculous event occured in the year 1579, the year when God clearly testified to whom alone may be given His miracle.
"Once the Armenians (monophysites - ed.) paid the Turks, who then occupied the Holy Land, in order to obtain permission for their Patriarch to enter the Holy Sepulchre, the Orthodox Patriarch was standing sorrowfully with his flock at the exit of the church, near the left column, when the Holy Light split this column vertically and flashed near the Orthodox Patriarch.
A Muslim Muezzin, called Tounom, who saw the miraculous event from an adjacent mosque, immediately abandoned the Muslim religion and became an Orthodox Christian. This event took place in 1579 under Sultan Mourad IV, when the Patriarch of Jerusalem was Sophrony IV (The above mentioned split column still exists. It dates from the twelfth century. The Orthodox pilgrims embrace it at the "place of the split" as they enter the church).[2, date and name are corrected]
Turkish warriors stood on the wall of a building close to the gate and lightning-struck column . When he saw this striking miracle he cried that Christ is truly God and leaped down from a height of about ten meters. But he was not killed-the stones under him became as soft as wax and his footprint was left upon them. The Turks tried to scrape away these prints but they could not destroy them; so they remain as witnesses [5].
He was burned by the Turks near the Church. His remains, gathered by the Greeks, lay in the monastery of Panagia until the 19th century shedding chrism.
Muslims, who deny the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, tried to put obstacles in the way of the miracle. Well known Muslim historian Al Biruni wrote: "… a (note: Muslim) governor brought a copper wire instead of a wick (note: for the self lighting oil lamps), in order that it wouldn't ignite and the whole thing would fail to occur. But as the fire descended, the copper burned."
This was not the only attempt. The report written by the English chronicler, Gautier Vinisauf, describes what happened in the year 1192.
"In 1187, the Saracens under the direction of Sultan Salah ad-Din took Jerusalem. In that year, the Sultan desired to be present at the celebration, even though he was not a Christian. Gautier Vinisauf tells us what happened: "On his arrival, the celestial fire descended suddenly, and the assistants were deeply moved...the Saracens... said that the fire which they had seen to come down was produced by fraudulent means. Salah ad-Din, wishing to expose the imposter, caused the lamp, which the fire from Heaven had lighted, to be extinguished, but the lamp relit immediately. He caused it to be extinguished a second time and a third time, but it relit as of itself. Thereupon, the Sultan, confounded, cried out in prophetic transport: 'Yes, soon shall I die, or I shall lose Jerusalem.'"

A miracle that is unknown in the West

One can ask the question of why the miracle of the Holy Fire is almost unknown in Western Europe. In Protestant areas it may, to a certain extent, be explained by the fact that there is no real tradition of miracles; people don't really know in which box to place the miracles, and they rarely feature in newspapers. But in the Catholic tradition there is vast interest in miracles. Thus, why is it not more well known? For this only one explanation suffices: Church politics. Only the Orthodox Churches attend the ceremony which is centered on the miracle. It only occurs on the Orthodox date of Easter and without the presence of any Catholic authorities.

The question of the authenticity of the miracle

As with any other miracle there are people who believe it is a fraud and nothing but a masterpiece of Orthodox propaganda. They believe the Patriarch has a lighter inside of the tomb. These critics, however, are confronted with a number of problems. Matches and other means of ignition are recent inventions. Only a few hundred years ago lighting a fire was an undertaking that lasted much longer than the few minutes during which the Patriarch is inside the tomb. One then could perhaps say, he had an oil lamp burning inside, from which he kindled the candles, but the local authorities confirmed that they had checked the tomb and found no light inside it.
The best arguments against a fraud, however, are not the testimonies of the shifting Patriarchs. The biggest challenges confronting the critics are the thousands of independent testimonies by pilgrims whose candles were lit spontaneously in front of their eyes without any possible explanation. According to our investigations, it has never been possible to film any of the candles or oil lamps igniting by themselves. However, I am in the possession of a video filmed by a young engineer from Bethlehem, Souhel Nabdiel. Mr. Nabdiel has been present at the ceremony of the Holy Fire since his early childhood. In 1996 he was asked to film the ceremony from the balcony of the dome of the Church. Present with him on the balcony were a nun and four other believers. The nun stood at the right hand of Nabdiel. On the video one can see how he films down on the crowds. At a certain point all lights are turned off - it is time for the Patriarch to enter the tomb and receive the Holy Fire. While he is still inside the tomb one suddenly hears a scream of surprise and wonder originating from the nun standing next to Nabdiel. The camera begins to shake, as one hears the excited voices of the other people present on the balcony. The camera now turns to the right, whereby it is possible to contemplate the cause of the commotion. A big candle, held in the hand of the Russian nun, takes fire in front of all the people present before the patriarch comes out of the tomb. She holds the candle with shaking hands while making the sign of the Cross over and over again in awe of the miracle she has witnessed. This video appears to be the closest one gets to an actual filming of the miracle.

Editor: Rev.Spyridon Tanous
Orthodox Patristic Church- Sweden
Ἐκκλησία τῶν Γ.Ο.Χ

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Friday Evening - The Lamentation

It consists of psalms, hymns, and readings dealing with the death of Christ, in contrast to His divinity, and in expectation of His Resurrection. One of the hymns relates: "He who holds all things is raised up on the Cross and all creation laments to see Him hang naked on the Tree." The thoughtful and well-written Odes, sung by the choir, compare the Compassion of God and the cruelty of man, the Might of God and the moral weakness of man. The Odes picture all Creation trembling when witnessing its Creator hung by His own creatures: "Creation was moved...with intense astonishment when it beheld Thee hung in Golgotha." The Odes remind us of the vision of Isaiah, who saw Christ, "the unwaning light of the manifestation," and cried aloud, "The dead indeed shall arise and all those on earth shall rejoice." During this service, the Body of Christ is carried in procession around the church. In some parishes, the entire flower-bedecked Sepulcher, symbolizing the Tomb, is carried in the procession.

The entire congregation joins in singing the three parts of the "Hymns of Praise" (there are approximately 300 hymns, but only a few are sung). After these hymns are sung, the priest sprinkles the Sepulcher and the whole congregation with fragrant water. There is a simultaneous praise of both the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ with their purpose of the redemption of man. We no longer lament the sufferings of the Crucified One; we now lament chiefly for our own sins because we are far from God. So these services should have a rather personal meaning of repentance and of strong faith in God.
Christians observe Good Friday with fasting, prayer, cleanliness, self-examination, confession, and good works, in humility and repentance so that the Grace of the Cross might descend upon them.

The Gospel reading is Matthew 27:62-66.

Editor: διάκονος. Camill Tannous
 Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church

Good Friday Morning

The Vespers of Friday afternoon are a continuation of the Royal Hours. During this service, the removal of the Body of Christ from the Cross is commemorated with a sense of mourning for the terrible events which took place. Once more, excerpts from the Old Testament are read together with hymns, and again the entire story is related, followed by the removal from the Cross and the wrapping of the Body of Christ with a white sheet as did Joseph of Arimathea. Apostle Paul, interpreting the dreadful event, exhorts the Church: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God...we preach Christ crucified...the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1 Cor. 1: 18f.)

As the priest reads the Gospel, "and taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in a white cloth," he removes the Body of Christ from the Cross, wraps It in a white cloth, and takes It to the altar. The priest then chants a mourning hymn: "When Joseph of Arimathea took Thee, the life of all, down from the Tree dead, he buried Thee with myrrh and fine linen...rejoicing. Glory to Thy humiliation, O Master, who clothest Thyself with light as it were with a garment." The priest then carries the cloth on which the Body of Christ is painted or embroidered around the church before placing It inside the Sepulcher, a carved bier which symbolizes the Tomb of Christ. We are reminded that during Christ's entombment, He descends into Hades to free the dead of the ages before His Incarnation.
The Gospel readings which relate these events are: Matt. 27:1-38; Luke 23:29-43; Matt. 27:29-54; John 19:31-37; Matt. 27:55-61. Good Friday is the only day in the year on which the Divine Liturgy is not officiated.
Today, the devoted Christian ponders in his heart the deep meaning of the Seven Last Words of Christ uttered on the Cross, the first Divine Pulpit of Christianity.

Editor: διάκονος. Camill Tannous
 Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Friday

On Holy FridayMorning:
In the Orthodox Church, we have a certain part of worship that is called “The Liturgy of the Hours.” They are chanted every single day, usually by members of the monastic community. On Holy Friday, though, we have all Churches chanting the service of the Royal Hours. They are called “Royal Hours”, because they are different from the regular service of the Hours (in that, they remember what happened, hour by hour, to Jesus Christ during His Passion).

Here’s what is remembered each Hour:
1st Hour: Judas’ death; Pilate's discussion with Jesus; the mocking of Christ; the Crucifixion and death of Christ
3rd Hour: Mocking Jesus; Crucifixion and death of Jesus
6th Hour: Crucifixion of Christ; the Thief on the Cross; Jesus’ death
9th Hour: Jesus’ commission to Panagia and St. John the Divine; Death of Christ; events thereafter
This service is usually done every Holy Friday morning, or Holy Friday afternoon right before Vespers.

1st Hour:
Psalm 5, Psalm 2, Psalm 22, Zachariah 11:10-13, Galatians 6:14-18, Matthew 27:1-56
3rd Hour:
Psalm 35, Psalm 109, Psalm 51, Isaiah 50:4-11, Romans 5:6-10, Mark 15:16-32
6th Hour:
Psalm 54, Psalm 140, Psalm 91, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 2:11-18, Luke 23:32-49
9th Hour:
Psalm 69, Psalm 70, Psalm 86, Jeremiah 11:18-12:5, 9-11, 14-15, Hebrews 10:19-31, John 19:23-37

Holy Friday Vespers
On Holy Friday afternoon, we gather in Church for the Vespers called The Service of the Descent from the Cross (Αποκαθήλωσις). During this service, various hymns are chanted about Jesus’ death. Various Bible readings are read after the “Thanksgiving of the Lighting of the Lamps”, which discuss the suffering and death of Jesus. Towards the conclusion of the Gospel reading, the Bishop or Priest, acting as Joseph of Arimathea, takes down the Body of Christ off the Cross. After this, the Bishop or Priest takes out the Επιτάφιο (an icon depicting Jesus being taken down off the Cross) and put it into the grave of Christ (which is decorated with various flowers). After the service is over, the people will come and venerate the Επιτάφιο with respect
OT Prophecies: Exodus 33:11-23, Job 42:12-17, Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:2
Gospel: Matthew 27:1-38, Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 27:39-54, John 19:31-37, Matthew 27:55-61

Editor: διάκονος. Camill Tannous
 Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church

Holy Thursday Morning

The Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (Holy Thursday Morning)

This Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is done on Holy Thursday morning, in anticipation of the events of the evening (i.e. the mocking, crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.) Some of the same hymns are chanted, as we chanted for the Matins service. People commune the Body and Blood of Christ at the time we always do; after the Liturgy, the Priest does not commune anyone until Holy Saturday morning.
During this Liturgy, we find the Priest consecrates a second “Lamb” (that is, the piece of bread that becomes the Body of Christ during the Divine Liturgy). The Body of Christ is then immersed into the Blood of Christ in the Chalice. It is then placed in the Artoforion (the place where the Holy Communion is kept throughout the year). The amazing miracle that happens is that the Holy Communion does not “ruin” after being in the Artoforion for an entire year!
Each year, a new piece is put in for emergency cases.

OT Prophecies: Exodus 19:10-19, Job 19:10-19, Isaiah 50:4-11Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:23-32
Gospel: Matthew 26:2-20, John 13:3-17, Matthew 26:21-39, Luke 22:43-44, Matthew 26:40-75. 27:1-5

The Passion Service (Holy Thursday Evening)
The 12 Gospels, in the order they are read on Holy Thursday evening:
John 13:31-18:1
John 18:1-28
Matthew 26:57-75
John 18:28-19:16
Matthew 27:3-32
Mark 15:16-32
Luke 23:32-49
John 19:25-37
Mark 15:43-47
John 19:38-42
Matthew 27:62-66

The service on Holy Thursday night is one of the longest services of the year. The Holy Service of the Passion is a service filled with beautiful hymnography and 12 Gospels that depict the various events of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Various hymns are chanted by the people, and Gospels are read that describe Jesus’ betrayal, His trial by the Chief Priests and Pilate, and then His Crucifixion. 

After the Fifth Gospel, the Priest carries out a large Crucifix (usually found behind the Altar Table), to the following Hymn (the 15th Antiphon):
Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon a Tree. He who is King of the Angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in mocking purple. He who freed Adam in the Jordan receives a blow on the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails. The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a lance. We worship your Sufferings, O Christ. Show us also your glorious Resurrection.
Following the Procession, people come up and venerate the Crucified Christ.

This service has the definite notion of χαρμολύπη, bittersweet joy: We are very sad because our God has died. We believe that Jesus Christ was not a phantom, or only Man: He was fully God, He came to earth and died on the Cross, so that we may live. We are very joyous that Jesus will soon be victorious over death with His Resurrection, and through His death we receive life.

Editor: διάκονος. Camill Tannous
 Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church


Editor: διάκονος. Camill Tannous Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church

Friday, April 15, 2011

Holy Tradition

The Tradition was called "Apostolic" because it was delivered by the Apostles to the Churches which they founded.
It was later also called "ecclesiastic" because it was delivered again in each generation by the Church’s teachers to their people. Its substance was considered to consist of the central facts and beliefs crystallized in the Creeds of the great orthodox bishoprics. In the early Christian literature, there are references to an "unwritten tradition" left by the Apostles. This, however, does not appear to refer to any body of information independent of Scripture but rather to the evidence of primitive Christian institutions and customs which confirm Biblical teachings.

1- Then, by Holy Tradition (with capital T) the aggregate of truths of the faith is signified; these were originally orally transmitted by Christ and the Apostles to the members of the Church and, after that, taught in their entirety by the Church. These truths have been partially formulated and stated by the Ecumenical Councils, and by minor synods validated by the former; they have also been circulating in the common faith and conscience of the Church and have been included in later dogmatic and symbolic texts, in the writings of the Fathers and in the liturgical books of the Church.

2- Holy Tradition also contains all ecclesiastical traditions (with small t) referring to worship, polity, and, generally, the customs connected with the life of the Church. These traditions deserve respect on the part of the congregation but should be distinguished from the dogmatic Tradition referring to the truths of the Orthodox Faith. Holy Tradition is considered to be a source of Christian faith of the same authority and standing as that of the Bible.

Editor: υπο-διάκονος. Camill Tannous
 Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Theological of the Icon / Mother Of God (θεοτοκος)

I thought that It will be an appropriate beginning to our studies on "the Fathers of church"  to talk and highlight upon the one of the theological stages of our church which belong to the lady the mother of God through study the icon of Dormition of Our Lady  , the Mother of the Holy Fathers.
  the icon of the Dormition of Our Lady (Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου ) That distinguish one of the most important manifestations of holiness among a very large group of saints and Fathers of the Church,
that appear clearly  how  disciples came to the location of the dormition where they were too far from that location with  the angels to celebrate her  Assumption into heaven
to understand the event we must split the topic of this Icon into three sections:

1- Mother of God, the girl child:      (Μητέρα του Θεού, των κοριτσιών)
In the top section of this icon we see Jesus Christ in the middle, in his glory, having the spirit of his mother.  Viewed the body of his mother and in his left hand holds what looks like a child wearing a white robe carrying a halo. The child is here, "the spirit of his mother the mother of light

2- The advent of the apostles and the believers:  (Η έλευση των αποστόλων)

We see in this section of the Icon a reference to the miraculous Coming of the Apostles from of the end of the earth "in the clouds." We also find angels surrounding Christ with the four bishops of saints behind the apostles were: St. James (brother of the Lord) was the first bishop of Jerusalem, and three students of the apostles.
Appear in the latter part of the icon represents a group of women believers and stands with the Apostles and bishops to the small group that I have to see the secret of Dormition of the Mother of God.


3- His Holiness the body of the Mother of God:    (σώμα Αυτού Αγιότητα της Μητέρας του Θεού)

Icon appears in the Jewish Athotios who dared to touch the coffin, cutting off his hands. This story drawn from the tradition and some apocryphal texts, which also stresses that the end of life and mystery of the Mother of God Church to maintain it may not be subjected to desecration by strangers can not awareness of the glory of the Dormition of the Virgin.

Glory to the Holy Trinity in his kingdom.

Editor: υπο-διάκονος. Camill Tannous
Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church

Theology of the Icon

Icon in the orthodox tradition it means much more than pictorial representing of a religious subject, in fact every icon whether it depicts Christ, the Word and Son of God, a Saints or biblical scene represents a confession of faith and witness to the inc...arnation, crucify and resurrection .   Icon manifests something greater than its physical limits , it’s like writing word where its expresses divine truth in a manner that humans can perceive and understand   Icon is also microcosm, which links together the divine and created worlds. the world of matter is represented in various forms including plants, water, etc, in the composition of the image while penal Icons combine wood, mineral pigments, water…etc, thus the icon acts as a window, or passageway between human being and God. it offer window into eternal meaning and are thus worthy of honour and devotion, such honour is not offered to the icon itself, but to what it represents .

Editor: υπο-διάκονος. Camill Tannous
Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church

Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem

Prayer of St Ephrem
"O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and no...t to judge my brother, for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen."  
Psalm 144:   1 David's Psalm of praise
.  I will exalt thee, my God, my king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. 2 Every day will I bless thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. 3 The Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; and there is no end to his greatness. 4 Generation after generation shall praise thy works, and tell of thy power. 5 And they shall speak of the glorious majesty of thy holiness, and recount thy wonders. 6 And they shall speak of the power of thy terrible deeds; and recount thy greatness. 7 They shall utter the memory of the abundance of thy goodness, and shall exult in thy righteousness. 8 The Lord is compassionate, and merciful; long suffering, and abundant in mercy. 9 The Lord is good to those that wait on him; and his compassions are over all his works. 10 Let all thy works, O Lord, give thanks to thee; and let thy saints bless thee. 11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy dominion; 12 to make known to the sons of men thy power, and the glorious majesty of thy kingdom. 13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful in his words, and holy in all his works. 14 The Lord supports all that are falling, and sets up all that are broken down. 15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their food in due season. 16 Thou openest thine hands, and fillest every living thing with pleasure. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. 18 The Lord is near to all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. 19 He will perform the desire of them that fear him: and he will hear their supplication, and save them. 20 The Lord preserves all that love him: but all sinners he will utterly destroy. 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Editor: υπο-διάκονος. Camill Tannous
Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church