Friday, December 15, 2017

How You Can Help the Mystagogy Resource Center This Christmas


Dear Readers:

With the Christmas season underway, we tend to lose focus on the true meaning of the holiday amid all the hustle and bustle. And the true meaning of the holiday is best arrived at through the prescription of the Church during the Advent Season, which is threefold - prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Giving is important during the Christmas season because we imitate God by doing so, Who gave us His Only Begotten Son. There are many ways we can give back to God in gratitude and to give to our fellow people, and we should take advantage of these opportunities as much as we can. Among these is to support a ministry that is beneficial to you and to thousands like you, such as the Mystagogy Resource Center.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holy Martyr Barsabas of Persia

St. Barsabas the Martyr (Feast Day - December 11);
illustration depicts Persian martyrs under Shapur II

Verses

"Sacrifice Barsabas and live, and you shall be redeemed from the sword."
"I desire to live above, and am ready to die now by the sword."

The Holy Martyr Barsabas of Persia boldly confessed Christ as true God during the reign of Shapur II (309-379). He had been the abbot over ten monks at a monastery near Persepolis. Those who worshiped the sun had them all arrested, and for their bold confession they were sentenced to be beheaded. This brought cheer to the assembly of monastic fathers, for they awaited the good promise of the everlasting kingdom and heavenly good things.

The Life and Conduct of our Venerable Father Daniel the Stylite


The Life and Conduct of our Venerable Father Daniel the Stylite

A.D. 409-493

Written by a Disciple and Eye-Witness

1.

BEFORE all things it is right that we should give glory to Jesus Christ our God, Who for us was made man and for our salvation endured all things according to the Dispensation; for His sake, too, prophets were killed, and just men crucified themselves because of this faith in Him and by His grace, after having kept patience under their sufferings unswervingly unto the end, they received a crown of glory. These men our Master and Saviour Christ gave us as an example that we might know that it is possible for a man by the patient endurance of his sufferings to please God and be called His faithful servant.

For this reason I thought good to take in hand a recital of the labours of St. Daniel, yet I do so with fear; for this man's way of life was great and brilliant and marvellous, whereas I am but a witless and humble person. I fear lest I should hear those words applied to me which our Saviour spoke through the prophet David: 'But unto the sinner God saith, "Why dost thou declare my statutes and takest my covenant in thy mouth?" '(Ps 1..16)

Yet I do not venture to dismiss in silence those narratives about the Saint which I received from my fathers for fear lest the Lord should justly torture me in His great and terrible day for not having given into the bank the talent through His will entrusted to me for the edification and profit of the many. Being thus fortified by your prayers I will put down truthfully everything I heard from the men who were the Saint's disciples before me and I will also relate truly all the things I saw with my own eyes. For it is certain that the Lord 'will surely destroy them that speak lies'.(Ps 5.6) I therefore beseech you lovers of learning to cast aside all thoughts of this present life and grant me your favourable hearing.

Saints and Feasts of December 11


On the eleventh Daniel by standing on a pillar found his end.

(Fasting Day)

Venerable Daniel the Stylite

Saint Daniel the Stylite Resource Page


Venerable Luke the New Stylite

Synaxarion of Saint Luke the New Stylite of Chalcedon


Holy Martyrs Akepseis and Aeithalas

Holy Martyrs Akepseis and Aeithalas of Persia


Holy Martyr Meirax, A Most Beneficial Tale

The Most Beneficial Tale of the Holy Martyr Meirax


Holy Martyr Barsabas

Holy Martyr Barsabas of Persia


Venerable Leontios of Achaia

Saint Leontios of Monemvasia (+ 1452)


Saint Nikephoros Phokas, Emperor of the Romans

Saint Nikephoros Phokas, Emperor of the Romans


Venerable Nikon the Dry of Kiev Caves

Saint Nikon the Dry of Kiev Caves Monastery


Synaxis of All the Saints of Georgia

Synaxis of All the Saints of Georgia

Saint Daniel the Stylite Resource Page


Verses

From all things earthly, and even the earth you turned away,
Daniel having lived then on a pillar and now in the heavens.
On the eleventh Daniel by standing on a pillar found his end.

Synaxarion of Saint Daniel the Stylite

The Life and Conduct of our Venerable Father Daniel the Stylite

Saint Daniel the Stylite (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gospel Commentary for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)


Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (or Tenth Sunday of Luke)
Healing of the Crippled Woman

Luke 13:10-17

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke

By Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

10-17. And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over, and could in no wise straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity." And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, "There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day." The Lord then answered him, and said, "Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead it away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" And when He had said these things, all His adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

Saints and Feasts of December 10


On the tenth Menas Kallikelados gave his neck to the sword.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Martyrs Menas the Kallikelados, Hermogenes and Eugraphos

Saints Menas the Kallikelados, Hermogenes and Eugraphos


Holy Martyr Gemellos of Many Contests

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Gemellos of Many Contests


Saint Athanasios, Bishop of Methoni

Saint Athanasios, Bishop of Methoni


Translation of the Sacred Relic of Saint Nicholas of Vounenis

Saint Nicholas of Vounenis Resource Page


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Stephen the Newly Shining, Who Reposed at Saint Antipas (+ 912)

St. Stephen the Newly Shining (Feast Day - December 9)

Verses

You carried Stephen away from the earth and life,
And crowned him with a crown of glory O Word.

This newly shining star lived during the reign of Theophilos the iconoclast (829-842), and was born and raised in Constantinople. His parents were Zacharias and Theophano, who were adorned with every virtue and prudence, and they lived in the district of Constantinople known as Zeugma, not far from the Church of the divine Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen. When the mother was pregnant with this Saint, she kept away from and did not eat fatty foods (among which is meat), but only plenty of bread and water and vegetables, until she gave birth to him. When the Saint was born - O the miracle! - there appeared on his chest a shining and most beautiful cross. This was a great sign of the crucifixion and detachment that the Saint was to have in regard to worldly things. After he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, it was necessary for him to be breastfed according to the laws of nature. But this Saint appeared to be higher than the laws of nature. When his mother ate food that was more than necessary and she was satisfied, he wished not to be breastfed by her. Many times he remained without being breastfed two or three days, as long as his mother was satisfied. Therefore it was necessary for his mother to exercise self-control, in order to feed her son who was full of grace. This brought consternation and affliction to the friends and relatives of the child.

History of the Feast of the Conception of Saint Anna


By John Sanidopoulos

To determine the origin of the feast of the Conception of Saint Anna, which is celebrated by the Church on December 9th, we must take into account the genuine documents we possess, the oldest of which is the Canon of the feast, composed by Saint Andrew of Crete, who wrote his liturgical hymns in the second half of the seventh century, when a monk at the Monastery of Saint Savvas near Jerusalem (he died as Archbishop of Crete at about 720). But the celebration cannot then have been generally accepted throughout the Church, for John, first monk and later bishop on the island of Evia (Euboea), at about 750 in a sermon, speaking in favor of the propagation of this feast, says that it was not yet known to all the faithful (ei kai me para tois pasi gnorizetai; P.G., 96, 1499). But a century later George of Nicomedia, made Metropolitan by Patriarch Photios in 860, could say that the celebration was not of recent origin (P.G., 100, 1335). It is therefore safe to affirm that the feast of the Conception of Saint Anna appeared in the East not earlier than the end of the seventh or the beginning of the eighth century.

Why Was the Virgin Mary Born of a Sterile Woman? (St. John of Damascus)


By St. John of Damascus

(Execerpt from Homily 2, Oration on the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos Mary)

But why has the Virgin Mother been born from a sterile woman? For that which alone is new under the sun, the culmination of miracles, the way had to be prepared by means of miracles, and what was greater had to advance slowly from what was more humble. And I have another more exalted and divine reason. Nature has been defeated by grace and stands trembling, no longer ready to take the lead. Therefore when the God-bearing Virgin was about to be born from Anna, nature did not dare to anticipate the offshoot of grace; instead it remained without fruit until grace sprouted its fruit. For it was necessary for her to be the first-born, she who would bear the “Firstborn of all creation” in whom “all things subsist” (Col 1.15,17).

Saints and Feasts of December 9


On the ninth Mary the Mother of God was conceived by Anna.

(Fasting Day - Fish Allowed)

Conception of Saint Anna, Mother of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos

Conception of Saint Anna Resource Page

Saints Joachim and Anna Resource Page


Holy Prophetess Hannah, Mother of the Prophet Samuel

Holy Prophetess Hannah as a Model for our Lives

The Prophetess Hannah and Noetic Prayer of the Heart

The Song of Righteous Hannah

Prophet Samuel Resource Page


Venerable Stephen the Newly Shining, Who Reposed at Saint Antipas

Synaxarion of Saint Stephen the Newly Shining, Who Reposed at Saint Antipas (+ 912)


Icon of the Mother of God "the Unexpected Joy"

Icon of the Mother of God "the Unexpected Joy"

Conception of Saint Anna Resource Page

Conception of Saint Anna (Feast Day - December 9)

Verses

Not like Eve do you bear a child in sorrows.
You give joy by that which you carry in your womb.
On the ninth Mary the Mother of God was conceived by Anna.

Synaxarion for the Conception of Saint Anna


Friday, December 8, 2017

Church of the Apostle Tychicus in Inner Galata of Cyprus


Today's Church of the Apostle Tychicus was built next to the ruins of an old church of the Saint, in the village known today as Inner Galata, covered by dense orchards.

According to tradition, at this place, the Apostles Paul, Barnabas and Mark met up during their first apostolic missionary journey, together with Saint Heracleidius, which is why it is called "apostle-trodden".

Church of the Apostle Tychicus in Paphos of Cyprus


The village of Masana in Paphos has celebrated the Holy Apostle Tychicus, who is mentioned five times in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, for centuries, as testified by the Roman Martyrology. One tradition even has him as being the first Bishop of Neapolis in Cyprus.

Saints and Feasts of December 8


On the eighth Patapios walked on green pastures.

(Fasting Day)

Venerable Patapios

Saint Patapios of Thebes Resource Page


Holy Apostles Sosthenes, Apollos, Kephas, Tychicus, Epaphroditus and Caesar of the Seventy

Holy Apostles Sosthenes, Apollos, Kephas, Tychicus, Epaphroditus and Caesar of the Seventy

Church of the Apostle Tychicus in Paphos of Cyprus

Church of the Apostle Tychicus in Inner Galata of Cyprus


Saint Sophronios, Bishop of Cyprus

Saint Sophronios, Archbishop of Cyprus


Venerable Parthenios of Chios

Saint Parthenios of Chios (+ 1883)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Holy Martyrs Priscus, Martinus and Nicholas

Sts. Priscus, Martinus and Nicholas the Martyrs (Feast Day - December 7);
photo depicts the walls of Constantinople at the Blachernae district

Verses

To Priscus.
From starvation of earthly bread Priscus died,
Christ feeds the Angels with morsels of bread.

To Martinus.
With an axe Martin was cut up like meat,
Meat by the axe of impious people.

To Nicholas.
A decree of demonic delusion was issued to sacrifice,
Nicholas did not sacrifice so he is sacrificed in fire.

Saint Ambrose of Kyrenia, A Forgotten Cypriot Saint No Longer Celebrated

Church of Saint Ambrose in Agios Amvrosios (now a mosque)

Agios Amvrosios (Turkish: Esentepe) is a village located in the Kyrenia District of Cyprus, east of Kyrenia. It is under the de facto control of Northern Cyprus since 1972, when the Greek Cypriots were expelled.

The village got its name from a local ascetic saint named Ambrose, where a church is dedicated to his name and had been one of the largest churches of Cyprus, built in 1910. The Church of Saint Ambrose has been now converted into a mosque. Saint Ambrose is numbered among the Saints of Cyprus and had come from Palestine with Saint Epiktetos, who gave his name to the village of Agios Epiktetos, and other monks chased by the Saracens. Saint Epiktetos lived as an ascetic twenty-seven kilometers to the west and Saint Ambrose lived as an ascetic monk in this area. In the confusion of time, instead of honoring Saint Ambrose the local ascetic who became a Saint in Cyprus, some started to honor the more widely known Father of the Church Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. In Cyprus, the replacement Cypriot Saints with other more known Saints bearing the same name is now a common phenomenon, apparently due to ignorance. Whatever the case, today the survivors of the village honor Saint Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan who lived in the fourth century, who is a common Saint for both the Eastern and Western Christians. However, Saint Ambrose of Milan has no direct relationship with this region or Cyprus generally and the tradition of the island does not link this Saint with the local lore, which links them with the local Saint Ambrose of Kyrenia in Cyprus.

How St. Ambrose Helped Bring St. Augustine Closer to the Church


By St. Augustine of Hippo

(The Confessions, Bk. 5, Chs. 22-25)

Then began I assiduously to practice that for which I came to Rome — the teaching of rhetoric... When, therefore, they of Milan had sent to Rome to the prefect of the city, to provide them with a teacher of rhetoric for their city, and to dispatch him at the public expense, I made interest through those identical persons, drunk with Manichaean vanities, to be freed from whom I was going away — neither of us, however, being aware of it — that Symmachus, the then prefect, having proved me by proposing a subject, would send me.

Saints and Feasts of December 7


On the seventh Ambrose arrived in the land of immortality.

(Fasting Day)

Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

Saint Ambrose of Milan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Athenadoros

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Athenadoros of Mesopotamia


Venerable Ammoun of Nitria

Holy Abba Ammoun of Nitria, Father of Egyptian Monasticism

Abba Ammoun of Nitria According to the Historians Socrates and Sozomen


Holy Three Hundred Martyrs of Africa

The Holy Martyrs of the North African Persecution by the Arian Vandals in 484


Holy Orthodox Martyrs Who Were Burnt While Inside a Church

The Holy Martyrs of the North African Persecution by the Arian Vandals in 484


Holy Two Hieromartyrs

The Holy Martyrs of the North African Persecution by the Arian Vandals in 484


Holy Sixty Hieromartyrs

The Holy Martyrs of the North African Persecution by the Arian Vandals in 484


Holy Female Martyr of Rome

The Holy Martyrs of the North African Persecution by the Arian Vandals in 484


Venerable Paul the Obedient

Synaxarion of Saint Paul the Obedient


Holy Martyr Priscus

Holy Martyrs Priscus, Martinus and Nicholas


Holy Martyr Martinus

Holy Martyrs Priscus, Martinus and Nicholas


Holy Martyr Nicholas

Holy Martyrs Priscus, Martinus and Nicholas


Venerable Gerasimos of Euripos

Saint Gerasimos of Euripos


Saint Philothea of Romania

The Child-Martyr Philothea of Romania


Venerable Ambrose of Kyrenia

Saint Ambrose of Kyrenia, A Forgotten Cypriot Saint No Longer Celebrated


Saint Ambrose of Milan Resource Page

St. Ambrose of Milan (Feast Day - December 7)

Verses

Ambrose is stripped of his perishable flesh,
Being made worthy to partake in divine immortality.
On the seventh Ambrose arrived in the land of immortality.

About

Synaxarion of Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The First Church Dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra

Frescoe of St. Nicholas located in the Church of the Theotokos at Blachernae.

In the sixth century the historian Procopius, in his work The Buildings (Bk. 1, Ch. 6), tells us that Emperor Justinian constructed a church in honor of Saint Nicholas, which may be the first church ever dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra:

Further on he established a shrine to Saint Priscus and Saint Nicholas, an entirely new creation of his own, at a spot where the Byzantines love especially to tarry, some venerating and doing honor to these saints who have come to dwell among them, and others simply enjoying the charm of the precinct, since the Emperor forced back the wash of the sea and set the foundations far out into the water when he established this sanctuary.

An Encomium to Saint Nicholas of Myra (St. Proclus of Constantinople)


By St. Proclus, 
Patriarch of Constantinople (434-447)

[1] My brothers, fathers and children, a fear and a very terrible trembling and great anxiety constrain me — that while I am wanting to draw sweet water for myself, I may be going to fill myself with bitterness. Nevertheless, I have some small, or rather great, gifts from the chosen vessel, the teacher of the churches, the light of the world, I mean, of course, Paul the Apostle, who says, "All things are possible that you do in the name of the Lord. He is light, therefore you, too, are children of light. For we do not want you to be ignorant of the gifts of the Holy Spirit." But the Lord himself also said in his Gospels, “Let him who is thirsty come to me and drink,” and again, “Every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” Because I knocked, the Lord enlightened your hearts. For I am not worthy of such an undertaking. And so I ask to draw what is mine from what is yours. For I am weak in speech and slow of tongue to praise this saint. Open the treasuries of your hearts to me, so that I may be able to bring some small offering to the saint. And do not disbelieve what is said, for the gift is of God and is not from me. And let us receive God as mediator and supplier for us of what we seek.

Holy Martyrs Dionysia, Dativa, Emilianus, Boniface, Leontia, Tertius and Majoricus (+ 484)


Victor of Vita was a fifth century African bishop of the Province of Byzacena (called Vitensis from his See of Vita). He wrote a work titled A History of the African Province Persecution, in the Times of Genseric and Huneric, the Kings of the Vandals. This is mainly a contemporary narrative of the cruelties practiced against the Orthodox Christians of Northern Africa by the Arian Vandals. In this book he records the story of the Holy Martyrs Dionysia, Dativa, Emilianus, Boniface, Leontia, Tertius and Majoricus, who are commemorated on December 6th according to the Roman Martyrology. He writes:

At a time when those bishops had not yet been sent into exile, he [Huneric] sent simultaneously through all the provinces of the land of Africa most cruel torturers, so that there did not remain a single home or place free of wailing and lamentations. They did not spare people of any age or either sex, except those who submitted to their will. Some were tortured by being beaten, others by being hung, and others by the fire; contrary to the laws of nature, women, especially the noble, were tortured entirely naked and in full view of the public.

Saint Maximus, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus (+ 1305)

St. Michael of Kiev (Feast Day - December 6)

Saint Maximus, successor of Metropolitan Cyril III of Kiev (1243-1280), was a Greek by birth, and he arrived in Rus, then suffering under the Mongol (Tatar) Yoke, from Constantinople in 1283 as Metropolitan. The Saint decided to remain at Kiev, but the city was completely devastated by the plundering incursions of the Tatars. Metropolitan Maximus withdrew to Briansk, and from there to Suzdal. During his visit to Volhynia the Saint met with Saint Peter, the Abbot of the Rata Monastery (Dec. 21), who would succeed him as Metropolitan.

In 1295 the Saint deposed James from the bishop’s cathedra at Vladimir and replaced him with Simon. During these terrible times the throne of the Great Prince was first at Vladimir, then at Pereslavl, then at Tver.

Saints and Feasts of December 6


On the sixth the end of the life of Nicholas appeared.

(Fasting Day)

Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

Saint Nicholas of Myra Resource Page


Holy New Martyr Nicholas Karamanos of Smyrna

Holy New Martyr Nicholas Karamanos of Smyrna (+ 1657)


Holy Martyrs Dionysia, Dativa, Emilianus, Boniface, Leontia, Tertius and Majoricus

Holy Martyrs Dionysia, Dativa, Emilianus, Boniface, Leontia, Tertius and Majoricus (+ 484)


Saint Maximus, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus

Saint Maximus, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus (+ 1305)


The Holy Icon of Panagia "the Seafaring"

The Holy Icon of Panagia "the Seafaring"

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Lesson of Saint Savvas the Sanctified to a Young Disciple


One day Saint Savvas went to the Jordan River, accompanied by one of his youthful disciples. On the way, they met a group of lay folk that had in their company a most beautiful damsel. The Saint attempted to test his student, so he looked at the maiden and said to him: “It appears to me that the young maiden is blind, is that so?” And he answered: “No, Father, both her eyes are sound.”

Holy Martyr Crispina (+ 304)

St. Crispina (Feast Day - December 5)

Saint Crispina lived at Thacora (Tagora) (now an archaeological site in Tunisia near the town Taoura) in the Roman province of Africa. She belonged to a distinguished family and was a wealthy matron with children. At the time of the persecution she was arrested for professing Christianity. The proconsul Annius Anullinus presided at her trial at Theveste (or Tebessa) in Numidia in December of 304.

Anullinus asked her if she was aware that she was required by law to offer sacrifice to the gods for the welfare of the emperors Diocletian and Maximian. She said that she did not know of this decree, and that her Christian faith would not allow her to offer sacrifice to false gods.

Homily in Commemoration of Saint Savvas the Sanctified (St. Luke of Simferopol)


By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol

(Delivered on December 18, 1947)

"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with carousing, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth" (Luke 21:34-35).

"That day" is the day of the Dread Judgment. The Lord knew whereof we needed reminding. The Lord does not require that we not work, eat, or drink. We can even drink wine, only not to drunkenness. We can eat everything that the Lord has given us as food, only we should not overeat. For will one who has gorged himself and become overcome with wine watch and pray, in fulfillment of the Lord’s command (cf. Matthew 26:41)? He will sleep for a long time and, when he awakes, will again be surrounded by mundane cares and give himself over to gluttony and drunkenness.

Saints and Feasts of December 5


On the fifth Savvas was admitted into the divinely sweet chambers.

(Fasting Day)

Venerable Savvas the Sanctified

Saint Savvas the Sanctified Resource Page


Holy Martyr Anastasios the Fuller

Holy Martyr Anastasios the Fuller at Salona of Dalmatia


Holy Martyr Crispina

Holy Martyr Crispina (+ 304)


Holy Venerable Martyr Kosmas the Protos of Vatopaidi 
and the Venerable Martyrs of Mount Athos With Him

Holy Martyr Kosmas the Protos (+ 1280) and the Athonite Holy Martyrs of Karyes With Him

The Tomb of Saint Kosmas the Protos


Venerable Philotheos of Karyes

Saint Philotheos of Karyes (+ 15th cent.)


Venerable Nektarios of Karyes


Saint Nektarios the Athonite (+ 1500)


Monday, December 4, 2017

Saint Barbara and the Custom of Eating Varvara in Thrace


According to local tradition, in 1380, when the Ottomans took the city Drama, which lies in the region of Thrace, they destroyed a church dedicated to Saint Barbara next to a lake (named after St. Barbara) and desired in its stead to build there a mosque. On the feast of Saint Barbara, December 4, the region where the building of the mosque was taking place flooded. It flooded to the point where construction became impossible and the building of the mosque was abandoned through the miraculous intervention of Saint Barbara on her feast day. The ruins of the mosque can still be seen under the water. The chapel that exists today to St. Barbara is built on the lake and the bell tower is built where the old church is said to have existed.

Why Do Greeks and Cypriots Eat Loukoumades on the Feast of Saint Barbara?


Saint Barbara is celebrated as the patron saint of the Artillery Corps of the Greek Army and the Cypriot National Guard. Artillery camps throughout the two countries host celebrations in honor of the Saint on December 4th, where the traditional sweet of loukoumades is offered to soldiers and visitors. This tradition began in 1829, allegedly because the loukoumades resemble cannonballs.

Synaxarion of Saint John the Wonderworker, Bishop of Polybotos

St. John of Polybotos (Feast Day - December 4)

Verses

You are no longer at your earthly diocese John,
But you always delight in the vision of He Who oversees all.

From a young age this Saint hated the delicacies and pleasures of the body. Thus his life was even more adorned with fasting and prudence. For this reason he was ordained Bishop of Polybotos, having beforehand ascended the ecclesiastical degrees, becoming a Reader, Subdeacon, Deacon and Presbyter. Having therefore been entrusted with the protection of the people, the thrice-blessed one set before himself struggles upon the former struggles, and labors upon labors.

Holy Martyr Juliana, Who Was Martyred With Saint Barbara

St. Juliana the Martyr of Heliopolis (Feast Day - December 4)

Verses

Receive Juliana as a dove,
Who was speedily beheaded while chirping O Word.

While Saint Barbara was being tortured for her Christian faith at the orders of Governor Martianus, to whom she was betrayed by her pagan father Dioscorus, there was a Christian woman who lived nearby named Juliana, who feared God and had seen the torturers lay hold of Saint Barbara. She watched from afar as Barbara was tormented, and after the Saint was taken to the prison, looked in at her through the dungeon window. She marveled at how a young maiden, in the very bloom of youth and beauty, could forsake her father, kindred, wealth, and the good and beautiful things of this world, and be so eager to lay down her life for Christ. When she saw that the Lord had healed Saint Barbara’s wounds in prison, she was herself filled with longing to suffer for Him. She began to prepare herself for the struggle, praying to Christ, the Judge of the contest, to grant her the strength to endure torture.

Saints and Feasts of December 4


On the fourth Barbara was beheaded by the hands of her father.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Great Martyr Barbara

Saint Barbara Resource Page


Venerable John the Damascene

Saint John of Damascus Resource Page


Holy Martyr Juliana, Who Was Martyred With Saint Barbara

Holy Martyr Juliana, Who Was Martyred With Saint Barbara


Venerable John the Wonderworker, Bishop of Polybotos

Synaxarion of Saint John the Wonderworker, Bishop of Polybotos


Saint Gennadius, Archbishop of Novgorod

Saint Gennadius, Archbishop of Novgorod (+ 1505)


Holy New Hieromartyr Seraphim, Archbishop of Phanarion and Neochorion

Holy New Hieromartyr Seraphim, Archbishop of Phanarion and Neochorion (+ 1601)


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Gospel Commentary for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)


Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (or Fourteenth Sunday of Luke)
The Healing of the Blind Man at Jericho

Luke 18:35-43

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke

By Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

35-43. And it came to pass, that as He was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging. And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." And they which went before rebuked him, that he should keep silent; but he cried so much the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me." And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto Him: and when He was come near, He asked him, saying, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" And he said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight." And Jesus said unto him, "Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole." And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Saints and Feasts of December 3


On the third Zephaniah passed from this life radiantly.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Prophet Zephaniah

Holy Prophet Zephaniah


Holy Hieromartyr Theodore, Patriarch of Alexandria

Holy Hieromartyr Theodore, Patriarch of Alexandria (+ 609)


Venerable Theodoulos of Cyprus

Saint Theodoulos the Fool for Christ of Cyprus


Venerable Theodoulos the Eparch

Saint Theodoulos the Eparch of Constantinople and Stylite


Venerable John the Hesychast, Bishop of Kolonia

Saint John the Hesychast and Sabbaite (+ 558)


Holy New Martyr Angelis, the Physician of Argos

Holy New Martyr Angelis, the Physician of Argos (+ 1813)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saint Cyril of Phileotes (+ 1110)


Verses

You exceeded the dyad of matter all-blessed one,
(namely the appetitive and spirited)
And now stand in the court of the Trinity.

He was born in 1015 in Philea (or Phyrgia), in the vicinity of Derkos in Thrace, and baptized with the name Kyriakos. At an early age he was distinguished for his learning of sacred letters.

Saint Chromatius, Bishop of Aquileia (+ 409)

St. Chromatius of Aquileia (Feast Day - December 2)

Saint Chromatius was probably born at Aquileia, and grew up there. His father died when he was an infant. He was raised by his mother and his large group of older siblings. At a young age he became a monk and had Heliodorus, future Bishop of Altino, as a disciple. He is mentioned for the first time in the acts of the Synod of Aquileia of 381, where he was noted for his profound theological erudition.

Chromatius became Bishop of Aquileia in about 387 or 388, after the death of Valerianus, Bishop of Aquileia. In 389 he consecrated the new church of Concordia, deposited the relics of the Holy Apostles there, and consecrated the first bishop of the city. He was one of the most celebrated prelates of his time and was in active correspondence with contemporaries Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, and Tyrannius Rufinus.

Synaxarion of the Holy Hermits John, Heraclemon, Andrew and Theophilos of Oxyrhynchus

Sts. John, Heraclemon, Andrew and Theophilos (Feast Day - December 2)

Verses

Four men in a land without sorrow,
Full of afflictions they entered the land.

These Saints were from the city of Oxyrhynchus, which is in Egypt, near the Nile River, and were the sons of Christian parents. Because they engaged in reading the divine Scriptures, by this they were moved towards compunction. And leaving the world behind, they went into the deepest desert, being led there by God. 

Life of Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva (1906 - 1991)

St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva (Feast Day - December 2)

His family

Elder Porphyrios was born on the 7th of February 1906, in the village of St. John Karystia, near Aliveri, in the province of Evia. His parents were poor but pious farmers. His father's name was Leonidas Bairaktaris and his mother's was Eleni, the daughter of Antonios Lambrou.

At baptism he was given the name Evangelos. He was the fourth of five children, and the third child of the four that survived. His oldest sister, Vassiliki, passed away when she was a year old. Today, only his youngest sister, who is a nun is still alive.

His father had a monastic calling but obviously did not become a monk. He was, however, the village cantor, and St. Nectarios called upon his services during his journeys through the area, but poverty forced him to emigrate to America to work on the construction of the Panama canal.

Saints and Feasts of December 2


On the second Habakkuk went up to the city of God.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Prophet Habakkuk

Holy Prophet Habakkuk as a Model for our Lives


Holy Hermits John, Heraclemon, Andrew and Theophilos

Synaxarion of the Holy Hermits John, Heraclemon, Andrew and Theophilos of Oxyrhynchus


Holy Martyr Myrope

Saint Myrope of Chios as a Model for our Lives


Holy Martyr Habibus the New

Holy Martyr Habibus the New of Edessa


Saint Chromatius, Bishop of Aquileia

Saint Chromatius, Bishop of Aquileia (+ 409)


Venerable Cyril of Phileotes

Saint Cyril of Phileotes (+ 1110)


Venerable Athanasius "the Resurrected", Recluse of the Kiev Caves

Saint Athanasius "the Resurrected", Recluse of the Kiev Caves (+ 1176)


Venerable Joannicius of Devic

Saint Joannicius of Devic (+ 1430)


Venerable Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva the Clairvoyant and Wonderworker

Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva Resource Page


Synaxis of Panagia Gerontissa

The Miraculous Icon of Panagia Gerontissa


Friday, December 1, 2017

The Monastic Cell of Saint Iakovos Tsalikes in Evia As He Left It


The following photos show the Monastic Cell of Saint Iakovos Tsalikes as he left it from the time of his repose in 1991, at the Monastery of the Venerable David, with his priestly stole laid out over his bed, and a few other additional items, such as photographs and his icon.

Vasiliki Plexida Speaks of the Miracle of the Virgin Mary Towards Her


"The Panagia told me: 'I want you to proclaim the miracle which took place for you to strengthen the faith of all for the future things that are to come.' I promised to do so. I owe everything to the Panagia. Faith is the greatest weapon we have."

- Vasiliki Plexida, November 2017

Saint Leontius, Bishop of Fréjus (+ 448)

St. Leontius of Frejus (Feast Day - December 1)

Saint Leontius (Leonce) was born probably at Nîmes to a noble Gallo-Roman family, towards the end of the fourth century. There is reason to believe that he was a brother of Saint Castor, Bishop of Apt, and that consequently like him he was a native of Nîmes. The date of his Episcopal ordination is uncertain, but most likely it took place between the years 400 and 419. It is however, indisputable that he was a man of eminent sanctity, and his episcopate was marked with important results, else he would not have been from an early date associated with the Blessed Virgin as patron of the Cathedral Church of Fréjus in Provence. The Cathedral of Fréjus is dedicated to Saint Leontius, and has been the seat of the Bishop of Fréjus since the fifth century.

The Best of November 2017 by the Mystagogy Resource Center (MRC)


Below is the monthly review for the month of November of the ten most popular articles from the previous month on johnsanidopoulos.com, then all the posts made on the other websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center.

JohnSanidopoulos.com

1. Elder Iakovos Tsalikes Has Been Officially Numbered Among the Saints

2. The Hospital Room St. Nektarios Reposed In and Did His First Posthumous Miracle

Saints and Feasts of December 1


On the first of December the living lament Nahum.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Prophet Nahum

Synaxarion of the Holy Prophet Nahum the Elkoshite

Holy Prophet Nahum the Elkoshite


Venerable Anthony the New

Synaxarion of Saint Anthony the New of Kion in Bithynia


Saint Philaret the Merciful

Synaxarion of Saint Philaret the Merciful

Life of Saint Philaret the Merciful

Saint Philaret the Merciful

Saint Philaret the Merciful as a Model for our Lives


Holy Martyr Ananias the Persian

Synaxarion of Saint Ananias the Persian


Saint Theokletos tke Wonderworker, Archbishop of Lacedaemon

Saint Theokletos, Archbishop of Lacedaemon


Saint Leontius, Bishop of Fréjus

Saint Leontius, Bishop of Fréjus (+ 448)


Translation of the Sacred Relics of Saint Botolph, 
Abbot and Confessor, of Ikanhoe, England (680)

Saint Botolph, Patron Saint of Two Bostons

Saint Botolph, His Life and Times

Prayers to the Patron Saint of Boston


Thursday, November 30, 2017

An Annual Miracle at the Tomb of the Apostle Andrew from the Sixth Century


Saint Gregory of Tours, in his late-6th century book titled Glory of the Martyrs (ch. 30), records the following annual miracle that was done at the tomb of the Apostle Andrew in Patras, Greece:

Footage from the Funeral Service of Saint Iakovos Tsalikes in November 1991


Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich: Serbian Orthodox Apostle to America


By Hieromonk Damascene (Christensen)

1. An Apostle of Universal Significance

Born during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich has the distinction of being the first person born in the United States of America to be ordained as an Orthodox priest,[1] and also the first native-born American to be tonsured as an Orthodox monk. His greatest distinction, however, lies in the tremendous apostolic, pastoral, and literary work that he accomplished during the forty-eight years of his priestly ministry. Known as the "Father of Serbian Orthodoxy in America,"[2] he was responsible for the founding of the first Serbian churches in the New World. This, however, was only one part of his life's work, for he tirelessly and zealously sought to spread the Orthodox Faith to all peoples, wherever he was called. He was an Orthodox apostle of universal significance.

Holy Hierarchs Peter and Samuel, First and Second Catholicos of Georgia

Sts. Peter and Samuel of Georgia (Feast Day - November 30)

Saint Peter was the first catholicos of Georgia. He led the Church of Kartli from the 460s through the beginning of the 6th century. According to God’s will, Saint Peter inaugurated the dynasty of the chief shepherds of Georgia.

It is written in the biography of Holy King Vakhtang IV Gorgasali that the king was introduced to Peter, a pupil of Saint Gregory the Theologian, during one of his visits to Byzantium, and he became very close to him. At that time he was also introduced to the future catholicos Samuel.

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