Orthodoxy

 

What is Orthodoxy?

The word “orthodox” means “right belief” or “right praise.”
The Eastern Orthodox Church is one of the oldest in the world and it is the second largest Christian Church in the world.

The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It isn’t non-denominational – it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost 2000 years ago.(*)

The sole purpose of Orthodox Christianity is the salvation of every human person, uniting him to Christ in the Church, transforming him in holiness, and imparting eternal life. This is the Gospel, the good news, that Jesus is the Messiah, that he rose from the dead, and that we may be saved as a result.(*)
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and
invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, God
of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father,
through Whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was
incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man: Who for us, too, was crucified under
Pontius Pilate, suffered, and was buried: the third day He rose according to the Scriptures, ascended into
heaven, and is seated on the right hand of the Father: He shall come again with glory to judge the living
and the dead, and His kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son: Who
together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified: Who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy, Christian, and apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and life of
the age to come.
Amen.

 The prayer of the Optina Fathers.

  • Grant unto me, my Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.
  • Grant unto me grace to surrender myself completely to Thy holy will.
  • For every hour of this day instruct and prepare me in all things.
  • Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy holy will.
  • Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.
  • When things unforeseen occur, let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee.
  • Teach me to behave sincerely and reasonably toward everyone, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.
  • Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day and to bear my part in all its passing events.
  • Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, so suffer, to forgive, and to love. Amen. source

***

Doamne, dă-mi să întâmpin cu liniște sufletească tot ce-mi va aduce ziua care începe. Dă-mi să mă predau cu totul voii Tale sfinte.În fiecare ceas al acestei zile povățuiește-mă în toate și ajută-mă. Chiar dacă aș primi necazuri și nenorociri în timpul zilei, învață-mă să le primesc cu sufletul liniștit și cu credință tare, că în toate este voia Ta cea sfântă.

În toate faptele și cuvintele mele, Tu călăuzește-mi gândurile și simțămintele. În toate întâmplările neașteptate, nu mă lăsa să uit că totul vine de la Tine. Învață-mă să fiu deschis și înțelept cu toți frații mei, pe nimeni amărând, pe nimeni întristând. Doamne dă-mi puterea să port osteneala zilei de astăzi și toate întâmplările din vremea ei. Călăuzește-mi voia și învață-mă să mă rog, să nădăjduiesc, să cred, să iubesc, să rabd și să iert. Amin

Preluată de aici.

***

“Keep your mind in Hell, and despair not.”   St Silouan of Mt Athos

***

Ţine-ţi mintea ta în iad, dar nu deznădăjdui.

***

“Bless my enemies, O Lord…”

Bless my enemies, O Lord.

Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Enemies have driven me into Your embrace more than friends have.

Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world.

Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does,

so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary,

having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord.

Even I bless them and do not curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.

They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself

They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.

They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself

They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.

Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.

Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.

Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.

Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.

Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.

Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of Your garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord.

Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:

so that my fleeing to You may have no return;

so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs;

so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul;

so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins: arrogance and anger;

so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven;

ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows,

that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.

One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.

Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies.

A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand.

But a son blesses them, for he understands.

For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life.

Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

Bless my enemies, O Lord.

Even I bless them and do not curse them.

St. Nikolai Velimirovic, was a twentieth century Serbian Orthodox bishop who opposed Nazism and was eventually taken to Dachau and suffered there for the Christian faith. Later he was released and continued his Christian witness until the Lord called him to Himself. Source

***

RUGĂCIUNE PENTRU VRĂJMAŞI

Doamne binecuvântează pe vrăjmaşii mei! Şi eu îi binecuvântez şi nu-i blestem! Vrăjmaşii m-au împins şi mai mult spre Tine, în braţele Tale, mai mult decât prietenii. Aceştia m-au legat de pământ şi mi-au răsturnat orice nădejde spre pământ. Vrăjmaşii m-au făcut străin faţă de împărăţiile pământeşti şi un locuitor netrebnic, faţă de pământ. Precum o fiară prigonită, aşa şi eu, prigonit fiind, în faţa vrăjmaşilor, am aflat un adăpost mai sigur, ascunzându-mă sub cortul Tău, unde nici vrăjmaşii, nici prietenii, nu pot pierde sufletul meu.
Doamne, binecuvântează pe vrăjmaşii mei! Şi eu îi binecuvântez şi nu-i blestem. Ei au mărturisit în locul meu păcatele mele în faţa lumii. Ei m-au biciuit, când eu m-am cruţat de biciuire. Ei m-au chinuit atunci când eu am fugit de chinuri.
Ei m-au hulit atunci când eu m-am măgulit pe mine însumi.
Ei m-au scuipat atunci când eu m-am mândrit cu mine însumi.
Când eu m-am făcut înţelept, ei m-au numit nebun.
Când m-am făcut puternic, ei au râs de mine ca de un pitic.
Când am vrut să conduc pe oameni ei m-au împins înapoi.
Când m-am grăbit să mă îmbogăţesc, ei m-au smucit înapoi cu mână de fier.
Când m-am gândit să dorm liniştit, ei m-au trezit din somn.
Când mi-am zidit casă pentru viaţă lungă şi liniştită, ei au răsturnat-o şi m-au izgonit afară. Într-adevăr vrăjmaşii m-au dezlegat de lume şi mi-au prelungit mâinile până la veşmântul Tău.
Binecuvântează Doamne pe vrăjmaşii mei!
Binecuvântează-i şi-i înmulţeşte; asmute-i şi mai mult împotriva mea, ca fuga mea spre Tine să fie fără întoarcere; ca să se rupă nădejdea mea în oameni ca pânza de păianjen; ca smerenia să împărăţească deplin în inima mea; ca inima mea să devină mormântul celor rele. Ca toată comoara mea să o aduni în ceruri. Ah, de m-aş elibera odată de autoamăgire, care m-a încâlcit într-o mreajă cumplită a vieţii înşelătoare!
Vrăjmaşii m-au învăţat să ştiu ceea ce puţin ştiu în lume: că omul nu are pe pământ vrăjmaşi afară de sine însuşi. Doar acela urăşte pe vrăjmaşi, care nu ştie că vrăjmaşi nu sunt vrăjmaşi, ci prieteni severi. De aceea, Doamne, binecuvântează pe prietenii şi pe vrăjmaşii mei! Sluga blestemă pe vrăjmaşi căci nu ştie, iar Fiul îi binecuvântează căci ştie. Fiul ştie că vrăjmaşii nu pot să se atingă de viaţa lui. De aceea El păşeşte liber între ei şi se roagă lui Dumnezeu pentru aceştia.
Doamne binecuvântează pe vrăjmaşii mei! Şi eu îi binecuvântez şi nu-i blestem!

Marele Mitropolit Sârb
Nicolae Velimirovici,
un martir al comunismului ateist

Preluată de aici.

***

And there is a word which was spoken once by a Russian elder, one of the last elders of Optina. He said to a visitor of his: No one can live without sin, few know how to repent in such a way that their sins are washed as white as fleece. But there is one thing which we all can do: when we can neither avoid sin, nor repent truly, we can then bear the burden of sin, bear it patiently, bear it with pain, bear it without doing anything to avoid the pain and the agony of it, bear it as one would bear a cross, — not Christ’s cross, not the cross of true discipleship, but the cross of the thief who was crucified next to Him. Didn’t the thief say to his companion who was blaspheming the Lord: We are enduring because we have committed crimes; He endures sinlessly… And it is to him, because he had accepted the punishment, the pain, the agony, the consequences indeed of evil he had committed, of being the man he was, that Christ said, ‘Thou shalt be with Me today in Paradise.’

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. 12 August 1984 source

***

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