Thursday, July 31, 2014

Holy New Martyr Dionysios of Vatopaidi (+ 1822)

Venerable Martyr Dionysios (Feast Day - October 10 and July 31)

The Venerable Martyr Dionysios, a monk of Vatopaidi Monastery, was sent to Crete in 1822 to escort the Holy Girdle of the Theotokos because of an epidemic that ravaged the island. Since at that time a revolution broke out in Crete, the Turks arrested him as a hostage and pressured him to convert to Islam.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saint Gregory Kallides of Herakleia (+ 1925)

St. Gregory Kallides of Herakleia (Feast Day - July 25 and October 20)

By Anthony Patrikios

Saint Gregory (Kallides) was born on the 24th of January in 1844 from devout parents, John and Euphrosyne, in Kumbos (today's Kumbag) of the province of Herakleia in Eastern Thrace. From a young age he showed an inclination towards the priesthood and was thus recruited to serve under the Metropolitan of Selybria and later Serres, Meletios Theophilides of Thessaloniki, from whom he received the first degree of the priesthood on 26 February 1862. He studied diligently in the brilliant schools of Serres, under the direction of John Pandazidis, who later became a professor of the University, and completed his studies at Rizarios School and the Theological School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The Orthodox Approach to Apologetics and Theological Knowledge


Fr. Philotheos Pharos:

- "Faith is not the intellectual coercion Western Christianity has come to know, according to which a person must believe because there exists logical argument A and B, for such a person has not personally verified these things. Faith is rather the path and means by which a person can make these verifications.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

St. Paraskevi Heals a Bishop in 2008 Who Was About to Go Blind


The following miracle was recorded in 2011:

Brethren, allow me to tell you about a miracle of Saint Paraskevi I heard the other day.

A Rare 13th Century Fresco of Saint Anna Galaktotrophousa


"And when the days were fulfilled, Anna purified herself from her childbed and gave suck to the child, and called her Mary." - Protoevangelium of St. James

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Days of the Schism of 1054 (6 of 6)



5. The Aftermath of the Schism

The exhaustive research of the sources during the twentieth century led many historians to the conclusion that there was no definitive Schism in 1054. This view is supported by two streams of thought.

The Monastery of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou in Northern Evia


The Monastery of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou is a Metochion of the Monastery of Saint George in Ilia, which in 1990 split off and formed another Sisterhood under the Abbess Chrysovalanti. It is built above the Camp of the Metropolis that draws over 800 children a year, between the coastal villages of Rovia and Ilia, and it stands with the serene Gulf of Evia in front of it and Mount Valantion behind it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Testimony of a Physician Concerning a Miracle of St. Panteleimon


Below you will read another glaring example of our living faith and the strong presence of the saints in our lives. The cardiologist Dr. Vasilios Karogiannis testifies to us his moving experience and a great miracle of our great Holy Physician, Saint Panteleimon.

A Protestant Athonite Pilgrim Who Saw Hatzi-George and a Miracle of St. Panteleimon


By Monk Patapios

Mr. Jannis Zinniker, born in 1943, from the age of 20 would come from Switzerland to Athos. He loved it so much that he would stay there each year for a good amount of time.

His favorite place always was Kavsokalyva at the Brotherhood of Joasaph with the elders John and Anthony. He was a Protestant, and desired to know the truth near simple and sincere monks and to thus be made worthy for divine Baptism (which took place in the winter of 1977, at the Sacred Monastery of Stavronikita, which was then under the abbot Fr. Vasilios).

The Monastery of Saint Panteleimon in Tilos


The most important shrine on the island of Tilos is the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon, since Saint Panteleimon is the Patron Saint of the island.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

St. Paraskevi Heals A Blind Man in New York


On OCN Now Radio Fr. Dimitrios Moraitis of St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Shrine Church in Greenlawn, NY shared his personal experience of a man legally blind for seven years being miraculously healed in November 2013. Fr. Dimitrios first wrote about the miracle on his Facebook account several weeks prior. In this interview with Fr. Chris Metropulos, he tells the story of what happened, opens up about the impact it has had on his parish and his personal relationship with God, and offers an update about the once-blind man.

A Miraculous Appearance of St. Paraskevi in 1947


By George Anestopoulos

The following is a true story. It is known in the region of Ypati in Fthiotida from the 1950's when it began to happen. It is one of those miraculous events that occurs occasionally, rare cases of a few "blessed people" throughout the course of history. We refer to the appearances to people of Holy Figures in order to reveal places where icons or relics can be found.

This happened in 1947.

The Appearance of St. Paraskevi to Nun Christonymphi


During the time of the civil war in Greece (1946-1950) between the communists and the government of Greece, the communist guerrillas would often come down from the mountains, hide in the bush near the Monastery of St. Paraskevi (in Serres) looking for food. The cell of Nun Christonymphi (+ 2005) was located on the ground floor of the Monastery. Nearby there were four or five other cells of other nuns. There was also a dining room and a large room whose walls were filled with icons. This room was being used as a church by the nuns. The sisterhood of nuns would gather in this room at midnight to read the monastic midnight service. After the service the nuns would rest for a while and then wake up early in the morning to chant the matins service.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Holy Family Atmosphere (A Homily for the Foremother of Christ, Saint Anna)

St. Anna, the Foremother of Christ (Feast Day - September 9 and July 25)

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Because Christ is the Savior of humanity, and brought about the greatest benefaction to the world, this is why the Panagia, the Mother of Christ, is the joy of all creation. She gave her flesh to Christ, she kept Him nine months in the womb, and she with her love and affection nursed Him and raised Him.

The 165 Holy Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Synod

165 Holy Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Synod (Feast Day - July 25)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

On the 25th of July we commemorate the 165 Holy Fathers of the Fifth Synod gathered in Constantinople, and the destruction of Origenist doctrines.

The words of Beliar are the words of the Origenists, 
Having been destroyed by the worshippers of the Word.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Days of the Schism of 1054 (5 of 6)

Patriarch Michael Cerularios sitting on a throne with clergymen, 
from the Chronicle of John Skylitzes


4. The Impact of the Schism on Constantinople

After the first outrage, it seems Constantinople did not give great weight to the actions of the then weakened papal throne. In a climate of political and cultural superiority possessed by the Byzantines in the eleventh century, the actions of the West were probably viewed with disdain and contempt. The rude behavior of the papal envoys merely confirmed the Byzantine perception.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Days of the Schism of 1054 (4 of 6)



3. The Summer of 1054

The events of 1054 directly caused the military developments in Southern Italy, when the balance of power was overthrown between the Papal State, the Byzantines and the Normans, because of the advancement of the latter. The friction, however, had begun in 1050, when the Pope appointed Cardinal Humbert as Archbishop of Sicily, of the subsequent fatal embassy of 1054, even though Sicily belonged to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and had not been conquered (yet) by the Normans. In retaliation, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularios, took measures against the Latin churches of Constantinople and urged Archbishop Leo of Ochrid to report in writing the Latin errors in 1053. The newest research, however, does not accept that the Patriarch closed the Latin churches in the City, as it was believed until recently. When Humbert was in Constantinople in 1054 he reformed some customs in certain churches there, so obviously the Latin churches of Constantinople must have remained open.

Holy Prophet Ezekiel as a Model for our Lives

Holy Prophet Ezekiel (Feast Day - July 23)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Prophet Ezekiel belongs to the chorus of the four major Prophets. The other three Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel. He was born in 620 B.C. and his father was a priest. According to others he also was a priest. He was taken captive to Babylon after the first seizure of Jerusalem in 598 B.C. The same year, while in exile, he was called to the prophetic office, and he was active among his exiled compatriots. His name means: "God is strong" or "He who is strengthened by God".

The Respect Bees Have for the Face of St. Prophyrios of Kavsokalyva


Source

Read also: The Respect Bees Have For Holy Icons

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

St. Markella of Chios According to St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

St. Markella of Chios (Feast Day - July 22)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

On the 22nd of July we commemorate the Holy Venerable Martyr Markella

Though unknown to us all Markella,
Christ saw the way you contested.

The Last Interview of Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo


Below is the last known interview His Eminence Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo gave before the civil war in Syria and his kidnapping by Muslim terrorists, when he visited Mount Athos and was staying at Vatopaidi Monastery.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Days of the Schism of 1054 (3 of 6)

Pope John XVI the Benevolent


2. The Stages of the Schism

The Schism was in fact gradual. However, influenced by papal propaganda for many centuries, historians often refer to "schisms" of the 5th, 7th and especially of the 9th (under Photios) centuries, which never happened. Nowadays, thanks to the extensive research of Francis Dvornik and Fr. John Romanides, the truth is gradually being restored. So the stages that led to the Schism of 1054 are not the iconoclastic stance of Constantinople in the 8th century, nor some mythical excommunication of Photios in the 9th century. All these, as well as prior disputes, were resolved over time and validated formally in Synods with the participation of the Eastern Patriarchates and the Pope.

The actual stages that led to 1054 were the following four:

The Miraculous Grave of St. Theoktistos Discovered in Novgorod


Archaeologists in the city of Novgorod, during excavations at Yuriev Monastery, discovered the grave of St. Theoktistos (otherwise known as Theoktist or Feoktist), who was Archbishop of Novgorod from 1299 to 1308 and is commemorated on December 23 (repose) and January 23 (translation of relics).

The Marvelous Death and Translation to Heaven of a Holy Fool

St. Symeon the Fool for Christ (Feast Day - July 21)

By St. Leontius of Neapolis

Now the time calls, O Friends, to narrate to you the marvelous death, or rather sleep. For his death does not present ordinary edification, but it was more remarkable than everything I said before. It became both seal and guarantee of his triumph and confirmation that his behavior did not defile him. 

Video Footage of Jerusalem in 1896


The video footage below captures the harmony between Palestinians of all faiths - Muslims and Christians - with Jews in Jerusalem in 1896. This is the first film footage of Jerusalem taken by the Lumier Brothers. It was discovered in Paris in February of 2007. This video excerpt was extracted from "Palestine: Story of a Land" by Simone Bitton.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

What Sirach Said About Elijah the Prophet


Below is an excerpt from the Book of the All-Virtuous Wisdom of Joshua ben Sirach, also known as Ecclesiasticus, chapter 48:1-12. Note how this excerpt, written approximately 200 years before the coming of Christ, addresses the Prophet in a manner like most Orthodox hymns to saints. It is a direct address of praise.

Holy Prophet Elijah (Elias) as a Model for our Lives

Prophet Elias or Elijah (Feast Day - July 20)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Elijah the Prophet lived around 816 B.C. and prophesied for twenty-five years. He came from the tribe of Aaron and from the city of Tishbi, which God gave to the Priests. Through prayer he did many miracles, and he was a zealot. When Christ was transfigured on Mount Tabor, he was present with Moses. "And behold, two men conversed with Him, appearing in glory and speaking of His departure, which was about to take place in Jerusalem" (Lk. 9:30-31).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saint Macrina the Younger as a Model for our Lives

St. Macrina the Younger (Feast Day - July 19)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The venerable Macrina lived in the fourth century and was the sister of Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nyssa. The latter wrote her life, which is worth studying by all, because there is much to benefit from it. She was the first in a series of ten children by her parents and was the model and support for her younger siblings. Her father betrothed her, but before the wedding her fiance suddenly departed from this earth. Then the Saint thought it right to devote herself to God, and "her decision was more firm than her age".

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Days of the Schism of 1054 (2 of 6)



1. The Times

In 1054 the Byzantine Empire was still living in its "golden age". Its boundaries stretched to the greatest extent it had known from the previous 300 years. Their strong opponents of the past centuries - Persians, Arabs, Franks, Bulgarians - were eliminated or weakened to a degree that they were no longer a threat. The Macedonian Dynasty led the Roman banner on consecutive triumphs, recovering areas such as Crete, Cyprus and Antioch. In the East, as noted by Haralambos Papasotiriou, Byzantium had imposed a "hegemonic peace". For the first time in four centuries the inhabitants of Asia Minor were safe from external invasions, and the borders reached once again beyond the Euphrates. From the tenth century the Arab Empire began to break apart and decline. Already from 929 the Emir of Spain became a self-proclaimed caliph, creating a rival political center in relation to Baghdad. During the tenth century Syria, Arabia and Egypt became autonomous. The largest of these states was founded by the Fatimids in Egypt installing a rival caliphate based in Cairo (969) who refused the legitimacy of Baghdad. With time, Cairo surpassed Baghdad in wealth and power, but was no threat to the Byzantine territories.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Concerning the Book "Elder Paisios of Mount Athos" by Hieromonk Isaac (3 of 3)



3. Seer, Venerable One, Martyr

The people called the Prophets of the Old Testament "visionaries" and "seers", such as the Prophet Samuel, because they had spiritual binoculars, able to see the spiritual illnesses of humanity. They had constant communication with God through the spoken word and oral communication with Him, and they saw the future incarnation of the Son and Word of God. Such a "visionary" and "seer" was Elder Paisios, as we knew him personally and as aptly analyzed in this book.

Saint Marina the Great Martyr as a Model for our Lives

St. Marina the Great Martyr (Feast Day - July 17)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The memory of a saint is an important event for the Church, and especially for a Parish which celebrates and is honored by the saint to whom the sacred church was dedicated when consecrated, and it is an occasion of joy and socializing among its members. As is known, the day of the feast of a saint is chosen by the Church based on the day of their departure from this vain world, because it is a day in which they are "born" in eternal divine life, which they also experience in this life. This shows that the saints, like all people, continue to live after the departure of their soul from their body and this is evidenced by their incorrupt relics, which give off a fragrance and work miracles. Throughout their earthly life, they struggled to acquire existential communion with the Holy Triune God, and this is why they defeated the devil and dispelled his "machinations" with the power of the Grace of God that dwells within them. In some iconography Saint Marina is depicted holding the devil by the horns, mocking him and shaming him. This shows that the devil is powerless, since with the power of Christ he can be defeated and people who seem weak can humiliate him, even small children.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Days of the Schism of 1054 (1 of 6)


By Anastasios Philippides

On the morning of Saturday 16 July 1054, shortly before the Divine Liturgy began in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, three strangers with strange clothes entered the Sacred Sanctuary and placed on the Holy Altar a document, and they distanced themselves. When they reached the narthex they yelled out in a loud voice: "Videat Deus et judicet" ("Let God see and judge"), and they left. The three strangers, led by Cardinal Humbert, were emissaries of the Pope and the document contained serious charges and an anathema against the Patriarch himself, Michael Cerularios. Four days later a Synod in Constantinople anathematized in order the authors of this document. On Sunday 24 July the anathema was officially read in Hagia Sophia.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Concerning the Book "Elder Paisios of Mount Athos" by Hieromonk Isaac (2 of 3)



2. Empirical Ecclesiology

By reading this book one will see a God-seeing Elder ascetic who went through all the stages of the spiritual life, such as detachment, landlessness, martyric obedience, asceticism of many years, the purification of the heart, the illumination of the nous, noetic prayer of the heart, experience of the vision of God, love for God. One will also see a monk who developed, to a large degree, philotimo and spiritual bravery, which is why he constantly spoke to Christians about acquiring philotimo and bravery.

Saint Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonesos Taurica


The Christianization of Kievan Rus' took place in several stages. In early 867, Patriarch Photius of Constantinople announced to other Orthodox patriarchs that the Rus', baptised by his bishop, took to Christianity with particular enthusiasm. Photius's attempts at Christianizing the country seem to have entailed no lasting consequences, since the Primary Chronicle and other Slavonic sources describe the tenth-century Rus' as firmly entrenched in paganism. The definitive Christianisation of Kiev dates from the late 980s (the year is disputed), when Vladimir the Great was baptized at Chersonesos, proceeding to baptize his family and people in Kiev. The place of Vladimir's baptism is marked by St. Vladimir's Cathedral.

Saints Julitta and Kyrikos as Models for our Lives

Sts. Julitta and Kyrikos (Feast Day - July 15)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Synaxaria of our Church are a blooming garden with various flowers large and small, each of which, however, emitting their own spiritual fragrance. That is, in the Synaxaria there are saints of all ages, from infants and young children to centenarians over a hundred years old. There are, for example, the infants slaughtered by Herod "from the age of two and under", as well as the Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos, who was martyred at 113 years of age. Saint Kyrikos, whose life we are studying, was only 3 years old. He was martyred on the same day as his mother Julitta and for this reason they are celebrated together.

Monday, July 14, 2014

120,000 Pilgrims Visit the Grave of Elder Paisios on the 20th Anniversary of His Repose


On the 20th anniversary of his repose, which took place on 12 July 1994, 120,000 faithful pilgrims gathered to pray at the grave of Elder Paisios in Souroti, after many waited in line for about four hours.

Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite as a Model for our Lives

St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite (Feast Day - July 14)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Under the first icon of Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, published in 1819 in the first edition of his work Interpretation of the 14 Epistles of the Apostle Paul, there is an epigram/caption which reads:

Nikodemos, the great boast
Of Orthodox and the wise of Mount Athos,
With this Book grant a goodly nature, beloved
Man of Naxos; praise to your good nature.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fr. George Kapsanis, Former Abbot of Gregoriou Monastery of Mount Athos (+ June 8, 2014) [3 of 3]



3. Ecumenical Teacher

In all the years he was Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of the Venerable Gregoriou, it became a prime attraction for millions of pilgrims from around the world, who travelled to Mount Athos to learn the inner workings of the monastic and ecclesiastical life, and they became stabilized in their married and social lives. Clergy and laity, monastics and married, Greeks and foreigners, would visit the Monastery of the Venerable Gregoriou to be taught the theological, ecclesiastical and monastic spirit of the Church. As Abbot of the Sacred Monastery he was literally spent, giving his blood to the ministry, not only to establish the monastic Brotherhood and lead it towards an authentic monastic life, with all the big problems created by such a ministry, but also for his ministry to the whole inhabited world. He did this through his written and spoken words, with his discussions and prayer, with his worship and pastoral ministry.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Concerning the Book "Elder Paisios of Mount Athos" by Hieromonk Isaac (1 of 3)


By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

With this title an amazing book was recently published that describes the Life and Disposition of the venerable Elder Paisios, whom I was made worthy by God to meet and to listen to his divinely wise teachings.

The author of the book is the ever-memorable Hieromonk Isaac, with the help of his Brotherhood, both before and after his repose, and its primary distribution is through the Holy Convent of Saint John the Forerunner in Metamorphosis of Chalkidiki.

Elder Paisios and the Aroma of Reverence


Once a reclusive ascetic, who had heard a lot about Elder Paisios, came to visit him. They talked for a while, and he ascertained that Elder Paisios was an exceptionally reverent man. Indeed, the elder had a rare reverence, which he had learned from his parents, and mainly his mother.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Encounter Between Elder Paisios and St. Euphemia in Images



Saint Euphemia the Great Martyr as a Model for our Lives


By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

She was born in Chalcedon during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, the fiercest persecutor of Christians, in the third century. After being arrested she endured cruel tortures, from which she miraculously survived. Finally she surrendered her soul to Christ after the small bite of a bear. Following her repose she performed many miracles, and her sacred relic remains incorrupt and is kept at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Saint Olga, Equal to the Apostles, as a Model for our Lives

St. Olga the Equal to the Apostles (Feast Day - July 11)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Church has given the very prestigious title of "Equal to the Apostles" to those saints whose lives and struggles "for the Gospel" were like those of the Holy Apostles. The Apostles, after Pentecost, journeyed to "teach all nations" and baptized whoever believed "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" and taught them how to apply the divine commandments.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Miraculous Intervention of Panagia Koudoumiani Towards St. Evmenios


When he was a young monk and had not gained experience in the war against the Evil One, he arrogantly thought that he had completely defeated the intrigues of Satan. At that moment the Evil One entered him and plagued him for some time.

Synaxis of All Saints of Vatopaidi Monastery

All Saints of Vatopaidi Monastery (Feast Day - July 10)

The greatest wealth of the most revered Mount Athos is arguably the multitude of its saints. Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite (July 14), in his most beautiful laudatory discourse on them, says: "Mount Athos wants to be a place of holiness; a place of purity; a place where so many holy feet stepped; a place where the dirt is mixed with the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds and thousands of venerable fathers. All in all Mount Athos is a place of virtue and good works."

The Holy Myriad of Nitria

The Holy Myriad Martyrs of Nitria (Feast Day - July 10);
Icon depicts St. Isidore

On July 10th the Orthodox Church commemorates the Holy Myriad (10,000) of Nitria who were killed by burning by order of Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, due to his enmity against Isidore the Presbyter and the Four Tall Brothers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

St. Photios the Thettalos: The Forgotten Life of a Great Saint

St. Photios the Thettalos (Feast Day - July 9)

By Archimandrite Gregory Papoulas

Forgotten for many centuries was the life and memory of yet another great saint, who came from the bowels of saint-bearing Thessaloniki, and who by the struggles in his life contributed to the sanctification of the city and to its spiritual boasting in Christ.

The Youngest Bishop in the Orthodox Church


On Sunday, July 6th, the youngest Bishop in the Orthodox Church was ordained in the Sacred Church of Saint Marina in Bulgaria.

The Church Burned, But the Icon Shines


In August 2012, in the mountain village of Pertouli within the province of Trikala in Greece, the stone Church of Saint Kyriaki entirely burned from the inside out. Though the flames protruded outside the front door and engulfed the area, the icon of St. Kyriaki remained unharmed and shined in the sunlight despite the devastation and burning of its frame.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fr. George Kapsanis, Former Abbot of Gregoriou Monastery of Mount Athos (+ June 8, 2014) [2 of 3]



2. Abbot of an Athonite Monastery

Upon undertaking the abbacy of the Sacred Monastery of the Venerable Gregoriou, my late Elder Metropolitan Kallinikos of Edessa, Pella and Almopia contributed, and I also was an eye and ear witness of these events, as I described in my book Jewel of the Church, which refers to my Elder. I will quote one section of it:

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