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In the now closed topic, "Saint Therese of Lisieux and the Eastern Catholic Churches", there were a couple of forum members who were interested in knowing more about devotion to Saint Therese among Russian Orthodox Christians.

In her book, "Light Before Dusk: A Russian Catholic in France", the late Helen Isowolsky talks about devotion to Saint Therese among Russian Orthodox Christians in the chapter titled, "My Orthodox Friends".

She writes:

I was interested to discover that my visitor[a Russian neighbor -g.c.] had a special devotion to St Theresa. She had even witnessed a miraculous cure while nursing a sick child in a French family. After our first talk she came to see me often and borrowed books from me. She was especially attracted by the life of little St. Theresa, by the writings of St. Theresa of Avila, and by Father Bruno's voluminous work on St. John of the Cross. When she returned this book to me, I was distressed to find it in a damaged condition; the cover was torn, the pages crumpled. I later learned she had lent the book to a number of friends, and to a man sick in the hospital. "I was advised to do so by Father T.," she explained to me, naming a well-known Orthodox priest. "He said it would bring comfort to the invalid."

This is a good example of the interest by the Orthodox in Catholic books. I believe these books are exercising a considerable influence on Russian religious thought, as through them many Russian emigres have become acquainted with the great Catholic mystics and saints.

Among these saints, St. Theresa of Lisieux is perhaps the most popular. It is not only her writings, but her entire personality which attracts the Orthodox. Her picture is often to be found in their homes, piously placed beside the family icons. St. Theresa is said to have performed many miracles for the Russians, as if fulfilling the wishes of Pope Pius XI who chose her as the patron saint of suffering Russia. She
has been known to help refugees find jobs and to bring them unexpected sums of money when they are hard up. There is even the story of the Russian taxi-driver who ran short of gasoline on a lonely road, and after praying to St. Theresa found his tank miraculously filled.

I remember a priest who knew the Russians well complaining that they were always pressing St. Theresa for help. These prayers, he said, too often asked for temporal benefits and not for spiritual blessings. "And unfortunately," he added, "she always grants their prayers." I was asked by Father Bruno, editor of "Etudes Carmelitaines", to make an inquiry concerning devotion of Russians to St. Theresa. I visited many of my Orthodox friends and wrote to others about it. They readily answered my questions, and were pleased that an important Catholic review took interest in their religious sentiments.

Most of them declared that the "Little Way" of St. Theresa and her "Spiritual Childhood" appealed to Russian piety. It reminded them of their beloved Saint Seraphim who also preached the little way of humility.

While making my inquiry I visited the well-known Russian poetess and author, Zinaida Hippius, the wife of the late writer Merejkovsky.
...the poems which she had dedicated to little St. Theresa are not only beautiful but of admirable simplicity. I spent hours talking to her, and she told me of her pilgrimages to Lisieux.

I published translations of Zinaida Hippius' poems
in the "Etudes Carmelitaines", as well as many testimonials and letters from my other Orthodox friends. These testimonials were of great interest, but in spite of the explanations they gave of the reasons why Russians have a devotion to St. Theresa, it still remains a mystery to me. St. Theresa's writings are so typical of Western piety, and the entire life of this young French Carmelite is so unlike the lives of the Russian saints, that I can scarcely understand why she has been specially chosen by my compatriots. Even the resemblance to St. Seraphim is not sufficient to explain this attraction.

There must be another explanation, a supernatural one. St. Theresa's dream was always to pursue her apostolate in some distant country; but her health was too delicate for such an enterprise, and she was moreover a cloistered nun. Strangely enough, since her death she has become a favourite saint of the Russians and the patron of Union.

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Dear Griego,

Devotion to St Therese is also popular among Byzantine Catholics of many stripes.

A recent new collection of Akathists in Ukrainian contained no less than three Akathists to St Therese!

One reason for it was that so many Ukrainian and Ruthenian Catholics were using Latin forms, such as novenas, in praying to her.

Russians in France also developed a devotion to Our Lady of La Salette as well.

In the seventeenth century, Kyivan Orthodox students studying in Paris picked up certain Latin devotions they transplanted at home.

One such devotion was that to the Immaculate Conception, not yet declared a dogma by Rome.

They even organized Orthodox brotherhoods to the Immaculate Conception, wore the medal and said a form of the Panaghia prayer: O All-Immaculate Mother of God, save us!

They even took the bloody vow, the vow to defend to the death the Immaculate Conception.

Alex

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Once, I prayed to Saint Therese regarding an important matter, and my prayers were very promptly answered...having no Eastern resources available to me, I used a Latin novena; three days after I completed it, my prayers were answered. I always liked her, and I've read her autobiography twice, but since then, I've really liked her. smile I had the privilege last week of venerating her relic in thanksgiving at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

Alex and everyone else who may know, are these Eastern prayers to Saint Therese anywhere online?

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Dear Catholicos,

The Ukrainian akathists will probably be translated just as soon as they find a true Ukie who understands English smile .

The Melkite prayer book by Archbishop Raya, Brendan's friend, contains some basic Troparion and Kontakion to the Saint.

One could also use the "one size fits all" Byzantine Saint services where you just insert the name in a pre-packaged Canon et al. that is on-line at Orthodox Liturgical Resources - I just punch this into a search engine, and Fr. Whiteford's site comes up.

The nine-days of prayer is perfectly Eastern and there were many Eastern saints who prayed for nine days straight in imitation of the Apostles before Pentecost - which is where the tradition comes from.

St Jonah Atamansky of Odessa, who died in 1924, once prayed for nine nights straight over a girl born blind.

On the morning of the tenth day, she could see.

Alex

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:

Russians in France also developed a devotion to Our Lady of La Salette as well.


Dear Alex,
Thank you for your posts! Yes, I have seen at least three different icons of Our Lady Of LaSallete, which to be honest I never expected to see. One of them I believe was painted by a Russian iconographer. It has been a while since I have seen the icon, but I believe I saw it in a book written on the apparations of La Salette. If I see the book again I'll let you know.

I also would love to get a copy of the English version of the Akathist to Saint Therese once it has been translated.

God bless you,

g.c.

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Dear Griego,

I will investigate this further and will perhaps try my hand at a translation of one of these Akathists to St Therese and will let you know!

Alex

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Please, may I ask if anyone has a copy of one (or all) of these akathists (in any language, translated or untranslated), could I ask you to contact me? I would very much like to see them.

Elias

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Bless me a sinner, Reverend Father Elias!

Alas, I gave my copy up for missionary outreach!

But the Basilian Press is where I purchased my copy and you might wish to contact them.

Also, Fr. Bohdan Choly of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Parish in St Catharines, Ontario is very devoted to St Therese and served a Divine LIturgy the day she was declared a Doctor of the Church.

He might have the Akathists, even in English.

Tell him your Orthodox Catholic friend, Alex, sent you.

He'll know who it is . . . smile

Alex

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I have some Orthodox friends who share a devotion to St. Francis of Assisi, as well. (As you can tell from my "handle," I am a Third Order Secular Franciscan.) I found this a little curious at first. One of them told me they found St. Francis' simple ways and peaceful acceptance of people as welcoming and spiritually inspiring.

Perhaps the inspiration and message of some great saint's lives simply transcends our own earthly schisms?

[ 03-06-2002: Message edited by: Annie_SFO ]

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Dear Sister Anne,

Yes, and one Orthodox hierarch once said, "Surely our walls of division don't reach up as high as Heaven."

The Orthodox New Skete monks continue to venerate Sts. Francis of Assisi and Clare.

They were former Byzantine Franciscans.

But don't you even THINK about leaving us smile .

Alex

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Hi O.C.:

I wasn't sure if you meant "sister" in the broader sense of fellowship, or if you perhaps thought that I'm a nun. I'm not a nun, believe me - wow, would my dear hubby be surprised if that were the case! ;-)

Annie

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Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Sister Anne,

Yes, and one Orthodox hierarch once said, "Surely our walls of division don't reach up as high as Heaven."

The Orthodox New Skete monks continue to venerate Sts. Francis of Assisi and Clare.

They were former Byzantine Franciscans.

But don't you even THINK about leaving us smile .

Alex

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Dear Sister Annie, it is entirely appropriate for a Secular Franciscan such as yourself to called "Sister". In our original Rule we were titles the "Brothers and Sisters of Penance". Also in our former ritual when invested with the habit were given a new name "Brother/Sister _____". I can't remember if that is still done in the new ritual, I'd have to look at mine. But even so, there is nothing wrong with a Secular Franciscan being called "Brother" or "Sister", as long as scandal is avoided. biggrin

Don


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