Dimitri of Rostov: A miracle of St Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra Sunday, Dec 6 2015 

Dimitry_rostovsky_17cA ship was once sailing from Egypt to Myra when a violent storm arose, churning up the sea.

The sails were torn, and it seemed that the vessel itself would be crushed by the mighty waves.

The passengers were in despair of their lives when they remembered the great hierarch Nicholas.

Although none of them had ever seen him, they had heard that he was the quick helper of those who call on him in misfortune, so they turned to him in prayer, begging his assistance.

The saint immediately appeared, announcing, “You called for me, and I have come to help you!”

He took the helm and began piloting the ship, calming the storm, as once did the Lord, Who said, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also.

Because he was a faithful servant of God, Nicholas gave commands to the wind and sea and they obeyed him. Sped by a fair wind, the boat reached Myra, and the passengers disembarked, hoping to see the holy Bishop.

They met the saint on his way to church, and recognizing their benefactor, fell at his feet, thanking him.

The wondrous Nicholas did not merely deliver them from danger of physical death, but took thought for the salvation of their souls as well.

Because he was clairvoyant, he perceived that some of the passengers were defiled by fornication, which estranges a man from God and causes him to neglect the Lord’s commandments.

“Children,” he said to them, “I beseech you to correct your hearts and thoughts, so that you may be pleasing to God. Consider that although we may reckon ourselves to be righteous and frequently succeed in deceiving men, we can conceal nothing from God. Let us therefore strive to preserve the holiness of our souls and to guard the purity of our bodies with all fervor.” […]

So saying, the blessed one, like a loving father, let them depart in peace.

Saint Nicholas’ countenance resembled that of an angel, splendid with divine grace. A brilliant ray shone from his face, as from Moses’, so that those who looked at him were astonished.

Whoever was oppressed by some affliction or passion of soul had only to lay eyes on the saint, and his sorrow was eased at once. As for those who conversed with him, they soon found themselves advancing on the path of virtue.

Not only the faithful but unbelievers as well were moved to compunction and directed their steps toward salvation when they heard his sweet lips speak; the evil of unbelief implanted in their hearts since childhood was uprooted, and in its place the word of truth was sown.

Dimitri of Rostov (1651-1709; Russian Orthodox): The Life of Our Father Among the Saints Nicholas the Wonder-worker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia  from The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 2: October, compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov @ Chrysostom Press.

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Dimitri of Rostov: The significance of the birth of the Mother of God in Nazareth Sunday, Sep 8 2013 

Dimitry_rostovsky_17cSeptember 8th is the Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary

The place where the Most Blessed Virgin was born was a little town in the land of Galilee called Nazareth, which was subject to the city of Capernaum. It was inglorious and obscure, and its inhabitants were held in disdain, even as it was once said of Christ, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth” (Jn. 1)?

But the Lord, “Who dwells on high and looks down on things that are lowly” (Ps. 112), was well pleased that His Most Pure Mother be born not in Capernaum, which in its pride was lifted up to heaven, but rather in humble Nazareth, indicating that that “which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Lk. 16), while that which is despised and disdained by them is regarded by Him as lofty and honorable.

Moreover, by its very name Nazareth hints the height of the virtues of the Most Pure Virgin. For as by His nativity in Bethlehem, which name means “House of Bread”, the Lord mystically signified that He is the Bread come down from heaven for the life and strength of men.

So by the birth of His Most Pure Mother in Nazareth He denotes sublime things. For the name “Nazareth” means a blossoming place, sacred, removed from the things of this world, adorned as it were, with a crown, and guarded. All these epithets are clearly applicable to the Most Pure Virgin, for she is the flower sprung up from the withered tree of a barren and aged womb, which has renewed our nature which has shriveled with age.

She is the flower which does not wilt, but ever blossoms with virginity. She is the most fragrant flower, giving birth to the fragrance of the only King. She is the flower which bears the Fruit which is Christ the Lord, the flower which alone has borne the fragrant Apple. She is sanctified by the grace of the Holy Spirit which has descended upon her and has overshadowed her.

She is the holiest of all the saints, as she has borne the Word, Who Himself is more holy than all the Saints. She is excluded from the ranks of the sinners of this world, for throughout her life not even once did she know sin.

All of us must say with David, “I know mine iniquity and my sin is ever before me” (Ps. 50), but she alone can say, “Without iniquity I ran, and directed my steps” (Ps. 58). She is the guide of all men, who hath not only committed no sin herself, but also turns sinners from wicked deeds, even as the Church cries out to her, “Rejoice, thou who rescuest us from the works of mire.”

Dimitri of Rostov (1651-1709; Russian Orthodox): Homily On The Nativity Of The Most Pure Theotokos; translation of complete homily @ Mystagogy.

Dimitri of Rostov: “Wisdom has built Itself a temple” Saturday, Jun 8 2013 

Dimitry_rostovsky_17cThe Lord, Who lives in the heavens, wishing to appear on earth and abide with men, first prepared a dwelling place of His glory: His Most Pure Mother.

[…] And as the palaces of earthly kings are constructed by the most skilled craftsmen, of the most costly materials, and…are more beautiful and spacious than all the other dwellings of men, in the same manner the palace of the King of Glory must be erected (3 Kings 6).

In the Old Testament, when God desired to dwell in Jerusalem, Solomon built a temple for Him, employing Hiram, a most wise master, who possessed full knowledge of every art and science, and was skilled in every enterprise.

He constructed the temple with materials of great value: with costly stone, with aromatic woods of cedar and cypress brought from Lebanon, with pure gold, and upon a high place: that is, upon Mount Moriah (2 Chr. 3).

The temple was of great beauty. On its walls were portrayed the likeness of cherubims, and of various trees and flowers.

The temple was so spacious that the whole Israelite people could be accommodated without crowding, and the glory of the Lord would descend in fire and a cloud (2 Chr. 7).

Nevertheless, that temple did not suffice to contain within itself the Uncontainable God, for even though Solomon built Him a temple, “The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands. ‘What house will ye build me’, saith the Lord: ‘or what is the place of my rest?’” (Acts 7).

At the beginning of the new era of grace, the Lord was pleased to create a temple not made by hands: the Most Pure, Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

By what builder was this temple erected? In truth, by One most wise; by the very Wisdom of God, as the Scripture says, “Wisdom hath built itself a temple” (Prov. 9).

All things created by the Wisdom of God are good and perfect, therefore, as it was the Wisdom of God that created the living temple of the Word…it was not possible that in her there could be any sort of imperfection or sin.

The Perfect God created a perfect temple; the Most Radiant King, a most radiant palace; for the Most Pure and Undefiled Bridegroom, a bridal chamber most pure and undefiled; for the Spotless Lamb, an unsullied dwelling place.

A Faithful Witness abiding in the heavens said to her, “You are most fair, my love; there is no spot in you” (Song of Songs 4).

And Saint John the Damascene says, “She is wholly the bridal chamber of the Spirit, wholly the city of God, a sea of Grace, wholly good, close to God.”

Dimitri of Rostov (1651-1709; Russian Orthodox): Homily On The Nativity Of The Most Pure Theotokos @ Mystagogy.