The Sacrament of Holy Confession in the Eastern Orthodox Church


The Sacrament of Holy Confession

in the Eastern Orthodox Church

As it says in John 20:23, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.  If you retain the signs of any, they are retained.” This is the power of the presbyter or bishop to remit sins on behalf of God. He mediates for us to God, but only God forgives us our sins. This sacrament is an often misunderstood practice in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Many Protestants and Evangelicals protest that you can only have “God forgive your sins.” But there is a very good reason why we confess our sins to others apart from God: it’s called accountability. One feels more ashamed to commit a sin again, if another knows about it. If one confesses only to God, but no one else, then you can not be helped in fighting your sins properly. You will continue making the same errors, and will have no shame, since it is just your secret you keep to yourself. This means that you are more likely to commit this sin again! God would onto want that. He wants us to be as holy as possible.

This holy sacrament is even prefigured in the Old Dispensation. In Leviticus 5:4-6, it says “… that unrighteous soul, which determineth with his lips to do evil, or to do good, according to whatsoever a man may determine with an oath, and it shall have escaped his notice (or her) , and he shall know, and he sin in some one of these things, then he shall show his sin in the things wherein he hath sinned by that sin. And he shall bring for his transgressions against the Lord, for his sin, an ewe lamb of the sheep, or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin, which he hath sinned, and his sin shall be forgiven him.” Though we no longer make sin offerings of ewe lambs, we offer our lives and our hearts instead. We do this at the sacrament of confession, just as it was done in the sacrifices of Ancient Israel. The priest today also makes atonement for our sins before God, as well.

Indeed, one can see confession is important, since “whosoever covereth his own ungodliness shall not prosper: but he that blame to himself shall be loved.” (Proverb 28:13) All shall “prosper” from this holy sacrament, since it cleanses one’s conscience and way of life.

Saint Maximos the Confessor says that “Every genuine confession humbles the soul. When it takes the form of thanksgiving, it teaches the soul that it has been delivered by the grace of God.” (Philokalia. Saint Maximo’s the Confessor was born in Constantinople 580 A.D, and died in Tsageri, Georgia, on 13th of August 662 A.D, while he was in exile.) We all know we have been delivered by God when we are forgiven our sins, and we are eased of our burdens and Continue reading


“Ένα έγκλημα, δεν παύει να είναι έγκλημα, επειδή το κάνουν πολλοί” και άλλες μικρές αλήθειες…


Μικρές αλήθειες…

* Η διαχωριστική γραμμή μεταξύ του καλού και του κακού περνά μέσα από την καρδιά του κάθε ανθρώπου.

* Μια πράξη αγάπης μπορεί να ζυμώσει “πέντε άρτους”. Μιά λέξη ευγενική μπορεί να χορτάσει “πεντακισχιλίους”.

* Η σεμνότητα είναι η ταξιθέτις που μας βοηθάει νά βρίσκουμε πάντα στη ζωή, τη σωστή μας θέση.

* Ένα έγκλημα, δεν παύει να είναι έγκλημα, επειδή το κάνουν πολλοί.

* Τα δάκρυα της μητέρας είναι η πιο ισχυρή υδροηλεκτρική δύναμη του κόσμου.

* Εμείς οι Χριστιανοί συναθροιζόμαστε στη Θεία Λατρεία σαν στρατός για να πολιορκήσουμε το Θεό με τις προσευχές μας

Από το βιβλίο: Αρχιμ. Ιωάννου Κωστώφ, Ψυχική Τόνωση, εκδ. Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Δαμασκηνός (τηλ. 6978461846), Σταμάτα 2017

Orthodoxy tells us to be humble – Fr. Andrew Konanos, Greece


Orthodoxy tells us to be humble

Fr. Andrew Konanos, Greece

If while being in the church we come to our egoism’s developing, hidden or explicit, both of which are equally terrible, I believe we will be in great danger.

* * *

Orthodoxy is humility. Orthodoxy is compassion. Orthodoxy means “I am the last”. The first will be the last. When one feels and shouts: “I am the first, we are the first in the whole Europe and in the whole world!” This is definitely not Orthodox mentality, even if you are an Orthodox Christian and teach the finest things. You are an Orthodox Christian, but your arrogance ruins everything. Do not forget that the Pharisees and Sadducees were the first people of their time, the most “orthodox” ones, but they lost everything. Think a bit about it. No one knows who will be saved. No one knows anything about anyone.

Clearly, paradise starts here. If you are happy in this life, you will be happy later on. If you are picky, bitter, and indignant in this life, if you put on a sour face, grumble, cry, and complain constantly, then do not think that the next life will be any different. The way you live here is not going to change there. The life of the next century is nothing other than continuation of this life.

Do you live in paradise now? Afterwards it will be the same. Do you love Christ? Afterwards you will continue loving Him. Do you love your significant other? Afterwards you will continue doing so. Do you understand? The scene will not change at the touch of a button. It is impossible to feel as if you are in hell here, in this life, and suddenly find yourself in paradise. If you are going through the emotional anticipation of hell now, you cannot say later: “Oh, great! I am in the Kingdom of God now”.

It all starts here. Many saints have felt the joys of paradise just from here and were surprised by this great delight. “I am already so happy, and I am so glad about it! The next life is yet to come, why am I so glad?” they asked. Their spiritual father answered, “All the good things that we believe in start here. Even in mortal life we can feel what the Kingdom of God, paradise, and eternal joy mean”.

I wish you to enjoy the anticipation of paradise in this life, right from this moment and after many years to go where many saints and souls of the righteous live. In this or that era each of them worked hard in their courses of salvation. Nowadays ascetic life is defined anew: the content is the same, but forms and manifestations change. Experience has shown that if we follow the old ascetic forms in the “copy-paste” fashion, we will self-destruct, move away from each other. We cannot let “ascetics”, “Orthodox Christians”, and “hermits” become the reason of such a disintegration.

From the book “On Certain Difficulties in Marriage” by Father Andrew Konanos

Translated by Julia Frolova





Faith and miracles – Blessed Elder Joel Yannakopoulos of Kalamata, Greece (+1966)


Faith and miracles

Blessed Elder Joel Yannakopoulos

of Kalamata, Greece (+1966)

Once, when Fr. Joel was traveling on a train, a rumor spread at one provincial station that a miracle had occurred in the church in the neighboring village—an icon was weeping! All of the passengers immediately left the train and rushed to see the miracle—everyone, that is, except Fr. Joel, who continued reading his book.

When the passengers returned, touched, the man sitting right across from Fr. Joel couldn’t hold back his indignation at the priest’s calmness and said, “Father, I see you don’t believe!”

“I believe,” Fr. Joel replied, “and therefore I’m not surprised by miracles. But you don’t believe, and so you ran to see the miracle and believe, didn’t you? So tell me—do you believe now?”



Προτυπώσεις του Τιμίου Σταυρού – Αρχιμ. Ιωάννης Κωστώφ


Προτυπώσεις του Τιμίου Σταυρού

Αρχιμ. Ιωάννης Κωστώφ

Ὁ Σταυρός, ὅπως καί ἄλλα ἀντικείμενα ἤ καί γεγονότα τῆς Κ. Διαθήκης, προτυπώθηκε πολλές φορές στήν Π. Διαθήκη.

Ἰδού μερικές προτυπώσεις: Στό πρῶτο κεφάλαιο τῆς Ἁγ. Γραφῆς προτυπώνεται τό σχῆμα τοῦ τιμίου Σταυροῦ. Τό ὁριζόντιο τμῆμα — στό χωρισμό τῶν νερῶν σέ πάνω καί κάτω (Γεν 1, 6-7). Τό κατακόρυφο τμῆμα | στό χωρισμό τῶν κάτω νερῶν καί στήν ἐμφάνισι τῆς ξηρᾶς (Γεν 1, 9).

Στόν Ψαλμό 102 (11, 12), ἐπίσης: «Σύμφωνα μέ τό ὕψος τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀπό τή γῆ (τό κατακόρυφο σχῆμα |)… ὅσο ἀπέχουν ἀνατολές ἀπό τίς δύσεις (τό ὁριζόντιο τμῆμα —).

Ἀκόμα, στόν Ψαλμό 138, 7-10: «ποῦ πορευθῶ ἀπό τοῦ πνεύματός σου καί ἀπό τοῦ προσώπου σου ποῦ φύγω; Ἐάν ἀναβῶ εἰς τόν οὐρανόν, σύ ἐκεῖ εἶ, ἐάν καταβῶ εἰς τόν ᾅδην, πάρει (: παρευρίσκεσαι) [τό κατακόρυφο τμῆμα |]· ἐάν ἀναλάβοιμι τάς πτέρυγάς μου κατ᾽ ὄρθρον καί κατασκηνώσω εἰς τά ἔσχατα τῆς θαλάσσης [τό ὁριζόντιο τμῆμα —], καί γάρ ἐκεῖ (: ἀκόμα κι ἐκεῖ) ἡ χείρ σου ὁδηγήσει με, καί καθέξει με (: θά μέ περιβάλλη) ἡ δεξιά σου».

Καί στόν Ἰώβ: «Ὑψηλός ὁ οὐρανός, καί τί ποιήσεις; βαθύτερα δέ τῶν ἐν ᾃδου τί οἶδας; (τό κατακόρυφο σχῆμα |) ἤ μακρότερα μέτρου γῆς ἤ εὔρους θαλάσσης; (τό ὁριζόντιο τμῆμα —)»(Ἰώβ 11, 8-9)

Ἰδού, τώρα, τό σχῆμα τοῦ Σταυροῦ στήν Κ. Διαθήκη· στό Ἐφ 3, 18: «… ὥστε νά μπορέσετε νά καταλάβετε, μαζύ μέ ὅλους τούς Ἁγίους, ποιό εἶναι τό πλάτος καί τό μῆκος [τό ὁριζόντιο τμῆμα —] καί τό βάθος καί τό ὕψος [τό κατακόρυφο τμῆμα |]» τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ.

Ὁ σεβαστός καθηγητής Παναγιώτης Τρεμπέλας, γράφοντας γιά τή θεραπεία ἀπό τό δάγκωμα φιδιοῦ, μέσῳ ἑνός «σταυρωμένου» χάλκινου φιδιοῦ —τῆς κατεξοχήν προτυπώσεως τοῦ Σταυροῦ—, λέει: «Ὁ Θεός διέταξε τό Μωϋσῆ νά εἶναι τό φίδι χάλκινο· ὄχι φίδι πραγματικό, ἀλλά ὁμοίωμα φιδιοῦ. Ἔτσι καί ὁ Χριστός, ἀναγνώστη μου. Ἔξω ἀπ᾽ τό ἐξωτερικό φαινόμενο, δέν εἶχε καμμία στό βάθος ὁμοιότητα καί σχέσι πρός τόν “πυρρόν δράκοντα”, πρός τό φίδι τῆς ἁμαρτίας. “Τόν γάρ μή γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπέρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησε”(Β´ Κορ 5, 21), λέει ὁ ἀπ. Παῦλος. Καί αὐτό ἀναφέρεται στό Χριστό. “Τόν μή γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν”, τόν ἀληθινά ἀναμάρτητο, πού ἐκ πείρας δέν ἔλαβε ποτέ οὔτε μ᾽ ἕνα ἐσωτερικό λογισμό, οὔτε μέ μία πονηρή ἐπιθυμία, γνῶσι τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Αὐτόν, λοιπόν, τόν ἐξ ὁλοκλήρου ἀναμάρτητο, τόν τελείως ἁμόλυντο καί ἄμεμπτο, “ὑπέρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησε”. Τόν μεταχειρίσθηκε σάν ἁμαρτωλό. Ἄφησε ὁ ἐπουράνιος Πατήρ νά Τόν καταδικάσουν σάν νά ἦταν ἔνοχος, καί νά Τόν θανατώσουν τά ὄργανα τοῦ σατανᾶ σάν νά ἦταν ἕνας ἀπ᾽ τούς πλέον ἁμαρτωλούς τοῦ κόσμου. Καί τόν ὕψωσαν στό ξύλο ὡς ἐγκληματία… Ἔπαθε, δηλαδή, ὅ,τι παθαίνει κι ἐκεῖνος, πού δέν ἔχει μέν χρέη δικά του, ἀλλά βάζει μέ τή θέλησί του καί ἀβίαστα τήν ὑπογραφή του κάτω ἀπό ἕνα ξένο ὁμόλογο καί γραμμάτιο. Ἔτσι τό χάλκινο φίδι τῆς ἐρήμου προτύπωνε τέλεια τόν Ἰησοῦ Χριστό ὑψωμένο στό Σταυρό. Ὅπως εἴπαμε καί πρωτύτερα, ὁ Χριστός μόνο κατά τό ἐξωτερικό φαινόμενο ἔμοιαζε πρός τό φίδι τῆς ἁμαρτίας, στό βάθος, ὅμως, ἦταν ξένος καί νεκρός καί πεθαμένος ὡς πρός τήν ἁμαρτία καί δέν εἶχε καμμία σχέσι μ᾽ αὐτήν»(στό: ΤΠ, 136).


Ἀρχιμ. Ἰωάννου Κωστώφ


Τό δικό μας Holywood (=Ἱερό Ξύλο)

ἐκδ. Ἁγ. Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός

ΑΘΗΝΑ 2011