Monday, September 26, 2016

A Morning Prayer by Elder Sophrony of Essex

Elder Sophrony gave this prayer to his own spiritual children, to be said ‘on rising from sleep.’ This version of the prayer is adapted from Hesychia and Theology by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, who writes, "If someone reads this prayer in the morning with contrition and attention, the whole day will be blessed."

Prayer at Daybreak
to be said each day on rising from sleep

Eternal King without beginning, You who are before all worlds, my Maker, Who have summoned all things from non-being into this life: bless this day that You, in Your inscrutable goodness, give to me. By the power of Your blessing enable me at all times in this coming day to speak and act for You, to Your glory, in Your fear, according to Your will, with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage, wisdom and prayer, aware everywhere of Your presence.

Saint Jerome's Commentary on the Book of Jonah (4 of 5)


1-2. And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid you. 

LXX: And the message of God came to Jonah a second time, saying, arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach there this message that I have told you.

He did not say to the prophet, "why have you not done what you were ordered to do?." But the punishment of the shipwreck and his drowning are enough for him to understand the Lord, the liberator, whom he hadn't known to be ordering. Moreover it is superfluous to see his wounds as those of a false servant of God, once he has been smitten, for such a punishment is less of a correction than a reproof. And our Lord is sent to Nineveh a second time after his resurrection: he who had fled by whatever means beforehand when he said, "My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass me by"[139], and who had not wanted to give bread of children to dogs, now the children have cried out, "crucify him, crucify him! we have no king except Caesar"[140], he makes his way towards Nineveh of his own accord to preach after his resurrection that he underwent as he was ordered to do before his suffering. The command is given, he hears it, he refuses, then he is forced to want, and the second time he carries out the will of the Father: all of this is connected to man and to the "form of a slave"[141], to whom such expressions are appropriate.

The Return of the Skull of the Apostle Andrew to Patras in 1964 as Reported in the New York Times

Saint Jerome wrote that the relics of Saint Andrew the Apostle were taken from Patras to Constantinople by order of the Roman Emperor Constantius II around 357 and deposited in the Church of the Holy Apostles. The skull of the Apostle Andrew was given by the Eastern Roman despot Thomas Palaiologos to Pope Pius II in 1461. It was enshrined in one of the four central piers of Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. In September 1964, Pope Paul VI, as a gesture of goodwill toward the Greek Orthodox Church, ordered that all of the relics of Saint Andrew that were in Vatican City be sent back to Patras. Cardinal Augustin Bea along with many other cardinals presented the skull to Metropolitan Constantine of Patras on 24 September 1964, and this is commemorated annually on this day.

The article below features the distrust of many Greeks in receiving back the skull of the Apostle Andrew from the Vatican, though such distrust has long been sidelined, and the Cathedral of the Apostle Andrew in Patras today is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites for Orthodox Christians in the world.

Pope Returns a Relic of Apostle To Greeks After Five Centuries

September 27, 1964

Patras, Greece, Sept. 26 — A relic venerated as the skull of St. Andrew the Apostle was returned today from the Vati­can to Patras in a gesture of goodwill to the Greek Orthodox Church.

It was taken from this south­ern Greek port to St Peter's Basilica in Borne 504 years ago. Its return by Pope Paul VI was marked by a striking revival of Byzantine pomp—and of the religious feuds that raged in the Middle Ages.

The ceremony was boycotted by Greece's 84‐year‐old Ortho­dox Primate, Archbishop Chry­sostomos, and scholars chal­lenged the authenticity of the relic.

Resting in a golden reliquary shaped into the features of St. Andrew wearing a crown, the relic was brought by Augustin Cardinal Bea, the 83‐year‐old German Jesuit who is president of the Vatican Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

Stops Made at Villages

The eight‐man Vatican mis­sion landed at the Araxos mili­tary airfield in a special plane and drove in procession the 30 miles to Patras, stopping at vil­lages along the road to permit peasants to venerate the relic.

Ceremonies here were stripped of all religious character. The Orthodox church has ruled it a sin for its members to join Roman Catholics in prayer since the two branches of Christianity split 11 centuries ago.

In delivering the reliquary to Metropolitan Constantine of Patras, Cardinal Bea said the return of the relic gave the Pope an occasion to express his respects to the Greek Orthodox Church.

“For centuries we have lived like strangers, where as a com­mon baptism made us all the children of God,” he said. “May this day mark the beginning of a road, which with God's help may lead us to the day when our churches can be reunited.”

25 Defy Primate

About 25 Greek bishops de­fied instructions from their Primate to stay away from the Patras ceremony.

The Church of Greece, one of the most conservative Orth­odox churches, has been resist­ing efforts to restore Christian unity.

The relic was taken to the 120‐year old Church of St. Andrew in Patras, where ves­pers were sung jointly by all.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Toma­dakis, professor of Byzantine literature at Athens University, challenged the authenticity of the relic.

“Until the end of the 10th century, no one in the Byzan­tine Empire had heard anything about any remains of St. An­drew,” he said in a letter to the conservative newspaper Kathi­merini.

“Both the head of the saint and his body, which is reputed to be at Amalfi in Italy, are fabrications of later centuries,” he added. “It is sad that the Greek Church did not ask ex­perts to establish the authen­ticity of the remains.”

Read also: The Translation of the Honorable Skull of the Apostle Andrew to Patras

The Life of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

St. John the Theologian (Feast Days - September 26 & May 8)


Standing beside the beloved Word of the Father,
Is he who was beloved more than all of the disciples.
On the twenty sixth the child of thunder departed unto God.

The holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian was the son of Zebedee and Salome, the daughter of Joseph the Betrothed, and he was called away from his fisherman’s nets to preach the Gospel. When our Lord Jesus Christ, walking along the Sea of Galilee, chose His apostles from amongst the fishermen and had already summoned the two brethren, Peter and Andrew, He then caught sight of two other brothers, James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were mending their nets in a boat with their father, and called them. Straightway, abandoning their boat and their father, they followed after Jesus Christ.

Saint John the Theologian Resource Page

The Life of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian as a Model for our Lives

The Repose of St. John the Theologian According to His Disciple Prochorus

The Apostle John and the Convert Who Returned To His Former Way Of Life

On St. John the Evangelist and Theologian (St. Gregory Palamas)

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