Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Banquet of Empress Theodora on the First Sunday of Orthodoxy


The formal restoration of the sacred icons took place in the Church of Hagia Sophia on the 11th day of March, in the year 843.

The Empress Theodora (Feb. 11) held a great and open banquet for the entire day, where she entertained the venerable ones and the confessors. The holy Lazarus (Nov. 17), a celebrated iconographer, suffered much under Emperor Theophilos who had ordered his men to put horseshoes into the fire, heat them till they glowed red, and then place them in the hands of Father Lazarus. He was so badly burnt that he was near death, but he was preserved by divine grace. Therefore, when the tyrant himself learned that Lazarus was about to die, by the mediation of the pious Empress Theodora and certain other notable persons of the palace, Lazarus was released and freed from prison. Theodora was able to prevail upon her husband to permit Father Lazarus to recover at the Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner at Phoberos. Though the iconographer's hands healed miraculously, at the court banquet, he said to the empress in a marked and pointed tone, "God is not so unjust as to forget our sufferings and honor our persecutor." Theodora made no reply and took no offense. The hostess wished no wrangling or disputation on that happy day.

Saint John Cassian the Roman as a Model for our Lives

St. Cassian the Roman (Feast Day - February 29)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint John Cassian is a great Father and Teacher of the Church. Born in Rome of pious parents, they made sure to raise him "in the education and admonition of the Lord". Together with maternal milk he suckled on the pure milk of the Orthodox Faith from the living breast of the Church. From his parents he learned to love Christ, the Head of the Church, as well as the saints, her authentic members.

His acquaintance and fellowship from his childhood with holy people affected him beneficially by shaping his personality and entire way of life. Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite writes: "He went to various places and met with saints and renowned venerable ones, and the virtues of all he aggregated in himself, like a diligent bee; so that he also became to others another standard and example of all kinds of virtues. Thus by elevating himself above the passions and purifying his nous, he came to know perfect victory against the passions."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Blessed Elder Ephraim Katounakiotis (+ February 27, 1998)


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

On the night of the 26th to 27th of February [1998] according to the new calendar there reposed in the Lord at holy Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain, "that revered place, the dwelling place of virtue", as Saint Gregory Palamas calls it, a sanctified and fragrant flower from the Garden of the Panagia, and even from the garden of the wilderness of the Holy Mountain, Papa Ephraim of Katounakia.

It was slow for the repose of this blessed and holy Elder to become known, because Papa Ephraim belonged to the category of those monks who did not seek to be promoted, but he remained within the mystery of silence, which is the biggest boast for those who can understand the Spirit. Unfortunately, the modern science of communication is concerned with people who live within the system of informed public opinion, while it ignores heroic figures who live in the freedom of the spirit, since they became exempted from the law of corruption and createdness.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Church Where the Theotokos Confirms the Practice of Fasting


The Panagia of Lithines:
Support for the Sacred Practice of Fasting

In the village of Lithines, located in the Seteia district of Crete, there is an ancient Church dedicated to the Panagia, which celebrates its Feast Day on September 8th.

Conspicuous among the Templon Icons is that of the Panagia of Lithines (or Lithinon), which is framed by innumerable votive offerings, since it has worked many miracles.

The church has a large courtyard and guesthouse. The village residents frequently pass through the forecourt of the church, using it as a shortcut to their homes.

Elder Iakovos Tsalikis: "Fasting is a Commandment of God"


Elder Iakovos of Evia was a lover of fasting and knew by experience its physical and spiritual benefits. During times of temptation, he would eat absolutely nothing, subsisting only on Holy Communion. This is what his model and protector Saint David did for many years. He would eat a simple meal only on Saturdays at noon - and that not always - and on Sunday. Only God knows how he endured such a strict fast with so much manual labor.

Fasting is a commandment of God. Because of this, we should also fast, my children. I have not neglected fasting in my 70 years. My mother taught me fasting from childhood. I am not being a hypocrite, my children, when I fast, but I am doing that which my parents taught me and that which I keep until today, my children. Fasting has never brought sickness upon me.

Elder Timothy Tzannis: On Temperance


By Elder Timothy Tzannis

As the intestine widens, so does our soul distance itself from God.

As the intestine narrows from temperance, the soul dances with the angels.

When the heart is distressed, the abdomen narrows through sacred temperance.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fasting Resource Page

Gluttony, Vatopaidi Monastery

Orthodox Fasting

The Orthodox Truth About Asceticism

Fasting According to the Church Fathers

St. Basil the Great's Homily On Fasting (1 of 3)

St. Basil the Great's Homily On Fasting (2 of 3)

St. Basil the Great's Homily On Fasting (3 of 3)

Fasting as a Weapon in Spiritual Warfare (St. Isaac the Syrian)

Homily on Fasting and the Origin of the World (St. Gregory Palamas)

Homily to Encourage Fasting (St. Gregory Palamas)

What We Often Call Fasting Is Not Fasting (Nikephoros Theotokis)

Fasting as a Tool of Perfection

Asceticism and Its Fruits (St. John of Kronstadt)

A Healthy Lifestyle vs. an Ascetic Lifestyle (St. John of Kronstadt)

St. John of Kronstadt on Fasting

We Ought Not Care More For the Body Than the Soul

On the Fragrant Souls and Bodies of the Saints (St. John of Kronstadt)

St. Nikolai Velimirovich on Fasting

Prayer, Fasting and Demonic Influence

Saint Porphyrios on the Ascetic Exercise of Fasting

Gerondissa Gavrilia On Fasting

Elder Iakovos Tsalikis: "Fasting is a Commandment of God"

Fasting as an Ecclesiastical Notion

A Church Where the Theotokos Confirms the Practice of Fasting

Elder Timothy Tzannis: On Temperance

Fr. Alexander Men: On Keeping the Orthodox Fasts

Dialogue With an Athonite Elder on Fasting

The Power of Prayer and Fasting

Healing By Prayer and Fasting

The Ascetic Corrective (Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople)

Fasting Is Great, But Love Is Greater

Who Should Commune?

To Forgive Is More Admirable Than To Fast

We Ought Not Care More For the Body Than the Soul

Scandalizing By Fasting?

Various Views on Fasting

Should A Child Fast?

A Church Where the Theotokos Confirms the Practice of Fasting

Pouqueville on Greek Fasting Practices in 1798

A Confrontation Between Eugenios Voulgaris and Voltaire


Saint Tarasios, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 806)

St. Tarasios of Constantinople (Feast Day - February 25)

By Hieromonk Makarios of Simonopetra

This great luminary of Orthodoxy was born at Constantinople into a prominent family of patrician rank. In his uprightness and concern for the defense of the weak and innocent he followed his father, an eminent member of the judiciary, and he shared the great piety of his mother. He completed an extended education during the reigns of Irene and her son Constantine VI. In 780, he was raised to the consular dignity and appointed secretary of state (protosecretis), an office in which he combined outstanding talents with a strong sense of the eternal dimension in human affairs.

In 784, Patriarch Paul IV, who had returned to Orthodoxy after supporting the iconoclasts, resigned and retired to the Monastery of Floros, discouraged by the inextricable problems that affected the Church. To the bitter criticisms of the Empress-Regent and of her son at his resignation, he responded that he could struggle no longer, and he recommended Tarasios as the one capable of restoring the true Faith, and of bringing the Church of Constantinople back to communion with the other Patriarchates.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Great Lent: A Time of Hunger and Temptation


By Protopresbyter Fr. Thomas Vamvinis

Fasting and Temptation

Fasting means I don't eat, it is voluntary hunger. Therefore, to fast as an Orthodox during Great Lent is to drive ourselves into a marginal situation in which we feel the demands of the body, but the power of the soul masters it.

This marginal situation is expedient to the tempter to betray us with the most powerful temptations. He does not have power over the struggling fasting Christian, but the Christian is lured by the weaknesses of the body, which the tempter believes he can exploit. This happened with Christ.

Popular Edited Photos of Saint Paisios with their Originals


Those who had the blessing to meet with Saint Paisios the Athonite, remember how he avoided to be photographed. This is why there are so few photos of him which he gave permission for. Most photos of him were taken from a distance or with others, usually with him unaware. For this reason some photos were edited and cropped, and with their distribution it put the originals at risk of being lost. Here they are presented with the originals.

Bulgarian Bones Could Be John the Baptist's, Scientists Say


Richard Greene
February 20, 2015

When the tools of modern science are applied to religious relics, the results are almost always the same: Science says the relics aren't what their supporters claim.

The most famous of them all, the Turin Shroud, is widely regarded as a Middle Ages forgery, and even the Catholic Church does not insist the shroud was actually used to wrap the body of Jesus himself.

So when Bulgarian archeologists announced in 2010 that they had found the bones of John the Baptist, Tom Higham was skeptical.

He got a surprise.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fasting as a Tool of Perfection


“A worker,” notes Saint John Cassian, “takes the trouble to get hold of the instruments that he requires. He does so not simply to have them and not use them. Nor is there any profit for him in merely possessing the instruments. What he wants is, with their help, to produce the crafted objective for which these are the efficient means. In the same way, fasting, vigils, scriptural meditation, nakedness, and total deprivation do not constitute perfection but are the means to perfection. They are not in themselves the end point of a discipline, but an end is attained to through them.” And, “Fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything worldly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; they are its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow men. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.”

12 Changes and Transformations After a Period of Forty Days or Years in the Bible


1. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to cleanse the world and start over.

(Gen 7:12) And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

2. Noah waited another 40 days after it rained before he opened a window in the Ark.

(Gen 8:6) And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.

Saint John the Theristis (Harvester) of Calabria

St. John the Harvester (Feast Day - February 23)

By Hieromonk Makarios of Simonopetra

John, a nobleman's son from Cursano near Stylos in Calabria, was born in Sicily, where his mother had been carried into captivity by the Saracens and taken to wife by an Arab notable of Palermo. He was brought up in the Faith and he returned to Calabria at the age of fourteen to be baptized. From that time his intention was to follow the way of life of Saint John the Baptist, whose holy icons he loved to venerate in church.

Saint Damian the Myrrhgusher of Esphigmenou (+ 1280)

St. Damianos of Esphigmenou (Feast Day - February 23)

Saint Damian the Myrrhgusher holds a very prominent place among the saints who lived at the Monastery of Esphigmenou and the nearby hill of Samaria. He was a contemporary and a friend of Saint Kosmas of Zografou who heard instructions from the Holy Mother herself to guard and protect themselves from her enemies and those of her Son, that is, the Latins and those of the same belief system.

Saint Damian desired the yoke of Christ from a very young age. Thus, he came to the Holy Mountain and stayed at the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou. He was completely obedient to his elder and the rest of the brotherhood. The desire, zeal and reverence that he exhibited during his monastic life as he strived to lead a virtuous life quickly set him apart from the other monks, and set him as an example for others to follow. Everybody looked up to him and sought his spiritual advice.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Meaning of Forgiveness Vespers


By Fr. A.H.

With Forgiveness Vespers, which is celebrated on Cheesefare Sunday evening, Great Lent begins. This solemn period of repentance is offered to us as a way of life. A way of life that brings forgiveness from God, as well as from our brethren.

The Inheritance of the Ancestral Sin


By Archimandrite Maximos Panagiotou,
Holy Monastery of Panagia Paramythia in Rhodes

We did not inherit the guilt of the original ancestral sin, but its consequences. With this, due to our remoteness from God, the entire human race is fallen and is in corruption with the tendency towards evil. This can be given a parallel example: if our natural environment due to our current irrational use of it is irreversibly damaged, the next generations of people will have no responsibility for the evil they were born in, but they will inherit the corruption of nature.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nun Barsanuphia and the Pouch with Thousands of Names


By Nina Pavlova

In Optina Monastery there lived a nun of almost ninety years in age. Her name was Barsanuphia and she wandered with a staff in her hand from one monastery to another.

All of her belongings were contained in two pouches which she carried with her. In one pouch there were some dried pieces of bread, while in the other there were papers with names on them for their commemoration that were mostly old and worn.

Saint Timothy of the Monastery of Symboloi (+ 795)

St. Timothy of Symboloi (Feast Day - February 21)

Verses

Timothy both living and dead,
God honors you both living and dead.
On the twenty-first Timothy was covered in the grave.

Our venerable father Timothy was an Italian by descent and became a monk at an early age. He is said to have lived an ascetic life at the Monastery of Symboloi (Symbola) at Mount Olympus. There Saint Timothy was the disciple of Monk Theoktistos together with his fellow pupil Saint Plato, who went on to become the abbot of the neighboring Sakkoudion Monastery (Apr. 4).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Features of a Religious Extremist


By Archimandrite Arsenios Katerelos

God does not ask for advocates, who can raise the value of Christianity with their words. He asks for believers, who will show through their flawless life the power of Christ.

The best defense of Christianity, as well as its worst defamation, is derived from the life and works of those who allege to be believers.

Many speak of Christianity by the meter, but they live it by the centimeter.

OSU Professor: The Byzantines were Romans


Tom Jackson
Feb 18, 2015
Sandusky Register

Conventional historical thinking is that the Roman Empire "fell" in A.D. 476, when the Germanic tribes finished their occupation of western Europe by deposing the last Western Roman emperor.

But Byzantine and classical scholar Anthony Kaldellis, a professor in the Department of Classics of The Ohio State University, argues that not only did the eastern half of the empire survive for centuries, it kept its Roman identity, even though its citizens mostly spoke Greek.

His new book, "The Byzantine Republic: People and Power in New Rome" (Harvard University Press), defies the received wisdom in Byzantine studies by insisting that Byzantium, as the Eastern Roman Empire is usually known, was a Roman republic in which the people were sovereign. Although it had an emperor, he did not rule as the absolute monarch that he's usually depicted as, Kaldellis asserts. His startling book is aimed at scholars but is well written enough to interest general readers who enjoy history.

Kaldellis' official university website lists 18 different books that he wrote, translated or edited, and numerous articles, book chapters and reviews. His translations include major Byzantine historians such as Prokopios, the major source for figures such as Justinian I and Belisarius. He's currently working on a narrative history of Byzantium from 955 to 1097 A.D., just before the beginning of the Crusades, and he has other projects in the works. He also shoulders a full load of classes, including classes in Latin, Greek, classical literature and classical history.

Despite all that, he took time to answer our questions about his new book and other issues:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The House of Saint Philothei


The unknown story of the only surviving mansion from the Ottoman period.

Below the Acropolis, in a bustling neighborhood of Plaka full of tourist shops, behind a tall stone fence - on Adrianou Street, number 96 - is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city of Athens. This is the family mansion of Benizelos-Palaiologos, a building that has continuously functioned since the 16th century that is essentially connected with moments from the life of Saint Philothei.

"The House of Saint Philothei", therefore, as it is known to the people of the region, was where the relics of the Saint were well hidden in the building until they were surrendered in the early 20th century to the priests of the Archdiocese. Today the relics of the Saint are located in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens and are kept in a silver coffin.

Saint Conon the Baptizer

St. Conon the Baptizer (Feast Day - February 19)

The following incident is recounted by St. John Moschos in his Spiritual Meadow (P.G. 87.2853). The author died in 619, but the event is supposed to have taken place a century earlier, while Peter was archbishop of Jerusalem (524-548).

At the monastery of Penthucla was a certain Conon of Cilicia, a priest assigned to [the ministry of] baptism. Since Conon was an old man of high repute, the [monks] appointed him to perform the baptisms. Thus he used to anoint and baptize those who were presented to him for this. But whenever he did anoint a woman, he felt tempted [lit. ‘scandalised’], and because of this, he wanted to leave the monastery. When he was on the point of leaving, St. John [the Baptist] appeared to him and said: "Have patience, and I will deliver you from this struggle."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Miracle of the Icons of Hagia Sophia that Left the Turks Speechless


By Nikos Chiladakis

An amazing story was brought to light that shows the grandeur of the Orthodox holiness of its greatest architectural creation, that has been characterized as one of the greatest wonders of human civilization, the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. This was presented by the Turkish press (in the newspaper Radikal, by the journalist Ă–mer Erbil), which testified to another powerful sign of the presence of Orthodox holiness in our neighboring country.

Saint Leo I, Pope of Rome

St. Leo of Rome (Feast Day - February 18)

By Hieromonk Makarios of Simonopetra

In the days when the Church of the West was part of the indivisible Church, the Pope of Rome, as bishop of the old imperial city and Patriarch of the West, enjoyed a particular preeminence and was regarded by all Christians as the prime guardian of the apostolic tradition and umpire in matters of dogma. Saint Leo occupied the see of Rome during one of the most critical periods of history, which saw the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West and the Church threatened on all sides by heretics. He proclaimed the wholesome doctrine of the Truth and did his utmost to preserve the unity of the holy Church, for which he is justly venerated in both East and West as Saint Leo the Great.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The 11th Century Church of Saints Theodoroi in Klafthmonos Square in Athens


This church (dedicated to St. Theodore the General and St. Theodore the Recruit) was originally founded between 1049 and 1065, and rebuilt with stones and bricks later in the 12th century, as is recorded by two inscriptions, one on the west wall and the other on the west door. It has three naves and one dome. The outer wall is decorated with arranged courses of stones and bricks with curif motifs. The frescoes are much more recent (20th century) and they have been painted by Athanasios Kandris. The church is near Klafthmonos Square, in Evripidou and Skouleniou Street, in the center of Athens.

The Veneration of Saint Theodore the Tiro in Samos

Procession Icon of St. Theodore the Tiro in the Parish Church of Saint Theodore in the city of Samos

It was soon after the martyrdom of Saint Theodore the Tiro that he was honored by Orthodox people, and churches were built in his honor along with that of Saint Theodore the Stratelati. These churches were known by the plural name "Saints Theodoroi" or "Saints Theodoron", and they can be found throughout Greece today (Anavyssos Attica, Thebes, Atalanti Fthiotida, Lamia, Serres, Orestiada Evros, Mytilini). Most memorable is the Byzantine Church of Saints Theodoroi in Klafthmonos Square in Athens, as well as the historic Sacred Monastery of Saints Theodoroi in Sopotos Kalavryta.

A Unique Photo of St. Paisios the Athonite with the Russian Elder Papa Tychon


This is a unique photo from 1966 of Saint Paisios the Athonite with his Spiritual Father and Elder Papa Tychon (1884-1968), when they were visited at their Cell of the Honorable Cross by Joasaphite brothers. Saint Paisios is offering rainwater from the cistern of the Cell, while Hieromonk Tychon gives his blessing.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Preconditions for Canonization


Below is an interview by journalist Maria Papavlachou from the website newsbomb.gr with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou.

1. Question: What are the characteristic features by which the Church chooses who will enter the List of Saints?

Answer: First we need to define the meaning of holiness, and what does it mean to be a saint according to our ecclesiastical and theological tradition.

A saint is not a good person or even a virtuous person, but someone who exists within the Church with its sacramental and evangelical life, united with Christ, and they feel within them the Grace of Christ. Saint Nicholas Cabasilas says that "they are called holy because of the holy gifts which they partake of, and the body and blood they commune of."

Saint Maruthas of Martyropolis and the Holy Martyrs of Persia Who Rest There

St. Marouthas of Martyropolis (Feast Day - February 16)

Verses

To St. Maruthas
Maruthas loved God very very much,
Standing beside God he is glad very very much.

To the Martyrs of Martyropolis
The city of Martyrs is called such,
Because many there were martyred by the sword.

At the time of Constantine the Great, Liyuta, the ruler of Sophene (or Sophia), a territory to the Southwest of Armenia, fell in love with Mariamne, the Christian daughter of the ruler of a neighboring district on the borders of the Roman and Persian Empires. Mariamne was unwilling to marry a pagan but, through the mediation of Saint James of Nisibis (Jan. 13), her parents agreed to the union. Liyuta was baptized that year on Easter following the intervention of an angel, and a large number of his people embraced the Christian faith.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Homily for Meatfare Sunday: The Love the Lord Seeks on Judgement Day


By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

1. In today's Gospel reading we are reminded of a great truth. Last Sunday, the sacred Gospel spoke to us about the goodness of God the Father, who awaits the return of that which He fashioned. But this should not lead us to forget His justice. God is not only a loving Father, but also a just Judge.

"Neither is His mercy without judgement, nor His judgement without mercy," says Basil the Great. The Gospels tell us that He will judge the world, and not arbitrarily, but according to our works. Today's reading, therefore, brings us before the event of the Judgement. And we say "event" because this global Judgement is for our Faith an eschatological certainty and reality, which is acknowledged by our Creed as part of our ecclesiastical Faith: "And He will come again to judge the living and the dead...."

We are called, therefore, today to realize three things:

Slavery and Saint Onesimus

Holy Apostle Onesimus (Feast Day - February 15 and November 22)

By Panagiotis Melikidis

On February 15th our Church celebrates the memory of the Apostle Onesimus, who became a Christian through the Apostle Paul when he was a prisoner either in Rome or Ephesus (probably Ephesus, according to modern research).

This brief note will deal with the subject of slavery and its correlation with the case of Onesimus.

First let us note that in the era of Emperor Augustus, half the population of the Roman Empire were slaves. Furthermore, based on the testimonies we have, the living conditions of the slaves were harsher in the West than in the East. For this reason, for example, in 1 B.C. we have the revolt of the slaves in Italy.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Elder Ambrose Lazaris: "Marriage Is Like A Row Boat"


When a certain man with his wife visited the Monastery [Dadiou] for the first time, they had the following experience with the Elder [Ambrose Lazaris], who of course knew nothing about them previously.

They greeted him, received his blessing, and stayed silently beside him for a little while. Eventually he asked them their names. Then, suddenly, he said to the husband:

"Your hands and feet will be cut off!"

Holy New Martyr Damian the New (+ 1568)

St. Damianos the New (Feast Day - February 14)

Saint Damian, born around 1510 and a native of Myriochovos (known today as Agia Triada) in Thessaly, became a monk in his youth at the Monastery of Philotheou on Mount Athos. Some years later he embraced the eremitic life under the direction of Domitian, an ascetic endowed with much grace. After three years of contests in all the monastic virtues, he heard a divine voice saying to him, "Damian, you must seek not only your own profit but that of others as well." So he left the Holy Mountain in order to preach the word of God in the villages around Mount Olympus in Thessaly, and then in the region of Kissavos, of Larissa and of Agrapha. He taught the Christians to remain firm in the Faith and, despite Turkish oppression, to live according to the commandments of God.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Elder Thaddeus on the Souls of the Dead


Q. Fr. Thaddeus, what can you tell us about the souls of the dead?

A. We should not mourn the dead but instead pray fervently for our departed loved ones that God may grant them to dwell with the angels. This is what He wants from us. Mourning will get us nowhere. By mourning we not only can destroy our own health but can also harm the peace that the souls of the deceased have received from the Lord. We must pray for our loved ones. We must not be sorrowful and depressed. Excessive sorrow for our loved ones who have left this world is not a Christian act, but an act of godlessness. We prepare ourselves in this life for eternal life. We must be thankful for everything and thank God for taking the souls of our departed loved ones to Himself.

St. Gregory the Great on the Unity of the Three Apostolic Sees of Rome, Antioch and Alexandria


When Saint Gregory the Great (Mar. 12) was Pope of Rome, he had a lively correspondence with Saint Eulogios, Pope of Alexandria (Feb. 13), and in Letter 40 of Book 7 he writes the following about the unity of the three Sees of Rome, Antioch and Alexandria due to their association with the Apostle Peter, and their mutual authority:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Saint Meletios of Antioch as a Model for our Lives

St. Meletios of Antioch (February 12)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Meletios was born in Melitene (modern Malatya) of Lesser Armenia at around 310 A.D. He was ordained Bishop of Sebastia and then was made Archbishop of Antioch in 360. He was pious, gentle, candid and educated. Because of his Orthodox mindset, he was exiled by the Arians thirty days after his enthronement. But during the short period while he was Archbishop of Antioch he managed to strengthen and make firm his flock in the Orthodox faith, so as to enable them to survive the test of the coming of the heretics.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Holy Hieromartyr Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste, and Those With Him

St. Vlasios of Sebastea and those with him (Feast Day - February 11)

By Hieromonk Makarios of Simonopetra

Born in the province of Armenia and a physician by profession, Saint Blaise (Vlasios) led a life life like the righteous Job, "being blameless and upright, and one who feared God and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1). His virtues having won him the affection of all his fellow-citizens, he was elected Bishop of Sebaste (Sivas) in Eastern Anatolia. During the Great Persecution, he boldly confessed the Faith and encouraged the holy Martyrs "to fight the good fight" to the end. He visited Saint Eustratios in his dungeon before his glorious martyrdom and served the Divine Liturgy for him. Afterwards he took it upon himself to collect the honorable relics of the Five Martyrs (Dec. 13) in order to present them for the veneration of the Christian people.

Should Prayer Be Our Last Resort in Troubles?


"All I can do now is pray."

How many times have we heard this from others and also said it ourselves? It is true: ALL we can do is pray...but that is not how this is usually said.

Usually, there is a sigh, a shrug of the shoulders and then, "Well, all I can do now is pray" after we have turned to every worldly solution which man has to offer for whatever problem may be facing us: troubled marriage, illness, rebellious children, trouble at work or school, misunderstandings between friends or family, etc. Although it is not the intention of the one who uses this expression, it comes across as, "Well, I, in my great knowledge, vast abilities and wisdom, have done everything possible to solve this and nothing has worked; so, Lord, maybe, just maybe, You can do something. I have exhausted all my resources and now have no where else to turn."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Saint Zeno the Letter Carrier as a Model for our Lives

St. Zeno the Letter Carrier (Feast Day - February 10)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Zeno came from Cappadocia and lived in the fourth century. For several years he worked as a messenger of the letters of the Emperor Valens, which somewhat makes him a postman, and this is why those who work in post offices in Greece honor his memory and revere him as their patron. Of course, at that time there were no organized post offices, but there were plenty of people who engaged in the handling of letters, which was then the basic means of communication between people and their loved ones who were in distant places.

Saint Haralambos Resource Page


Verses

Through the sword, Haralambos, you were deemed worthy
Of the brightness and joy of the Martyrs.
On the tenth, Haralambos, you were decapitated from the neck.

Synaxarion of Saint Haralambos the Hieromartyr and Wonderworker

Life of the Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos of Magnesia the Wonderworker

Saint Haralambos as a Model for our Lives

Life of the Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos of Magnesia the Wonderworker


On the 10th of the month (of February), we keep the Memory of the Blessed Hieromartyr Haralambos, of Saints Porphyrios and Baptus, the tormentors of Saint Haralambos, and of the Three Holy Women of Magnesia, who on beholding his martyrdom believed in Christ and were beheaded.

By Hieromonk Makarios of Simonopetra

The holy, glorious Martyr Haralambos lived at the time of the Emperor Septimus Severus (194-211) in the city of Magnesia on the River Meander near Ephesus.* He was 107 years old and had ministered as priest to the Christians of the city for many years, devotedly instructing them in the way of truth and preaching Christ to all, regardless of the threats of the pagans.

The Incorrupt Left Hand of Saint Haralambos


"If it please Thy goodness to ask a gift of Thee, I beseech Thy majesty and dominon to grant this favor: to whomsoever should find or possess a portion of my relics, and in whichsoever land he may be celebrating the memory of my martyrdom, may he never suffer from hunger or plague or pestilence or an untimely death or destruction from an evil man, or injury to crops. I pray that he may be firm in peace, salvation of soul, and health of body. I entreat that he enjoy plenty of wheat, oil, and wine, together with an abundance of livestock and other good and useful possessions...."

- Final Prayer of St. Haralambos

Monday, February 9, 2015

When St. Arsenios of Cappadocia Saw St. Haralambos in the Holy Water


"Once, on Saint Haralambos' day," Prodromos (St. Arsenios' chanter) used to say, "we went to the Panagia (in Kantsi) for an all-night vigil. When we got to Matins, Hatzefendis (this is what they called St. Arsenios) left the sanctuary so we could chant together. While we were chanting at the same lectern, I suddenly saw a white-haired old man at the lectern opposite, bent and supporting himself on a staff, and I started to tremble in awe. When Hatzefendis saw me trembling, he asked:

'Are you cold?'

The Proposal of Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos for the Canonization of Saint Paisios the Athonite

This photo of St. Paisios was taken by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos in 1977.

A little over a year ago, when St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva was canonized, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos revealed that he was the one who made the official proposal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the canonization to take place. Among the things he wrote were the following:

It was recently announced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate that Elder Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva has been canonized, and is now officially a Saint of our Church.

This gives me special joy, because ten years ago I proposed the process for his canonization. Possibly others did this as well, but I did it officially and I followed the path through the Sacred Synod of the Church of Greece.

Specifically in 2004 I sent to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, through the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, a letter by which I requested the canonization of Elder Porphyrios together with other blessed and sanctified Elders.

The Patriarch then sent me through the Sacred Synod of the Church of Greece a very important letter, which I keep in my file as a presumption of the highest honor and in which he thanked me for the "informed decision" of my suggestion, and expressed his joy about it, putting forward his belief that they are "potentially" saints of the Church and he would consider it a great honor for their canonization to take place during his Patriarchate. However, as he wrote, we would have to wait a little while longer in time, something which began to manifest itself.

My suggestion for their canonization was based on theological criteria.


St. John Climacus on the Remembrance of Wrongs


The Ladder of Divine Ascent

By St. John Climacus

Step 9

On the Remembrance of Wrongs

1. The holy virtues are like Jacob’s ladder, and the unholy vices are like the chains that fell from the chief Apostle Peter. For the virtues, leading from one to another, bear him who chooses them up to Heaven; but the vices by their nature beget and stifle one another. And as we have just heard senseless anger calling remembrance of wrongs its own offspring, it is appropriate that we should now say something about this.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Priest in Thessaloniki Whose Six out of Eight Children are Monastics


Fr. Evangelos Karakasis, an agronomist and beekeeper, during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday celebrated in Docheiariou Monastery on Mount Athos, attended the tonsure of the monk Onouphrios, one of his eight children. Now six of his eight children have become monastics.

Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid Liturgizes After 1147 Days


On Saturday, 7 February 2015, which was the feast of Saint Gregory the Theologian according to the Julian Calendar, His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Chapel of Saint Maximus the Confessor, located in the Stavropegic Monastery of Saint John Chrysostom in Bitola.

On a Resolute and Sustained Purpose


By Tito Colliander

If you wish to save your soul and win eternal life, arise from your lethargy, make the sign of the Cross and say:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. He arose and came (Luke 15:20).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Why Heretics Were Burned Alive


By John Sanidopoulos

When we think of heretics being burned alive, most people think of the time of the medieval Inquisition. Civil authorities indeed burned persons judged to be heretics under the medieval Inquisition. William Graham Sumner says burning heretics had become customary practice in the latter half of the twelfth century in continental Europe, and that death by burning became statutory punishment from the beginning of the twelfth century. But why such a punishment for heresy?

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