Friday, July 21, 2017

Saint Symeon the Fool for Christ Resource Page

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

Verses

In life you played one who was stupid, Father,
Your end utterly escaping the notice of the sensible serpent.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Synaxis of Saint Maria Skobtsova of Paris and Her Companions (+ 1945)

Saint Maria Skobtsova of Paris (Feast Day - July 20)

Elizaveta Pilenko, the future Mother Maria, was born in 1891 in Riga, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire, and grew up in the south of Russia on the shore of the Black Sea. Her father was mayor of the town of Anapa, while on her mother's side, she was descended from the last governor of the Bastille, the Parisian prison destroyed during the French Revolution.

Her parents were devout Orthodox Christians whose faith helped shape their daughter's values, sensitivities and goals. As a child she once emptied her piggy bank in order to contribute to the painting of an icon that would be part of a new church in Anapa. At seven she asked her mother if she was old enough to become a nun, while a year later she sought permission to become a pilgrim who spends her life walking from shrine to shrine.

Elijah and the Mercy of God's Judgments


By Caesarius of Arles

Wretched men are apt to censure the writings of the Old Testament saying: "How was it just for blessed Elijah to burn two captains with their soldiers by means of fire brought down from heaven?" How justly and mercifully this was done, dearly beloved, we want to indicate briefly to your hearts.

In the days of the Old Testament, any crimes or offenses committed among the people were ordered to be physically punished. Thus it is written: "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth." Indeed, some were punished in order that the rest might fear bodily punishment and refrain from sins and offenses. Now, in the time of the prophet, all the Jewish people had abandoned God and were sacrificing to idols, not only refusing to honor God's prophets but even very frequently trying to kill them. For this reason blessed Elijah was aroused with zeal for God and caused some to be punished physically, so that those who had neglected the salvation of their souls might be healed in heart by fearing bodily death. We should consider that not so much blessed Elijah as the Holy Spirit did this.

The Monastery of the Prophet Elias in Santorini (Documentary)


The Monastery of Prophet Elias in Santorini is situated 4 km away from Pyrgos. The Monastery stands at an altitude of 586 meters above sea level on the highest point of the mountain of Prophet Elias. It was built in 1712 by the Hieromonks Gabriel and Joachim Belonias, that’s why it is not only a tourist attraction, but also an architectural monument.

Immediately after construction, the monastery became a strong economic place, also playing political and cultural role on the island. During Ottoman domination there was an underground school in the monastery, it was teaching people Greek language and literature. Since 1860 the monastery gradually began to lose its influence. In 1956 there was a strong earthquake on the island, which severely damaged the building.

Prophet Elijah: Alone Against All!


By Metropolitan Dionysios of Servia and Kozani

In the ranks of the Old Testament prophets, a special position is occupied by the Prophet Elijah, whose sacred memory the Church honors and celebrates today. In the New Testament, the name of the Prophet Elijah is frequently mentioned by Christ Himself. Zechariah, the father of the Forerunner, said that John would come “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, that is, that he would have the features and the zeal of the Prophet Elijah, that he would be the Prophet Elijah himself, whose return the people were awaiting. When Jesus bore witness to John the Baptist and praised him highly, He said that he was Elijah: “If you want, accept that he is Elijah who was to come”.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Saint Macrina the Younger Resource Page

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

Verses

Little by little Macrina distanced herself,
From the world and approached the Lord.

+ + +

Sisterly-minded to your brethren, O Macrina,
You dwell with them on high fraternally also.
On the nineteenth Angels took Macrina hence.

5 Greek Orthodox Shrines Dedicated to Saint Macrina the Younger


1. Church of Saint Macrina in Palaiochora, Aegina (Built in c. 16th cent.)

The Relics of Saint Macrina the Younger (photos)


1. Portion of the foot is at the Athonite Monastery of Iveron.

Saint Theodore the Sabbaite, Bishop of Edessa

St. Theodore of Edessa (Feast Day - Slav. July 9 & Gr. July 19)

Verses

You were a gift of God thrice-blessed Theodore,
As one who is great you gave much to Edessa.

Our Holy Father Theodore was born in the Mesopotamian city of Edessa and lived during the ninth century. His parents, Symeon and Maria, who were pious Christians, had given birth to a daughter but also desired a son, for which they prayed. One night both had the same vision of Saints Theodore and Paul the Apostle, telling them that they would indeed be granted a son. At the age of two he was baptized by the Archbishop and given the name Theodore, which means "gift of God." At the age of five, his parents began his schooling, but he had great difficulty grasping his lessons, and for this his parents reproached him, and his teacher even struck him.

The Life of Saint Macrina (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

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

The Life of Saint Macrina, written sometime between A.D. 380 and 383 by her younger brother Gregory of Nyssa, is the story of a remarkable woman and a remarkable ­family. Gregory wrote two works about Macrina (together referred to as Ta Makrinia, "The Macrina Works"), the Life and a Dialogue on the Soul and the Resurrection. The two works are independent, but they refer to one another and should be read together, since the Dialogue is in fact the long conversation Macrina had with Gregory upon his arrival at the monastery. Behind the personal tribute in these works there lies a deeper typology at work: Macrina is the virgin-philosopher par excellence, and although Gregory wants us to see the type, or deeper imprint of tradition in her, the type which Macrina embodies is nonetheless unique. In the Life Macrina is presented as a ­second Thekla, the legendary virgin who, in the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thekla, is the faithful disciple to whom St. Paul entrusts the continuation of his apostolic ministry. This traditional continuity Gregory intimates not only in the dream which his mother Em­melia has when she is in labour with Macrina, but in his insistence that Macrina is a teacher, a leader and a mistress of Scripture. Her incomparably beautiful deathbed prayer bears witness to the fact that Holy Scripture permeated her every word. In the Dialogue (so reminiscent of Socrates' death bed scene and his arguments for the immortality of the soul in the Phaedo), Macrina is presented as the Christian Socrates, equal to, or even surpassing, that profound intelligence. The Socratic typology also enters into the Life, both in the "ideal of philosophy" which is central to Macrina's life and also in the dramatic fibre of the whole work, centred upon the deathbed of a mighty religious and intellectual leader. The idea of putting the two figures, Thekla and Socrates, together might have been suggested to Gregory by a work written in the second half of the third century, the Symposium of Methodius of Olympus (after Plato's famous Socratic dialogue of the same name) in which a group of ten women, whose intellectual leader is Thekla, discuss the theme of virginity at a banquet, instead of love (eros) as in Plato's Symposium. In the Life and the Dialogue, however, Gregory weaves these two themes together in such a natural way within the figure of Macrina that there is nothing procrustean or out of place about the union. Furthermore, the ideal of philo­sophy itself is so central to Macrina's monastic life that we undoubtedly hear the ­original phrases when the soldier tells of St. Peter's pressing invitation to take part in "the philosophic table".

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Saint Paisios the Athonite and his Devotees Being Mocked and Ridiculed Over a Chestnut


Over the past few days a story has gone viral among Greeks about Saint Paisios the Athonite that boggles the mind for its silliness, over a chestnut given as a blessing from Saint Paisios to a student 27 years ago that was briefly displayed during the vigil in honor of Saint Paisios on his feast day on July 11th. Cynics and scoffers who heard about it were not at a loss of jokes about this, and accused the Church of Saint Demetrios in Agrinio, where this took place, of exposing objects as insignificant as a chestnut given by Saint Paisios to be an object of veneration by "mindless" devotees of the Saint. One article even had the lame title "Twitter Had a 'Party' With the Chestnut of Paisios", to show how the mockery and ridicule went viral on Twitter. Even the English version of Ekathimerini published an article titled "Para-religious Fetishism" that used this story as an opportunity to criticize the canonization of Saint Paisios and his veneration.

Holy Martyrs Paul, Thea and Valentina at Caesarea in Palestine (+ 308)

Sts. Paul, Valentina and Thea at Caesarea (Feast Day - Slav. July 16; Gr. July 18)

Verses

To Paul.
You are an Egyptian Paul by tongue and race,
But not by faith, therefore you were beheaded by the sword.

To Valentina and Thea.
Make ready Valentina and Thea,
For enemies of God thrash you, out of the enmity of their error.


The History of the Martyrs in Palestine

By Eusebius of Caesarea

The Confession of Paul, Thea and Valentina

In the Sixth Year of the Persecution of our Days (A.D. 308).

Up to the sixth year of the persecution which was in our days, the storm which had been raised against us was still raging; and great multitudes of confessors were in the mines which are called Porphyrites, in the country of Thebais, which is on one side of Egypt; and on account of the purple marble which is in that land, the name of Porphyrites has also been given to those who were employed in cutting it. This name, therefore, was also extended to those great multitudes of confessors who were under sentence of condemnation in the whole of the land of Egypt, for there were a hundred martyrs there all but three. And these confessors were sent, the men together with the women and children, to the governor in Palestine, whose name was Firmillianus. For he had superseded the governor Urbanus in his office, and he was a man by no means of a peaceful turn; indeed he even surpassed his predecessor in ferocity, having been a soldier that had been engaged in war, and had had much experience in blood and fighting.

Holy Martyr Aimilianos of Silistria in Bulgaria (+ 362)

St. Aimilianos of Silistria (Feast Day - July 18)

Verses

Aimilianos was thrown into the fire,
Standing before Christ, he makes merry with the Angels.
On the eighteenth Aimilianos was thrown into the flames.

+ + +

Aimilianos was thrown to the burning coals,
Seeing the burning coal as Isaiah saw it.
On the eighteenth Aimilianos was burnt in the fire.

Theodoret of Cyrus, in his Ecclesiastical History (Bk. 3, Ch. 6), records the following about Saint Aimilianos: "At Dorostolon, a famous city of Thrace, the victorious athlete Aimilianos was thrown upon a flaming pyre, by Capitolinus, governor of all Thrace."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Saint Marina, Deliverer From the Evil Spirits of the Mind


St. Marina, known as St. Margaret in the West, was martyred at the age of 15 in Antioch of Pisidia, and buried there. In the 8th century, Roman Empress Maria, wife of Emperor Leo III the Isaurian, had her relics transferred to Constantinople. The reliquary pictured held a portion of the hand of St. Marina, and was probably made in 12th-13th century Constantinople. By 1213, Marina’s relics rested in a monastery outside of Constantinople and a man named Joannes de Borea received permission to take her hand in its reliquary to Venice. The reliquary remained in Venice in the Church of San Liberale, also called Santa Marina, until its dissolution in 1810. The current location of this reliquary is in Venice, at the Museo Correr.

The Monastery of Saint Marina in Karan Varbovka, Bulgaria


Saint Marina’s Monastery is situated near the village of Karan Varbovka, Dve Mogili Municipality, Ruse Province. It is one of the oldest Bulgarian monasteries, which were built during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1187-1396).

After the Bulgarian Kingdom fell under Ottoman rule, the Turks began terrible persecutions, outrages and intolerable violence against the monks. The monastery was burned and torn down along with other Bulgarian sanctuaries and faded away from the peoples' memory, but the name of Saint Marina remained forever in the minds of the people.

How Saint Marina (Margaret) Became a Patron Saint of Pregnant Women and Childbirth


Saint Marina is known as Saint Margaret in the West. Whereas Saint Marina has always been highly esteemed and enjoyed wide popularity among Orthodox Christians of the East, in the West it was not always so. Her Acts were declared apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I in 494, but devotion to her revived in the West with the Crusades. Margaret is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and thus one of the saints who is said to have spoken to Joan of Arc, thus increasing her veneration among the people. According to the Roman Martyrology she is celebrated on July 20, as opposed to July 17 in the East. Pope Paul VI in 1969 removed her from the list of saints because of what was considered the entirely fabulous character of the stories told of her and thus disputing her historical existence.

The Oldest Icon in Cyprus, Saint Marina the Great Martyr


Saint Marina the Great Martyr is greatly revered in Cyprus. This is most apparent by the fact that five villages of the island are named after Saint Marina (Agia Marina Xyliatou, Agia Marina Skylloura - occupied, Agia Marina Chrysochous - occupied, Agia Marina Kelokedaron, Agia Marina Marinouda), and there are around 110 churches dedicated to her.

The Holy 15,000 Martyrs of Pisidia with Many Women

15,000 Martyrs and Many Women of Pisidia (Feast Day - July 16)

Verses

To the Fifteen Thousand Martyrs of Pisidia.
Divine athletes were five and ten,
Thousand and were beheaded being as one on earth.

To the Women Martyrs.
Many women, unknown how many,
Though unknown to us, Christ knows them, having been beheaded.

During the trials of Saint Marina of Pisidia, at one point a huge cauldron was filled with water. She was then fettered to wood and raised above it, with her head down, and she was slowly lowered into the cauldron in order to be drowned. As they were about to immerse her, she prayed that the water may count towards her baptism, since she had not previously been baptized a Christian. As she entered the water, she was loosed from her bonds, stood up straight, and a dove of light shined on the head of Marina, holding a crown, and the dove spoke, saying: "Peace to you, O handmaiden of God. Take courage, and receive from the right hand of the Most High this heavenly crown." There also appeared a fiery column with a radiant Cross on top, and the dove perched atop the radiant Cross, and said to Marina so all could hear: "Come to the upper mansions of Paradise, O godly bride Marina, to enjoy the incorruptible crown in the beloved tents of God, so you may eternally rejoice with the choirs of the saints in a place of rest."

Sunday, July 16, 2017

"This Is How the Virgin Mary Saved Me": The Extraordinary Testimony of Helicopter Crash Survivor Sergeant Vasiliki Plexida


On 13 July 2017 Sergeant Vasiliki Plexida thanked God and the Virgin Mary at the Divine Liturgy that took place at the the Monastery of Panagia Evangelistria Akrotiriani in Serifos, after the miracle she experienced on 19 April 2017, when she survived in a miraculous manner the Greek Army helicopter crash in Sarantaporo that unfortunately left four officers dead.

Following the Divine Liturgy, Vasiliki gave her first public testimony explaining how she was saved:

Sunday of the Commemoration of the Holy Six Ecumenical Synods


On the Sunday that falls between the 13th and 19th of this month [July], we commemorate the Holy Six Ecumenical Synods, namely the 318 God-bearing Fathers of the First Synod who gathered in Nicaea against Arianism in the year 325; and the 150 of the Second Synod who came together in Constantinople against the Pneumatomachs in the year 381; and the 200 at the Third who came together in Ephesus against Nestorius in the year 431; and the 630 at the Fourth in Chalcedon who came together against the Monophysites in the year 451; and the 165 of the Fifth Synod who came together against Origen and his followers in the year 553; and the 170 of the Sixth who came together in Constantinople against the Monothelites in 680.

Verses

The Six Synods defeated the factions,
Of the heretics, having divine words as a weapon.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Kyrikos and Julitta

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

Verses

Julitta had as a fellow athlete her son Kyrikos,
She had her throat slit and he had his head broken.
On the fifteenth Julitta was beheaded, her son was broken.

The Holy Martyr Julitta flourished during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), and was from Iconium. Fearing the persecution against Christians prevailing at that time, she took her son Kyrikos and went to Seleucia. Finding the same persecution there also, she went to Tarsus of Cilicia, where the governor was savage and inhuman, whose name was Alexander, and who punished the Christians.

Holy Martyr Abudimos of Tenedos

St. Abudimos of Tenedos (Feast Day - July 15)

Verses

Abudimos was brought to an end by a sword,
And this also brought the crown.

Saint Abudimos was from the island of Tenedos and suffered martyrdom during the reign of Emperor Diocletian in the year 299. Having been arrested as a Christian, he could not be persuaded to sacrifice to idols, therefore he was laid down and tied by his hands and feet to four stakes. Having been beaten by nine soldiers, and because he was unwilling to taste of that which was offered to idols, for this reason he was torn by iron claws, and finally was beheaded, thus ascending victoriously into the heavens.

Friday, July 14, 2017

On our Enslavement to and Liberation from Physical Pleasure (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite)


Concerning the Mind

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Why the Mind Is Enslaved to Physical Pleasures

There are two reasons why the mind was enslaved to physical pleasures. The first and main reason is the fact that after the disobedience of Adam, his body received the whole of its existence and constitution from physical pleasure that is impassionate and irrational. Henceforth, man is sown with physical pleasure; he is conceived with physical pleasure and he grows and matures in the womb until the time of birth with physical pleasure. This is what the Prophet David was referring to when he wrote: “For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me.” (Ps 50:5). The second reason, which follows the first, is the fact that even after birth man is nurtured with physical pleasure. Throughout the early years of childhood (and to a greater degree even during the nine months of pregnancy), the power to reason is not developed and the mind is unable to utilize the senses of the body in order to activate its own energy and be preoccupied with its own rationality and spiritual delight. Consequently, only the body utilizes these senses, and not merely for its necessary nourishment, but also for its impassionate pleasure. And to make things worse, the body even draws the mind itself, being still imperfect and indiscreet, to the same physical pleasure, thereby enslaving the mind to physical plea­sure. The saintly Theodore of Jerusalem spoke to this point in his most philosophical treatise:

Because the mind is prepossessed by sense perception, we have the duality of desire and anger. These are irrational tendencies and under the influence of nature and not of rea­son, becoming a habit in the soul that penetrates all the parts of our being and is difficult to uproot. Thus the order is reversed. In other words, the physical senses are complete and strong while the mind is not yet active. In fact the mind is observed to be imperfect although it is actually powerful. Consequently, the mind can be charmed to consider these physical things as good, in the very same way that they are considered by the bodily senses. Thus the faculty of reason, which is intended to rule, is made subservient to the senses and we have the better being enslaved by the worse. This is why evil is older than virtue.[i]

The House of St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite in Naxos

The family house of St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite in Naxos

Dozens of pilgrims go to the island of Naxos searching for the home where St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite was born and raised, which at one time was preserved intact but now is difficult to locate. St. Nikodemos was born in Naxos in 1749 and lived in this house till he was fifteen, at which time he went to Smyrna to further his education. Locals kept the tradition of the location of his family home for generations, but although it was a protected Historical Monument, today it no longer is. This is why today, if you visit the traditional location of St. Nikodemos' house, you will find that it is now the vacation home of John Laskaridis, President of the Greek National Council for Radio and Television, and the ground floor of the building is occupied by a tourist shop.

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Justus of Rome

St. Justus of Rome (Feast Day - July 14)

Verses

Unwilling to sacrifice on the fiery altar,
Justus was strangely placed as a sacrifice in the fire.

Saint Justus was from the city of Rome, a soldier in a place called Noumera, under the tribune Claudius. Once as he returned from battle against the barbarians, against whom he fought with his fellow soldiers, he entered into ecstasy, and beheld a crystal Cross, and from the Cross there came forth a voice, which taught him the mystery of piety. Therefore upon arriving in Rome, he distributed all of his belongings to the poor, and finding himself alone, he was glad for he acquired faith in Christ. When it was revealed to the tribune Claudius, that the Saint believed in Christ, he took him aside and advised him to pity his youth, and abandon his faith in Christ.

George Lampakis and the Skull of St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite in 1901

Founder of the Byzantine Museum of Athens, Prof. George Lampakis, pictured here with Metropolitan Neilos of Karpathos and Kasos, at the Cell of Skourtaioi, Mount Athos, in August 1901. It was at the Cell of Skourtaioi that St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite reposed and was buried in 1809. The skull on the table is that of St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite. Photo can be found at the Byzantine Museum of Athens.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Message from Mount Athos Regarding the Holy and Great Synod of Crete


A Message from Mount Athos Regarding the Holy and Great Synod of Crete

On this day the 17th/30th of June 2017 convened in Karyes.

No. Φ.2/32/1400 2/7

The 206th Extraordinary Double Sacred Synaxis of the Holy Mountain, consisting of twenty Extraordinary and twenty Ordinary Representatives of the Holy Community, in the wake of the many notifications made during the last period of the official texts of the Holy Mountain - both of its position regarding the Holy and Great Synod, as well as the evaluation of the final texts of the Synod - out of a feeling of loyalty and respect towards our Holy Church and the fullness of those within her, is aware of the following.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saint Michael Maleinos (+ 962), Spiritual Father of Saint Athanasios the Athonite

St. Michael Maleinos (Feast Day - July 12)

Verses

You lived Michael as if fleshless in life,
Now you stand next to your homonymous intelligence.

Saint Michael Maleinos was born about the year 894 in the Charsianon theme of Cappadocia, and at Baptism he received the name Manuel. He was related to the Roman Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-911). He was the brother of general Constantine Maleinos and uncle of Nikephoros Phokas, who was greatly influenced by Michael and became Roman emperor several years after Michael's death (963-969). At age eighteen Manuel went off to Bithynia, to the Kyminas Monastery under the guidance of the Elder, John Heladites, who tonsured him into monasticism with the name Michael. Fulfilling a very difficult obedience in spite of his illustrious lineage, he demonstrated an example of great humility.

Holy Martyrs Proclus and Hilarion of Ancyra

Sts. Proclus and Hilarion (Feast Day - July 12)

Verses

To Proclus.
Proclus was led naked to the arrows,
For a garment he had the armor of God.

To Hilarion.
All-honorable Hilarion had his head cut off,
After an all-honorable contest he found a crown.

On the twelfth Proclus was taken by arrows, and Hilarion by a sword.

The Holy Martyrs Proclus and Hilarion were natives of the village of Kallippi, near Ancyra, and they suffered during the time of a persecution under the emperor Trajan (98-117). Saint Proclus was put under arrest first. Brought before the governor Maximus, he fearlessly confessed his faith in Christ. The governor decided to compel the Saint to submit himself to the emperor and offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. "What is your lineage?" the governor inquired of Proclus. Proclus answered: "My lineage is Christ and my hope is my God." When the governor threatened him with tortures, Proclus said: "When you are afraid to transgress the orders of the emperor in order not to fall into temporal sufferings, how much more are we Christians afraid to transgress the commandment of God so that we may not fall into eternal sufferings!"

The Globalized and the Universal Person: On the Sacred Memory of Saint Paisios

St. Paisios with George Mantzarides and his sons

By George Mantzarides,
Professor Emeritus of the Theological School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

People weren’t made to stay where they are. They were made to become what they aren’t. Our majesty isn’t to be found in the present or the past, but in our future. Stagnation in the present, as immobility, is the equivalent of death. And any movement towards the past is motion towards the non-being from which we were called by the Creator’s command. It’s only movement towards the future that denotes vitality and the chance of prospering.

The Lessons I Learned From My Acquaintance With the Athonite Father Paisios


By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

On July 12th is honored the newly-appeared star of Orthodoxy, Saint Paisios the Athonite, or "Father Paisios", as we used to call him.

I have often been asked to give an opinion on Father Paisios, but I have avoided it. Not by indifference or devaluation of the person - away with the blasphemy! My hesitation is due to the fact that I do not consider myself worthy of such a thing. The Apostle Paul taught us that "he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (1 Cor. 2:15) (The bearer of spiritual gifts sees and understands everything, but he is not understood by anyone who is not illuminated by the Holy Spirit.) And according to Saint Makarios of Egypt: "He knows each man, from whence he speaks, and where he stands, and what measures he is in; but not a man of those that have the spirit of the world is able to know and judge him, but only he that has the like heavenly Spirit of the Godhead knows his like."

St. Paisios the Athonite on Confronting Difficult Ecclesiastical Issues


- Elder, what is the right way to confront difficult ecclesiastical issues?

- We must avoid extremes; extreme solutions will never solve a problem. In the old days, the grocer would add little by little with the scoop on the scale until he got the exact weight and the scales were balanced. In other words, he did not add or remove large amounts abruptly. Extreme positions always cause suffering for our Mother the Church, as well as for those who hold those positions, because an extreme stance has a way of nailing people into place.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

History of the Current Reliquary of St. Euphemia at the Ecumenical Patriarchate


When Joachim III was Ecumenical Patriarch, he got into a bitter argument with the Russian embassy over the conduct of Russian Murzsteg inspectors following the Murzsteg Agreement, signed 2 October 1903. In return Russian prelates and laypeople gave a gift to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, by which Joachim was very moved. In 1904 Archbishop Anthony of St. Petersburg raised funds to commission a gilded and enameled silver reliquary for the remains of Saint Euphemia, preserved at the Cathedral of Saint George in the Phanar. The Russian-made reliquary with the relics of the Saint still occupies a prominent place in the Cathedral of Saint George. As a token of appreciation for the beautiful present, Joachim III sent that same year to Archbishop Anthony a reproduction of the rare Byzantine icon of the Theotokos.

Holy New Martyr Nikodemos the Albanian of Elbasan (+ 1722)

St. Nikodemos the New Martyr of Elbasan (Feast Day - July 11)

Verses

Nikodemos carried a rod in his hand,
To strike the error of the lawless Hagarenes.

Saint Nikodemos was born in the city of Elbasan in Albania to pious parents. When he came of age he went to Berat where he practiced the trade of tailoring. He then married three times, for each time his wife died at a young age and he was left with many children. When he tried to marry a fourth time, he was not permitted in accordance with Orthodox Canon Law. This left Nikodemos bitter, so he went to a Muslim bey to ask for his servant as his wife, but the bey would agree only if Nikodemos converted to Islam. In his desperation to marry a fourth time, Nikodemos accepted the bey's offer and agreed to convert.

Synaxarion of the Commemoration of the Miracle of Saint Euphemia at the Fourth Ecumenical Synod


On the eleventh of this month [July], we commemorate the Holy Great Martyr and All-Praised Euphemia, when she held the Tome of the Definition of the Faith of the Six-Hundred and Thirty God-bearing Fathers gathered in Chalcedon for the Fourth Ecumenical Synod.

Verses

To Euphemia.
The Martyr determined the definition while reposed,
Proclaiming the faith for which she contested with longing.

To the Synod.
The most-truthful incarnation of God the Word,
Was affirmed by Eutyches to be an apparition so he was deposed.

On the eleventh the definition was wondrously and firmly set by Euphemia.

A 6th cent. Description of the Church of Saint Euphemia in Chalcedon

The icon depicts the Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod gathered in the Church of Saint Euphemia before the relics of Saint Euphemia.

The Church of Saint Euphemia in Chalcedon was the place of meeting for the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod in 451 AD. Below is a description of this church from the sixth century in the context of Evagrius speaking of the history of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod at Chalcedon. This church, which stood opposite the city of Constantinople, also contained the sacred relics of Saint Euphemia, which played a major role at the Synod after a miracle took place affirming the Orthodox faith, that is celebrated in the Orthodox Church on July 11th. The account below does not neglect to speak of her miracles, visions and relics, which apparently at one time produced "blood" or possibly myrrh that emitted a beautiful fragrance.

By Evagrius Scholasticus

(Ecclesiastical History, Bk. 2, Ch. 3)

The place of meeting was the sacred precinct of Euphemia, the martyr, situated in the district of Chalcedon in Bithynia, and distant not more than two stadia from the Bosporus. The site is a beautiful spot, of so gentle an ascent, that those who are on their way to the temple, are not aware of their immediate approach, but suddenly find themselves within the sanctuary on elevated ground; so that, extending their gaze from a commanding position, they can survey the level surface of the plain spread out beneath them, green with herbage, waving with corn, and beautified with every kind of tree; at the same time including within their range woody mountains, towering gracefully or boldly swelling, as well as parts of the sea under various aspects: here, where the winds do not reach them, the still waters, with their dark blue tint, sweetly playing with gentle ripple on the beach; there wildly surging, and sweeping back the sea-weeds and the lighter shell-fish with the recoil of its waves. Directly opposite is Constantinople: and thus the beauty of the site is enhanced by the view of so vast a city.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Miracles of Saints Parthenios and Evmenios of Koudoumas (1 of 3)


Among the vast contemporary miracles of Saints Parthenios and Evmenios, we present below what has been experienced, recorded and passed on by the people themselves in honor of the Saints.

Fr. Andrew Vlachiotis, parish priest of the Church of Saint Panteleimon in Mykines of Argos, records for us the miracles that have taken place in his parish alone:

"In our parish of Saint Panteleimon in Mykines of Argos, which houses the sacred relics of the Holy Fathers Parthenios and Evmenios of Koudoumas, many miracles take place with the help of these Saints. In the year 1999 I received the great blessing from a most revered Hieromonk of the sacred relic of Saint Parthenios. I reverently placed it in a reliquary in my office.

The Mitochondrial DNA Analysis of the Relics of Saints Parthenios and Evmenios


One of the most well known cases of Mitochondrial (mt) DNA analysis in the investigation of kinship from skeletal remains, is that of two brothers who are Saints in the Orthodox Church and died in Crete in the early 20th century - Parthenios and Evmenios of Koudoumas Monastery. The relics of Saint Parthenios are preserved in the monastery but those of Evmenios are not. However, during renovations a skeleton was found and it was assumed to be that of Evmenios. In order to resolve this question, in 2009 a femur of each skeleton was sent to a laboratory for mt-DNA analysis. The mt-DNA showed four base pair differences, indicating that it was not Parthenios' brother Evmenios.

Thousands Attend the First Celebration of the Newly Canonized Saint Vlasios of Akarnania


In a joyful and festive atmosphere, on 7 July 2017, the first official celebration of the memory of the Holy Hieromartyr Vlasios of Akarnania and those martyred with him took place in Sklavaina of Vonitsa in Akarnania, Greece. The official glorification ceremony of Saint Vlasios and his companions took place in August 2016 at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Participating in the liturgical celebration were Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianople, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras, Metroplitan Theophilos of Lefkada and Ithaca, and others, invited by Metroplitan Kosmas of Aitolia and Akarnania.

Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos Soon To Be Proposed for Canonization


Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos was born in 1877 and was from Gortynia, Greece. His childhood was difficult, particularly because he lost his mother at the age of three. While studying at Rizarios Ecclesiastical School in Athens, he became a spiritual child of Saint Nektarios, who was the director of the school. He was one of the most important religious figures in modern Greek history, especially in the city of Patras, where he served as Abbot of Gerokomeio Monastery and established a successful ministry that helped revive Orthodox life among young and old alike, especially through his catechetical schools. He reposed esteemed by all for his holiness on June 30, 1964. In the consciousness of the people of Patras, he was, is and always will be a saint of the Church, which is why at his burial the people with one accord proclaimed, "He is a Saint!" The same was done 50 years later at the translation of his relics in 2014.

Holy Martyr Apollonios of Sardis

St. Apollonios of Sardis (Feast Day - July 10)

Verses

The cross of Apollonios is a punishment,
For he said truly, the Cross is salvation.

The Holy Martyr Apollonios came from the city of Sardis, located in Lydia of Asia Minor. He declared himself a Christian and was arrested. Brought before the ruler Peronius in Iconium, he demanded that Apollonios swear an oath on the name of the emperor, he refused, saying that it was improper to swear on the name of a mortal man, especially one who does not recognize the Creator of all things. For this they tortured Apollonios for a long time and then crucified him. In this way the Holy Martyr received the crown of martyrdom. This occurred at Iconium either under the emperor Decius (249-251) or the emperor Valerian (253-259).


45 Holy Martyrs at Nicopolis in Armenia

Holy Forty-five Martyrs at Nicopolis (Feast Day - July 10)

Verses

You were found to be a new company of soldiers of God,
Submitting yourselves to enter within the fire.
On the tenth very mighty Nicopolitans were slain in fire.

The Holy Forty-five Martyrs of the Armenian City of Nicopolis suffered during the reign of the emperor Licinius (311-324), then a co-regent with Constantine the Great. Licinius, the ruler of the Eastern Empire, fiercely persecuted Christians and issued an edict to put to death any Christian who would not return to paganism. When the persecutions began at Nicopolis, more than forty of the persecuted of Christ decided to appear voluntarily before their persecutors, to confess openly their faith in the Son of God and accept martyrdom. The holy Confessors were headed by Leontios, Maurikios, Daniel, Anthony and Alexander, and were distinguished by their virtuous life.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Saints Dionysios the Rhetor and Metrophanes the Spiritual Father (+ 1606)

Sts. Dionysios and Metrophanes of Little Saint Anna's (Feast Day - July 9)

Saint Metrophanes was the disciple and fellow ascetic of Saint Dionysios the Rhetor. Although the exact time and place of their birth remains unknown, it is likely that they were born toward the end of the fifteenth century.

For a time, Metrophanes lived with his elder Dionysios at the Studion Monastery in Constantinople, but they desired a more intensive life of prayer and solitude. Therefore, they left Constantinople and journeyed to Mount Athos, establishing themselves in a cell near Karyes. There they devoted themselves to prayer, fasting, and vigilance.

Synaxarion of the Holy New Martyr Michael Paknanas the Gardner of Athens


On the 9th of this month [July], we commemorate the Holy New Martyr Michael Paknanas, the Athenian and Gardner, who was perfected by the sword in the year 1771.

Verses

Divine Michael was not dismayed as he was beheaded,
For he eagerly accepted it on behalf of Christ.

+ + +

Why O sword-bearer do you little by little against the neck,
Behead Michael? For he was not dismayed by the sword.
On the ninth Michael was unyielding as his neck was cut by the sword.

Saint Michael Paknanas Resource Page

St. Michael Paknanas the Gardner (Feast Day - June 30 & July 9)

Verses

Divine Michael was not dismayed as he was beheaded,
For he eagerly accepted it on behalf of Christ.

+ + +

Why O sword-bearer do you little by little against the neck,
Behead Michael? For he was not dismayed by the sword.
On the ninth Michael was unyielding as his neck was cut by the sword.

Synaxarion of the Holy New Martyr Michael Paknanas the Gardner of Athens

Saint Michael Paknanas the Gardner from Athens (+ 1771)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Veneration of Saint Prokopios the Great Martyr in Greece and Cyprus

14th cent. icon from the Church of Saint Prokopios in Beroia, that was stolen and remained missing from 1967 to 1974. On July 6, 2012 it was returned to Beroia and placed in the Byzantine Museum of the city.

The Holy Great Martyr Prokopios, who was martyred in Caesarea of Palestine in 303 AD for his faith in Christ, is a highly revered and honored Saint throughout Greece and Cyprus.

Among the churches dedicated to Saint Prokopios of distinction are 1) in Kerkyra, in particular in Kavos Lefkimmi and in the city of Kerkyra, 2) in Naxos, where the central church of the village of Vourvouria is dedicated to Saint Prokopios as well as the picturesque chapel on the island's homonymous beach, 3) in Lesvos, where the historic parish Church of Saint Prokopios in the village of Ippeion was reconstructed in 1741 and is adorned with a magnificent wood-carved iconostasis, 4) in Katerini, specifically on the Olympic Coast, 5) in Trikala, where there is a church dedicated to the Saint in a village named after the Saint called Agios Prokopios, 6) in Florina, where there is a church dedicated to the Saint in the village of Kladorrachi, 7) in Thesprotia, in the village of Lista, 8) and in Helydorea, where there is a chapel in mountainous Corinth that was an independent monastery but now is a dependency of the Monastery of the Prophet Elias at Zacholis.

Saint Prokopios the Great Martyr Resource Page

St. Prokopios the Great Martyr (Feast Day - July 8)

Verses

As Prokopios bent forward his neck,
He said as he was beheaded: "I will not sacrifice to delusion."
On the eighth the head of Prokopios was swiftly cut off.

Holy Great Martyr Prokopios at Caesarea and Those With Him

St. Prokopios the Great Martyr (Feast Day - July 8)

Verses

To Prokopios.
As Prokopios bent forward his neck,
He said as he was beheaded: "I will not sacrifice to delusion."
On the eighth the head of Prokopios was swiftly cut off.

To Theodosia the Mother of Prokopios.
Theodosia was the mother of the Athlete,
Hastening as a champion to the point of the sword.

To the Twelve Women of Senatorial Rank.*
The doubly renowned maidens were taken away to the sword,
Holding fame to be as the dung of the earth.

To Antiochos and Nikostratos.
As Nikostratos was carried off to be beheaded he said,
Like Antiochos: "For my head also?"

To Abda, or Auda.**
Once she approached her sufferings she became courageous,
Abda had joy as she suffered the sword.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The 9th century Aniconic Church of Saint Kyriaki on the Island of Naxos


There are eight churches on the island of Naxos dedicated to Saint Kyriaki. The Church of Saint Kyriaki, located in the mountainous mainland of Naxos, in the area of ​​Apeiranthos, is a rare case of a Byzantine temple that has been preserved with aniconic decoration. According to archaeologists, the church was built during the period of Iconoclasm. The decoration includes crosses, geometric and plant themes, as well as unique bird performances. Based on the iconographic criteria, it dates back to the time of the Emperor Theophilos (829-842), when by his orders, "divine figures are to be removed from all the churches, while they are to be decorated and painted with beasts and hens instead" (Theophanes, Chronikon III, 10). There is also preserved later frescoes dating back to the 13th century, as well as the representation of the Deisis in the chapel. The iconostasis also dates to this time. The effort to rescue this unique monument began in 1993 by J.-G. Eynard of Geneva and the Amitiés gréco-suisses of Lausanne financing the restoration study of the monument. It was completed in 2016.

The 12th century Church of Saint Kyriaki in Keratea


The Chapel of Saint Kyriaki is located in Keratea - Kalyvia, 700 meters from the Church of the Holy Trinity and about 1.5 kilometers from the center of Keratea.

The area, formerly known as the Great Court, is uninhabited today. The chapel is situated in the middle of the valley, between fields, with Mount Pani rising to the southwest. In this area, remarkable ruins of antiquity, traces of walls and building material, as well as abundant shells, have been observed. This has made some writers to assume that here was the ancient Athenian municipality of Kefali, but today there is the view that the municipality of Kefali was located on the eastern edge of Keratea, near Agios Serafim.

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