Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This Sunday we commemorate the Holy Fathers of the first six Ecumenical Councils. It is a reminder to us of the long history of the Church in preserving, and fighting for, the truth. But sometimes we come to such days, and we might think of all of that as being in the past, and not something that lives and thrives in the modern world. On this day, though, I am reminded of one of the greatest modern saints, whose life shows us that the Church is not simply the glory of the past, but also the living presence of God in our own time.
In that vein, on this day in 1994, Elder Paisios, a monk of Mount Athos, fell asleep in the Lord. Thereafter, he was formally glorified as a saint. His life is both instructive and inspiring. He was loving and available to everyone, and had great care for everyone. He built a monastery for women near the Holy Mountain. And everywhere he went, miracles abounded. After his death, the number of miracles reported and attributed to him are very numerous.
Presently, I am reading a book about St. Paisios titled "Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain", by Hieromonk Isaac. It is only one of many books written about him. For all of us, though, it is essential that we read about saints of our own time. They are numerous, and not all of them have necessarily been formally glorified. Among those who have are St. Porphyrious of Greece, Elder Sophrony of England, St. Amphilocius of Patmos (who famously said to those who sought his help "My children, I don't want Paradise without you.") and St. Silouan of the Holy Mountain. Others, not yet glorified, but undeniably holy, are Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas, and numerous others. By reading of these saints who so recently have walked among us we are reminded of the living presence of our Lord in the world around us.
1. The coming week: On Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. we will serve Great Vespers, followed on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. by Divine Liturgy. On Wednesday evening we will serve a moleben for the sick and the suffering at 6:00 pm, followed by Inquirers Class.
2. After Liturgy on Sunday, I need to meet briefly with the parish council about repairing the air conditioning, and laying the ground work for the Diocesan Sobor in October.
3. If you have an idea of a book or topic for our next adult study please let me know! We should start soon after Labor Day.
I hope to see you all this weekend!