Thursday, August 28, 2014

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

BEIRUT -- The dramatic arrival of Da'ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed -- and horrified -- by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia's ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, "Don't the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?"

It appears -- even now -- that Saudi Arabia's ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite "fire" with Sunni "fire"; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da'ish's strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan -- please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da'ish (ISIS) -- and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia's direction and discourse.

Read the rest at Huffington Post

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Iraqi Christians Weigh Taking Up Arms Against the Islamic State

DAHUK, Iraq—Of all the many ancient peoples who once lived in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates, Iraq's Assyrian Christians pride themselves on having persisted in their traditional homeland for millennia, even as other civilizations thrived then disappeared, as languages and cultures died out, as ethnic groups melted into the ways and genetic pools of their conquerors.
But today Iraq's Assyrians, and its Christians in general, fear that their place in this multiethnic, multisectarian mosaic society is shrinking, under severe threat from the ultraconservative Islamist group the Islamic State (IS).

Read the rest at National Geographic

The Muslims Will Invade The Vatican, And Try To Destroy The Roman Catholic Church

I remember a few years ago spending time with an Evangelical friend of mine. Within our conversation, somehow, the subject of the Crusades came up. Of course, I defended the Crusades, explaining that they were fighting off Islamic invaders in the Middle East. He, on the other hand, vehemently condemned the Crusaders as evil and barbarous people. I asked him, “Who would you rather win, the Muslims or the Crusaders?” He said, with a tone of vitriol, “It doesn’t matter, they are both the same! I would not care at all if the Muslims invaded the Vatican, the Catholics are just as evil.”

This is the predicament that we are in. While the Vatican is hated as the Harlot of Babylon, the Muslims are currently conspiring to take over and destroy Rome. And many would not have a problem with this.

The Muslims will invade Rome in the near future. Why would they try such a seemingly useless endeavor? Because when Muhammad founded his cult, there were two cities that he aspired for the Muslims to conquer: Rome and Constantinople.

Read the rest at

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bishop Sheen on Islam

Moslemism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism.

Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty, and His Creative Power, and uses it as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God.

Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet only.

The Catholic Church throughout Northern Africa was virtually destroyed by Moslem power and at the present time (circa 1950), the Moslems are beginning to rise again.

If Moslemism is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined, either in numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.

Editor's note: Belloc was not the first to call Islam a heresy.  In his "Fount of Knowledge", St. John of Damascus affirms Islam as a heresy, going so far as to call it a forerunner of Anti-christ.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lepanto, ISIS, and America

by guest contributor, Harold Koenig

Sobieski's Hussars
In the battle before Lepanto, the Turks had captured the admiral of the European fleet. They flayed him alive (at least, he was alive when they started) and hoisted his skin, stuffed with straw, to the masthead.

This is important. There is the myth of Andalus, this urbane and tolerant Muslim society. But the reality of Islam as an aggressive fighting force trumps the myth.

One must not underestimate the effect of the Protestantism of England on the stories we tell ourselves. When Spain was Catholic AND the enemy and rival of England, it suited the needs of a great many to paint both Spain and Catholicism in the worst possible light. Thus "THE" Inquisition, as though there were only one, becomes an historical bogey to frighten children with, while hanging and drawing (eviscerating -- while alive) Catholic priests in England does not get much space in the legends of our culture.

So Lepanto and the Siege of Vienna are awkward, while Roland is quite forgotten. But the facts of the past are being thrown in our present faces, and our enemy flaunts his brutality while he sells our daughters to the seraglio of some unwashed thug. Had not Roland and Don Juan of Austria fought so well, had not Sobieski and the glorious Polish hussars come to the relief of Vienna, our history would have been sadder and more tawdry than it is.

Fools, and I do not throw that epithet lightly, thought that the momentary weakening of what was the USSR signaled the end of history. NOTHING in history yet has supported the belief that there would not be struggles between and among empires. And now the IS hurls defiance at the rest of the world. Stronger than anyone expected, they lay claim to a future of empire and imperial domination.

And the United States? In theory at least, we the people are sovereigns whose ministers make our government. But too many of the soi-disant wise tell us that these matters are too high for us, that we are common people beset by vengeful passions. And, they are not utterly wrong, because too few of us have cultivated either virtue or wisdom.

But currently in the face of the threats of a new Kara Mustafa, our government tells us this has nothing to do with Islam or with the United States. Yes, they killed one of our citizens -- with remarkable brutality, and in accordance with their scriptures. But, have no fear, our daughters are safe. And, on wouldn't want to be bigoted or, God (if there is one) forbid, blunt in the face of a highly multi-culti enemy.

They kill adults and children. They FILM the killing of children. But, wait, there's anew boutique brewery. Surely the Muslims will wait while I sample this exquisitely hopped ale.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ISIS - an Incomprehensible Enemy

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker
James Foley was kidnapped first. He was just grabbed off the street by Muslim fanatics.
Then he was kept as a prisoner and tortured.
Finally he was be-headed publicly.
Why could that not be the fate of any American traveling abroad?
You’re a tourist in a Middle Eastern country with an American passport?

Read the rest at

Editor's note: Crusaders of the Immaculate, we are called to battle.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Remember That ISIS Terrorist Who Threatened to Raise ‘Allah’s Flag’ Over the White House? He’s Dead.

Editor's admonition:  My friends, we ought not rejoice over the death of enemies.  We can, however, rejoice that his passing is an indication that ISIS is losing the battle - and that our prayers are a factor in that.

In a documentary from VICE News a week back we met Abu Mosa, the press officer of the ISIS terrorists, who peered into the camera and told Americans that he would “raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”
Well, that might be tough from his vantage point, because Abu has been killed:

Read the rest at

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate

The following is taken and adapted from a booklet entitled "The Crusade of Mary Immaculate", by St. Maximilian Kolbe printed by the Augustine Publishing Company, Devon, UK, 1988

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate
"...The final aim of man is that to which he tends, and for the attainment of which he uses all means. Our aim is to love God through Mary Immaculate, and in her; therefore, our whole life should used for this purpose. To gain as many souls as possible, this is the purpose of our life; to give ourselves irrevocably and unconditionally to Mary Immaculate, and to cultivate that dedication in the hearts of all throughout the world, so that she may reign in our hearts and in the hearts of all."
"What an immense work that is! But what happiness after death, after a life of so much toil and suffering and self-annihilation for Mary Immaculate! To bend the proud neck of the world beneath the feet of Mary Immaculate - this is the aim of the Crusade of Mary Immaculate. The whole world and each single soul must be conquered for her, as quickly as possible, and then the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will reign, through her, throughout the whole world. It is necessary to win the whole world for her, that the reign of sin may cease."
"What do these words mean: 'To strive for the conversion and sanctification of the souls of all through Mary Immaculate'? What do we want to emphasize by these words? We want to emphasize that the shortest and surest way to conversion and sanctification is - Mary Immaculate. Our desire is to follow that cause ourselves and to teach it to others."
"...The spirit is that which enlivens and moves. The spirit of Mary Immaculate will vivify the members of the Crusade in order that they may become more and more the property of the Immaculate, with greater and greater zeal to win the hearts of their neighbors for her. The more they live by this spirit, the more will they become true Crusaders of Mary Immaculate. The motto of the Crusade of Mary Immaculate is: To lead each and every soul, through Mary, to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. In other words, Mary Immaculate must become the Queen of all souls and of each individual soul."

The Crusader of Mary Immaculate

"...The Crusader of Mary Immaculate does not limit his affection to himself, nor even to his family, relatives, friends, or countrymen, but he embraces the whole world and every single person in it, because all are redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, all are our brothers. He desires true happiness for all, the light of faith, freedom from sin, the enkindling in the heart of love for God, love without limit. The happiness of all mankind in God, through Mary Immaculate - this is his dream."
"...The Crusader of Mary Immaculate is not indifferent to the spread of evil, but hates evil with his whole heart, and on every occasion, at all times, and in all places, he fights these evils which poison human souls. There is no heroism which a soul cannot attain with the help of Mary Immaculate. To suffer, to work, and to die for God alone, through Mary Immaculate, and as an instrument in her hands - this is an ideal worthy of the Crusader of Mary Immaculate."

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate and the Miraculous Medal

"...Because conversion and sanctification come from the grace of God, the Miraculous Medal will be the best means of obtaining this grace. For that reason, the Miraculous Medal is the best arms of the Crusade; it is a bullet which the faithful crusader aims at the enemy, in this way helping souls. Let us work with all our might that that which was foretold by St. Catherine Labouré, to whom Mary Immaculate revealed the Miraculous Medal, may be realized as quickly as possible. In other words, that Mary Immaculate will become the Queen of the whole world, and of each single soul."

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate and the Holy Name of Mary

"The lovable practice of greeting on another with the name of Mary is a sign of life."
"O what peace the holy name of Mary gives! Let us repeat it often in the depths of our souls and may it become the aspiration of our hearts. Try to take refuge with Mary as a little child with its best-beloved Mother. Invoke her holy name with the heart in the difficulties of life, in darkness and weakness of spirit, and you will soon be convinced what Mary can do - and Who her Son Jesus Christ is."

Pope Benedict was right about Islam at Regensburg. The world owes him an apology.

As I write, the headlines and my various news feeds are filled with images of some of the most loathsome barbarities we have seen since the end of World War II. The horrific images invading our internet space from Syria and (the country formerly known as) Iraq: Mass murders, crucifixions, beheadings – even of tiny children – torture, and systematic gang rapes; women and girls abducted en masse and sold into slavery; thousands chased out of their homes in terror, allowed to carry nothing with them; homes, ancient churches, monasteries and shrines looted and burned…
Beyond horrific, the images and the news they depict are bizarre and surreal, as though the violent chaos of the 7th century had burst insanely into a quiet Midwestern suburb. We are being shown, in graphic detail on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Google, some hint of what the Islamic conquest of those ancient Christian lands we now call the Middle East must have looked like. We are reminded now of the long centuries of darkness, of misery and oppression of non-Muslim indigenous populations by their Islamic overlords, that spurred Christendom to attempt their rescue in the Crusades.
We are close today to the 8th anniversary, September 12th, of the address given by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in 2006, in which he quoted a long-dead Christian emperor who was facing similar reports. About a week ago, an editorial writer for the Catholic Italian newspaper Il Foglio, Camillo Langone, wrote that the world owed Pope Benedict – and Emperor Paleologus – an apology over their reaction to that speech. 

Read the rest of the article at Life Site News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dialogue with Islam?

Iraqis, Kurds retake key dam from militants

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 12:00 am

BAGHDAD — Iraqi and Kurdish forces recaptured Iraq's largest dam from Islamic militants Monday following dozens of U.S. airstrikes, President Barack Obama said, in the first major defeat for the extremists since they swept across the country this summer.
Militants from the Islamic State group had seized the Mosul Dam on Aug. 7, giving them access and control of enormous power and water reserves and threatening to deny those resources to much of Iraq.

My friends, our prayers are making a difference 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Not all Muslims are evil

My friends, as we pray for the conversion of Muslims, let us also thank God 
that not all Muslims are the bloodthirsty monsters that see killing Christians.

"For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things." Phil 4:8

Are you afraid to speak up?

To be a Martyr

by Mr. Lou Pizzuti, OP
(Originally published 13 November 2012 on

Cardinal George of Chicago has been quoted as saying that he expected to die in his bed, that his successor would die in prison, and that his successor would die a martyr in the public square.

In these times when the public - and particularly governmental - attitude towards Christians is increasingly hostile, it is possible that many of us may share in such a fate.

Yesterday was the feast of St. Josaphat, a Ruthenian Rite bishop and martyr of the 17th century.  Praying the Liturgy of the Hours last night, I found the antiphons particularly comforting.

  • "Men will hate you because you are mine, but he who perseveres will be saved." We will indeed be hated.  It has already begun.  But, if we want the prize - our salvation - we need to endure.  Never forget our Lord's words -Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
  • "The sufferings of this life cannot be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in the life to come." Reflecting on suffering recently, it occurred to me that it has two purposes.  The first, according to St. Paul, is that it "fills up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ" (Col 1:24).  But, suffering also has another purpose - it gives us the opportunity to detach ourselves from the things of this life, of this world, allowing us to focus on heaven.
  • "The Lord tested his chosen ones as gold tested by fire; he has received them for ever as a sacrificial offering." Why is gold tested by fire?  The impurities in gold come to the top so that they may be skimmed off, leaving behind pure gold.  Our testing results in our purity. 

My brothers and sisters, in the days ahead, when it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain your faith, remember this.

Take courage in the fact that, in persevering, you shall be saved.

Take courage in the fact that your suffering actually completes Christ's sacrifice in ways that we cannot know; and that your suffering gives you the opportunity to leave behind your attachments to sin.

Take courage that God is allowing your tested so that you may emerge pure.

Fill your Church with the Spirit
that gave Saint Josaphat courage
to lay down his life for his people.
By his prayers
may your Spirit make us strong
and willing to offer our lives
for our brothers and sisters.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Archbishop of Mosul: "I have lost my Diocese to Islam - You in the West will also become the victims of Muslims"

Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.

Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

Archbishop Amel Nona
Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, now exiled in Erbil

Full story here

Friday, August 15, 2014

Is Mary the New Ark of the Covenant?

On this, the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (or, the Solemnity of the Assumption as it’s known in the West), I thought it fitting to revisit this question.

Is the Blessed Virgin Mary the New Ark of the Covenant?
Both Mary and the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant held the Presence of God within
·         OT Ark of the Covenant - constructed according to God's purpose
o   Mary - κεχαριτομεμη - She who has been perfected by grace
Luke's Presentation of the Visitation has striking parallels to OT accounts of the Ark

·         The glory of the Lord and the cloud cover the Tabernacle (containing the Ark)  “overshadow” (episkiazen) them (Exod 40:34-35, cf. v. 3)
o   The Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and and the power of the Most High “overshadows” (episkiasei) her (Luke 1:35)

·         David “arose and went” to the hill country of Judah to bring up “the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:2)
o   Mary “arose and went” into the hill country of Judah to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:39)

·         David admits his unworthiness to receive the Ark by exclaiming: “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:9)
o   Elizabeth admits her unworthiness to receive Mary by exclaiming: “And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43)

·         David “leaped” before the Ark as it was brought in “with shouting” (2 Samuel 6:15-16)
o   John “leapt” in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice and Elizabeth cried “with a loud shout”: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed in the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42)

·         The Ark remained in the hill country, in the house of Obed-Edom, for “three months” (2 Samuel 6:11)
o   Mary remained in the hill country, in Elizabeth’s house, “three months” (Luke 1:56)

Revelation alludes to Mary being the Ark
"Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. 5 Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days." Rev 11:19-12:6

The last verse is an allusion to the Assumption, which is also spoken of in Psalm 132:8 - "Arise, LORD, come to your resting place, you and your majestic ark."

Some have asserted that the Body of Jesus is the Ark of the New Covenant.
Now, the original Ark of the Covenant was something that carried the presence of God for a time; it was the permanent abode of God.  And it was distinct from Him.
However, when Jesus ascended to heaven, He ascended in bodily form.  There can no longer be any separation of the Son of God and his body - otherwise, it was a disposable shell that was crucified - and a disposable shell doesn't die.  It's vacated.

In short, the Body of Jesus cannot be the Ark of the New Covenant.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy Feast Day of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Whenever you feel guilty, even if it is because you have consciously committed a sin, a serious sin, something you have kept doing many, many times, never let the devil deceive you by allowing him to discourage you. Whenever you feel guilty, offer all your guilt to the Immaculate, without analyzing it or examining it, as something that belongs to her…

My beloved, may every fall, even if it is serious and habitual sin, always become for us a small step toward a higher degree of perfection.

In fact, the only reason why the Immaculate permits us to fall is to cure us from our self-conceit, from our pride, to make us humble and thus make us docile to the divine graces.

The devil, instead, tries to inject in us discouragement and internal depression in those circumstances, which is, in fact, nothing else than our pride surfacing again.

If we knew the depth of our poverty, we would not be at all surprised by our falls, but rather astonished, and we would thank God, after sinning, for not allowing us to fall even deeper and still more frequently.

—Letter of Saint Maximilian Kolbe

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Why did ISIS destroy the Tomb of Jonah?

Following up on the idea of Ancient Assyria Reborn, it becomes clear why the Tomb of Jonah was destroyed.  Yes, they operate under the mantle of Fundamentalist Islam, but, it seems to this author, there is a deeper meaning to their actions.

Consider Chapter 3 of the Book of the Prophet Jonah, remembering that ancient Nineveh is modern Mosul. 

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?”

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.

Is it any wonder?  Jonah was the servant of God who robbed the demons of so many souls that they would drag down to hell, so many souls who would cooperate in their bloodlust.

Holy Prophet Jonah, pray for us!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The key to our success

The Battle that Saved the Christian West

Christopher Check

Americans know that in 1492 Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue," but how many know that in the same year the heroic Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the Moors in Grenada? Americans would also probably recognize 1588 as the year of the defeat of the Spanish Armada by Francis Drake and the rest of Queen Elizabeth’s pirates. It was a tragedy for the Catholic kingdom of Spain and a triumph for the Protestant British Empire, and the defeat determined the kind of history that would one day be taught in American schools: Protestant British history.

As a result, 1571, the year of the battle of Lepanto, the most important naval contest in human history, is not well known to Americans. October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, celebrates the victory at Lepanto, the battle that saved the Christian West from defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

That this military triumph is also a Marian feast underscores our image of the Blessed Virgin prefigured in the Canticle of Canticles: "Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?" In October of 1564, the Viziers of the Divan of the Ottoman Empire assembled to urge their sultan to prepare for war with Malta. "Many more difficult victories have fallen to your scimitar than the capture of a handful of men on a tiny little island that is not well fortified," they told him. Their words were flattering but true. During the five-decade reign of Soleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire grew to its fullest glory, encompassing the Caucuses, the Balkans, Anatolia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Soleiman had conquered Aden, Algiers, Baghdad, Belgrade, Budapest, Rhodes, and Temesvar. His war galleys terrorized not only the Mediterranean Sea, but the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf as well. His one defeat was at the gates of Vienna in 1529.

Read the rest of the story at

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pray for the defeat of the Islamic State

I'm calling my friends to join me in prayer, 13 August 2014, noon Eastern Time.
For the defeat of the Islamic State.

Nicene Creed.
Our Father.
Hail Mary.
To Your Cross.(#1)
Mary Conceived without sin. (#2)
St Michael the Archangel (#3)

1. To Your Cross (+), O Master, we bow in veneration, and we glorify your holy resurrection.
2. Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for the conversion of Muslims.
3. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,  and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ancient Assyria Reborn

Father Dwight Longenecker has written two excellent postings today on Ancient Assyria and its connection to what's happening today in that same region.
I've combined both into one article here (with a line separating them).
The originals can be found here and here.

As it points out,
Don’t confuse the ancient Assyrian civilization with modern Assyrians who are one of the persecuted Christian groups in Iraq. The Assyrian Church of the East is an ancient group of Christians. The Chaldean Catholic Church is a group who broke away from them and are now in communion with the Catholic Church. This blog post is not about them, but about the dark spirit that is behind the ISIS barbarians. Gohere to read an article about the struggles of modern Assyrian Christians.

Lord Byron’s poem The Destruction of Sennacherib begins with the line, “The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold.”
My friend Paul Thigpen makes the link between the warlords of the Islamic State (IS) and their historic predecessors, the warlike Assyrians.
Two ancient civilizations jockeyed for power in what is now the nation of Iraq: Babylon to the south and Assyria to the North.
The Assyrian Empire was centered on the exact geographical territory that Islamic State now claims–Eastern Syria and Northern Iraq.
Assyria emerged as a territorial state in the 14th century B.C. Its territory covered approximately the northern part of modern Iraq. The first capital of Assyria was Assur, located about 150 miles north of modern Baghdad on the west bank of the Tigris River. The city was named for its national god, Assur, from which the name Assyria is also derived.
While the Babylonian Empire was known for its accomplishments in learning, architecture, and the arts, the Assyrians were known as experts in warfare. Cruel, bloodthirsty and proud, they bragged about their military victories and heartless oppression of their victims.
One early Assyrian king, Assurnarsipal wrote,
I built a pillar over against his gate, and I flayed all the chief men … and I covered the pillar with their skins … some I impaled upon the pillar on stakes. Many captives … I burned with fire … From some I cut off their hands and their fingers, and from others I cut off their noses, their ears … of many I put out the eyes.
Another historical account reads:
In strife and conflict I besieged [and] conquered the city. I felled 3,000 of their fighting men with the sword … I captured many troops alive: I cut off of some their arms [and] hands; I cut off of others their noses, ears, [and] extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living [and] one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city.”
This informative website, informs us that like the IS barbarians the Assyrians proudly recorded their brutality–not with cell phone cameras and video, but in obelisks of stone:
From the reign of Shalmaneser III, Ashurnasirpal II’s son, we also have some bronze bands that decorated a massive pair of wooden gates of a temple (and possibly a palace) at Balawat, near modern Mosul. These bronze bands display unusually fine examples of bronze repoussé (a relief created by hammering on the opposite side). In a detail, we see an Assyrian soldier grasping the hand and arm of a captured enemy whose other hand and both feet have already been cut off. Dismembered hands and feet fly through the scene. Severed enemy heads hang from the conquered city’s walls. Another captive is impaled on a stake, his hands and feet already having been cut off. In another detail, we see three stakes, each driven through eight severed heads, set up outside the conquered city. A third detail shows a row of impaled captives lined up on stakes set up on a hill outside the captured city. In an inscription from Shalmaneser III’s father, Ashurnasirpal II, the latter tells us, “I captured soldiers alive [and] erected [them] on stakes before their cities.”
They were like the wargs in Lord of the Rings–demon dogs–wolves possessed with demonic power
Is it possible that the violent spirits unleashed in Northern Iraq and Syria today are the same dark forces that infested that land thousands of years ago? Is the spirit of ancient Assyria demonic, and are those same demons surging forward today like wolves on the fold?

The Demon Wolves of ISIS

The ancient Assyrian culture was totally infested with demons like Pazuzu, and Paul’s thesis is that the old demons are back and this accounts for the bloodthirsty rage
Image of the Assyrian demon Pazuzu
Image of the Assyrian demon Pazuzu
of the warriors of ISIS.
Particular demons (principalities) are known to be associated with places, tribes and nations. Given the opportunity to return they do so with a vengeance.
Paul believes that the ancient foe–against which God’s people the Jews first fought, and then the Holy Spirit conquered in the original homeland of the faith as the apostles brought the light of Christ to Mesopotamia, has now found a way to return and infest the hearts and minds of modern day Assyrians with the same bloodlust of their ancestors.
Certainly the ugly, irrational violence emerging at this time in Northern Iraq can have no other source.
What the secular media cannot see or understand is the true spiritual dimension of the evil that has surged forth. To they imagine that such forces can be reasoned with? Do they think the United Nations will bring about a diplomatic solution?
More than ever we must be reminded of the words of the apostle Paul to the Galatians “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The evil being manifested is real. It is demonic and it seethes with the irrational, supernatural, hissing rage of hell.
If so, then how can this evil ever be overcome? Not with force of arms alone, but through spiritual warfare.
Buckle your seat belts and may the Lord have mercy.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The spread of the Caliphate

The Enemy of Mankind recruits his army

And, if there is any doubt . . .
In the Heresies section of his Fount of Knowledge, St. John of Damascus clearly teaches that the Muslims of his day are the precursors of Antichrist.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Islamic State “Systematically Beheading” Christian Children, Raping Mothers, Hanging Fathers…

(Weasel Zippers) -- A prominent Christian leader of the Chaldean community unveiled the “systematic beheading of children” and other horrendous crimes committed by ISIS. He said that the Sunni extremists are committing genocide against Christians in Iraq and with the aim to instill the Sharia Law as the law of the land.

In the interview with CNN’s Jonathan Mann, Chaldean-American businessman Mark Arabo said that the “world hasn’t seen an evil like this for generations.”

“There is a park in Mosul, where [ISIS] they actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick and have them in the park,” he explained. “More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”

Speaking from San Diego over Skype, Arabo called for the international community to offer asylum to the more than 300,000 Christians fleeing and living in neighboring cities.

“The world hasn’t seen this kind of atrocity in generations,” he said. “This is a crime against humanity. This is much broader than a community or a state. This is crime against humanity. They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking crimes that you can think of.”

When asked about Sunni extremists’ targeting of Christians, Arabo said that around 95 percent of Christians have fled, five percent have converted. Also, the ISIS have marked the death stamps on Christian homes, so whoever returns will get killed.

(from RedFlagNews)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Silence in Nineveh

Editorial on persecuted Christians in Iraq From NCRegister

The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and, see, something greater than Jonah is here!” — Matthew 12:41

After 1,600 years, Sunday Mass is no longer celebrated in Mosul, a northern Iraqi city known as Nineveh during biblical times. Worse still, Catholic aid groups have confirmed reports of the violent persecution of Christians — including crucifixions — by fighters from the brutal jihadist organization Islamic State (IS). So writes Charlotte Hays in her page-one story in this issue on the unfolding tragedy in Mosul and the anemic response from the West.

Faced with an impossible ultimatum — convert, pay a large tax, leave or die — most of the Christians of Mosul have fled, while a handful of those too old or poor to travel have converted to Islam. But there will be no respite for the refugees who have escaped with their lives but little else.

The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), which has worked with the Church in this region for almost a century, expressed fears that IS fighters — who had robbed the exiles of their homes, livelihood, cash and passports — might target other vulnerable Christian communities on the Nineveh Plain.
“Those villages could be in the hands of the Islamic State tonight,” said CNEWA’s Michael La Civita. “And if an adjoining country wants to welcome them, they will make sure the refugees are not bringing a Trojan horse — militants posing as Christian refugees.”

He predicted that an estimated 100,000 Iraqi Christians — “and not only the 30,000 flushed out of Mosul” — could be on the move before long.

“What we are doing is getting aid to the caregivers, bishops, clergy and religious, as they flee with their own flocks,” he said.

The shocking stories of IS’ policy of religious cleansing come amid an explosion of violence and religious persecution across the globe, and so the plight of Mosul’s Christians has drawn little attention in Washington or in many U.S. churches.

“Despite … the systematic extermination of Christians in Iraq, the silence in this town is deafening. Does Washington even care?” asked U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., during a July 29 speech from the floor of Congress.

While President Barack Obama has, in past speeches, affirmed religious liberty as “a universal human right to be protected at home and across the globe,” religious-freedom advocates complain that he has done little to address the surge in religious persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

Such critics argue that the Obama administration’s failure to make this issue a foreign-policy priority is symbolized by its long delay, until now, in filling the State Department post of ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. That position has been vacant for the past nine months.

However, on July 28, Obama announced his nominee to fill the vacant post, and Wolf and others have applauded the news as a first step in a long overdue policy shift by the administration.

The president’s nominee, Rabbi David Saperstein, is the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and, if confirmed by the Senate, he will be the first Jewish leader to fill the position. Saperstein comes with some baggage, however. He is a strong supporter of abortion rights. He has also criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby — a landmark ruling, which found that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects the free-exercise rights of closely held family companies that opposed the Health and Human Services’ mandate.
But Saperstein is widely respected as a dogged supporter of international religious freedom on Capitol Hill, and he quickly won endorsements from U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and others. “Rabbi Saperstein is a good choice for the post,” wrote Thomas Farr, the director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, in a July 30 post for National Review that noted concerns about some of his views. “[H]e is a veteran advocate for religious freedom abroad and has assured friends that he will work assiduously to succeed. I believe him.”

But Farr questioned whether the Obama administration would give Saperstein, in his ambassadorial post, sufficient clout to make a difference for beleaguered religious minorities in Mosul and elsewhere.
“The problem is that it is very difficult to believe this administration on the issue of international religious freedom — it has a six-year litany of splendid words and a record of ‘plans and action’ that has added up to zero,” Farr charged.

Farr also noted that, if the White House were serious about religious freedom, it would begin by having Saperstein report directly to the secretary of state — “like the ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.”
Meanwhile, as more detailed reports on the plight of Mosul’s Christians reach U.S. lawmakers and Catholic leaders, there are some hopeful signs that Capitol Hill is waking up to the tragedy unfolding on the Nineveh Plain.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has pressed the administration to work with trusted non-governmental aid groups to provide emergency relief to Iraq’s embattled religious minorities. And on July 30, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced a bipartisan resolution in the Senate that “called upon the State Department to coordinate with the Kurdistan regional government, the Iraqis, our allies in the region and the thousands of refugees who have come to our country over the decades to work together to secure safe havens for those in Iraq seeking refuge from religious persecution.”

Said Portman, “These steps will not end the violence in Iraq, but they will give Iraqi Christians a chance to escape with their lives. Some of our allies are already providing asylum; the U.S. must do more.”
See how to help (links here and here) displaced Iraqi Christians, and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. It is time for U.S. Catholics to call on their representatives in Washington to provide emergency relief for the Christians of Mosul, who inspire us with their courage and determination to live the faith under the harshest possible conditions.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Feast of the Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Cross

The Eastern Orthodox and the Byzantine Rite Catholics commemorate the Feast of the Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Cross (or Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of Jesus Christ) on August 1. This day marks the beginning of the Dormition Fast. The propers of the feast are combined with those of the Holy Maccabean Martyrs, the commemoration of whose endurance is deemed appropriate for the first day of a fast. Unlike the September 14 observance, this commemoration is considered to be a minor feast, but it does have the bringing out of the cross and veneration by the faithful like the September feast.

The history of this feast begins in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey). It was the custom there to carry the relic of the True Cross through the streets and squares of the city to ask for God's blessing, and for relief from sickness. On the eve of the feast (July 31), which is observed as a forefeast, it was taken out of the imperial treasury, and laid upon the altar of the "Great Church" (Hagia Sophia). On August 1 it was solemnly placed in the middle of the Great Church for the faithful to venerate. The relic was taken in procession daily throughout the city, offering it to the people to venerate until the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15), when it was returned again to the imperial treasury.

The Canons of the Cross and of the Saints.
The Canon of the Cross, of which the Acrostic is:
We all praise the Tree that should be worshipped.
A Composition by Joseph.
Ode 1. Tone 8.
The wonderworking rod of Moses.
Let us today with pure mind and devout intent worship the life-bearing Cross of the Lord; for it is set forth granting to those who approach it sanctification and salvation, illumination, glory and mercy.
The life-giving Cross set forth and contemplated sends out a beam of grace formed of light. Let us draw near and receive enlightenment of joy, salvation and forgiveness, as we bring praise to the Lord.
A strange sight is set forth for those who watch, the precious Cross; and like a source it pours out spiritual gifts of grace, brings sins to an end, abolishes diseases and strengthens the thoughts of those worship it sincerely.
A rod which parted the sea prefigured the trophy of the Cross, through which we by faith sail the troubled water of life undrowned, escape all the streams of sin and are filled with divine calm.
When I gave birth to you ineffably, my Child, I escaped the pangs of labour; how then am I now all filled with griefs? For I see you, who hung the earth without restraint, hanged like a malefactor on a Tree.
The Canon of the Saints.
By Andrew of Crete.
Ode 1. Tone 1. Let us all sing.
O all-wise Youths, who like professionals guarded the doctrines of Moses and devoutly imitated the death of Christ, intercede always that we may all be saved.
Who has seen, who has heard what contests the guardians of the Law, the sons of Solomoni, valiantly displayed as they competed with one soul and one thought?
Spurring each other on, the seven holy sons of honoured Solomoni cried out, ‘Let us compete like professionals, and let us die eagerly for our ancestral customs’.
Let us stand with courage, the tyrant has been put to shame, tortures have been made feeble, Beliar has been worsted, the fire has been quenched. Let no one then, brothers, stand outside the starting blocks.
‘For us, Antiochos, the contest is for our ancestral customs’, cried the Youths stripped naked in the stadium, ‘for them we prefer to die rather than to live.’
As their flesh was being scraped with iron claws in the stadium, the guardians of the Law were crying, ‘For us, Antiochos, the pains and the fire are sweet, for the sake of the life of all.’
Let us glorify the Trinity, the eternal Essence in Unity, consubstantial, one in majesty and power, the Father without beginning, the Son and the holy Spirit.
Both now. Theotokion.
Giving bud ineffably in your womb to the ripe grape cluster, O Mother of God, you were revealed to Christ's Church as a life-bearing vine, giving joy to all.
A Cross Moses traced out as he cut the Red Sea in a straight line with his rod for Israel as they marched on foot; and then united it again overwhelming Pharao with his chariots as with other line he marked out the invincible weapon. Therefore let us sing to Christ our God, for he has been glorified.
Of the Cross. Ode 3. You established.
The Cross, cause of all blessings, is seen and worshipped; and all creation keeps festival with joy, enlightened by the grace of our God who was willingly lifted up on it.
Made radiant with the light of the splendours of the Cross and having put all our trust in it, let us flee the darkness of sins and let us cry, ‘O enlightenment of all thins, compassionate Lord, glory to you!’
We sing your praise, O Cross, and we embrace you with faith as we beg your mighty power, ‘Rescue us from the snares of the foe, and pilot us all to the haven of salvation as we sing your praise’.
As she watched life that had died on a Cross, and unable to bear the pain in her heart, the holy Virgin was deeply troubled and she cried, ‘Alas, my Son! What has a lawless people done to you?’
Of the Saints. The stone which the builders.
O Youths who all sprang up and grew together in holiness and were instructed in accordance with the Law by Eleazar, you competed like professionals and trampled down to the ground all the plans of Antiochos.
‘Hurry, tyrant, cried out the children of Abraham, do whatever you wish, rage ever more fiercely. We will in no way obey your decrees, with longing for God we choose rather the outrages of tortures.’
‘Let no one be deprived today of the good fight. Let no one be hunted down by the raving beast. The serpent is cunning, let none of us become his fodder’ so the sons of Solomoni spurred one another on.
‘Come, guardians of the Law, let us be tortured together. Come, let us be courageous’, cried the Youths as they devoutly spurred one another to the contests. Let us too imitate their zeal.
Let us the faithful glorify one Essence of God, one sovereignty, one kingship, uniting without confusion the one Godhead and devoutly dividing it in three hypostases.
Both now. Theotokion.
You were prefigured by the Bush on Sinai that was unconsumed; you appeared to Daniel as a divine Mountain, from which was cut without human hand the indivisible, Christ the rock of our life, who is one Son, born from you, O Mother of God.
A Rod is accepted as a figure of the mystery; for by its budding it marks out the priest. While for the Church that once was barren the Tree of the Cross has flowered for strength and steadfastness.
Kontakion of the Cross. Tone 4.
Lifted up on the Cross of your own will, to the new commonwealth that bears your name grant your mercies, Christ God; make your faithful people glad by your power, granting them victories over their enemies; may they have your help in battle: a weapon of peace, an invincible trophy.
Then Kathisma. Tone 8. The Wisdom and Word.
Having lived devoutly, wise Youths, you bravely as martyrs shamed the tyrant’s threats, as champions of the Law; and as followers of the father you became Saints and with your mother, wise in God, you struggled eagerly. Therefore by death you truly purchased the life of heaven and you rejoice eternally, brave-hearted Maccabees. Intercede with Christ God to grant forgiveness of faults to those who celebrate with love your holy memory.
Glory. Both. Tone 6.
Your Cross, O Lord, has been sanctified; for by it healings take place for those weakened by sins. Through it we fall down before you, have mercy on us.
Of the Cross. Ode 4.
You, Lord, are my strength.
See, the mighty protection and restoration of mortals, the invincible weapon of the faith, the saving Cross is set forth and appears. And sanctifying the hearts of all who approach it with faith it enlightens by grace.
The great guardian of the Orthodox is set forth in the midst of all, the precious Cross in the midst of the earth, on which you were lifted up, supremely loving Lord, by your own free will. It sanctifies the world by its worship and it routs the regiments of demons.
Heaven with all the earth is glad; Champions, Martyrs, Apostles, souls of the Righteous now rejoice exceedingly as they see the life-giving Tree set forth in the midst, which saves all and sanctifies believers by grace.
Without conscience I have not kept your laws, O Lord, and am going to be condemned when you come from heaven to judge the works of mortals. Therefore I cry to you, ‘By the power of your Cross turn me back, save me, granting me tears of repentance’.
‘From a virgin womb, my Child, I gave you birth, and now as I see you hanging on a Tree, I am at a loss and do not comprehend the height of the mystery and the depth of your judgements’, cried the All-pure, whom as Mother of God with never silent voices we call blessed.
Of the Saints. Foreseeing by the Spirit.
Rejoice, Eleazar, as you see your holy pupils competing devoutly today on behalf of their ancestral laws and commandments, and refuting the raving of the persecutor Antiochos with wise words.
Be glad, Solomoni, as you see your seven branches blossoming together with the fruits of the Law; from which the blameless Church, reaping heirs of the worship in grace, nourishes us each day as a mother.
Leap for joy, Patriarchs, clap your hands, as you see the guardians of the Law devoutly competing for the worship according to the Law and though tested by every torment in no way abandoning their ancestral customs.
Dance like the best, brave champions, and celebrate a feast with the Martyrs of Christ, as you struggled before them for the Law and with them you are rightly and radiantly praised by the whole Church of Christ.
We faithful with never silent mouths glorify a Trinity in Unity as we cry out, ‘Trinity in Unity, worshipped together and praised in a Trinity of persons, to you be glory, honour and worship’.
Both now. Theotokion
Holy Virgin, Bride of God, we sing your praise as the one who gave birth to God and wall of the faithful; for your raised up the fallen nature of Adam and made new the image by alone giving birth to the pre-existent God.
O Lord, I have heard the mystery of your dispensation; I considered your works and glorified your Godhead.
Of the Cross. Ode 5. Why have you rejected me.
Shout for joy, you nations, sing, leap and chant, you tribes, to God who has given the Cross as an unshakeable support. As it now set forth let all of us believers rejoice as through it we enjoy the blessings.
All the spiritual armies escort you, all-holy Cross, and we mortals, touching you today with lips of clay, with love draw sanctification and blessing, as we glorify the One who was nailed upon you.
Compassionate Lord, heal the persistent passions of my soul, and save me as I worship your precious Cross. By its power all that impedes is driven off and we remain unaffected by evils.
Of the Saints. Grant us your peace.
Lovers of Christ, let us imitate the seven Youths, whom Moses lawfully brought up and Eleazar instructed in their ancestral Law through true religion.
‘Do not imagine, Antiochos, persecutor of the faithful, that your burning fire can frighten. Slaughter too, lawless tyrant. Do what you like’, the Youths cried out.
‘Let us together struggle lawfully, brave martyrs of Christ. Let Moses commands be passed along the line, not to touch polluted foods’, the Youths cried out.
O Trinity, before eternity, co-eternal and of equal majesty, Father, Son and holy Spirit, holy Unity in three persons, save those of Adam’s race who faithfully sing your praise.
Both now. Theotokion.
O Christ, alone compassionate, grant us peace; for your most pure Mother, together with the Saints who struggled for their ancestral customs and for Moses’ Law, entreats you.
O thrice-blessed Tree, on which Christ, the King and Lord, was stretched! Through it the one who deceived through a tree has fallen, caught by the bait of God who was nailed to you in the flesh and who grants peace to our souls.
Of the Cross. Ode 6. Have mercy on me, Saviour.
When the Cross was fixed in the earth, the fall of demons came about. As we see it now gloriously set forth and as we greet it lovingly we rise up from the sin of our falls.
As we praise you, God and King and Lord, we now embrace with joy the Cross which you have given us as an unbreachable wall and are delivered from perils.
The Cross of the Lord, which grants us all great gifts, appears set forth. Mortals, let us approach, as we draw fro it enlightenment of heart and soul.
Give us strength, Pure Virgin, to fast from every evil, and ever give us power to keep from mean and wicked deeds, for you are the protection of all mankind.
Of the Saints. As I imitate the Prophet Jonas.
The Wisdom of God built a temple and supported it on seven spiritual pillars, foreshadowing these Youths as guardians of the Law.
Wise Solomoni gave birth to seven sons, whom wise Eleazar brought up well; and when they had struggled bravely divine grace crowned them.
‘Why do you delay, judge?’ said the band with seven branches in the midst of tortures, ‘punish, slaughter swiftly, do whatever you wish’.
‘Our father has struggled before us, the sons are struggling together, let our mother too follow us, judge. And may their be an addition to the children and a cause of pride.’
‘Though you destroy our bodies by the fire, Antiochos,’ the choir of seven brothers valiantly cried out, ‘do not imagine you can defeat even one of us.’
Let us faithfully worship the Father and the Son and the right Spirit in one Godhead, as we cry, ‘Holy Trinity, save your world!’
Both now. Theotokion.
How did you bear a Son whom no father had begotten? How did you remain pure after child-birth as you were before? It is God who knows, who does all things just as he wills.
Jonas, stretching out his hands like a cross in the belly of the sea monster, clearly prefigured the saving Passion. Escaping from there on the third day, he was an image of the transcendent Resurrection of Christ God, who was nailed in the flesh and by his rising on the third day enlightened the world.
Kontakion. Tone 2. Seeking the things on high.
You pillars of God’s Wisdom, in umber seven, and lamps with seven lights of the divine light, all-wise Maccabees, greatest of martyrs before the Martyrs, with them ask the God of all things that those who sing your praise may be saved.
The Ikos.
Sion, praise your God with fervour, for he has truly strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your sons. For they, as a triumphant army, a truly noble and stout-hearted regiment, resisted with godly mind the devices of the wicked men. But as you enjoy the crowns of victory of the heavenly Sion and draw near to the throne of God, making supplication without ceasing on behalf of all, ask that those who sing your praise may be saved.
The Month of August has thirty one days. The day has 13 hours and the night 11.
On the 1st of the month, commemoration of the seven holy Martyrs, the Maccabees, Abim, Antony, Gourias, Eleazar, Eusebonas, Achim and Marcellus, and of their mother Solomoni and their teacher Eleazar.
VersesBefore Christ Eleazar first bore fire;
Set out the path of struggle for the rest.
Ere Thekla a first Champion I present,
Solomoni, before Christ burnt by fire.
Tortures and fire and wheels sent seven Youths
Out of earth's seven days unto the eighth.
And on the first of the month a mother they burnt with her offspring.
On the same day, commemoration of the nine holy Martyrs who struggled in Perge of Pamphylia, Leontios, Attos, Alexander, Kindeos, Mnsitheos, Kyriakos, Minaios, Katounos and Eukleis.
Nine from Pamphylia were slain by sword,
One tribe they sought, that of the Martyrs bold.
On the same day, Saint Pappas the New was thrown into a sack, shut up in a basket and cast into the sea, and so achieved perfection.
A sack hid Pappas and a box the sack;
The stream the basket. Pappas was with God.
On the same day, the holy Martyr Eleazaros, his head consumed by fire, attained perfection
VersesWhen Eleazar’s head was burnt by fire,
Victor he went from soul-destroying streams.
On the same day, the holy Martyr Kirykos attained perfection by the sword.
The judge said, ‘Sacrifice, and you’ll not die’.
Kirykos bowed his head and said, ‘I won’t’.
On the same day the holy Martyr Theodore attained perfection by the sword.
A godly longing fell on Theodore,
Through the sword’s stroke to gain the longed for gifts [doreon].
On the same day, Saint Polyeuktos, was buried in dunghill and attained perfection.
Verses.Job on a dunghill had his throne, I say,
But Polyeuktos for his penalty.
On the same day, commemoration of the holy Martyrs, Menas, Menaios and the others in Viglention, near the bronze Tetrapylos.
On the same day, commemoration of our Father among the Saints Timothy, Bishop of Prokonnesos, the Wonderworker.
As priest of Prokonnesos God once gave
Honour to Timothy; and now by wonders.
At their holy intercessions, O God, have mercy on us. Amen.
Of the Cross. Ode 7. The fire in Babylon once stood in awe
The One beyond time is revealed in time bearing flesh, and through his loving-kindness he heals our chronic passions of both flesh and spirit; while already he sanctifies us by his divine Cross.
We praise and glorify, we worship and magnify your might, O Lord; for you have granted us your servants the divine Cross as inexhaustible delight and guardian of our souls and bodies.
Do not prove me condemned to evils, Lord, on the day of decision; do not cast me away from your presence in shame, but take pity, save me by your precious Cross as you are supremely good.
When Moses made the bitter waters sweet with wood, he prefigured your grace, O Cross; for we too have been delivered from the bitterness of evils by your power; therefore as we now greet you lovingly, make us sweet by compunction of soul.
Make broad the narrowness of my mind by your intercession, Sovereign Lady, who narrowed all the devices of the foe, guide me through the narrow way to walk towards the broad plain of life, O Mother of God.
Of the Saints. The fire did not touch.
The zealots for the ancestral Law, the unflinching guardians of Law united in soul, with all devotion confessed one God in three hypostases, faithfully uniting and devoutly distinguishing.
‘What are you waiting for then, tyrant?’ cried the Martyrs to the erring judge; ‘we confess one God and we have a native land, the Jerusalem on high that nurtured us.’
‘We will not eat polluted food,’ they say, ‘we will not sacrifice, nor bow the knee to earth. We confess one God and him we fear, from whom we came and to whom we speed.’
Let us raise a song to the Trinity, glorifying the Father without beginning, the Son and the right Spirit, one single essence, whom thrice we praise, crying, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’
Both now. Theotokion.
Hail, wall and joy of all, O Virgin all-praised. Hail, hope of the ends of the earth. Hail, beauty of mortals and immaculate delight of the Angels. For you the only God in the flesh.
The senseless decree of a godless tyrant, redolent of threats and blasphemies hateful to God, drove peoples to confusion. But neither the fury of wild beasts nor the roaring of the fire frightened three Youths; but united in the fire that answered with a spirit bringing dew they sang, ‘O our God and the God of our Fathers, O highly exalted, blessed are you!’
Of the Cross. Ode 8. The Chaldean tyrant.
Godlike Elissaios once drew the iron from a river with wood, from long ago foreshadowing you, all-honoured Cross. For we who through you have also been drawn out of the abyss of error to sure faith are today counted worthy to behold you and to worship you in faith to all the ages.
From long ago Jacob most clearly prefigured you, all-honoured Cross, by his blessings. While we, who have been counted worthy by grace to look on you, all with undoubting faith draw near and sing, plucking blessing richly, and light and salvation and release from faults.
Robed in white with virtuous deeds, let us draw near crying to Christ with joy, ‘All-loving Master, by your divine and most high Cross exalt the horn of us your people, that bears the name of Christ, so that with faith and profound peace it may praise your might to all the ages’.
Of the Trinity.
As we all praise a single nature, consubstantial, equally without beginning, co-eternal, equal in majesty, yet distinct in persons, the Father unbegotten, the Son and the holy Spirit, uncreated essence and Godhead, we sing, ‘You priests, you people highly exalt God to all the ages.
‘As I now see you as an innocent lamb hanged and nailed to the Cross by lawless people, my Son who are from all eternity, I am assailed with griefs and beset with a mother’s pangs’ cried the All-pure, whom with never silent voices we devoutly praise to all the ages.
Of the Saints. The One who with wisdom.
Those guardians of the laws of their ancestral customs, those heralds of ordinance of Moses, appearing like seven beacons in the world, flood us with the rays of their struggles, those spiritual lanterns.
Those that were bravest in accordance with God’s law, and who spat on the counsels of Antiochos, valiantly cried out, ‘Wild beasts, swords, fire or scourges can never separate us from God, Antiochos!’
Those who adorned the chair of Moses and kept safe the ancestral laws, shining like seven stars in the world, made dark the wandering stars, made resplendent by the faith.
Those shoots of devout Solomoni, and nurslings of faithful Eleazar, those seven beacons shining like lamps by the lamp of the Law, have clearly been set in the tabernacle of God.
Glory to the Father, the Son and the Spirit, to the Godhead, Trinity of persons, and Unity of nature by hypostases, praised without ceasing by all creation and to all the ages.
Both now. Theotokion.
You were revealed, Mary, to be the treasure-house of the good-pleasure of the Father, abode of the coming of the Son, dwelling-place of the Spirit, typifying in yourself the manifestation of the Trinity.
O Youths, equal in number to the Trinity, bless the Creator, Father, God; sing the praises of the Word who descended and changed the fire to dew, and highly exalt the all-holy Spirit that grants life to all, to the ages.
Of the Cross. Ode 9. Heaven was amazed.
Once fixed to the Cross with nails through feet and hands, pierced in the side, your thirst quenched with vinegar and gall, you healed my wounds, O King of all, supremely good, the joy, the sweetness, glory and eternal redemption of all.
Fair beyond sapphire and gold, bright as the sun you are, divine Cross, lying circumscribed by place and ever manifestly surrounded by spiritual Powers, yet enlightening every part of the inhabited world with rays of the divine power.
The Cross is the harbour of the storm-tossed, guide and support of the wandering, glory of Christ, strength of Apostles and Prophets, boast of Champions, refuge of all mortals. As we all see it set fourth in the midst, we greet it with loving devotion.
When you are about to come on earth to judge the world which you fashioned, Lord, with the Angelic hosts marching ahead and the Cross shining out more brightly than the beams of the sun, take pity on me by its power and save me who fallen more than all mortals.
‘Without corruption I gave birth to you from the womb, whom the Father begot before the ages; how do corrupt mortals rend you, my Son, and inhumanly gouge your side with a lance, your hands and feet with nails?’ cried the All-pure, whom we fittingly magnify.
Of the Saints. The light-bearing cloud.
Those brought up in accordance with the Law and who died on behalf of the Law, the pupils of Eleazar, the Children of Solomoni and zealous followers of Moses, as they were being dragged out shouted, ‘Antiochos, we do you hesitate, why do you delay, why are you not doing what you want to against us?’
The captains of the Law, stoutly despising the follies of Antiochos, bore up bravely under tortures, filling themselves with zeal, stirring one another on and hastening to anticipate toils and struggles and to die rather than to live.
As a brave and noble Olympic victor, Solomoni, as she watched her sons being slaughtered, was not shaken in soul, but she cried, ‘Listen, Antiochos, add me to my children, if indeed there is really grace from foes’.
O the prowess of a woman! O height of nobility! She, who had offered the seven-pillared choir of her sons to God for the sake of the Law, eagerly played the man and gave herself over to tortures as an addition to her sons who had just died.
The Youths who were an image of the holy week of seven days, longing to acquire by death the treasure of life, nobly resisted the threats of the persecutor and by their service of the Law shamed his utterly profane devices.
Let us honour gloriously the heroes of the Law, whom Eleazar brought up and left a fair example, offering himself to the torments of the Saints, as they intercede that peace may be given to the world and to us forgiveness.
Holy Youths of the Law of God, by your intercessions rescue from all disease and corruption those who celebrate the memory of your sacred contests, granting to this Monastery of ours peace and deliverance from evils.
I glorify Light, the Father, I magnify Light, the Son and I worship Light, the Spirit, the holy Trinity; but in three persons and one Godhead an eternal and unending might, bringing all things out of non-existence.
Both now. Theotokion.
Say, O Virgin, how did you give birth? How did milk come from your breasts? How did you become the one who gave birth to him who came from you without father and without mother is the only-begotten from the Father on high? How did you suckle the One who nourishes the world? How? As he knows, as he was well-pleased.
Mystic Paradise are you, O Mother of God, who untilled brought forth Christ, who planted on the earth the life-giving Tree of the Cross. And so as it is raised today, we worship it and magnify you.

The death that came to the race through eating of the tree, has through the Cross been made of no effect today. For the curse on all mankind of our mother Eve has been abolished by the shoot of the pure Mother of God, whom all the Powers of heaven magnify.