Friday, May 29, 2015

"The City Has Fallen", But It Also Lives (1 of 3)

May is the month of Constantine the Great, and his city Constantinople. On May 11th we commemorate the inauguration of Constantinople by Constantine the Great in 313, on May 21st we remember Saint Constantine the Great as a God-crowned king and equal of the Apostles together with his mother Helen, and on May 29th we experience the pain of the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

The City of Constantinople "has fallen", according to the lament of the fall, and the royal throne of the Romans is gone, but its soul, known as Romiosini, is a sacred relic that has been divided throughout the world as a source of inspiration for Orthodox Christians. Romiosini is the inherited culture of Orthodox Christians everywhere, despite the defiance of some who try to present it as something nationalistic, dark or even a dead period of history, even going so far as to change its name (from a Roman Empire to a Byzantine Empire) to erase its remembrance from history and make it elusive, exotic and foreign.

In the hope of restoring the value of the glorious past of Romiosini, and its future not only as a culture but also a lifestyle of Orthodox Christians everywhere, the following lecture by His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou is offered as a small tribute to disseminate the truth. It was delivered at an event honoring the fall of Constantinople at the Diakideio School of Patras in 2002.

Saint Theodosia the Venerable Martyr of Constantinople

St. Theodosia of Constantinople (Feast Day - May 29)

Synaxarion of Saint Theodosia of Constantinople

On the same day [July 18] we commemorate the martyrdom of the venerable martyr Theodosia. She was born and raised by pious parents from the God-protected Queen of Cities during the reign of Theodosios of Atramyttion [715-717]. Her father died when she was seven years old, and her mother took the child and had her tonsured in one of the convents of Byzantium.

Then her mother also died, bequeathing her entire fortune to the blessed Theodosia. After commissioning three holy icons of Christ, the most holy Theotokos, and the holy martyr Anastasia of gold and silver, she distributed the remainder of her inheritance to the poor and the orphaned.

Saint Theodosia the Virgin Martyr of Tyre

St. Theodosia the Virgin (Feast Day - May 29)

Theodosia, a venerable and holy maiden, hailed from Tyre of Phoenicia. In 308, when she was eighteen years of age, she was cast into prison, for Caesarea of Palestine had been subjugated by idol worshippers. When the judge and pagan rulers came to sit in council, they passed sentences condemning certain Christians who were confessors of the Faith of Christ.

Among the confessors, Theodosia was brought bound before the governor, Urbanus, who commanded her to sacrifice to the idols. Since the Saint would not be persuaded, the brutal governor inflicted dreadful wounds to her ribs; nor did the inhuman tyrant neglect to leave unharrowed her bones and her entrails. Thereupon, the Saint suffered all these punishments with extreme courage and utter silence.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Eve of the Fall of Constantinople

Fresco depicting the fall of Constantinople

By Photios Kontoglou

Just as the saints are tortured, and their martyrdom finally ends with death, receiving the crown of incorruptibility, so also the Holy City, the New Zion of Christendom, having been tortured, it wept, hurt by all sorts of tyrannies, and the day came for it to surrender its spirit. The Holy Ark, the Twelve-Walled City, fell covered in blood on 29 May 1453, like the venerable mother of the Maccabees.

What chisel can write with blood, to record the grief and pain endured by those found in that thousand year old and revered civilization, which was, in the mournful words of King Constantine Palaiologos, "the hope and joy of all Greeks, the boast of all those under the setting sun of the east," and now was as a withered flower!

Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ as a Model for our Lives

St. Andrew the Fool for Christ (Feast Day - May 28)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

"Fool for Christ" is a category of saintly personalities who had many spiritual gifts, in particular the special gift of foolishness for Christ. They were not fools, or crazy, but they pretended to be so in order not to be praised and glorified by people for the spiritual gifts and miracles they displayed. They had deep humility, great love for God and people, and in a special way they helped those who were benevolent to be healed of their passions, and guided them on the path of progress and salvation.

Foolishness is a spiritual gift, which is given by God to those who have fiery zeal and ardent love for God, as well as the ability to tread this path until the end. Surely, however, what assists them in this task is their character. They mock the world, namely the worldly mindset, and the devil, who hates them to death. And they do this in order to substantially help people, and liberate them from being dominated by the passions and the devil, using various means, which in the eyes of "reasonable" people seem absurd.

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