Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Saint Olympia the Deaconess in the 'Ecclesiastical History' of Sozomen

By Sozomen

Ecclesiastical History (Bk. 8, Chs. 9, 22, 23, 24, 27)

Before the Exile of John Chrysostom

The enmity of the clergy against John [Chrysostom] was greatly increased by Serapion, his archdeacon. He was an Egyptian, naturally prone to anger, and always ready to insult his opponents. The feelings of hostility were further fostered by the counsel which Olympia received from John. Olympia was of most illustrious birth, and although she had become a widow while young, and was zealously attached to the exercises of monastic philosophy according to the laws of the Church, yet Nektarios had ordained her as deaconess. John, perceiving that she bestowed her goods liberally on anyone who asked her for them, and that she despised everything but the service of God, said to her: "I applaud your intentions; but would have you know that those who aspire to the perfection of virtue according to God, ought to distribute their wealth with economy. You, however, have been bestowing wealth on the wealthy, which is as useless as if you had cast it into the sea. Know you not that you have voluntarily, for the sake of God, devoted all your possessions to the relief of the poor. You ought, therefore, to regard your wealth as belonging to your Master, and to remember that you have to account for its distribution. If you will be persuaded by me, you will in future regulate your donations according to the wants of those who solicit relief. You will thus be enabled to extend the sphere of your benevolence, and your mercy and most zealous care will receive reward from God."

Synaxarion of Saint Eupraxia of Tabennisi (+ 410)

St. Eupraxia of Tabennisi (Feast Day - July 25)


Eupraxia approached Christ wealthy,
Having tended to many good works of the soul.

Saint Eupraxia was the daughter of her father Antigonus the senator, and her mother was Eupraxia, who flourished during the reign of Theodosius the Great (379-395), with whom she was related. When her father died, her mother gave her over to Emperor Theodosius, begging him to take care of her orphan daughter. Theodosius had Eupraxia engaged to a leading senator. After this the Saint withdrew together with her mother and they went to Thebes in Egypt. There she entered a female monastery, where one hundred and four nuns lived in asceticism, who conducted their lives as equal to the angels. There Eupraxia entered, imitating their virtues, and from that time she did not leave the monastery; she was twelve years old at the time.

The Wondrous History of the Chapel of Saint Anna in Steni of Evia

Miltiadis Angelis (known as Meletis in Steni) had married Maria Beligianni (known as Mario in Steni). They had many children, but only five survived till their old age - Kosta, who died in America unmarried; Stella, who married Apostolis Beligianni (who was so-called landless, fat or rich); Spyro, who married Panagiota Gatou (Poula); Giagkos, who married Kalliopi Apostolidou from Avlonari; Odysseus, who did not have a family. Meletis was a shepherd who kept his sheep in Steni during the summer and in Halia (now known as Drosia in the region of Soros) during the winter.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Woman Who Remained Faithful to Her Husband in Debtors' Prison and How God Helped Them Both

By John Moschos

(The Spiritual Meadow, 189)

When we were in the guesthouse at Ascalon, Abba Eusebius, a presbyter, told us of a ship-owning businessman who lost all his goods and that of others he was carrying at sea, though he himself escaped from the shipwreck. When he came back to Ascalon his creditors seized him, threw him into prison and took possession of everything in his house, even his wife's clothing. She was greatly distressed, and worried that in her poverty she was unable to provide any food for her husband. She was sitting in tears in the prison one day when a rather important looking man came in giving alms to the prisoners. When he saw this free woman sitting with her husband he fell in love with her, for she was very beautiful, and told her to leave the prison and come with him. She thought that he was going to give her something, so she freely did as she was told.

Saint Christina the Great Martyr as a Model for our Lives

St. Christina of Tyre (Feast Day - July 24)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavranavas

Saint Christina was born in Tyre around the year 200. Her parents were both pagan idolaters, with her father being a general in the Roman army whose name was Urbanus. A pious woman catechized her in the truth of the Christian faith. From the moment she became a member of the Church her life changed and she lived within the love of God and in service to others. It was not long after that her father was informed that his daughter became a Christian, and in a rage he shut her up in a tower and tried by every means to persuade her to return to idolatry. Because she remained firm in her faith, he had her imprisoned. After her father died, the eparch Dion had her horribly tortured. Then the eparch Julian cast her in a place of wild beasts and fierce snakes, but the Saint remained unharmed, since the irrational beasts, as opposed to the rational ones, respected her. When many pagans had seen that the Saint remained unharmed after her horrible tortures, the wild beasts and the fierce snakes, they believed in Christ and boldly confessed their faith. Then the eparch ordered for all of them to be killed, and in this way they received the unfading crown of martyrdom. Saint Christina delivered her pure and untainted soul into the hands of the living God, when a spear was driven through her side and heart.

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