The Divine Liturgy

The Divine Liturgy

“For fifty consecutive years he Liturgized daily from 8 am til 2 pm, in snows, in revolutions… He commemorated names for whole hours… He would place them in two large handkerchiefs and tie them up like a type of package, and place them on his hip… he had two packages, one with names and the other with Holy Relics… He would cross his hands and humbly respond, ‘I shall chant to my God as long as I live.'”

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“For the duration of the half century in which he Liturgized without a break, he never lacked Prosphoro (Holy bread used for the Holy Divine Liturgy). Always some woman would bring it the night before or some nearby bakery would provide it for him. One day the Matins had proceeded quite a way and no Prophoro could be seen anywhere. He sent helpers to go to the women he knew always had Prosphoro; he looked in the cupboards of the Sanctaury –nothing. He was distressed to the point that he started to cry. After such a continuance of Liturgies for a cessation to occur now! Whereupon they saw him coming out of the Holy Royal Doors holding a Prosphoro (the Sea only, not the whole loaf), which was still very warm and which he had found on the Altar Table. Moved with joy, he said, “My children, what a sign God did for me!”

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“The children who were in Church would see him shining with Heavenly Light, doing unexplainable gestures, or remaining for a long time attentive, as if something were happening to him. These were the moments when he was communicating with the Saints and being drenched with the Light of Paradise. Many times they would see him not standing on the ground.”

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“When he Liturgized, he wanted everything to contribute to the majesty of the Divine Liturgy. He chanted with such contrition that he would hear the Angels chanting with him. Once, he asked a spiritual daughter of his whether she also heard the Angels. ‘No, my Father, I don’t hear them.’ Immediately he repented and said to himself, ‘I shouldn’t have said it, I shouldn’t have said it…'”

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“Great importance was given to attention and the concentration of the mind during prayer and worship. In his teachings to his spiritual children he stressed this point very much. Also, when he came out of the Sanctuary to cense, during Matins, many times he would be seen censing an empty chair, while in contrast he would not cense certain bystanders. With his spiritual gift he discerned that some of those physically present were actually absent, since their minds were scattered and wandered about here and there, while others who were absent due to illness or other reasons beyond their will were mentally present and Praying during that time.”

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“Whenever he served the Liturgy, Papa-Nicholas had the habit of saying three or four Gospels. I would say to him, ‘The Typicon of the Church specifies one Gospel; in the Monasteries they say two. Here, since the Vigils and Services are celebrated as they would be in the Monasteries, two Gospels should be said.’ And Papa-Nicholas replied, ‘Let’s say one for this Saint, and one for that Saint, so that they’ll be pleased!’… When he commemorated the Saints, he wished, if it were possible, to commemorate every single Saint – as many as were found in the Synaxaries, each one separately by name. Since much time was consumed, some would begin to cry out to him, ‘Papa-Nicholas! say “…and of all Thy Saints!” ‘but he, without becoming troubled in the least, would continue to the end.”

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