Thursday, November 26, 2015

Finding spiritual peace ( St. Seraphim of Sarov )


The spiritual world is gained by sorrows. The scriptures say: "We went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Ps. 66:12). For those who desire to serve God the path lies through many sorrows. How can we praise the holy martyrs for the sufferings which they bore for God, when we cannot even bear a fever?

Nothing so aids the acquiring of internal peace as silence, and as much as is possible, continual discussion with oneself and rarely with others.

A sign of spiritual life is the immersion of a person within himself and the hidden workings within his heart.

This peace, as some priceless treasure, did our Lord Jesus Christ leave his followers before His death, saying, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:27). The apostle also spoke this about it: "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7); "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).

In this way, we must direct all our thoughts, desires and actions toward obtaining God’s peace, and always cry out with the Church: "Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us" (Is. 26:12).

It is necessary by all means to try to keep one’s spiritual peace, and not to become provoked by insults from others. To do this, it is necessary always to restrain oneself from anger, and by careful watch to guard the mind and heart from unclean waverings.

Insults from others must be borne without disturbance; one must train oneself to be of such a nature, that one can react to insults as if they did not refer to oneself. Such an exercise can bring serenity to our heart and make it a dwelling of God Himself.

We see an example of such a lack of malice in the life of St. Gregory the Miracle-Worker. A certain immoral woman demanded payment from him, purportedly for a sin committed with her. He, not in the least angry with her, humbly said to one of his friends: pay her the price which she demands, quickly. The woman became possessed as soon as she accepted the unrighteous payment. The bishop then prayed and exorcised the evil spirit from her.

If it is impossible not to become indignant, then at least restrain your tongue according to the words of the Psalmist: "I am so troubled that I cannot speak" (Ps. 77:4).

In this instance we can take as examples for ourselves St. Spyridon of Tremifunt and St. Ephraim the Syrian. The first bore an insult when he entered the palace by the demand of the Greek emperor: one of the servants present in the emperor’s chamber, taking him for a beggar, laughed at him, did not allow him to enter the chamber and even struck him on the cheek. St. Spyridon, being without malice, turned the other cheek to him, according the word of the Lord (see Mt. 5:39). The Blessed Ephraim, living in the desert, was once deprived of food in the following fashion. His pupil, carrying the food, accidentally broke the vessel on the way. Blessed Ephraim, seeing the pupil downcast, said to him: "Do not grieve, brother. If the food did not want to come to us, then we will go to it." And so the monk went, sat next to the broken vessel, and, gathering the food together, ate it. He was thus without malice!

In order to keep spiritual peace, it is necessary to chase dejection away from oneself, and to try to have a joyful spirit, according to the words of the most wise Sirach: "Sorrow has killed many, but there is no good in it" (Sir. 30:25).

In order to keep spiritual peace it is also necessary to avoid judging others in any way. Condescension towards your neighbor and silence protect spiritual peace. When a person is in such an state, then he receives Godly revelations.

In order not to lapse into judgment of others, it is necessary to be mindful of oneself, to refuse to receive any bad information from anyone and to be as if dead to others.

For the protection of spiritual peace it is necessary to enter into oneself more often and ask: Where am I? In addition, it is necessary to watch that the physical senses, especially sight, serve the inner person, not diverting the soul with mortal items, because the gifts of grace are received only by those who have inner workings and keep watch over their souls.

St. Seraphim of Sarov

Paraklesis to St. Stylianos of Paphlagonia

St. Stylianos of Paphlagonia, the Righteous, and Protector of Children – Commemorated November 26

Paraklesis to St. Stylianos of Paphlagonia, the Protector of Children

After the “Blessed is our God…”, the Psalm “Lord, hear my prayer…”

Then “God is the Lord…” four times with verses, followed by the following

Troparion in the Fourth Tone

As a worker of God-given wonders, and a protector of the youth and infants, O Stylianos, our Father and healer of Christ, grant children to barren mothers, and ever cover newborn babes, for to you was richly granted grace from God, as you struggled for Him in asceticism as an angel.

Glory. Both now.

O Theotokos, we shall never be silent…

Psalm 50, followed by the Canon in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Ode I.

O Saint of God, intercede on our behalf.

Dissolve, O Stylianos, the shackles of barrenness from those storm-tossed, through your fervent visitation, and entreat for the remission of their offenses.

O Saint of God, intercede on our behalf.

Extend, O Father, as one compassionate, your providence as far-shining rays, and invisibly enwrap and protect nursing babes, O Righteous one.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Cease all infections and passions, and all distress and every affliction, and keep our children unharmed, O Stylianos, as a loving Father.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Theotokion.

My strength and my song and my life, my joy and rejoicing, my guidance and protection, you are, O Virgin who held God, therefore ever protect me, O Spotless one.

Ode III.

You are my help, O Stylianos, and the covering and physician of the newly-born. Therefore, deliver them.

Who can recount your wonders, O Righteous Saint? For you ever deliver us from sicknesses and dangers.


Water with the noetic water of your blessing, newborns, who entreat your grace, O God-bearer.

Both now. Theotokion.

Enlighten me, O All-spotless one, with the sweetest light of repentance, me who am in the night of unclean passions, through your all-powerful might.

Deliver, O God-bearer Stylianos, those who entreat you from every danger and injury, and ever bless the newborn infants.

Look down on me, O All-hymned Theotokos…

Then the entreaty, followed by the Kathisma in the Second Tone

A giver of many incorruptible gifts, you were shown to be, O Stylianos, through your divine strength, and you were revealed to be a perfect nourisher of babes, and a radiant guardian. Nourish and increase these mystically, with the milk of incorruptible goodness.

Ode IV.

Look down immaterially with your gladsome eye, upon all those gathered, and fill them with heavenly peace and gladness.

Heal those in sickness, and lighten those burdened, O Righteous one, and dissipate the stench of the passions, as an inexhaustible spring of wonders.


Your grace was shown to be a great protector of the youth and babes, therefore preserve them, O Stylianos, blessed by God.

Both now. Theotokion.

From your womb dawned the Sun of Righteousness, from Whose illumination, enlighten me, and guide me by His light.

Ode V.

Invisibly visit, O Stylianos, these fragile babes and newborn roots, and protect them from every influence [of the evil one].

Grant healing and deliverance of souls and bodies, through the energy of your godly gifts, to those who hasten, O our Father, to your protection.


Become my protector, and fervent deliverer. Through various trials, O Stylianos, you truly deliver me from dangers.

Both now. Theotokion.

Enlighten us through the radiance and noetic lightning of your greatness, O Mariam, blessed one, desired-of by the whole world.

Ode VI.

Your holy icon is beheld as a sun, lightning with noetic light, and with mystical rays, O God-bearer, ever keep the newborns warm, and wondrously quicken them and grant them graceful renewal.

We have come to know you as a godly path of youth, and a true rod for old age, O Father Stylianos, we who are broken in soul cry to you: do not cease to guard and guide us towards better things.


Make the newborn babes to have full and vibrant rejoicing, and be full of grace, through your providence, drive from them every gloom and illness and sadness, O compassionate one.

Both now. Theotokion.

Lift me up from the pit of evil, O Uplifted One, to the throne of the Creator, O Pure and Blessed Theotokos, towards noetic uplifting and grace, lifting up my soul, and cleanse me from dangers.

Deliver, O God-bearer Stylianos, those who entreat you from every danger and injury, and ever bless the newborn infants.

Spotless one, who by a word did bring to us the Word eternal…

The entreaty, followed by the Kontakion in the Second Tone.

You are the inexhaustible spring of healings, and the most-fervent protector of infants, O blessed Stylianos, deliver from various dangers those who call upon your calling with fervor.

St. Stylianos

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Righteous one.

Verse: What shall I offer to the Lord, for all that He has given to us?

The Gospel according to St. Luke (6:17-23)

At that time, Jesus went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”


Through the intercessions of Your Righteous one, O Merciful One, blot out the multitude of my offenses.

Both now.

Through the intercessions of the Theotokos…

Verse: Have mercy on me, O Merciful One, according to Your great mercy…

Prosomoion in the Plagal of the Second Tone.

Hearken from above, O Father, to those who fervently entreat you, and who ask of your intercessions, and O Righteous one, heal babes and newborns from febrile illnesses, and grant them grace and health, as a most-compassionate one, that having received your God-given medicines, O Stylianos, you might magnify them to the true measure of age.

The Priest: Save, O God, Your people, and bless Your inheritance…

Ode VII.

Deliver from blights, besoiling infections and unclean passions, and every sadness and danger and frenzy, those who cry out and ever hymn you, O thrice-blessed Stylianos.

As the defender of infants, you have been renewed, and a preserver of youth, and a healer of barrenness, making them to be fertile through Christ, O sacred Stylianos, through your radiant asceticism.


Strange wonders, and a multitude of healings, and God-given gifts, springing-forth water, and quenching the furnace of wants and trials, and joyously renewing our minds.

Both now.

O Lady of calming countenance, auspiciously transform the sorrow of my soul and bitter anguish, into divine gladness, and hasten to deliver me, through your strong hand, delivering me from danger.


Make fruitful, O Father, barren mothers, through your speedy intercessions, for they entreat you, pacing, with their whole souls, O Stylianos.

Pour forth grace from your all-holy Icon, through the covering of the Spirit, O Father, and nourish and gladden newborns and infants.


You appear angelic in form, whispering to motherly embracing, fill them, O Godly-minded one, with joy and laughter.

Both now.

Deliver me, O most-supremely Blessed One, from bodily and spiritual pains, through your coming, help me in dangers.

Ode IX.

Heal the sicknesses of nurslings, and whisper to children, O our Father, accepting their mothers’ tears.

You cause every child-corrupting danger to wilt, and keep the innocent ranks of children vibrant and thriving, O Father.


O Stylianos, hasten to deliver me from the writ of my shame, and unhealable dangers from my evil habits and deeds, O God-bearer.

Both now.

Lift up, and hearken, O Full of Grace, to the groans from the depths of my soul, and do not disdain me, who am found in afflictions.

Then “Truly it is meet to call you blessed…”, followed by the Megalynaria:

You were found to be sanctified from your mother’s womb, as the glorious Samuel, and you were shown a true giver, through your virtuous life, O blessed Stylianos, to Him Who glorified you.

Hail, O guide of continence, and divine adornment of dispassion, hail the type of the Righteous in asceticism, O Stylianos, equal to the Angels.

O God-bearer, you are a protector and preserver and provider for newborns, and children and infants, through the divine inbreathing: deliver them from every influence [of the evil one].

Behold, and hearken to the groans of mothers, O godly-minded one, who have taken refuge in you, and hasten to deliver their children from the frenzy of the enemy, O thrice-blessed Stylianos.

As vibrant and joyous flowers, beautiful in appearance and innocent in manner, O wise one, invisibly keep our children, O all-blessed Stylianos, for those who praise you.

Having boldness before Christ, O thrice-blessed Righteous one, do not cease to entreat for those who ask for your aid, that we be delivered from every danger.

All the ranks of Angels, God’s messengers…

The Trisagion, followed by the:

Apolytikion in the Third Tone

A living monument of self restraint, an immovable pillar of the Church you were shown to be, blessed Stylianos, for you were dedicated to God from your youth, and were seen as a dwelling place of the Spirit. Holy Father, entreat Christ our God, to grant us His great mercy.

Petitions, and the Priest commemorates those on behalf of whom the Parakesis is offered. Then the Apolysis, followed by the following:

Prosomoion in the Second Tone

You have been shown a great guide and protector of children and infants and babes, and a true physician, through the Grace of the Spirit. Deliver newborns from weaknesses and afflictions, and various illnesses, keeping them unharmed, and blessing them and speaking to them, that they grow up well, O Stylianos, blessed by God.

St. Stylianos