May 31, 2019

The following is taken from the life of St Paisios of Mt Athos by Hieromonk Isaac

Young Georgios from the Far East

Georgios, a young man of sixteen or seventeen, came to Mount Athos to look around the monasteries. Though Greek by blood, he had been raised abroad from early childhood among Tibetan Buddhist monks in their monastery. He had made a great deal of progress in meditation, and he had become an accomplished sorcerer, able to summon any demon he wanted. (*** See Note at the end of story) He was also an expert in the martial arts. Using the power of Satan, he made impressive displays of his abilities: he broke hazelnuts in his palm, and tossed away the shells while the nuts remained attached to his hand. He could read closed books. He struck large rocks with his bare hand, and they shattered like walnuts.

Some monks brought Georgios to the Elder so that he could help him. Georgios asked the Elder what powers he had, what he could do, and the Elder answered that he himself did not ha...

May 19, 2019

Christ's descent into Hell is a major theme of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church. I try as much as I can to look over the Holy Week service book before each one so I can meditate on the meaning of the beautiful texts that I will hear chanted and read that day.

In doing so I have had to rethink some of the Biblical texts that I thought I knew well.  I wanted to summarize and share some of what I've learned so far.  I am especially grateful to Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev and his teaching in "Christ the Conqueror of Hell: the Descent into Hades from an Orthodox Perspective." This doesn't come close to covering everything he has to say, but I'm following his outline of Biblical texts so that you can see his thought process. I hope it will be as helpful to you as it has been for me in understanding the Orthodox way of reading the Bible on this topic.

That Christ descended into Hades or Hell isn't mentioned directly in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John but it is indirectly in the Gospel o...

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