Friday, March 6, 2015

The Theotokos as the Throne of God


By His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria

The period of Holy and Great Lent, which is preminantly a period of prayer and fasting, gives an opportunity to our pious Christians to enjoy the liturgical and devotional wealth of our Church, to approach God, to change their way of life, but also to communicate through prayer with the person of the Most Holy Theotokos.

The Service of the Salutations is a popular Service, which brings together with reverence and sacred enthusiasm our Christians. According to the ancient rubrics it is chanted only on the Saturday of the Fifth Week of the Fast, in the known Service of the Akathist Hymn. But now it has become established to be chanted every Friday evening of Great Lent, along with the Service of Small Compline, the Canon of Saint Joseph the Hymnographer with a portion of the Service of the Salutations.

This Service gives us the opportunity to:

- approach the person of the Most Holy Theotokos,

- receive joy from the vessel of joy,

- draw strength and patience for the struggles of life,

- ask for her maternal intercessions before the Throne of the Divine Majesty. This is why we chant of her: "A fervent intercessor and impenetrable wall, a source of mercy and refuge for the world."1

Saints and Feasts of March


1 - Saint Eudokia of Samaria as a Model for our Lives

1 - Saint Agapios of Vatopaidi

2 - Saint Agathon of Egypt

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (1)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (2)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (3)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (4)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (5)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (6)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (7)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (8)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (9)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (10)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (11)

2 - Papoulakis: Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (12)

2 - Prophecies of St. Joachim "Papoulakis" of Ithaka (13)

2 - Papoulakis: A Pictorial of St. Joachim of Ithaka

2 - Saint Nicholas Planas as a Model for our Lives

2 - Elder Philotheos Zervakos: Recollections of St. Nicholas Planas

2 - Alexandros Papadiamantis on St. Nicholas Planas

2 - The Simplicity of Saint Papa-Nicholas Planas as an Expression of Liturgical and Ascetical Experience

2 - Photos of Saint Nicholas Planas (1851-1932)

2 - Where St. Nicholas Planas Liturgized Daily

2 - Scenes From the Life of St. Nicholas Planas

2 - The Enthroned (or "Reigning") Mother of God Icon

3 - The Unknown Maiden

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Holy New Martyr John of Bulgaria (+ 1784)

St. John the Bulgarian (Feast Day - March 5)

The holy New Martyr John was born in Bulgaria in 1775. Since fanatical Muslims believed that they would be assured of an eternal “paradise” where they would enjoy beautiful virgins and an abundance of food if they could force Christians to deny Christ and follow Mohammed, they spared no effort to convert Christians through flattery or by threats of death.

Holy Martyr Conon the Gardener

St. Conon the Gardener (Feast Day - March 5)

The holy martyr Conon, a gardener from Nazareth of Galilee, lived during the reign of Emperor Decius (249-251). He left Nazareth, bound for the city of Mandron in the province of Pamphylia. Once there, he sojourned in a place called Karmela or Karmena. He resumed his work of cultivating a garden where he would grow a variety of vegetables, and, thereby, he was able to sustain himself.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Saint Gregory, Bishop of Assos, and the Discovery of His Relics in 1935

St. Gregory of Assos (Feast Days - March 4, July 10, and 1st Sunday after November 10)

Saint Gregory is among the saints who was born and died in Lesvos. He was born in the village of Akorni, which no longer exists, and it was located in the district of Gera, which today is a rural area called Kourkouta. His parents, George and Maria, were most pious Christians and childless, and they transferred this faith to their child who they received by way of a miracle, and they named him George. If we take into account that they sent their child at the age of fourteen to Constantinople to be educated, it seems that they were well off materially.

While in Constantinople, George, without being affected by the environment and turning towards entertainment and sinful habits, made sure to enrich his knowledge, to get to know wise and holy people, and to benefit spiritually as much as possible in that great city. There he met his elder and spiritual father the Hieromonk Agathon, whom he loved as a father, and he accompanied him to his monastery somewhere in Asia Minor.

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