Tuesday, September 28, 2021

New Martyr Rasha Muklasha, killed by her son for converting to Christ

"Children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (MT 10:21b-22)

"The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me." (JN 16:2b-3)


MARTYRDOM IN THE HOLY LAND: SON KILLS MOTHER FOR CONVERTING FROM ISLAM TO ORTHODOXY

OrthoChristian.com, September 28, 2021

A woman from Northern Israel was strangled to death by her own son last month for converting from Islam to Orthodox Christianity.

According to the indictment, the murder of 46-year-old Rasha Muklasha by her 27-year-old son Muad Hib was premeditated, with Hib arranging a meeting with her near Nazareth on August 5 with the intention of killing her and disposing of her remains, reports the Times of Israel.

Muklasha left her husband and severed ties with her five children in 2006, later converting to Orthodoxy. Having learned of the death of her ex-husband, she resumed contact with her children, but they were angered by her conversion.

Three sons and another relative were all arrested, and eventually enough evidence was gathered to pinpoint the middle brother as the main culprit, with the others being released, reports the Jerusalem Post.

After picking up his mother in his car, Hib “strangled the deceased with a rope or his hands, alone or with others, with the intention of causing her death,” the court documents said.

He then fled towards the Jordan River where he dug a pit and buried his mother’s body. Later that day, he rammed a police roadblock and was arrested after a brief chase.

The martyred Muklasha’s remains were found about a day later near a section of the Jordan River in northern Israel.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Blessed Father Seraphim Rose - Special 2021 Update

September 2 is the anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina, who died on that day in 1982, making this the 39th anniversary of his repose.

See our Special Resource Page on Fr. Seraphim Rose, newly updated for 2021.


This year, September 2 approached with uncertainty and apprehension, as wildfires in northern California forced the evacuation of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina and St Xenia Skete for women in Wildwood (also co-founded by Father Seraphim). Though the nuns were able to return to their skete fairly quickly, the monks had to wait at St John's Monastery in Manton as the flames threatened their beloved and historic monastery. Updates and prayer requests were shared via social media as the flames drew ever nearer to Platina. 



A firetruck parked outside the monastery gate at St Herman of Alaska in Platina CA

Thanks to the protection of the Mother of God, the prayers of the saints, and the tireless and creative labors of the firemen (who established a controlled burn area to protect the monastery), the fires were finally stopped a scant 100 yards from St Herman of Alaska Monastery, and the Platina fathers were able to return to celebrate both the Feast of the Dormition, as well as the anniversary of Blessed Father Seraphim's repose a few days later.

In thanksgiving for the deliverance of St Herman's Monastery and St Xenia Skete,  I have posted some new resources and links on our Father Seraphim Rose Resource Page, so be sure to explore that, newly updated for 2021, and with extensive materials, articles, videos and more dating back many years.

Below are a couple of photos and link to a major story on the deliverance of Platina at OrthoChristian.com.

For those who do not know and have perhaps never been to Platina, the outdoor altar on which the Divine Liturgy is being celebrated is actually the canopy over Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim's grave. This outdoor, open-air altar has been improved and beautified in recent years, and is open for pilgrims to venerate Blessed Father Seraphim and seek his intercessions year round.


ST. HERMAN’S BROTHERHOOD RETURNS FROM EVACUATION IN TIME FOR DORMITION AND ANNIVERSARY OF FR. SERAPHIM (ROSE)

Platina, California, September 6, 2021

OrthoChristian.com  |  Photos by Fr. Thaddeus Hardenbrook

Bp. James of Sonora serves the Divine Liturgy for the anniversary of the repose of Fr. Seraphim (Rose) with Abbot Daamscene (right) and Hieromonk Paisy (left).


After remaining in evacuation for more than a week due to the wildfires in northern California, the monks of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina were able to return home in time for the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, and for the anniversary of the repose of the brotherhood’s co-founder Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose).

The monks were forced to evacuate on August 16, with the majority of the brotherhood staying at the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco in Manton.

The associated St. Xenia Skete in nearby Wildwood was already evacuated earlier in August, though it suffered no damage and the sisters had already returned.

Fr. Paisy reads the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy.

Fr. Seraphim is beloved and revered throughout the Orthodox world.

The Liturgy in honor of Fr. Seraphim was celebrated by His Grace Bishop James of Sonora (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia), who knew Fr. Seraphim personally. Vladyka and the brotherhood were also joined by visiting clergy and pilgrims.

A message on the monastery website reads simply: “Glory to God and His Most Pure Mother for protecting the monastery! Thank you, firefighters! Thank you for your prayers.”


Read the full article with additional links and related posts here...


Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615)

On April 10 we commemorate two large groups of Georgian Orthodox martyrs under the sword of Islam: the Six-Thousand (†1615) recounted below, and the Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery, who were burned alive by their Muslim tormentors in 1386.

Better known are the 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi in 1227, who refused to deny Christ and were beheaded, thus receiving their heavenly crowns.


The Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615)

From The Prologue of Ochrid for April 10




In the wilderness of David-Garejeli in Georgia, there were twelve monasteries in which many monks practiced and lived the ascetical life for centuries. 

In 1615 A.D., the great king of Persia, Shah Abbas I, attacked Georgia, devasted it and beheaded many Christians. Once while hunting early in the morning on the Feast of the Resurrection, Shah Abbas noticed many lights in the mountains. They were the monks from the twelve monasteries in procession around the Church of the Resurrection with lighted tapers in hand. When the Shah discovered that they were monks, he asked in amazement: "Has not all of Georgia been given over to the sword?" He then ordered his solders to immediately go and behead all the monks. 

Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery in Georgia (†1386)

On April 10 we commemorate two large groups of Georgian Orthodox martyrs under the sword of Islam: the Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery (recounted below), who were burned alive by their Muslim tormentors in 1386, and the Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615).

Better known are the 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi  (†1227), who refused to deny Christ and were beheaded, thus receiving their heavenly crowns.


Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery in Georgia

Commemorated April 10 | OCA



In the 14th century, during the reign of King Bagrat V (1360-1394), Timur (Tamerlane) invaded Georgia seven times. His troops inflicted irreparable damage on the country, seizing centuries-old treasures and razing ancient churches and monasteries.

Timur’s armies ravaged Kartli, then took the king, queen, and the entire royal court captive and sent them to Karabakh (in present-day Azerbaijan). Later Timur attempted to entice King Bagrat to renounce the Christian Faith in exchange for permission to return to the throne and for the release of the other Georgian prisoners.

For some time Timur was unable to subjugate King Bagrat, but in the end, being powerless and isolated from his kinsmen, the king began to falter. He devised a sly scheme: to confess Islam before the enemy, but to remain a Christian at heart. Satisfied with King Bagrat’s decision to “convert to Islam,” Timur permitted the king to return to the throne of Kartli. At the request of King Bagrat, Timur sent twelve thousand troops with him to complete Georgia’s forcible conversion to Islam.

When they were approaching the village of Khunani in southeastern Georgia, Bagrat secretly informed his son Giorgi of everything that had happened and called upon him and his army to massacre the invaders. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Can there have been Two Annunciations?

 




Today is March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. 

As the hymn for the Feast says, 

Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace...

Islam also begins with an annunciation of sorts, to Muhammad, coincidentally by a spirit being also identified as the angel Jibril (Gabriel). Only the nature and outcome of that annunciation is quite different from the one to the Virgin Mary six centuries earlier.

This article contrasts the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary — filled with light and grace — with that 'second annunciation' — a dark annunciation — to Muhammad. This is one of the most significant and revealing facts about Islam, one which we should always keep in the forefront of our considerations.

If Muslims worship the Same God as Christians, how could that Same God possibly send two such radically opposed revelations and messages? And could it be the Same God if He chose to send His revelation to Muhammad through such a dark and blatantly evil "annunciation"?