The Orthodox Aestetics in the Hagiography of St Arsenius of Srem

Fresco painting depicting the burial service of St Arsenius
in The Patriarchate of Pec

An opening discussion for further research

At this historical moment of our struggle to keep Kosovo and Metohija within the boundaries of Serbia, and in the light of 1220th anniversary of 1st Ecumenical Council, it seems sensible to discuss the topic of burial services as presented on frescoes and icons in the Patriarchate of Pec. A new iconoclasm has been present in Kosovo and Metohija in the course of recent years. We have recently visited Pec, i.e. on the occasion of celebrating the Feast of Holy Protection of Тheotocos and once again experienced silent prayers of this sanctuary area, the See of Serbian Archbishops and Patriarchs; it is a sanctuary in wich holy relics of saints and icons speak a wordless language. The peace of the Sanctuary takes us into another dimension; it is witnessing of the one crying in the contemporary wilderness spreading the voice of the Truth.

The Heavenly-earthly Citizenship of the City of God

by Bishop Jovan (Puric)

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have been invited to make a presentation before this eminent gathering, in the briefest possible manner, a sort of introduction to the Christian understanding of the city and citizenship in Byzantium, within the framework of the topic we have chosen – “The Heavenly-Earthly Citizenship of the City of God.”

As is well known, the topic of city and citizenship is quite current in the civilization and the time we live in. I think that Christian witnessing can make a valuable contribution to this topic, in underlining the originally Christian and primarily theological aspects of this topic, which often remain outside the bounds of consideration in philosophical, anthropological, sociological and, in general, culturological approaches, or are, even, totally ignored.

Saint John Chrysostom: Liturgical Ethos and Modernity

Bishop Dr. Jovan (Puric)

Modernity confronts us with many dilemmas. Man must answer challenges, and not only those for which his teachers in his educational-upbringing process prepared him, but also totally new and different problems that life places before us. And it has always been so. Still, sociologists, pedagogues and culturologists generally agree that today’s world is changing at a significantly faster pace than before. The technological progress and social innovations of the 20th century have transformed the world much faster than, for instance, the entire process of technological development during medieval times. This tempo of development has continued to this day.

Saint Bishop Nikolai Of Ohrid and Zhicha and Enlightener of America

Like St. Sava , the Enlightener of Serbia, holy Bishop Nicholai died in a foreign land. Behind the main church of Chelije Monastery in his home village of Lelich, next to the grave of Archimandrite Justin Popovich ( +1979) , was marked  a place  for his return to the homeland and the people he so very much loved. Thus, on April 27, 1991, after twenty five years of repose in the Lord in America, holy Bishop Nicholai’s bodywas returned to his homeland in western Serbia. Pious American Orthodox, particularly many Russian Orthodox, did not forget theblessed Nicholai, as at St. Tikhon’s Monastery his room wasmade into a shrine for prayer and meditation.

Repose of St Nikolai of Zhicha

Commemorated on March 18

Saint Nikolai of Zhicha, “the Serbian Chrysostom,” was born in Lelich in western Serbia on January 4, 1881 (December 23, 1880 O.S.). His parents were Dragomir and Katherine Velimirovich, who lived on a farm where they raised a large family. His pious mother was a major influence on his spiritual development, teaching him by word and especially by example. As a small child, Nikolai often walked three miles to the Chelije Monastery with his mother to attend services there.

Sickly as a child, Nikolai was not physically strong as an adult. He failed his physical requirements when he applied to the military academy, but his excellent academic qualifications allowed him to enter the Saint Sava Seminary in Belgrade, even before he finished preparatory school.

Our Righteous Father John of Sinai, author of "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"

St John Climacus of Sinai accepted the ascetical life from the age of about sixteen and was tonsured as a monk three or four years later. Then, at the age of 35, he isolated himself from the world and lived as a hermit for 40 years at a monastery church called Thola, about 10 kilometres from the Mount Sinai monastery.

While living an ascetical life he is reported to have received the gift of tears and the grace of continual prayer. Fellow monks in large numbers began to seek him out for spiritual guidance. When criticized for making a mockery of his hermitage by entertaining so many people there, he decided to keep total silence. After a year or so of this, those who had criticized him pleaded with him to resume guiding others.

Experienced both in the solitary life of the hermit and in the communal life of cenobitic monasticism, he was appointed Abbot of the Monastery at Mount Sinai (built at the site of the burning bush where Moses spoke to God). The day he was made Abbot of Sinai, the Prophet Moses was seen giving commands to those who served at the table.

Venerable Gerasimus of the Jordan

“Father, you burned with heavenly love, preferring the harshness of the Jordan desert to all the delights of the world. Therefore, a wild beast served you until your death; he died in obedience and grief on your grave.” (Kontakion to St. Gerasimus) .

The saying goes that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. And a lion figures prominently in the story of a Saint who is celebrated on March 17 on the Gregorian Calendar (which is March 4 on the Julian). It is St. Gerasimus of the Jordan – so called to differentiate him from another Gerasimus, the “walking Saint” who is the Patron of the Greek Island of Kephalonia. Gerasimus of the Jordan was born in the province of Lycia near the Mediterranean in the south of Asia Minor (today Turkey). He was an especially serious young man and was still quite youthful when he gave up the comfortable life in the home of his wealthy parents and went to pursue a monastic path in the desert of southern Egypt called the Thebaid because of its proximity to the ancient Egyptian capital city of Thebes. Having gained some maturity by his endeavours and the counsels of fellow desert dwellers, Gerasimus returned to his native Lycia. Later, about 450, he settled in the desert of the Jordan in Palestine where he remained for the rest of his life among other monks. The lives of these men of God were marked by strict asceticism.