Thursday, June 30, 2016

Life of the Holy Hieromartyr Cyril Loukaris (3 of 5)


...continued from part two.

Thus, by the joint actions of the Jesuits and the ambassadors of France and Austria, Cyril was removed from the Throne in April of 1623 by the order of Grand Vizier Mere Huseyin Pasha, having been accused of preparing a revolution from the Greek islands. With the accusations a payment of 40,000 coins to Grand Vizier contributed to its acceptance. Cyril was arrested and exiled to Rhodes, while the Sublime Porte appointed as Patriarch the Metropolitan of Amasia Gregory, who was called by the people the "Crooked One of Amasia" (Στραβοαμασείας), and who was a stooge of the Jesuits. The Hierarchs responded that they did not want a Patriarch appointed by the Sublime Porte, so they chose as Patriarch the Metropolitan of Adrianople Anthimos.

The Iconography of the Deaths of Apostles


1. The Apostle Peter was crucified upside down in Rome, Italy.



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life of the Holy Hieromartyr Cyril Loukaris (2 of 5)


...continued from part one.

In February of 1612, while in Constantinople to resolve various ecclesiastical issues, he was elected Supervisor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but Metropolitan Timothy of Old Patras and other Hierarchs, because they were afraid for some unknown reason of his ascent to the Patriarchal Throne, created a faction against him and caused great confusion in the Church.6 Cyril resigned "to put a stop to the soul-damaging confusion," and departed for Mount Athos and from there to Wallachia, where he remained until the last months of 1615, teaching the people and striving against the Latin propaganda and the Unia.

Synaxarion of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul


On the twenty-ninth of this month [June], we commemorate the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Apostles the Foremost Peter and Paul.

Verses

Peter the preacher of the Cross was killed by crucifixion,
Paul was decapitated having decapitated error.
On the twenty-ninth Peter submitted to the cross and Paul to the sword.

These Foremost Apostles, what greater praise can one conceive, than the testimony and proclamation made by the Lord? The Foremost Peter He blessed, and called him a rock, upon which He decided that He would build His Church (Matt. 16:18). And He foretold that Paul would be a chosen vessel, to carry His name before kings and tyrants (Acts 9:15).

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Life of the Holy Hieromartyr Cyril Loukaris (1 of 5)


By Metropolitan Cyril of Rhodes

The Hieromartyr Patriarch Cyril Loukaris (or Lucaris) was born in Handaka (modern Heraklion) of then Venetian occupied Crete on 13 November 1572 "from notable and free parents, admired in the State and the Church,"1 and at Holy Baptism took the name Constantine. His father was a Priest named Stephen.2 His teacher was the virtuous scholar Hieromonk Meletios Vlastos,3 by whom were taught other illustrious ecclesiastical personalities of the time, such as Saint Meletios Pegas the Patriarch of Alexandria and Meletios Syrigos.

Saint Sergios Niketiates the Magistros (+ c. 843)



On the twenty-eighth of this month (June), we commemorate the righteous and blessed Sergios the Magistros, who established the Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos in the Gulf of Nicomedia, which became known as Niketiatou.

Verses

In this life Sergios was a magistros,
Now he shows forth in heaven as God's magistros.

Sergios was born in the village of Niketia, near Amastris in Paphlagonia, in the early ninth century. He was a member of the Amorian dynasty, and a close relative, possibly the uncle, of Empress Theodora, the wife of Emperor Theophilos (r. 829–842) and mother of Michael III (r. 842–867).

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Tale of Evagrios the Philosopher, Who Was Converted by Bishop Synesios of Cyrene, and the Three Gold Litra

Bishop Synesios of Cyrene (ca. 370-ca. 414)

On the twenty-seventh of this month [June], is read the Narration of Bishop Synesios of Cyrene Concerning Evagrios the Philosopher and the Three Golden Litra.

Verses

The rich man gave to the poor an abundance,
By this seizing a multiplication.

By St. John Moschos

While we were in Alexandria, Leontios of Apamea, a devout man who loved Christ, came from Pentapolis (where he had made his home for some years at Cyrene). In those days of Eulogios, the saintly Pope of Alexandria, the future bishop of the same town of Cyrene came too. And when we were all together, he told us this:

Synaxarion of Saint Cyril Loukaris


On the twenty-seventh of this month [June], we commemorate the Holy and Glorious Hieromartyr Cyril Loukaris, the former Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, then became Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, who competed in the contest in the year 1638.

Verses

The sacrificer of the Lord is sacrificed,
Strangled by the madness of the descendants of Hagar.
On the twenty-seventh Cyril victoriously ventured to heaven.

Cyril was a true imitator of the Patriarchs and an honorable Martyr of the King of Glory. He was born in Handaka (modern Heraklion), Crete in the year of our salvation 1572 to pious and distinguished parents. There he received a well-rounded education, where he learned under the distinguished, most-wise and renowned Hieromonk teacher Meletios Vlastos, then he yearned first for a broad education in Venice, then sought understanding in Padua, giving himself over to learning external and internal wisdom, greatly amazing his teachers, he was a model to them of virtue and piety by exhibiting all these things.

Synaxarion of Saint Sampson the Innkeeper

St. Sampson the Innkeeper (Feast Day - June 27)

Verses

Just as Sampson of old with a jawbone was led to drink,
So Sampson now gushes forth myrrh from his tomb.
On the twenty-seventh Sampson died and gushed forth myrrh.

This Saint was from old Rome, and flourished during the reign of Emperor Justinian the Great (527-565).

After distributing his wealth to the poor, which he inherited from his parents, he went to Constantinople. There he visited all the sacred churches, and took spiritual delight in their beauty.

After settling in a quiet place, he nourished himself and abided in the study of the divine Scriptures, focusing solely on God.

Saint Joanna the Myrrhbearer

St. Joanna the Myrrhbearer (Feast Days - June 27 & Sunday of the Myrrhbearers)

Verses

Just as Joanna stood beside the tomb,
So also she stands beside the throne in the eschaton.

Joanna the Myrrhbearer was the wife of Chouza and the steward-administrator of King Herod Antipas. She is listed as one of the women, along with Susanna, Mary Magdalene, and others, who "had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities" who accompanied Jesus and the Apostles, and "provided for Him from their substance" in Luke 8:2–3.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Who Is A Saint? (Fr. John Romanides)


By Protopresbyter Fr. John Romanides

The distinction between Saints and Fathers does not exist in the Fathers. For the Fathers of the Church, the Saints are Fathers and the Fathers are Saints.

Are those who have arrived at glorification and become saints a reality or are they not a reality? That is the fundamental issue.

The current perception is that if someone is a good human being, law-abiding and so on, then he is a good Christian and a prospective saint. In that case, all our grandmothers and grandfathers are prospective saints, according to the criteria of the moralists. Someone with a moralistic perception of sanctity might see things this way.

Holy New Martyr David the New the Agiannanitis (+ 1813)

St. David the New of Kydonies (Feast Day - June 26)

The Venerable Martyr David was from the town of Kydonies (Aivali) in Asia Minor, which had a special relationship with Mount Athos, as two dependencies were there: one belonging to Iveron Monastery and the other to Pantokratoros Monastery. Therefore when David decided to become a monastic, he went to Mount Athos, specifically to the Skete of Saint Anna, where a compatriot of his was living.

In order to repair damages to the Church of the Transfiguration on the peak of Mount Athos caused by lightning and to the Church of the Theotokos, David was sent to Smyrna to raise funds. After raising sufficient funds David returned to Mount Athos, where the two churches were repaired, and they also built two containers for water and a row of cells for pilgrims.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Holy New Martyr George of Krini (+ 1823)

St. George of Krini (Feast Day - June 25)

Saint George was born to pious and wealthy parents in the province of Attaleia (Antalya) in Asia Minor. On their property, they even had a church built dedicated to Saint Katherine.

One day when George was an infant child and was playing near his home, he was observed by Aga Brusali, the governor of the area, who wanted to take young George as his own, for he lacked a male child. George was therefore renamed Mehmed, raised by the governor, and when he came of age given to his daughter in marriage, with whom he bore a son.

Holy New Martyr Prokopios the New from Varna, Bulgaria (+ 1810)

St. Prokopios the New (Feast Day - June 25)

Saint Prokopios came from the village of Varna in Bulgaria, and at the age of twenty went to Mount Athos to live as a monk in the Skete of Saint John the Forerunner, under the guidance of Elder Dionysios.

Later, for reasons unknown to us, Prokopios abandoned the monastic life of Mount Athos and went to Smyrna, and there he became a Muslim in his despair of abandoning his monastic profession. There he was educated in Islam by the head Janissary of Smyrna who, after fifteen days, had Prokopios circumcised.

Friday, June 24, 2016

St. Savvas of Kalymnos on the Calendar Schism


By Maria Bizanis
(a close spiritual child of St. Savvas)

Regarding the Calendar he [St. Savvas] told me one day: 

"Maria, I am very much in sorrow that the people here are divided. We must listen to the Church. We should go with the New Calendar. Moreover, it is not important, as it does not involve dogmatic issues, but 13 days. Let us be obedient. Division is the worst of all. Yes, division. The abbess behind us is with the Old Calendar (he meant the Monastery of Saint Katherine). Do you want to follow me there, Maria?" 

Man and his True Life (St. Athanasios Parios)


By St. Athanasios Parios

True knowledge of God is the foremost and chiefest part of happiness, the root of immortality. Man's happiness consists of two things: first, of a true conception of God; and second, of the acts that man as a rational being ought to perform. "To know You is the whole of righteousness, and to comprehend Your power is the root of immortality" (Wisd. of Sol. 15:3).

The Church of Saint Athanasios Parios in Kostos of Paros


On January 9, 1995 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and eleven members of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in an Encyclical numbered the Hieromonk Athanasios Parios (+ 1813) among the Saints of the Church, to be commemorated on the day of his repose, June 24th. Two months later the Holy Synod of Greece met and concurred with the Encyclical of the Patriarchate with their own Encyclical, dated March 24, 1995.

Holy New Martyr Panagiotis of Caesarea in Cappadocia (+ 1765)

St. Panagiotis of Caesarea (Feast Day - June 24)

Verses

Panagiotis of Caesarea for the love
Of the Lord was killed, O happy ending!
Anointed with love, stout-hearted Panagiotis was beheaded.

We do not have any details about the life of Panagiotis, except that he was from Caesarea in Cappadocia, who refused to become a Muslim and abandon his Christian faith, and for this reason was beheaded in Constantinople on June 24, 1765 at the age of twenty (other sources say he was martyred in 1767).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Saint Paisios the Athonite and the Airline Ticket of St. Maximos of Kavsokalyva


By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol

One night when I stayed there close to the little hut [of Elder Paisios] I was sad, because our Elder Joseph was in Cyprus, in a Monastery they were trying to fix, and I had not heard from him. He was slow to write me a letter and I was worried.

The Elder told me: "What is it that is making you so thoughtful?"

I said: "I havn't heard from Elder Joseph and I have a worry within me."

"Well, poor man, why are you thinking? Let's purchase a ticket and go."

"Gladly, let's go."

Saints Aristokles the Presbyter, Demetrianos the Deacon and Athanasios the Reader

Sts. Aristokles, Demetrianos and Athanasios (Feast Day - June 23)

Verses

To Aristokles
Aristokles the noble armed soldier,
Was the noblest of all and had his head decapitated.

To Demetrianos and Athanasios
Athanasios found immortality,
Dying with Demetrianos by the sword.

These three Holy Martyrs were from Cyprus and lived during the persecution of the Church under Emperors Maximian and Diocletian (245-310). In the year 302 the presbyter Aristokles, who was from Tamassos, decided to go hide in a remote cave, out of fear of the persecution against the Christians. While praying in the cave, he was engulfed by a divine light brighter than the sun, and a voice came from heaven telling him to go to the city of Salamis to face a martyric death.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Outside the Church There is No Salvation" Clarified in Light of the Fathers

King Kosmos, representing the whole world in darkness holding the scrolls of the Apostolic teaching

By John Sanidopoulos

The Latin phrase "extra Ecclesiam nulla salus"[1] is translated "outside the Church there is no salvation". This expression comes from a private letter of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop of the 3rd century. The letter was written in reference to a particular controversy as to whether or not it was necessary to baptize applicants who had previously been baptized by heretics.

Cyprian was not necessarily expressing a theory on the eternal fate of all baptized and non-baptized persons, as Papal theology would later interpret it. He believed that those who were baptized outside the communion of the Church had no true baptism. And though many bishops disagreed with him, he never broke communion, but even went on to concede, when he wrote: "But some will say, 'What then will become of those who, in times past, coming to the Church from heresy, were admitted without baptism?' The Lord is able of His mercy to grant pardon, and not to sever from the gifts of His Church those who, being out of simplicity admitted to the Church, have in the Church fallen asleep." The key words here being "the Lord is able of His mercy."

Saint Gregory the Teacher (+ 1834)

St. Gregory the Teacher (Feast Day - June 22)

The holy hierarch Gregory the Teacher was born into a blessed family in Bucharest, in the year 1765, and was given the name Gheorghe (George). The young George (Minculescu) studied at the most famous schools of the time, such as the Saint Savva Royal Academy, acquiring an excellent education and serious theological grounding.

At the end of his studies, he left with two fellow students and friends to go the Monastery of Neamt, which was then under the direction of the great Paisius Velichkovsky. In 1790, he was tonsured a monk with the name Gregory and, since he knew Latin and Greek, was given the obedience of translating a number of writings from the holy fathers. A few years later, together with a friend, a monk called Gerontie, he was sent to Bucharest, where he was entrusted with the care of the library of the metropolis.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Church and Churches in Relation to the Holy and Great Synod (4 of 4)



Church and Churches?

Reactionaries refer to and invoke the Symbol of Faith and claim that the phrase "In One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" means solely the Orthodox Church.

What response to this is given once again by the Professor of Dogmatics John Karmires. Interpreting this phrase in the Symbol of Faith, he says the following: "Thus all Christians consider themselves to belong to the vast meaning of the Church, perceiving to belong to the body of Christ, which is one, since the Church is one, as defined in the sacred Symbol of Faith of Nicaea-Constantinople. It appears ... to be obvious that the heteredox belong to their substantial one united Church, by which they are perhaps capable of salvation."[40]

Holy New Martyr Niketas of Nisyros (+ 1732)

St. Niketas of Nisyros (Feast Day - June 21)

Verses

You were beheaded Niketas with the sword,
Cutting off all the villany of the enemy.
On the twenty-first the head of Niketas was harshly cut off.

The Holy, Glorious, New Martyr of Christ Niketas was born in the town of Mandraki on the Aegean island of Nisyros, and his father was one of the community leaders of the town. His father committed some crime for which he was arrested, and brought for trial before the Ottoman courts, and fearing the punishment of death, he decided to become a Muslim along with his family. Thus Niketas, who was too young to realize the significance of the change, was given the name Mehmed. And because the Christian community of Nisyros looked down upon such a betrayal, the entire family moved to the island of Rhodes.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Agia Kori, the Wonderworker of Olympus

Agia Kori of Olympus (Feast Day - Monday of the Holy Trinity)

It should be stated from the outset that Agia Kori is not recognized as a Saint by the official Church, because there is no conclusive evidence for her life. We have neither her holy relics nor do we even know her name. Agia Kori is translated as "Holy Daughter" or "Holy Maiden". However, she is recognized as a Saint in the consciousness of pious Christians, who venerate her icon, visit her sacred shrine and testify to a multitude of her miracles.

Therefore what we do know about Agia Kori comes from oral traditions surrounding the Saint, which were compiled by the theologian and author Mr. Lazarus Tsakiridis. Though certain details conflict, the outline is basically the same. It is an undeniable fact that Agia Kori lived during the Ottoman era and even during the time of the tyranny of Ali Pasha of Epirus (1788-1822). She was of exceptional beauty, and this beauty aligned with the beauty of her soul, for she was adorned with the virtues of modesty, piety and chastity.

Synaxis of the Most-Holy Theotokos the Hodegetria

Panagia Hodegetria (Feast Day - June 20)

About the Icon

The Panagia Hodegetria or "Directress" icon depicts the Virgin Mary presenting her Son on her left arm to the viewer and with her hand she is gesturing towards Him, pointing to Christ as 'The Way'. Christ, on the other hand, has His right hand raised in a gesture of blessing with the index and middle fingers joined (to refer to the two natures of Christ) and his thumb locks over the other fingers (to signify the Holy Trinity).

The term 'Hodegetria' is Greek and translates to 'She who Shows the Way' or 'Directress' or 'Guide'. In this icon, although the Virgin Mary is the largest subject, the principal image in the icon is Christ. His presence is like that of an adult.

The Life and Teachings of Saint Nicholas Cabasilas


By Anthony Papantoniou

St Nicholas Cabasilas and his background

On 20th of June, the Orthodox Church commemorates the feast of our Father among the Saints, St Nicholas Cabasilas. St Nicholas was born in the city of Thessalonica around 1320-23 into a prestigious family. It has been thought in the past that he was born in 1300, however recent and more accurate research places his birth in the early twenties of the fourteenth century, perhaps in 1322. This is witnessed by the fact that in 1351, a letter addressed to Anna Palaeologos indicates that Cabasilas had not yet reached the age of thirty. Similarly, the estimation of the year of his death varies – some believe that it took place in 1371, while others argue for 1380. The year that is most probable is 1391, which means that St Nicholas would have seen the fall of his native Thessalonica to the Turks in 1387. Although St Nicholas’ paternal name was Chamaetos (the rampant eagle), he preferred to be known by his mother’s family name, Cabasilas. The aristocratic family name of Cabasilas was well-known in both the political and ecclesiastical life of Constantinople.

Furthermore, St Nicholas’ uncle Nilus Cabasilas, a prominent theologian, succeeded St Gregory Palamas as Archbishop of Thessalonica. Therefore, it is easy to understand why Nicholas chose to be called by this prestigious name, although at times he is known by both names together. St Nicholas received his early education in his native city and went to Constantinople for further studies. The fourteenth century marked a turbulent era in Byzantium where cultural, intellectual and religious flowering co-existed alongside political unrest. This is seen explicitly in the bitter social struggles and civil wars which raged through the Empire as a result of the conflict that ensued between the rightful heir of the imperial throne – John V Palaeologos and the co-Emperor John IV Cantacuzenos. In 1342, when Cabasilas returned to Thessalonica, he found himself in the midst of civil war between the nobility who had sided with the co-emperor John Cantacuzenos and the zealots. In 1345, Cantacuzenos sent Cabasilas together with his compatriot Gregory Pharmaki as envoys to his son Manuel II in the city of Beroia, in order to reach a compromise, yet another uprising broke out and Cabasilas narrowly escaped being killed.

In 1347, once an agreement was finally reached, Cantacuzenos gave Cabasilas and his friend Demetrios Kydones the position of chief advisors, which indicated the beginning of Cabasilas’ political career. In the same year, Cabasilas accompanied St Gregory Palamas to Thessalonica for his enthronement, however, as Palamas was not accepted, both Palamas and the young Cabasilas went to Mount Athos, where they remained for a year. In 1353, St Nicholas, still a layperson, was chosen as one of three candidates for the election of the new Patriarch of Constantinople. Cabasilas was not elected, possibly because of his affiliation with the Emperor Cantacuzenos. Nonetheless, this shows the high intellectual and spiritual qualities Cabasilas possessed, even though he was just over the age of thirty.

In 1354, the conflict which continued between the two co-ruling emperors (John V Paleologos and John Cantacuzenos), ended with the abdication of Cantacuzenos who entered a monastery. Cabasilas also retired from political life but began his ecclesiastical career, working closely with the Patriarch Philotheos Kokkinos (1353-1355, 1364-1376). In 1362, Cabasilas’ father died and a year later his uncle, Nilus Cabasilas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, likewise. Cabasilas’ mother also entered the Monastery of Saint Theodora. Although it has been argued that Cabasilas was a layperson, it has now been established that Cabasilas entered the Manganon Monastery near Constantinople, where he became a monk and most likely ordained. The belief that Cabasilas was ordained to the priesthood is strengthened through the witness of his own works, which do not simply signify liturgical knowledge, but liturgical experience. His expression presupposes “priestly qualities” (κληρική ιδιότητα). It was thought that St Nicholas succeeded his uncle Nilus Cabasilas as Archbishop of Thessalonica, but this is very unlikely because there is no historical evidence to support such a position.

The tradition, which affirms that St Nicholas was elected Archbishop of Thessalonica, goes back to the sixteenth century. It is sometimes stated that Nicholas was confused with his uncle Nilus, especially since Nilus was also named Nicholas before his ordination. There is one historical portrait of Cabasilas, which depicts him wearing hierarchical liturgical vestments. This is a fresco found in the Chapel of the Forerunner in the Church of the Protaton in Karyes on Mount Athos that dates from 1526. A list of all the bishops of Thessalonica, published in the Greek Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics volume 6 (Athens, 1965) indicates that Cabasilas was archbishop.

There is a slight complication with the dates. Nilus held the see between 1360-61, while St Nicholas occupied the throne during 1361-63. However, the successor to the see between 1363-1371 is unknown. More accurate information places Nilus’ episcopate during 1361-63 and not 1360-1. Furthermore, the hagiologion of the Metropolis of Thessalonica commemorates St Nicholas Cabasilas as Archbishop of Thessalonica, although at his official canonization on 19 July 1983, this is not stated. The problem lies in the lack of historical facts to support St Nicholas’ consecration. Even his correspondence up until 1391, where Cabasilas received epistles by Manuel II Paleologos and Joseph Bryennios make no mention of his episcopate. Nonetheless, whether or not Cabasilas became archbishop should remain an open question. If this icon portrays St Nicholas as a hierarch, even though he may have not been consecrated, they are perhaps symbolic in order to honor Cabasilas as one of the greatest liturgical mystics of the Church.

St Nicholas is undoubtedly the last of the greatest Byzantine theologians. The fourteenth century was well known for the movement of humanism which had become a prominent and dominant influence among the intellectuals, attracting many personalities both in the West and the East, including St Nicholas Cabasilas. Humanism affirmed an absolute anthropocentrism where the human person was perceived as ‘the center of the universe’ and ‘the measure of all things’. This did not imply that God did not exist, but rather that the divine and human realms were disparate, with humans being the ultimate source and principle of their own greatness, possessing within themselves all qualities of power and virtue.

The theological tradition of the Church never denied that human beings possessed greatness; the Church Fathers strongly affirmed that it was the divine Creator who sowed this seed of eminence within human nature. The glory of the human person created in the image and according to the likeness of God was ‘the crown of creation’. St Nicholas Cabasilas, following the Fathers of the Church, exclaimed that the human person’s true life does not essentially lie within oneself, but in Jesus Christ. For Cabasilas, Christ incarnate becomes the source and criterion, ‘the center of the universe’ and ‘the measure of all things.’ Humanity is joined to Christ and consequently receives an even greater and everlasting prominence through this union; thus the life in Christ begins, where human beings become partakers of the divine nature by grace.

St Nicholas Cabasilas was a gifted writer, composing many works ranging from political and social issues to theological, philosophical and scientific treatises. His style of writing was renowned for its liveliness and persuasion. His readers were mesmerized by his powerful and graceful expressions and especially for the authenticity of his ethos and religious phronema. This admiration by others is clearly shown in a letter written to Nicholas Cabasilas by Gregory Akindynos who writes:

"If I, who love wisdom and virtue excessively, though I do not possess them, (if I) do not both love and admire the man who possesses them more than anyone else and who collects them most diligently, I shall blame myself for unfitting character and judgment. Thus it is that I love and justly admire Cabasilas who possesses these (qualities), and you, the beloved, are not unaware of this either. I am also enamored of your letters which are altogether so well composed that – though I would not say, of course, that their music moves stones, for I fear that this would be contrived – a man seems to be somehow an irrational animal, if he is not captivated by them, or if he does not realize that in this case captivity is quite to the advantage of the captured…"[1]

St Nicholas Cabasilas not only influenced his contemporaries, but also later generations – Symeon, the Archbishop of Thessalonica (1410-29) and George Scholarios were among others who praised him. Among the theological works, St Nicholas had composed a polemic treatise against Nikephoras Gregoras, who was an opponent of the hesychast movement, in which he defends the teaching of St Gregory Palamas and many panegyric homilies that are devoted to the Passion and Ascension of Christ, to the Three Hierarchs, Sts Demetrios, Nicholas, Andrew the Neomartyr and Theodora. He has also written sermons on the Nativity, the Annunciation and the Dormition of the Theotokos. The only exegetical work composed by Nicholas deals with the vision of Ezekiel, while there are short tracts interpreting Gospel passages and liturgical hymns.

The major theological works written by St Cabasilas are A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, explaining the symbolism of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom in 52 chapters. The liturgy for Cabasilas is the sacrificial body of Christ. This Eucharistic sacrifice is not a mere symbol but a reality; it is ‘the Body and Blood of Christ, which to the Church are true food and drink’[2]. Through the initiation into the mysteries and the participation in the liturgy, humanity and all creation are transfigured, they become θεοειδείς (God-like) and χριστομίμητοι (imitators of Christ). These are the central themes in Cabasilas’ masterpiece The Life in Christ.

It is important to note that St Nicholas does not formulate new dogmas. Rather by presupposing them, he brings together the entire ecclesial tradition from St Paul and St John the Apostle, through to Ignatius, the Alexandrians, the Cappadocians, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor and Gregory Palamas in his own unique way, expressing its mystical and experiential dimension. His theological vision is not mere abstract speculation but rather a way of life in Christ here and now within the sacramental life of the Church, where Christ unites Himself to us, indeed He comes ‘closer to us than our own heart.[3]


The concept of ‘double Christ’ – Salvation through Jesus

The ultimate purpose of humanity is, according to Cabasilas, union with God. The first created humans were able to commune directly with their Creator, but with the fall this blessing was lost as a consequence of the misuse of their free will and the image and likeness of God within them was blurred. Thus the ultimate purpose of history is according to Cabasilas, the union of human beings with God. This re-unification of God and humanity was achieved through the incarnation, life, passion and resurrection of the God-man. This divine economy belongs to all three persons of the Triadic Godhead, for Cabasilas writes: “Even though it is by one single act of loving-kindness that the Trinity has saved our race - it is the Father who is reconciled, the Son who reconciles, while the Holy Spirit is bestowed as gift on those who have become friends”. However, it is the par excellence work of Christ who transfigured and restored all living beings to their original splendor – Christ became the new Adam, giving the fullness of life as a potentiality (δυνάμει) to all.

According St Nicholas there are three obstacles which separate God and human beings – nature, sin and death. The first barrier that separated the divine and human is abolished through the incarnation where Christ partakes in humanity. Thus the new Adam who possesses two natures – the divine and human - united within His one Person is the ‘double Christ’ or 'διπλούς Ιησούς'[4]. Cabasilas writes:

"Our Lord not only assumed our body, but also the soul, the intelligence, the will, all that is proper to human nature, in order to be able to unite Himself with the whole of our being, and penetrate into our entire being… Between Him and humans, everything is common except sin…"[5]

The remaining two barriers are eliminated in succession by Christ’s death on the cross and by His glorious resurrection. With these obstacles removed ‘there is nothing’ then ‘which prevents the Holy Spirit from being poured out upon all flesh’[6]. Therefore the distance separating the divine and human realms has been bridged through the person of Christ, who inaugurates a new creation, ‘a new human ontology’[7]; Christ as the ‘first born over all creation’ (Col. 1:15) ‘constitutes the real progenitor of a new humanity’[8].

It is Jesus the God-man who through His whole life and compassionate works reveals the Godhead to the world and manifests the true nature of the human person, which has been restored to its original beauty. Cabasilas states: ‘From the beginning our nature has as its aim immortality; but it only achieved this later in the body of the Savior who, when He had risen from the dead to immortal life, became the leader of immortality for our race’[9]. However, for St Nicholas, the flesh of Christ is none other than the Church in which the life in Christ is lived by the faithful and salvation becomes a concrete and continuous reality. It is within the ecclesial body of Christ that humans are transfigured spiritually.

This metamorphosis of humanity is the beginning of the life in Christ that is inaugurated through the mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation and is sustained through the participation of the heavenly liturgy and especially the Eucharist. ‘O wonder of wonders,’ cries Cabasilas ‘that Christ’s spirit is united to our spirit, His will is one with ours, His flesh becomes our flesh, His blood flows in our veins. What spirit is ours when it is possessed by His, our will when led captive by His, our clay when set on fire by His flame!’[10]. According to our Church Father, the sacraments function as new modes of existence in which human beings are united to Christ and through Christ become Christ-like. Thus the process to salvation and deification begins – it is nothing else but the life in Christ, which ‘originates in this life and arises from it. It is perfected, however, in the life to come, when we shall have reached that last day. It cannot attain perfection in men’s souls in this life, nor even in that which is to come without already having begun here.’[11]

The contributions of Baptism, Holy Chrism and the Eucharist to the Life in Christ

In the same way that Christ was born within history taking flesh from the Virgin, He is born a second time within every human person through baptism. Simultaneously, man also is born again through the baptismal waters that graft him into the side of Christ. The whole of the human person’s biological being participates through baptism in the death and resurrection of Christ thus becoming a new person, a new creation. In Christ, the human person realizes their fullness and potential. Human beings on the biological level possess no form or name; they are simply shapeless ‘matter.’ However, when they descend into the baptismal font as ‘shapeless and formless matter’ they arise out ‘meeting the beautiful form’ of Christ.[12]

According to Cabasilas, Christ gives ‘form, shape and definition’ to man’s ‘shapeless and undefined life.’[13] As a result the union and communion of man with Christ begins, and intentionally leads to theosis or deification. The nature of man ‘assumes the form – that is, the structure and mode of functioning – of the deified human nature of Christ.’[14] For ‘Christ did not merely bring the light to the world’ through His incarnation and resurrection but ‘created within the human organism which He assumed, those new dimensions and functions by which man is able to assimilate the divine life.’[15] In the words of Cabasilas – ‘when we come up from the water we bear on our souls, on our heads, on our eyes in our very inward parts, on all our members the Savior himself, free from any taint of sin and delivered from corruption, just as He when He rose again, and appeared to His disciples, and was taken up, and just as He will be when he comes again to demand the return of His treasure.’[16]

While Baptism sets human persons free from sin and reconciles them to God and indeed makes them one with God – opening the eyes of their soul to perceive the divine ray and to receive divine knowledge – the sacrament of Holy Chrism ‘activates the spiritual energies’ within them. ‘Christ the Lord himself was anointed, not by receiving chrism poured on the head, but by receiving the Holy Spirit. He is not only Christ (the Anointed One) but also Chrism (the anointing).’[17] Through the union of Christ and humanity, Christ as Chrism spiritually anoints human beings who in turn receive the gifts of the Spirit. However, it is through the Lord ‘that we receive the participation in the Holy Spirit.’[18] The gifts of the Spirit are many and are apportioned to each individual to the measure the Spirit wills. Cabasilas states that not all who have been initiated into this mystery perceive immediately the gifts they have received because of their immature age; others may have been unprepared or have failed to give effect to their preparation.

He admonishes his readers with the words of St Paul: ‘Do not neglect the gift that you have’ (1 Tim. 4:14). St Nicholas argues that the Spirit imparts His gifts abundantly on human beings, but there must be a synergetic co-operation on their behalf with the grace of God – ‘there is need of effort and vigilance on the part of those who wish to have these things active in their souls.’[19] Thus ‘if one of the righteous appears to excel in love, in purity and self-control, in abundant humility, or piety, or in any such thing above what is common to man, it ought to be ascribed to the most divine Chrismation. We should believe that the gift was bestowed on him when he partook of the Mystery and that it became active afterwards.’[20] After speaking about the sacrament of Chrism that makes us partakers of Christ who is the Anointed One, Cabasilas describes the Eucharist, which is the greatest of all the Mysteries. Through Baptism we are washed in Christ, while through Holy Chrism we are anointed with Christ.

In the Eucharistic celebration, we partake of Christ as food and drink. The Eucharist for St Nicholas is ‘the perfection of the life in Christ; for those who attain it there is nothing lacking for the blessedness which they seek. It is no longer death and the tomb and a participation in the better life which we receive, but the Risen One Himself.’[21] However, all three sacraments are interdependent – ‘the first Mystery (Baptism) clearly needs the middle one (Chrismation), and that in turn stands in need of the final Mystery.’[22] The Eucharist is the sacred feast in which we partake of Christ’s deifying flesh and blood that impart the remission of sins and the inheriting of the future kingdom. It is interesting that Cabasilas emphasizes ‘the idea of continuity rather than frequency in receiving the Eucharist.’ This is because the sacramental life is not merely ‘a series of separate emotional experiences…’ but a whole way of life ‘…whose very reality demands constant sharing in the sacramental mystery that incorporates us in Christ.’[23] Thus through this heavenly banquet to which Christ himself invites us, we come to dwell in Christ and simultaneously Christ dwells in us.

Cabasilas asks ‘when Christ dwells in us, what else is needed, or what benefit escapes us? When we dwell in Christ, what else will we desire? He dwells in us, and He is our dwelling place. How blessed are we by reason of this dwelling place, how blessed are we that we have become a dwelling for such a one as He!’[24]

For St Nicholas ‘this is the virtue and grace of the Eucharistic meal for those who draw near it with a clean heart, and who keep themselves from all evil afterwards; with those who are thus prepared and well disposed, nothing prevents Christ from uniting Himself intimately.’[25] He writes elsewhere that ‘this is a great mystery, for this is the celebrated wedding, during which the divine Bridegroom unites himself with His Church as with His virgin bride.’[26]

As a consequence of the union of Christ with humanity brought about by the sacraments of the Church, the human person’s biological dimensions and functions are changed into functions of the Body of Christ. However, this does not imply that the former man has been destroyed, rather that he has been transfigured. This Christification of the being of the human person is not a mere symbol; Christ ‘makes these functions His own ("assimilates" them), He mixes and mingles Himself with all our psychosomatic faculties, without confusion but nevertheless in a real way.’[27] Cabasilas states:

‘Blending and mingling Himself with us in this way throughout our whole being, He makes us His own body and becomes to us what a head is to the members.’ Thus ‘the soul and the body and all the faculties immediately become spiritual, for our soul is mingled with His soul, our body with His body, and our blood with His blood.’[28]

The life in Christ is essentially the life of love, for ‘the grace of the mysteries implants true love into the souls of those who have been initiated.’[29] There is only one law – the law of love that ‘demands no arduous nor afflicting work, nor loss of money; it does not involve shame, nor any dishonor, nor anything worse; it puts no obstacle in the pursuit of any art or profession. The general keeps the power to command, the laborer can work the ground, the artisan can carry on with his occupation. There is no reason to retire into solitude, to eat unusual food, to be inadequately clothed, or endanger one’s health, or to resort to any other special endeavor; it suffices to give oneself wholly to meditation and to remain always within oneself without depriving the world of one’s talents.’[30]

For Cabasilas ‘God is present everywhere and fills all things’, He penetrates into the daily lives of human beings, who go about their daily activities, which are continuously sanctified by the grace of God. Through this, the admonition of St Paul ‘whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him’ (Col. 3:17) is followed. Thus even these may be done ‘to the glory of God' (1 Cor. 10:31). St Nicholas writes, ‘At every hour invoke Him, He Who is the object of our meditations, in order that our spirit may be always absorbed in Him and our attention each day centered on Him. To call upon Him there is no need for any lengthy preparation in prayer, nor for some special place, nor for reiterated groans. In effect He is nowhere absent; it is impossible that He should not be in us, for all those who seek Him He is closer than our own heart.’[31]

Even though the thought of Cabasilas emphasizes that the life in Christ is lived here and now, his orientation is towards the eschaton for it cannot be attained in the life to come if it has not begun here and now in this life. We may characterize this aspect of Cabasilas’ thought as inaugurated eschatology, which is realized within the life of the Church. The kingdom of God is present but not identified as the Church. Rather through the sacramental life of the Church we receive as a foretaste the majesty of the kingdom to come.

Thus ‘the body of the historical Jesus, which is the bread of the Eucharist and the body of the Church, will shine forth at the second coming as the great cosmic body of Christ the Savior.’[32] Cabasilas writes, ‘this bread, this body, to which people in this life draw near in order to carry it away from the altar, is that which in the age to come will appear to all eyes upon the clouds and in one instant of time will display its splendor to the east and to the west like lightning.’[33] Christ is the fullness and culmination of all things past, present and to come. Therefore ‘the risen body of the incarnate Creator will shine forth as the real center of universal attraction which will draw all things to itself.’[34]

Conclusion

We have briefly examined the theology of St Nicholas Cabasilas. The central theme of his thought is our union with God that has been realized through the incarnation, life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ was born historically uniting humanity to his divinity and He is born again within the being of the human person through the mysteries of the Church. Indeed, human beings also receive a new birth by ‘putting on Christ’ and thus they are transfigured and become Christ-like, however without losing their identity or greatness. Rather, they realize the fullness of true humanity through Christ. The image and likeness of God that belongs to their nature is restored to its original beauty and glory. Through the mystery of the Eucharist, human beings receive continuously the flesh and blood of Christ, which gives them everlasting life, for Christ is life itself. However, there must be a synergy between God and human persons in order that the life in Christ is sustained and brings forth fruit. For St Nicholas, the life in Christ is the prefiguration and the foretaste of theosis, which is nothing else than the vision of God ‘face to face!’

Notes:

[1] Cited in Letters of Gregory Akindynos, trans. Angela Constantinides Hero (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1983), 61-63.
[2] St Nicholas Cabasilas, A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, trans. J.M. Hussey and P.M. McNulty (London: S.P.C.K., 1978), 91.
[3] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, trans. Carmino J. de Catanzaro (Crestwood, New York: SVS Press, 1998), 192.
[4] Furthermore, this concept of ‘double Christ’ refers to Christ’s second ‘birth’ within the human person, which is realized through the sacrament of Baptism and Chrismation; this will be seen further on in this paper when we will treat the mysteries.
[5] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 122.
[6] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 105.
[7] Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ: The Nature of the Human Person,
trans. Norman Russell (Crestwood, New York: SVS Press, 1987), 112.
[8] Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 112.
[9] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 190.
[10] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 23.
[11] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 43.
[12] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 79.
[13] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 68.
[14] Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 122.
[15] Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 122.
[16] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 62.
[17] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 104.
[18] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 106.
[19] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 109.
[20] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 109.
[21] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 113.
[22] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 114.
[23] John Meyendorff, St Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, 138.
[24] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 115.
[25] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 122.
[26] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 123.
[27] Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 123.
[28] Cited in Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 123.
[29] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 224.
[30] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 173-74.
[31] St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 191-92.
[32] Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 157.
[33] Cited in Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 157.
[34] Panagiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ, 158.

Source: Greek Australian Vema, English Section, June and July 2009 Issues.

The Mystery of Pentecost According to Fr. John Romanides


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

After Christ’s Ascension into heaven, as He had affirmed, on the fiftieth day after His Resurrection and the tenth after His Ascension. He sent the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father.

Christ Himself had announced to the Disciples beforehand the sending of the Holy Spirit: “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper [Paraclete, Comforter], that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, Whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). Immediately afterwards He said: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). Later He said: “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"The Heavens Above Have Opened"


By Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria

Saint John Chrysostom, my beloved brethren, speaking of the epidemic of the All-Holy Spirit in the blessed upper room of Zion on the day of Pentecost, states among other things the following:

"Today neither manna nor fire nor rain came down, but a spiritual storm of good things. A heavenly rain came down, not to cause the fruitfulness of the earth, but to convince the human race to offer the fruits of the virtues to the tiller of mankind. And those who received a drop of this rain from heaven immediately forgot themselves and suddenly the whole earth was filled with angels, not heavenly angels, but those who reveal in their human body the virtues of the bodiless powers."1

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Church and Churches in Relation to the Holy and Great Synod (3 of 4)



So What are the Limits/Boundaries of this Church?

In regards to the fixing of the "boundaries" of the Church, there is no official judgment of the Church.[29] The problem is even bigger, when some claim that the canonical boundaries are identical with the charismatic boundaries of the Church. And the subject pushes even further, when the canonical and charismatic boundaries are made to be identical, limiting it only within the boundaries of the Orthodox Church. This implies a denial of the character of the Church, as well as the energy/activity of the Holy Spirit and divine grace outside of the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church, and therefore in all heterodox Churches, who are not in full communion with Orthodoxy, and the entire world in general! In consequence this supports the concept of exclusivity not only for the jurisdictional canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church, but it rejects the possibility of God's actions, Who desires the universal salvation of the world. A complete teaching of exclusion from salvation of those people alive who are outside the Church is not taught in the New Testament, "and therefore lacks the most authoritative feature and support of all Orthodox doctrine, countering the essential and apostolic and fundamental for salvation teachings of the Christian religion."[30]

Friday, June 17, 2016

Church and Churches in Relation to the Holy and Great Synod (2 of 4)



The Holy Trinity as the Beginning and Source of the Church

Thus the Church as a Mystery, which has her heavenly origins in the Triune God, "before all ages", exceeds every definition. The Church has her source and beginning from the same Triune God before all ages. "And the books of the Apostles plainly declare that the Church exists not now for the first time, but has been from the beginning: for she was spiritual, as our Jesus also was spiritual, but was manifested in the last days that He might save us."[14]

Saint Alban, First Martyr of Britain


Below is Venerable Bede's account from The Ecclesiastical History of the English People (1. 7) of the Martyrdom of Alban, probably under the Diocletian persecutions in the year 304. Alban was the first British Christian martyr.

By Saint Bede the Venerable

During this persecution, one of the most illustrious of those who suffered death for the faith, was Saint Alban, of whom the Priest Fortunatus, in the book which he wrote in commendation of Virgins, speaking of the great number of martyrs who were sent to heaven by it from every part of the world, says,

Albanum egregium fæcunda Britannia profert.
(Fruitful Britain holy Alban yields.)

He was yet a Pagan, when the cruel Emperors first published their edicts against the Christians, and when he received a clergyman fleeing from his persecutors into his house as an asylum. Having observed that his guest spent whole days and nights in continual praying and watching, he felt himself on a sudden inspired by the grace of God, and began to emulate so glorious an example of faith and piety, and being leisurely instructed by his wholesome admonitions, casting off the darkness of idolatry, he became a Christian in all sincerity of heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Church and Churches in Relation to the Holy and Great Synod (1 of 4)


By Dr. Gregory Larentzakis
(Professor at the University of Graz)

The multiple negative reactions of some to the Holy and Great Synod in general or to specific positions found in the texts also have a positive element. They give the occasion or rather the challenge for responses, which not only reveal that their arguments are unfounded and that they are motivated by fanaticism, but they give the opportunity for an Orthodox formulation of our faith without prejudices and arguments.

The various negative reactions by ascribing the term "Church" to heterodox Churches proves indeed that this apologetic attitude completely ignores the consequences of their claim. They even claim that this is the theology of the saints and the holy fathers and the sacred canons of our Church!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Saint Savvas of Vatopaidi, the Fool for Christ (+ 1349)

St. Savvas of Vatopaidi (Feast Day - October 11 and June 15)

Saint Savvas was born around 1283 in Thessaloniki, the son of virtuous parents, who eventually became monastics. His name in the world was Stephen. Having received his education in his native city and learning to love virtue, at the age of eighteen he secretly left his family and went to the Holy Mountain of Athos, where he subjected himself to a strict elder who lived at a cell of Vatopaidi in Karyes. There he was tonsured and took the name of Savvas. Patiently he endured the rigorousness of his elder and the difficulties of chastity, hunger, thirst, vigils, standing and unceasing prayer. And Savvas loved his elder for his strictness, for he considered him to be a sure guide to salvation. His asceticism and his virtues soon made him known among his fellow-monks.

A Reply to Those Who Speak Ill of the Holy and Great Synod


By Metropolitan Paul of Sisanio and Siatista

(An Excerpt from a Homily Delivered on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers 2016 by a Hierarch in Greece)

You heard today the Apostle Paul in the Apostolic Reading, and how he felt that by going to Rome he would die, for which he called upon the presbyters (bishops) of Ephesus and said to them:

"Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops. Be shepherds of the Church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:28-30).

He says that savage wolves in sheeps clothing will emerge, and try to cut off the faithful from the Church. And we unfortunately will easily leave, because we are egotistical.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Relationship Between Orthodox and Other Christians


By Archbishop Anastasios of Albania

Our relations with other Christians have gone through several phases. Today, two positions can be distinguished. The first one represents a closed mentality, distrust of others, which often goes back to the past with negative ideologies and points out the dangers of contacts with other Christian denominations. The second is expressed by those who believe in approaching and cooperating with other Christians. Usually the first pose the question: What can we take from the West? The second emphasize that the correct attitude is: What can we offer? And of course we have a lot to share together. Something obvious, yet it is ignored by several Orthodox, is that other Europeans did not choose to join a heresy, which is the Christian confession they belong to today, but they were born in a country where for centuries their confession prevails. For example, a Norwegian belongs to the Lutheran Church and the Scottish is Presbyterian. How can we judge them for not being Orthodox?

The Soccer Player Who Became Paralyzed and Was Baptized Orthodox


Mihai Nesu was seriously injured on 10 May 2011 in a training session at the Dutch province of Utrecht. He collided with teammate Alje Schut and fractured a vertebrae in the cervical spine.

Nesu was left paralyzed from the neck down. At first he could move nothing but his eyelids. Then he started talking and slowly began to move his right arm. With this he can handle his wheelchair. From February 2012 he has been able to move his left hand.

Saint Cyril, Bishop of Gortyna

St. Cyril of Gortyna (Feast Day - June 14)

Verses

Although Cyril of Gortyna was aged,
He had the heart of a young man as he hurried to the sword.

The Holy Hieromartyr Cyril flourished during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), and having lived a venerable and ascetic life, he was ordained Bishop of Gortyna in Crete at the age of 68. After governing the Church of Crete for 25 years, he was brought before the governor Agrianos in the year 299, "even though his body was weary with his advanced age," according to his anonymous biographer.

The Six Apostolic Synods Mentioned in the Book of Acts


By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Various synods, or rather to say conventions, of the Holy Apostles, according to some, were held as follows.

The first one in the year 33 or 34 after the Nativity of Christ, with regard to the selection of an apostle to take the place of Judas the traitor, when, after Joseph and Matthias were proposed, the lot fell to Matthias (Acts 1).

Monday, June 13, 2016

Answers to Questions About the Holy and Great Synod 2016



Social media and news organizations have reported confusion in advance of the convening of the Holy and Great Synod. This Q&A is offered to help clarify the process and governance of the Holy and Great Synod.

Saint John Triantaphyllides, the New Chrysostom and Merciful (+ 1903)

Saint John the Presbyter of Chaldia (Feast Days - June 13 and October 7);
Pictured is the village of Mouzena in Chaldia

Verses

For June 13
The three Angels of Abraham were seen once again,
Who proclaimed the birth of the child,
Noetically the three Saints were seen again,
Calling you to that which is more excellent.

For October 7
Who can run to the relics of John,
And happen to have no share in divine consolation?

Fr. John Triantaphyllides was born on 10 February 1836 in the village of Loria (Mouzena) in the region of Trebizond, from pious parents, who were named Triantaphyllos and Kyriaki. Because there was no school in his hometown, he learned from someone who was literate the common letters in six months, being very intelligent.

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