The akathist to the Mother of God shows how many, what an infinite number of unspeakable spiritual benefits God gave to the human race through Her. - Saint John of Kronstadt
Saturday, April 17, 2021
The icon first appeared in Greece in the 17th century. The plot for her writing was the lines from the Akathist to the Theotokos, in which the Most Pure Virgin is called "the root of virginity and the unfading color of purity."In the icon, the Virgin Mary embraces the Christ baby with one hand, and holds a flower in the other. Sometimes it is a rose, and most often it is a snow-white lily. This bright flower is a symbol of the Mother of God, a gift from the Archangel Gabriel on the day of the Annunciation. He testifies to the purity and integrity of the Blessed Virgin. Moreover, the purity is eternal, unfading. Sometimes even a garland of flowers or a wand entwined with flowers is depicted.
On Mount Athos there has long been an old tradition: on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, to lay on the icon "The Unfading Flower" flowering plants that miraculously do not fade and retain their fragrance for five months before the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
A fragrant flower in icon painting is a symbol of the fact that our soul is immortal, and a person can always return to a righteous life. Even if the soul is tired, it has lost its joy, as if it wilted under the weight of sins. After repentance and prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Pure Mother, it can bloom again.
Believers noticed that the prayer for the icon "The Unfading Flower" revives not only the soul, but also the body, helps to preserve youth and beauty for many years.
For those people who suffer from grief, longing and loneliness, the Mother of God gives strength to overcome adversity and look to the future with hope.
Girls near the image of the Virgin Mary "Unfading Flower" often pray for help in choosing a spouse and ask for happiness in family life, so that on this path at least in something like the Mother of God, to embody the best feminine qualities in this life. Therefore, the icon "The Unfading Flower" is often called the icon of brides, because it is customary to bless girls with it for marriage, but for married women, prayer in front of this image helps to cope with all the difficulties that happen in their family life.
Rejoice, O Bride of God, rejoice, mystical rod which blossomed the Unfading Flower; rejoice, O Sovereign Lady, through whom we are filled with joy and inherit life.
Once, because of many heavy sorrows, a great sorrow came over me and I cried out to God, exhausted. And in this unbearable sorrow I heard a sweet voice, full of sympathy and compassion: 'Will you not endure everything for My love?'
Elder Joseph of Vatopedi
Friday, April 16, 2021
We share our monastery recipe for Pascha kulich
We have reduced all the proportions by a factor of 20 (!), so it's hard to say how many kulich will turn out. Calculate approximately yourself, based on the fact that we use about 2 kg of flour.
1. We dissolve 50g of dry yeast in warm water (150g), add a tablespoon of sugar without any cube. Then mix it by hand. Leave to ferment.
2. Add 0,5 l of warm milk and 400 grams of flour. Knead with your hands. Cover and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add 15 eggs (both yolks and whites), 700 g sugar. Whisk for 15 minutes.
4. Add 250g of melted butter at room temperature, 100g of refined vegetable oil and 1 lemon zest. Stir. Gradually add 1.5-1.7 kg of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt without any salt.
5. When the dough has been kneaded, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour.
6. After the dough has risen, add 150 grams of raisins (wash them beforehand, sort out and tear off the twigs) and add a few drops of vanilla essence.
7. Immediately begin placing the cakes in the forms. We weigh the dough on a scale. A large kulich is 1200 g of dough. A medium - 850 g. A small one - 250 grams. We form the cakes carefully, so that the top is flat after baking. Remove the raisins sticking out from the top. Then pierce the cakes with a thin needle in four places.
8. Place the forms in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour.
9. Bake at 180 degrees for 30-50 minutes. The time depends on the size of the mold.