Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saint Susanna of Georgia as a Model for our Lives

St. Susanna of Georgia (Feast Day - August 28)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Susanna, or Shushanik as she she was affectionately called, lived in the fifth century. She was from Iberia, known today as Georgia, and the king at the time was Vakhtang I Gorgasali. Shushanik's husband, Varsken, was a feudal lord (pitiakhsh) of Kartli in Georgia. He was a Christian, but only by name. Eventually, he denied his faith and for no special reason subjected himself to the king of Persia and embraced the fire-worshiping faith of the Persians. He also asked his wife, who was a woman of God, to deny her faith. She rebuked him for his apostasy and then boldly confessed her faith in the true God. He then had her harshly tortured in an unforgiving way, and full of wounds she was cast into prison, which was a sunless dungeon. There the Saint spent the last six years of her life with patience, fasting and prayer.

Saint Moses the Ethiopian Resource Page

Holy Abba Moses the Ethiopian (Feast Day - August 28)


You affirmed the saying and died, Moses the Black,
"Men see with the eyes, God with the heart."
You were buried on the twenty-eighth Moses the Ethiopian.

The Life of Abba Moses the Ethiopian

The Sayings of Abba Moses the Ethiopian

On the Immediate and Ultimate Goals of the Christian Life (Abba Moses the Ethiopian)

Saint Moses the Ethiopian as a Model for our Lives

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Why Does Saint Phanourios Hold a Candle in his Icons?

The iambic verses for the Synaxarion of Saint Phanourios say:

Phanourios bestows light upon all the faithful,
Even though he long lay in the darkness of the earth.

When the icon of Saint Phanourios was discovered in a dark cave of Rhodes centuries ago, he was brought to light from obscurity, and he was depicted in the icon holding a lit candle. The fact that an icon of a previously unknown Saint was discovered which revealed things about his life and attributes, as well as the fact that his name means "one who manifests" or more accurately "one who brings to light," tells us that Saint Phanourios is depicted holding a lit candle because he reveals lost things and illumines us with his grace.

Commemoration of the Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch by Saint Philip

Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Feast Day - August 27)


A Eunuch man questions the parable,
He is whitened, and the Ethiopian is born.

The Synaxarion of Constantinople designates that on August 27th we commemorate the Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch by Saint Philip the Apostle, as recorded in Acts 8:26-40. This commemoration is probably due to the fact that on August 28th we celebrate the feast of the Venerable Moses the Ethiopian (330–405).

The Life and Sayings of Holy Abba Poemen the Great

St. Poemen the Great (Feast Day - August 27)


As from the open mouth of a wolf Poemen snatches,
The lives of the sheep of the exceedingly great Shepherd.
On the twenty-seventh Poemen is mourned as a great shepherd.


Our Venerable Father Poemen (340-450) was an Egyptian by birth and a great ascetic of Egypt. As a boy, he visited the most renowned spiritual men and, from them, gathered tangible knowledge as a bee gathers honey from flowers. Poemen once begged the elder Paul to take him to Elder Paisius. Seeing Poemen, Paisius said to Paul: "This child will save many; the hand of God is with him." In time, Poemen was tonsured a monk and attracted two of his brothers to the monastic life as well. Once his mother came to see her sons, but Poemen did not permit her to enter, but through the door asked her: "Do you desire more to see us here or there in eternity?" The mother withdrew with joy saying: "Since I will surely see you there, then I do not desire to see you here." In the monastery of these three brothers at Scete, governed by Abba Anoub, Poemen's eldest brother, this was their Rule: at night, they spent four hours of working with their hands, four hours of sleep and four hours of reading the Psalter. During the day, from morning until noon, they spent in alternating work and prayer; from noon until Vespers they spent reading and, in the afternoon, they prepared supper for themselves: the only meal in twenty-four hours and that usually consisted of some vegetables. Concerning their life, Poemen himself speaks: "We ate that which was given to us. No one ever said: 'Give me something else or I do not want that.' In this manner, we spent our entire life in silence and peace."

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