Πέμπτη, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2017

People for sale - Exposing migrant slave auctions in Libya!!!


Click here!


See also: 
Traditionalist View on Sex Slavery in Islam
Slavery today!
Cocoa child slavery

Mutilation and torture for the blood diamonds!
 
St. John the Russian, the Free & Wonderworker Slave (May 27)
A family of slaves opposes an Empire: the Holy Martyrs Zoe & Hesperus, and their children sts Cyriacus & Theodulus
Orthodox Christianity in Libya

The Church as the Liberated Zone: "All we Christians are terrorists..." 
Fr. Moses Berry, a descendant of African slaves, Orthodox priest and teacher in USA


ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ: Βίντεο-σοκ από σκλαβοπάζαρα στη Λιβύη
Σκλαβοπάζαρα στη Λιβύη – Μετανάστες πωλούνται για 200 – 500 δολαρια!
Λιβύη: Γνωστή η ύπαρξη σκλαβοπάζαρων, λένε ΜΚΟ και αναλυτές


 

Δουλεία και δούλοι (ενότητα)
Άγιοι Έσπερος & Ζωή: μια οικογένεια δούλων νικά τις εξουσίες του κόσμου!
Χριστιανισμός και δουλεία (& συνέχεια εδώ)
Σκλάβες του σεξ στην Ευρώπη – Μαύρες σκλάβες στην Ελλάδα
Απόγονος νέγρων σκλάβων στις ΗΠΑ, από τους δρόμους, τις συμμορίες και τις φυλακές, ορθόδοξος ιερέας και διδάσκαλος
Σύγχρονη δουλεία: 30.000.000 σκλάβοι ανά την υφήλιo!...
Σύγχρονοι σκλάβοι και δουλεία στην Αφρική (& οι σκλάβοι στις καλλιέργειες του κακάο!)
Σύγχρονη Μαυριτανία: Το τελευταίο προπύργιο της δουλείας! 

Apostle Andrew, the Holy and All-Praised First-Called, & St. Frumentius the Apostle of Ethiopia (November 30)


Apostle Andrew, the Holy and All-Praised First-Called

Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

Icon from here (Kitwe, Zambia)
The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the Apostles to follow Christ, and he later brought his own brother, the holy Apostle Peter, to Christ (John 1:35-42). The future apostle was from Bethsaida, and from his youth he turned with all his soul to God. He did not enter into marriage, and he worked with his brother as a fisherman. When the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John began to preach, Saint Andrew became his closest disciple. Saint John the Baptist himself sent to Christ his own two disciples, the future Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian, declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God.
After the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, Saint Andrew went to the Eastern lands preaching the Word of God. He went through Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, he reached the River Danube, went along the coast of the Black Sea, through Crimea, the Black Sea region and along the River Dniepr he climbed to the place where the city of Kiev now stands.
He stopped overnight on the hills of Kiev. Rising in the morning, he said to those disciples that were with him: “See these hills? Upon these hills shall shine forth the beneficence of God, and there will be a great city here, and God shall raise up many churches.” The apostle went up around the hills, blessed them and set up a cross. Having prayed, he went up even further along the Dniepr and reached a settlement of the Slavs, where Novgorod was built. From here the apostle went through the land of the Varangians towards Rome for preaching, and again he returned to Thrace, where in the small village of Byzantium, the future Constantinople, he founded the Church of Christ. The name of the holy Apostle Andrew links the mother, the Church of Constantinople, with her daughter, the Russian Church. 

On his journeys the First-Called Apostle endured many sufferings and torments from pagans: they cast him out of their cities and they beat him. In Sinope they pelted him with stones, but remaining unharmed, the persistant disciple of Christ continued to preach to people about the Savior. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the Lord worked miracles. By the labors of the holy Apostle Andrew, Christian Churches were established, for which he provided bishops and clergy. The final city to which the Apostle came was the city of Patra, where he was destined to suffer martyrdom.
Icon from here
The Lord worked many miracles through His disciple in Patra. The infirm were made whole, and the blind received their sight. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the illustrious citizen Sosios recovered from serious illness; he healed Maximilla, wife of the governor of Patra, and his brother Stratokles. The miracles accomplished by the Apostle and his fiery speech enlightened almost all the citizens of the city of Patra with the true Faith.
Few pagans remained at Patra, but among them was the prefect of the city, Aegeatos. The Apostle Andrew repeatedly turned to him with the words of the Gospel. But even the miracles of the Apostle did not convince Aegeatos. The holy Apostle with love and humility appealed to his soul, striving to reveal to him the Christian mystery of life eternal, through the wonderworking power of the Holy Cross of the Lord. The angry Aegeatos gave orders to crucify the apostle. The pagan thought he might undo Saint Andrew’s preaching if he were to put him to death on the cross. 

Saint Andrew the First-Called accepted the decision of the prefect with joy and with prayer to the Lord, and went willingly to the place of execution. In order to prolong the suffering of the saint, Aegeatos gave orders not to nail the saint’s hands and feet, but to tie them to the cross. For two days the apostle taught the citizens who gathered about. The people, in listening to him, with all their souls pitied him and tried to take Saint Andrew down from the cross. Fearing a riot of the people, Aegeatos gave orders to stop the execution. But the holy apostle began to pray that the Lord would grant him death on the cross. Just as the soldiers tried to take hold of the Apostle Andrew, they lost control of their hands. 
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa
The crucified apostle, having given glory to God, said: “Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.” Then a blazing ray of divine light illumined the cross and the martyr crucified upon it. When the light faded, the holy Apostle Andrew had already given up his holy soul to the Lord. Maximilla, the wife of the prefect, had the body of the saint taken down from the cross, and buried him with honor.
A few centuries later, under the emperor Constantine the Great, the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew were solemnly transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles beside the relics of the holy Evangelist Luke and Saint Paul’s disciple Saint Timothy.

St. Frumentius the Archbishop of Abyssinia, Ethiopia

OCA

Icon from here
Saint Frumentius, Archbishop of Inda (Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia), was a native of the city of Tyre. While still a child, he came to Abyssinia by divine Providence. Growing up near the imperial court, he became a friend and chief counselor of the Abyssinian emperor, and afterwards tutor to his son, who ascended the throne while still a minor after the death of his father.
With the consent of the new emperor, Saint Frumentius journeyed to his native land and afterwards visited Alexandria and its patriarch, Saint Athanasius the Great (May 2). With the blessing of Saint Athanasius, Frumentius was elevated to become Bishop of Abyssinia and he returned to that country, which had sheltered him from his childhood.
After he returned from his consecration, Saint Frumentius began to perform miracles, bringing many people to the Church. The emperor said to him, “You have lived among us for many years, yet we never saw you perform such wonders. Why is it that you do so now?” The saint replied, “This has nothing to do with me, but is due to the grace of the priesthood.” Then the emperor and many of his subjects received holy Baptism.
Having accomplished the apostolic task of converting the Abyssinian nation to Christ, Saint Frumentius zealously and fruitfully guided the Church entrusted him by God for many years, then peacefully departed to the Lord in great old age. 

See also

Lives of the Saints - November 30 

Τετάρτη, 29 Νοεμβρίου 2017

Tanzania: «Africa needs hands and hearts that love through deeds, not words and theories»



Orthodox Missionary Fraternity Tanzania

Borehole drilling in Central Tanzania
 
8 November 2017
“And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward” (Matt. 10:42)
In the area of the Equator where we live, there are no four seasons as in Europe, but two major periods: the period of rainfall and that of drought, usually the latter being longer, and resulting in the suffering of both humans and animals. We should bear in mind that what is taken for granted in our country does not exist here. For example, when the people in Greece get thirsty, it is perfectly natural for them to turn on the tap to drink clean water, and when they get dirty or feel hot and want to have a bath, by just pressing a button there is plenty of warm water for them to wash… However, in most of Africa, and particularly here at the Rift Valley Plateau, the most impressive region of Central Tanzania, all of them are «unattainable dreams»!
It is a «dream» for thousands of children to run to the water-well near their village to wash and quench their thirst. The idea of obtaining a water supply system within their homes -at least for the next fifty years- seems to be a utopia!
It is with feelings of deep gratitude and emotion that I am writing these lines because thanks to the financial assistance of your Fraternity-the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity of Thessaloniki- we carried out two drillings in two extremely barren areas, where the people are really suffering. Thank God, we found plenty of clean water at a depth of more than 100 meters! It is very touching to see the tearful eyes and the chapped lips of the small children now in the dry season, but also the wild animals, all of which are suffering. Elephants, antelopes and giraffes, are approaching inhabited areas defeating their fear, in the hope of finding some water and quenching their burning thirst.


In this corner of the earth where we were sent by the grace of God and the love of our Patriarch, there is a great need for provision of medical care to our brothers. Many diseases, several of which weird, afflict young children and adults, which immediately raises the need for medical centers. Relying on our humble abilities and taking slow steps, we began operating a medical clinic at our Mission Center in Kidamali, Iringa, which is visited by a large number of patients from the surrounding areas. It should be organized in the form of a polyclinic with several specialties, as there are various diseases the people are suffering from and the state-run health care system is rudimentary. The current running costs of our clinic amount to € 2,000. Yet, we started this project being fully aware of its difficulties but we have faith in God and we hope for your love and support!
Undoubtedly, though, one thing is unquestionable: that the love of our Lord Jesus Christ is always present. One day we baptized a group of people, among whom a little girl with huge pus-filled pimples on her tiny head, all of which disappeared immediately after she had been baptized.


In July, we also held a Seminar for Clergy Candidates chosen among our already existing Catechists, trying to pass down to them pure, genuine love for the Tradition of our Holy Church as well as for Priesthood. Our flock is totally unaware of our faith; therefore, we must teach them everything, even the most obvious concepts of our religion. I also want to inform you that we have laid the foundation stone for the rebuilding of the old church of Saint John the Theologian in Ibongo village. This project is supported by your Fraternity in memory of our sister Parthena. We thank you wholeheartedly for that. It is very important that our Church offers truth and love to our suffering brother anywhere in the world. We did not come to preach a Christ distant and apathetic to the daily needs of the people who are suffering but to bear witness to Christ’s presence, to proclaim that He is close to the “least” of His children, who we Christians call “our brothers”, but many times we become numb to their needs due to our complacency that derives from our participation in the long solemn services and the spiritual «garrulity» of our otherwise Orthodox experiences.
Africa needs hands and hearts that love through deeds, not words and theories, for «the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few» (Matt. 9:37).

With infinite gratitude and love in Christ Agathonikos of Arusha

***
Come Over into Tanzania and Help Us
3 November 2017

Dear Friends of the Mission,
I would like to express my sincere gratitude from the distant and fast-paced growing Mission of Eastern Tanzania for your continued support of the missionary work of God.
I am pleased to inform you that the construction works of the first Orthodox Clinic in Morogoro, East Tanzania, are being carried out systematically and continuously. I am sending you the first photos of the progress of this project, which, hopefully and always with the help of God, will have finished by the end of the summer. Then a new «nest» of love and salvation for young children will have opened its gates to offer life to the children of Tanzania. So, with the help of God and your continued support, a total of 11 clinics will be operating in Tanzania.

 
 
In Morogoro region we have already founded four new parishes with about 2,000 catechumens, 450 of whom belong to the Maasai tribe. It is there that we will need to build four new churches.
We appeal to the kind heart of the devout readers and friends of the Fraternity for support and we would like to inform you that the building costs for each church -with wise money management and full attention and personal care- amount to € 25,000.

With missionary greetings † Dimitrios of Irinoupolis
 
***
Clean Drinking Water
The northern and western part of Tanzania constitute an ecclesiastical territory which is under the jurisdiction of the H. Metropolis of Mwanza, and covers a geographical area of approximately 430,000 square kilometers, that is, three times more than Greece. In this part of the country there are some water resources, such as Lakes Victoria, Malawi and Rukwa as well as the Rivers Kagera, Ngono, Mara, Simiyu and others. This water may not be absolutely clean, but at least the villages or cities adjacent to these resources have access to water, whether it be easy or not. The big problem though lies with those areas that are far from natural water resources and which, due to climate change, which has also affected the African continent, suffer from drought.
There, the lack of water is complete, with whatever consequences this brings to the lives of the people. The only consolation and not a solution to the problem is the occasional rains that fill up some puddles, from which people draw dirty water, contaminated with parasites and microbes. When it does not rain at all, the situation becomes tragic. Thus, the life of the people in the mainland unfolds in this suffering. Thirst, dirt, illness, death make up the scene of this deadlock. It is an open and throbbing wound that shatters the hearts and shakes the consciences of all of us.

 

It was in this context that the program for the supply of clean drinking water for the H. Metropolis of Mwanza began three years ago. With the help of St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox parish in Los Angeles, USA, we have acquired not only a new drilling rig but also other modern machinery and equipment. The goal was to provide solutions to this serious problem, which is affecting the people of Tanzania. The program staff consists of 6 young people, trained for 2 months for this purpose. We are seeking two more people to be able to be trained at a higher level.
If there is a qualified staff, the machine can drill 24 wells per year. We have been licensed by the state of Tanzania to operate the drilling rig all over the country and we are working with the Ministry of Water for the laboratory testing of the water quality of the wells that are being drilled. These are then recorded in the state’s general list of wells.
We have a sincere desire to offer dynamically as regards well- drilling. However, difficulties and challenges will always arise. For example, we need more complete staff- training, good planning, continuous funding, good roads for easier access to villages and raising awareness of the communities where the works are done. All this means good cooperation with all public authorities and bodies. It is imperative that the state make efforts to open roads in areas where access is impossible. All these as well as other factors affect the cost of a well.


Despite all the difficulties, we want to give the joy of presence of clean drinking water to as many areas as possible. In this way, we are given the chance to apply the command of love to the least of our brothers, and furthermore, we give testimony and the seal of the Orthodox Church of Christ, Who is interested in every single person, and Who approaches each one of them in a redeeming way, starting from their most tangible and urgent needs.
During these 3 years, 30 wells have already been drilled, which can serve approximately the needs of 100,000 inhabitants. It will be good for our poor brothers if we manage to continue this God-pleasing work. The machinery exists and can do this job, and we want to relieve these long-suffering people. We are really grateful to those who help us and those with whom we work together. We particularly appreciate the support coming from St. Paul’s parish in Los Angeles, the state of Tanzania, the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and others. We hope to overcome the challenges that arise through understanding, patience and cooperation. Water is essential to life, let alone clean drinking water. 

May God make us worthy to offer it to those who have so much need of it. † Ieronymos of Mwanza
 
***
Mission and Education in Africa
24 May 2017

The command of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Holy Apostles and, by extension, to the Church and every single Christian, was clear: “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28: 19-20). This command is the starting point and the guideline of every missionary effort of the apostolic Church throughout the centuries. It is also clear that the command of Christ relates to a teaching-learning relationship between the evangelical message conveyors (“everything I have commanded you”), and the recipients of this message (“all nations”).
The Church is called to incarnate and teach the great, admittedly, mystery of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16), and the nations are called to become disciples and be initiated into the mystery. The teaching process is laborious, requires suitable and favorable conditions, deposition of blood and spirit on the part of both participants in the teaching-learning process, which can be lifelong, perennial, until it reaches Christocentricity (i.e., Christ-centeredness) and Christoethics, always by the grace of God.
This is therefore the very essence of Mission. The reason, the activities, the visions of the missionary work of the Church should constitute its very existence. Only then will the results be pleasing to God and beneficial to the present and the eternal future of those people of the world who hunger and crave for the Truth and the Light.


In her course the Church preaches, catechizes, admonishes, is evangelized by her word and deed, using forms and terms of this world, to which she gives a whole new dimension and depth. The conditions of the various peoples are considered and exploited in the best possible way in order to become the tools of sowing the seed of God’s Word, i.e., of Christ. This path is the uninterrupted Incarnation of the Son of God in the hearts of His children.
In the case of Africa, and not only, the missionary plough is called to proceed slowly and very carefully, and spend a lot of time and effort preparing the ground which fell to its lot. It first needs to develop culture and then transform it and make it Christ-centered. The road to civilization has always passed through education. Therefore, it would be no exaggeration to say that in the African reality before the Mission builds, organizes and operates a church, it should build, organize and operate a school.
Once again, it is on the school-church pair that we are left to build our missionary visions and orientations.

From the Holy Metropolis

Click:

Orthodox Tanzania (tag)
The Orthodox Church in Tanzania
“Christ is the hope of the Africans” : A spiritual Odyssey in Tanzania
Video kuhusu Kanisa la kale (Kanisa la Orthodox) katika Tanzania ― Video about the ancient Christian Church (Orthodox Church) in Tanzania ― Video antiikin kristillinen Kirkko (ortodoksikirkko) Tansaniassa
Tanzania (tag)

The Orthodox Church of Alexandria & the Patriarchate of Alexandria  

Ancient Christian faith (Orthodox Church) in Africa
African Initiated Church in Search of Orthodoxy...  
How “White” is the Orthodox Church? 
Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa (& the Decolonization of Africa)
Natives Africans bishops in the Orthodox Church
The Church as the Liberated Zone: "All we Christians are terrorists..." (and 2 videos, from Tanzania, Maasai, & DRC)
"THE WAY" - An Introduction to the Orthodox Faith
Theosis (deification): The True Purpose of Human Life
LIVE, BEYOND THE LIMITS!

in Search of Orthodoxy
 

“The soul of a man is more valuable than the whole world”: this is the worldview of our Holy Church...


"Come Over into Brazzaville and Help Us"
 
† Panteleimon of Brazzaville and Gabon
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Every Divine Liturgy is a synopsis of the Life of Christ. A synopsis that is not symbolic but real. What we have seen, what we have touched, we receive it. It is the Body of Jesus Christ. Thus, through the Divine Liturgy, we participate in the Life of Christ, which for all of us is called Church Life, while partaking of the Body and the Blood of the Lord, we are integral members of the heavenly One, Holy, Indivisible, Catholic Orthodox Church.
The earthly Life of Christ ends with His promise to the Apostles to go to the ends of the world to preach the Gospel to all nations baptizing them in the name of the Holy Trinity. At the dismissal of the Eucharist Gathering Rite, the last words of the priest give us “Blessing of the Lord and Mercy”, since we have tasted the Heavenly Bread. We come out of the Church filled with the overflowing blessing of God, undeniable witnesses to His Mercy.


It is the “Blessing of the Lord and Mercy” that we carry on with the Mission to our African brothers. We came to their hospitable land and established local Churches by the Grace of God and with the support of the Greek brothers so that the Holy Spirit comes down and enlightens this thirsty for Eternal Life land and the Light of Truth shines for every man who comes into this world whether that place be Greece, Russia, Ecuador, the distant countries of Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon, Central and West – Equatorial Africa…
There is no Orthodox church in the center of Congo-Brazzaville. Yet, the state has already offered a large plot of land to the Orthodox Diocese, requesting in the most formal way the establishment of a place of worship of the Triune God! “Come over into Macedonia and help us!” Brothers, help build a Church, ring other orthodox bells on the continent of the future and dissolve evil darkness. “Let the light of Christ shine before men so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”!
A similar problem exists in Gabon, even though Orthodoxy was officially recognized there a year ago, an act necessary for our Church to operate freely in that place. The absence of a sacred church prevents the establishment of an Orthodox parish community, which will be the nucleus for spreading the message of the Resurrection across this country. Gabon is particularly plagued by emerging religious movements and neo-Protestant organizations of American origin, by heresy and fallacy, by superstition and fears cultivated by the spiritual leaders of traditional religions with the aim of manipulating people through their subjugation to them. The necessity of establishing an Orthodox parish in the country of Gabon raises a spiritual alarm for everyone. Without the worship of God, everything is done in vain, precisely because every work has value when it is sanctified. Besides, from the earliest Christian years we see that the place of worship of the Triune God and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy was a fixed point of reference among early Christians. It was in those holy places that the Apostles performed the Divine Liturgy and the faithful communion partook of the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the heritage of Orthodoxy.


If the purpose of the Church is the sanctification of man, then there are roads that lead to it, which our Lord Himself has inaugurated. Therefore, no one can claim that he was saved by Christ, that he is in the Church, that he has lived his personal resurrection, and turn his back on those whom Christ called the least of His brothers. The more humble one is in this world, the more elevated he is in the eyes of God, and this is something that the Church of Christ never forgets. If the purpose of the Church is the sanctification of man, then the path to sanctification is the healing of the fellow human being who is suffering. “Church” cannot possibly be understood without practical love!
The protection and care of orphans is not alien to Orthodox tradition. From the age of the Holy Apostles and the later period of the Great Fathers of our Church to this day, the Church of Christ has covered spiritually as well as materially the children without a family not only by helping them survive, but by bringing them up with spiritual values so as to make them useful Christian citizens in the society, equal to the rest.
This is the Church tradition, which we, the contemporary, cannot possibly leave in oblivion. Since 2007, when with the blessing of our Patriarch Theodore II the “Saint Eustathius” Orthodox Orphanage opened its doors, it has embraced “the little brothers of Jesus”, children without a family, becoming itself a large orthodox family so that these children grow up like all the rest of the world, with safety, proper nutrition, orthodox upbringing, equal education, decent living.


It is said that “the soul of a man is more valuable than the whole world.” This is the worldview of our Holy Church. Thus, she stands separately to each one since she is responsible for the Salvation of everyone. I appeal to your loving heart for help, brothers! The joy on our children’s faces is the greatest promise that the word of Savior Christ on this land bears fruit. We are all responsible for this joy and the continuity of the great work that is taking place. Let us struggle on this road, aiming not at the earthly but at the heavenly.
After all, the Homeland is one and the same for all of us. This is theso-called heavenly Jerusalem, which the Lord promised to us. Indeed, on world maps the Congo and Gabon are quite far away from us. And yet, Christ brought us all together, made us a family. How can I watch my brother suffering without feeling for him since we are parts of the same Body? Let us respond to this question through the attitude we are going to observe in life.

See also

Orthodox Republic of Congo (tag)
The Holy Baptism and its effect on people who come to join the Orthodox Christian Church...  
 
Ancient Christian faith (Orthodox Church) in Africa
African Initiated Church in Search of Orthodoxy...  
How “White” is the Orthodox Church? 
Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa (& the Decolonization of Africa)
Natives Africans bishops in the Orthodox Church  
Orthodoxy's Worship: The Sanctification of the Entire World   "THE WAY" - An Introduction to the Orthodox Faith  
Theosis (deification): The True Purpose of Human Life
Historia ya Kanisa la Orthodox : Ukristo barani Afrika

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Σάββατο, 25 Νοεμβρίου 2017

21 de Novembro: Apresentação da Santíssima Virgem no Templo


Arquidiocese Ortodoxa de Buenos Aires

Hoje, o universo inteiro, cheio de alegria,
na insigne festa da Mãe de Deus, exclama:
Eis aqui o celeste tabernáculo!
Ana hoje nos preanuncia a alegria [ ... ]:
cumprindo o seu voto apresenta ao Templo do Senhor
aquela que é verdadeiramente
o templo do Verbo de Deus e sua Mãe puríssima.

ssim, já no dia 20 de novembro, a Igreja de tradição constantinopolitana exulta na véspera da festa da entrada ao Templo da Santíssima Mãe de Deus, que se concluirá em 25 de novembro. É uma das Doze grandes festas do ano litúrgico bizantino e coincide, como data, com o calendário romano. Mas qual riqueza hinográfica o Oriente nos transmitiu em seus textos litúrgicos! A festa de origem hierosolimitana celebrava a festa da dedicação da igreja de Santa Maria Nova (no tempo do imperador Justiniano, em novembro do ano 543).
Desde as Vésperas iniciais, um dos temas mais freqüentes é o convite a honrar aquela que é "o santo tabernáculo, a arca espiritual que contém o Verbo infinito," "o templo animado da santa glória de Cristo"embora o evento da encarnação esteja cronologicamente ainda longe. Com efeito, repete-se várias vezes que a menina apresentada ao templo tinha três anos. Evidentemente aqui se considera o plano de Deus na sua globalidade, pelo qual já se pode aclamar:
Tu és o oráculo dos profetas, a glória dos apóstolos,
o orgulho dos mártires e a renovação de todos os mortais,
ó Virgem Mãe de Deus.
Por isso honramos a tua entrada no templo do Senhor
e, juntamente com o anjo,
te saudamos com os nossos cânticos,
nós que fomos salvos pela tua intercessão.
(Ofício de Vésperas).
A exuberância oriental é bem diversa da sobriedade e concisão latina; além disso, notamos, com freqüência, no "próprio" bizantino referências ao Proto-evangelho de São Tiago, do qual são lembrados muitos detalhes: as meninas que acompanharam Maria com as lâmpadas acesas, o grão-sacerdote Zacarias que a introduziu no templo e no Santo dos Santos, o alimento que o anjo Gabriel lhe levou até o dia de suas núpcias com José. Os hinos litúrgicos dessa festa estão repletos de elementos lendários, dificilmente aceitos por um fiel ocidental, mas é preciso entender que no Oriente se deu a eles um valor simbólico de verdades mais elevadas, como a total consagração a Deus de Maria Santíssima desde a mais tenra infância e a sua preparação excepcional à missão única de gerar ao mundo o Redentor. Um estudioso de liturgia bizantina observa:
— «O temperamento ocidental, apaixonado pela exatidão histórica e que julga com esse critério os próprios dados da sua vida religiosa, só podia desdenhar a lenda piedosa da apresentação de Maria ao templo. Completamente diferente é a atitude do oriental; pode estar perfeitamente a par da inautenticidade histórica de um relato sem por isso rejeitá-lo. Ele busca nos fatos da história sagrada, mesmo nos perfeitamente estabelecidos, não tanto a sua verdade humana quanto o seu conteúdo divino.»
Rwanda (foto daqui)

O ícone da festa é caracterizado por certa fixidez. Pode-se notar que, em cima de um estrado, o sacerdote Zacarias acolhe a pequena Maria, que tem um olhar maduro e vestes de pessoa adulta; atrás dela está uma menina e, segurando uma vela, símbolo da oferta, estão Joaquim e Ana. Na cena do ângulo superior à direita, o anjo Gabriel leva a comida para a menina, como é lembrado pelo tropário que se segue:
No Santo dos Santos,
a Santa e Imaculada é introduzida pelo Espírito Santo
para ali habitar e ser nutrida por um anjo;
ela é o templo mais santo do Deus Santo;
com o seu ingresso santifica todas as coisas
e diviniza a natureza decaída.
Passamos assim à poesia da hinografia litúrgica. Eis o texto das preces mais repetidas no dia 21 de novembro e nos dias de pós-festa:
Hoje é o prelúdio da benevolência de Deus
e a proclamação preliminar da salvação dos homens:
a Virgem apresenta-se com esplendor no templo de Deus
e antecipadamente anuncia Cristo a todos.
A ela, nós também clamemos em alta voz:
Salve, ó realização dos planos do Criador.
Tropário (4º tom)
O puríssimo templo do Salvador, a Virgem,
o preciosismo tálamo, o sagrado tesouro da glória de Deus,
é apresentada hoje à casa do Senhor,
introduzindo com ela a graça do Espírito divino.
Os anjos de Deus a louvam, clamando:
Esta é o tabernáculo celeste.
Kondakion (4º tom)
As três leituras vetero-testamentárias que se proclamam nas Vésperas da festa evocam as disposições dadas por Jeová a Moisés para que erigisse "o Tabernáculo, a tenda de reunião" (Ex. 40), a "arca da Aliança" que Salomão colocou no templo (1 Rs. 8) e a "porta fechada" vista por Ezequiel (Ez. 44). São todas figuras bíblicas muitas vezes aplicadas à Virgem. Venerando desde a mais remota Antigüidade a santidade sublime de Maria, no Oriente bizantino a reflexão se deteve sobre a misteriosa preparação da Escolhida para a missão que Deus lhe confiou. Por isso, é importante a festa de 21 de novembro, em que nós também, celebrando as primícias da nossa salvação, podemos rezar com as palavras de um tropário da Ode nona do Cânon matutino que dizem:
Ó imaculada Mãe de Deus,
tu tens na alma a beleza resplandecente da pureza,
és cheia de graça celestial;
tu iluminas sempre com eterna luz
os que com alegria exclamam:
Na verdade, tu és a mais excelsa de todas as criaturas,
ó Virgem pura!

Fonte:
«O ANO LITÚRGICO BIZANTINO» Madre Maria Donadeo 
 
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