Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Frightening Vision of Saint Anthony the Great

The Vision of Anthony, 16th cent. Russian miniature

When [Anthony] once had a discussion with certain men who had come to him concerning the state of the soul and of what nature its place will be after this life, the following night one from above called him, saying, "Anthony, rise, go out and look." Having gone out therefore (for he knew whom he ought to obey) looking up, he beheld one standing and reaching to the clouds, tall, hideous, and fearful, and others ascending as though they were winged. And the figure stretched forth his hands, and some of those who were ascending were stayed by him, while others flew above, and having escaped heaven-ward, were borne aloft free from care. At such, therefore, the giant gnashed his teeth, but rejoiced over those who fell back. And immediately a voice came to Anthony, "Do you understand what you see?" And his understanding was opened, and he understood that it was the passing of souls, and that the tall being who stood was the enemy who envies the faithful. And those whom he caught and stopped from passing through are accountable to him, while those whom he was unable to hold as they passed upwards had not been subservient to him. So having seen this, and as it were being reminded, he struggled the more daily to advance towards those things which were before. 

From the Life of Anthony by St. Athanasius the Great, Ch. 66.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Secret-Eater Monk

Painting: "The Secret-Eater Monk"
Location: Dochiariou Monastery, Mount Athos
About: The painting "The Secret-Eater Monk" hangs in the Archondariki (Guest House) of Dochiariou Monastery on Mount Athos as a warning of inappropriate eating habits. This is a modern painting based on a miracle that happened on Mount Athos in one of the monasteries. One of the monks who worked in the kitchen stole some food and secretly ate it in his cell in the evening. One day after Great Vespers, when everyone was going for supper, in the presence of many brethren, the earth opened and a serpent emerged from the earth, consuming the soul of the careless monk.   

Friday, September 4, 2020

Demons Fear the Power of Holy Relics - The Case of St. Babylas

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

A saint's power after his death is often many times greater than in life. "That is why God left us the relics of the saints," says St. John Chrysostom in his unsurpassable homily on St. Babylas (Sept. 4).

St. Babylas was buried in the city of Antioch. At that time, Emperor Gallus - the brother of Julian the Apostate - was reigning together with Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great. Inspired by piety, Gallus translated the relics of St. Babylas to the outskirts of Daphne and built a small church, placing the relics of the martyr in it.