Hidden Fire: Orthodox Perspectives On Yoga

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?

2 Corinthians 6:14–18 NIV

I was raised Roman Catholic. I loved prayer. Walks through woods, playing in creeks, running through the vast fields of the imagination. These were like prayer for me: the silence, the stillness, the hesychia children find themselves in almost by nature. I didn't always stay in this prayerful place. But I recognized it. And I took it for granted, as a simple activity within the heart.

Venerable Simeon Stylites

September 14 (Sept.1 old calendar).

Saint Simeon was born into a poor family living in the Antioch area of Syria in the middle of the 4th century. Once when he was in church listening to the singing of Beatitudes (Mat. 5:3-16), he felt a zealous aspiring for righteousness. Simeon began to pray ardently asking God for the way to attain true righteousness. Soon he had a dream in which he was digging the ground as if he were building something. A voice told him, "Dig deeper." Simeon started digging harder. Thinking that the pit he made is deep enough he stopped digging, but the voice told him to dig still deeper. The same instruction was repeated several times. Simeon began digging unceasingly till the mysterious voice stopped him saying, "Enough! And now, if you are willing to build, do so and be hard working as no success is achieved without toil."

The Life of Our Holy Father Saint Herman of Alaska

Commemorated November 15, December 13/25, and July 27/August 8
(1751–1836)

The following Life is based on the original Valaam Life commissioned in 1864 by Abbot Damascene, and incorporates changes based on recent research.

Saint Herman of Alaska was born in 1751 in a village of the province of Voronezh, Russia, into a very devout peasant family. His name before monasticism was Yegor Ivanovich Popov. It is known that one of his relatives ended her days as a nun of the well-known Monastery of the Passion in Moscow. From his early youth Yegor was a pious boy, and he made several pilgrimages to the Sarov Monastery. During his childhood he stayed for a time in the cell of the elder and asceticVarlaam of Sarov (†1764), the spiritual father of Hieromonk Nazarius, the future abbot of Valaam Monastery. Little is known ofthe early period of Fr. Herman’s life. A story about him was told by his friend, monk Theophan.[1] “Fr. Herman (he is now in America) at a young age lived in the wilderness with Fr. Varlaam. Fr. Varlaam once departed for a short time, leaving the youngster—he was twelve years old—alone. It happened that some people gathering mushrooms in the forest became lost and came across the cell of the desert dwellers. When Yegor emerged to meet them, they were frightened by him—so unusual did his presence in the forest seem to them.”[2]

Synaxarion for the Sunday of All Saints

Icon of All Saints.On this day, the Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the feast of all the Saints from throughout the inhabited world, in Asia, Libya and Europe, in North and South.

I sing the praise of each friend of my Lord,
If any would, let them now list them all.

Our most godlike Fathers decreed that we should celebrate the present feast after the descent of the All-holy Spirit, as showing in a certain way that the coming of the All-holy Spirit acted through the Apostles like this: sanctifying and making wise human beings taken from our mortal clay and, for the completion of that fallen angelic order, restoring them and through Christ sending them to God, some by the witness of martyrdom and blood, others by their virtuous conduct and way of life; and things beyond nature are achieved. For the Spirit descends in the form of fire, whose natural momentum is upwards; while dust, whose natural momentum is downwards, ascends on high, that dust which forms our mortal clay, the flesh added to and made divine by God the Word, which a short time before, had been exalted and taken its seat at the right hand of the Father’s glory. But he now also draws all those who wish, according to the promise, just as God the Word had manifested the works of reconciliation and what was the end, most suitable to its purpose, of his coming to us through flesh and of his dispensation, namely that he brings those who were rejected before to union and friendship with God—human nature offering to God the ungrateful people from the nations like first fruits—those who were outstandingly well-pleasing to him. This is one reason that we celebrate the feast of All Saints.

Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky) of Simferopol and Crimea

Saint Luke, Bishop of Simferopol and Crimea, the Blessed Surgeon, was born Valentin Felixovich Voino-Yasenetsky (Валентин Феликсович Войно-Ясенецкий, polish spelling Wojno-Jasieniecki; April 14, 1877 and died June 11, 1961.

Doctor of Medicine, Professor, and State Prize winner, since 1944 he was the Archbishop of Tambov and Michurinsk, and later of Simferopol and the Crimea. While he was serving the church as an Archbishop, he was also practicing as a surgeon and taught and published many books and articles on regional anesthesia and surgery. He is now known to be a world-famous pioneering surgeon.

In November of 1995 he was announced as a Saint by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and was officially glorified by the Patriarchate of Russia May 25, 1996. He is commemorated by the church June 11 the anniversary of his falling asleep in the Lord.