Friday, November 24, 2017

Second Homily on the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (St. Germanos of Constantinople)


By St. Germanos, Archbishop of Constantinople (715-730)

Behold, again another festival, and a glorious feast of the Mother of the Lord. Behold, the arrival of the blameless bride (cf. 2 Peter 3.14). Behold, the first procession of the queen. Behold, an accurate sign of the glory which will surround her.

Behold, the prelude of the divine grace which will overshadow her. Behold, the brilliant evidence of her exceptional purity. For where entering not many times, but once in the year (cf. Leviticus 16.1), the priest performs the mystical worship, there she is brought by her parents for unceasing residence, to be in the sacred sanctuary of grace.

Saint Protasius, Bishop of Milan (+ 343)


Almost nothing is known about the life of our Holy Father Protasius. He was elected Bishop of Milan in 328, and served until his death, about 343.

Saints and Feasts of November 24


Clement is cast into the depths like an anchor,
And is present with Christ, the anchor of the eschaton.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saint Sisinius the Confessor, Bishop of Cyzicus

St. Sisinius the Confessor (Feast Day - November 23)

Verses

Having first submitted to much violence in life,
Sisinius entered life without violence.

Sisinus was from the city of Cyzicus and contested during the reign of Emperor Diocletian in the year 300, when Alexander was Governor of Cyzicus. He was accused of being a Christian to Alexander, and after confessing that he was indeed a Christian, he was bound to wild horses and forced to run with them. He was then beaten without mercy, and they forced bitter vinegar up his nose. After enduring other tortures, and performing various miracles, he was cast into prison.

Saint Alexander Nevsky (+ 1263)

St. Alexander Nevsky (Feast Day - November 23)

The Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky was born on May 30, 1220 in the city of Pereslavl-Zalessk. His father Yaroslav II, Theodore in Baptism (+ 1246), “a gentle, kindly and genial prince”, was the younger son of Vsevolod III Large Nest (+ 1212), brother of the Holy Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich (Feb. 4). Saint Alexander’s mother, Theodosia Igorevna, a Ryazan princess, was Yaroslav’s third wife. Their older son was the Holy Prince Theodore (June 5), who departed to the Lord at age fifteen. Saint Alexander was their second son.

His childhood was spent at Pereslavl-Zalessk, where his father was prince. The princely tonsure of the lad Alexander (a ceremony of initiation to be soldier) was done in the Savior Transfiguration Cathedral of Pereslavl by Saint Simon, Bishop of Suzdal (May 10), one of the compilers of the Kiev Caves Paterikon. From this Elder-Hierarch, Saint Alexander received his first blessing for military service in the name of God, to defend the Russian Church and the Russian Land.

Synaxarion of Saint Amphilochios of Iconium

St. Amphilochios of Iconium (Feast Day - November 23)

Verses

Make ready Amphilochios the vestments of death,
You scatter those lying in wait and dead you perceive with the mind.
On the twenty-third Amphilochios received death.

This Saint, having passed through every stage of ecclesiastical office, and shined in asceticism and divine knowledge, proceeded to become the Bishop of Iconium by the election of God and the common people, during the reigns of Valentinian and Valens. He flourished during the reign of Constantine the Great as well as that of his sons, and became a hierarch in the year 374. Having therefore become a teacher of the Orthodox faith, the renowned one bravely stood against the heresies of Arius and Macedonius and Eunomius. For this reason he endured many persecutions and tribulations from the impious. He was also a fellow-struggler with the one hundred and fifty Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Synod, who assembled together in the year 381 against Macedonius the Pneumatomach.* Since Theodosius the Great gave authority over the western territories of Europe to the young Valentinian, having trampled on the tyrant Maximinus, then the great Amphilochios returned to Constantinople, and approaching the emperor he asked him to banish the Arians. In prevailing upon him with supplications, by this the wondrous Father found a mechanism by which he could persuade the emperor.

Saints and Feasts of November 23


On the twenty-third Amphilochios received death.

(Fasting Day)

Saint Amphilochios, Bishop of Iconium

Synaxarion of Saint Amphilochios of Iconium

Saint Amphilochios of Iconium as a Model for our Lives


Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum

Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum


Venerable Mark the Spirit-Bearer

Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum


Saint Potamianos the Bishop

Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum


Saint Sisinius the Confessor, Bishop of Cyzicus

Saint Sisinius the Confessor, Bishop of Cyzicus


Saint Dionysios I the Wise, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Dionysios I the Wise, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1492)

Bulgarians Return Relics of St. Dionysios I to Greece


Venerable Anthony the Hesychast of Iezeru–Valcea

Saint Anthony the Hesychast of Iezeru–Valcea Skete (+ 1714)


Saint Alexander Nevsky

Saint Alexander Nevsky (+ 1263)

Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral In Sofia

30 Icons of St. Alexander Nevsky In Space


Hieromartyr Gregory (Peradze) in Warsaw

Feast of Saint Gregory (Peradze) in Warsaw


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Cecilia and Those With Her

St. Cecilia the Virgin Martyr (Feast Day - November 22)

Verses

To Cecilia.
Brought to the bath you were burnt, O Cecilia,
And washed in the bath with blood by the sword.

To Valerian and Tiburtius.
Valerian together with his fellow athlete,
Are slain with the sword being insolent towards delusion.

To Maxmos the Keeper of the Keys.
Maximos the prison keeper is tortured,
Immediately becoming a keeper of the commandments of God.

Synaxarion of the Venerable Abba the Ishmaelite

Venerable Abba (Feast Day - November 22)

Verses

Abba was the image of all abbas,
Rightly I honor you as a child does a father.

Our Holy Father Abba (which is translated as Father) was from the race of the Ishmaelites. Forsaking parents and country and wealth, he became the follower of a certain monk. Receiving from him the monastic schema, they lived together for a few years. Both then went to the great and venerable Eusebius the struggler (Feb. 15) to become his disciples. After his fellow monk died, the blessed Abba remained with the great Eusebius.

Saints and Feasts of November 22


On the twenty second Philemon was carried off.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Apostles Philemon, Apphia, Archippus and Onesimus of the Seventy

Holy Apostles Philemon, Apphia, Archippus and Onesimus of the Seventy


Holy Martyr Cecilia

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Cecilia and Those With Her

Holy Virgin Martyr Cecilia of Rome


Holy Martyrs Valerian and Tiburtius

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Cecilia and Those With Her

Holy Virgin Martyr Cecilia of Rome


Saint Maximos the Keeper of the Keys

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Cecilia and Those With Her

Holy Virgin Martyr Cecilia of Rome


Holy Martyrs Stephen and the two Marks

Holy Martyrs Stephen and the Two Marks of Antioch


Holy Martyr Prokopios of Palestine

Holy Martyr Prokopios of Palestine


Venerable Abba

Synaxarion of the Venerable Abba the Ishmaelite


Saint Kallistos II Xanthopoulos, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Kallistos II Xanthopoulos, Patriarch of Constantinople


Holy Hieromartyr Sisinnius

Holy Hieromartyr Sisinnius, Bishop of Cyzicus

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

First Homily on the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (St. Germanos of Constantinople)


By St. Germanos, Archbishop of Constantinople (715-730)

1. Every divine festival, whenever it is celebrated, spiritually fills those who are present from a treasury and divinely flowing spring. But even more and beyond other feasts does this recently hymned festival, brilliantly celebrated, attract the soul with holy joy and gives more joy in proportion to the preeminence of the excellent child of God. For the annual observation of this feast is coming, in which one must be pure to participate.

And let us be anointed with the perfume of her roses, as Solomon says in the beautiful verse of his Song: "Who is that who comes up from the wilderness, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of the merchants?" (Song of Songs 3.6) - "Come hither from Lebanon, my bride; come hither from Lebanon" (Song of Songs 4.8).

So let us eagerly approach together this mutually beneficial, salvific feast of the Mother of God. And bowing before the unapproachable place [the Holy of Holies] let us watch the child going toward the second veil, Mary the all-holy Mother of God who put an end to unfruitful sterility, and exchanged the mere shadow of the letter of the law (cf Hebrews 1O.1) through the grace of her birth-giving.

A Church Beyond Compare - The Nea Church, or the Basilica of Saint Mary the New in Jerusalem (543-614)

A proposed reconstruction of the Nea Church

The Basilica of Saint Mary the New, also known as the New Church of the Theotokos or simply The Nea, was erected by the Roman Emperor Justinian I (527–565) in Jerusalem, specifically on Mount Zion near the site of where the Temple of Solomon once stood, and it was the largest church of its time that rivaled Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The church was completed in 543 and consecrated on November 20th of that year. It was severely damaged or destroyed during the Persian conquest of the city in 614, and was further used as a source of building material by the Umayyads a few decades later. Today much of the site is occupied by Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, though recent archaeological excavations have uncovered portions of the Nea that can be viewed along the Cardo.

Saints and Feasts of November 21


On the twenty-first Mary entered the sacred temenos.

(Fasting Day - Fish Allowed)

Entrance into the Temple of our Lady the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Entrance of the Theotokos Resource Page


Saint Sozomenos the Wonderworker of Potamia

Saint Sozomenos the Wonderworker of Potamia


Monday, November 20, 2017

Saint Theoktistos the Confessor (+ 855)

St. Theoktistos the Confessor (Feast Day - November 20)

Verses

The Patrician felt affection for the law of the Fathers,
Now he stands among the ranks of the chorus of the Fathers.

Saint Theoktistos was a leading official of Byzantium during the second quarter of the ninth century and the de facto head of the regency for the underage Michael III from 842 until his dismissal and murder in 855. A eunuch, he assisted in the ascent of Michael II to the throne in 822, and was rewarded with the titles of patrician and later magister. He held the high posts of chartoularios tou kanikleiou and logothetēs tou dromou under Michael and his son Theophilos. After Theophilos' death in 842, Theoktistos became member of the regency council, but soon managed to sideline the other members and establish himself as the virtual ruler of the Empire. Noted for his administrative and political competence, Theoktistos played a major role in ending Iconoclasm, and fostered the ongoing renaissance in education within the Empire. He also continued the persecution of the Paulicians, but had mixed success in the wars against the Arabs. When Michael III came of age in 855, his uncle Bardas persuaded him to throw off the tutelage of Theoktistos and his mother, the Empress Theodora, and on 20 November 855, Theoktistos was assassinated by Bardas and his followers.

Forefeast of the Entrance Into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos


The Feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple has only one day of forefeast on November 20th. The hymns for today praise Saint Anna for bringing her three year old daughter, the living temple of God, to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The three Old Testament readings at Great Vespers refer to the Temple. The first lesson (Exodus 40:1-5, 9-10, 16, 34-35) refers to the arrangement of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation (a portable sanctuary which was carried by the Israelites in their wanderings). The second lesson (III Kings/I Kings 7:51; 8:1, 3-7, 9-11) describes the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. The third lesson (Ezekiel 43:27-44:4) speaks of the gate of the sanctuary which faces east. God enters through this gate, which is shut so that no one else can enter by it.

Saint Proclus of Constantinople Resource Page

St. Proclus of Constantinople (Feast Day - November 20)

Verses

The heavens have you Proclus as a winning-post,
And those within rejoice over your golden words.

Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople

St. John Chrysostom, the Greatest Interpreter of the Apostle Paul

The Validity of Episcopal Translations from One See to Another

Saints and Feasts of November 20


On the twentieth Gregory was summoned to the heavens.

(Fasting Day)

Forefeast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos

Forefeast of the Entrance Into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos

Entrance of the Theotokos Resource Page


Venerable Gregory the Decapolite

Saint Gregory the Decapolite and His Relics in Bistritsa Monastery


Saint Symeon the Confessor

Saint Gregory the Decapolite and His Relics in Bistritsa Monastery


Saint Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople

Saint Proclus of Constantinople Resource Page


Holy Martyr Dasius of Dorostorum

Holy Martyr Dasius of Dorostorum


Holy Martyr Nerses and Joseph his Disciple the Bishops

Holy Martyrs Nerses, Joseph, John, Severius, Isaac, Azades and many other Martyrs with them of Persia


Holy Martyrs Isaac, John and Severius

Holy Martyrs Nerses, Joseph, John, Severius, Isaac, Azades and many other Martyrs with them of Persia


Holy Martyr Azades and Three Others With Him

Holy Martyrs Nerses, Joseph, John, Severius, Isaac, Azades and many other Martyrs with them of Persia


Holy Virgin Martyrs Thekla, Vaoutha and Denachida

Holy Martyrs Nerses, Joseph, John, Severius, Isaac, Azades and many other Martyrs with them of Persia


Saint Theoktistos the Confessor

Saint Theoktistos the Confessor (+ 855)


Saint Sozomonos the Wonderworker of Karpasia

Saint Sozomonos the Wonderworker of Karpasia

Sunday, November 19, 2017

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


Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (or Ninth Sunday of Luke)
The Parable of the Foolish Rich Man

Luke 12:16-21

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke

By Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

16-21. And He spake a parable unto them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully, and he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, because I have no room where to gather my crops?' And he said, 'This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I gather all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." But God said unto him, 'Thou fool, this night they shall require thy soul of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast prepared?' So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Saints and Feasts of November 19


On the nineteenth Obadiah passed from this life.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Prophet Obadiah

Holy Prophet Obadiah as a Model for our Lives


Holy Martyr Barlaam of Antioch

Holy Martyr Barlaam of Antioch


Holy Martyr Azes the Wonderworker

Holy Martyr Azes of Isauria and the 150 Soldiers With Him


Holy One Hundred and Fifty Soldier Martyrs

Holy Martyr Azes of Isauria and the 150 Soldiers With Him


Holy Twelve Soldier Martyrs

Holy Martyr Azes of Isauria and the 150 Soldiers With Him


Holy Woman and Daughter Martyrs

Holy Martyr Azes of Isauria and the 150 Soldiers With Him


Saint Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow

Saint Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow (+ 1867)


Icon of the Theotokos "Consolation in Grief and Sorrows"

The 17th Century Icon of the Theotokos "Consolation in Grief and Sorrows"

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Curse of Saint Nektarios and the Seville Soccer Team


It all began in the 1970-1971 soccer (football) season, when Dan Georgiadis, a former Greek soccer player who had played for Panathinaikos and was now a manager, had the inspiration to bring the soccer team from Seville (Sevilla), Spain to Athens for a number of friendly matches with AEK. At that time the Seville soccer team was one of the strongest teams not only in Spain but of all Europe. Georgiadis, who was also a cosmopolitan man and a polyglot who knew seven languages, and who installed desks in his locker rooms in order to teach his players sophrology, took advantage of the visit of the Spaniards, so among other things he even took them to see the Acropolis of Athens.

Saint Nektarios and the Protestant Who Became Orthodox


What follows is the testimony of a recent miracle of Saint Nektarios:

On June 20 [probably of 2009] we went with the Unborn Child Protection Society on a pilgrimage trip to Aegina. We venerated the grace-flowing relics of Saint Nektarios and went to his bedroom, his grave and his new majestic church, built by the late Metropolitan Hierotheos of Hydra.

Saints and Feasts of November 18


On the eighteenth Plato was slain by the sword.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Martyr Plato of Ancyra

Saint Plato the Great Martyr of Ancyra

Saint Plato of Ancyra as a Model for our Lives


Holy Martyr Romanos of Palestine

Holy Martyr Romanos of Palestine With the Child Martyr Barulas of Antioch


Holy Child Martyr

Holy Martyr Romanos of Palestine With the Child Martyr Barulas of Antioch


Holy Martyrs Alphaeus the Deacon and Zacchaeus

Holy Martyrs Alphaeus and Zacchaeus of Caesarea


Holy New Martyr Anastasios of Paramythia in Epirus

Holy New Martyr Anastasios of Paramythia in Epirus (+ 1750) and Saint Daniel the Former Muslim


Saint Daniel the Former Muslim

Holy New Martyr Anastasios of Paramythia in Epirus (+ 1750) and Saint Daniel the Former Muslim


Translation of the Sacred Relics of the Venerable Martyr Kosmas the Protos of Vatopaidi

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

The Tomb of Saint Kosmas the Protos


Friday, November 17, 2017

The Beneficial Tale of Saint Zacharias the Leather-Cutter and John

Sts. Zacharias and John of Constantinople (Feast Day - November 17)

Verses

Zacharias together with John,
Bear the mind of Cherubim with their vigils.

There was a man who was reputable and notable in the things of the world, whose name was John, who turned away from all of life's pleasures, and occupied himself in the monastic and humble life. And devoting himself to the things of God, he was eager to please only God. Abiding always in prayers and supplications, he zealously progressed in greater virtue set before him. Besides all his other virtues, an essential work was for him to go keep vigil all night in the churches of the Lord. For this reason one night he went to Constantinople to the great church of the Word of God, Hagia Sophia. Finding the doors closed, he sat on a bench nearby, since he was tired. While sitting there, he recited with a quiet voice his services.

Saint Maximos III, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1482)

St. Maximos III of Constantinople (Feast Day - November 17)

Verses

Maximos was in anguish and bore children,
After acts of purity he departed pure from this life.

Ecumenical Patriarch Maximos III was a scholar, polyglot and ascetic Hierarch. He shepherded the patriarchal see with wisdom during the difficult first years after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, from 1476 to 1482.

Maximos was born Manuel Christonymos and was probably a native of the Peloponnese in Greece. He became Grand Ecclesiarch (i.e. Head Sacristan) of the Patriarchate in Constantinople. This ministry soon after the Fall of Constantinople (1453) took the functions also of the Skeuophylax, taking care of the holy treasures and relics of the Patriarchate, and in this position Manuel clashed with Patriarch Gennadios Scholarios on economical issues. Under the patronage of the secretary of the Ottoman Sultan, Demetrios Kyritzes, Manuel, together with the Great Chartophylax George Galesiotes, influenced the life of the Church of Constantinople for more than twenty years.

Saint Nikon the Abbot of Radonezh and Disciple of the Saint Sergius (+ 1426)

St. Nikon of Radonezh (Feast Day - November 27)

Saint Nikon, the Abbot of Radonezh and a disciple and successor of Saint Sergius of Radonezh (Sept. 25), was born at Yuriev-Polsk. Having heard of the angelic life of the Radonezh Wonderworker, the young man came to Saint Sergius and requested to be tonsured into the angelic schema.

Saint Sergius did not accept Nikon, whether because of his youth or for some other reason. Instead, he sent him to his disciple Saint Athanasius (Sept. 12) at Serpukhov. But Saint Athanasius would not accept him right away. Only after seeing the young man’s persistence did he tonsure him into the monastic schema.

Saints and Feasts of November 17


On the seventeenth the great wonderworker died.

(Fasting Day)

Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea the Wonderworker

Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea Resource Page


Venerable Lazarus the Painter

Saint Lazarus the Painter: An Iconographer During the Iconoclast Period


Venerable Longinus

The Sayings of Abba Longinus


Saint Gennadios I, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Gennadios I, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 471)

Saint Gennadius of Constantinople as a Model for our Lives


Saint Maximos III, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Maximos III, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1482)


Venerable Gennadios of Vatopaidi

Saint Gennadios the Steward of Vatopaidi


The Beneficial Tale of Saint Zacharias the Leather-Cutter and John

The Beneficial Tale of Saint Zacharias the Leather-Cutter and John


Venerable Nikon the Abbot of Radonezh and Disciple of the Venerable Sergius

Saint Nikon the Abbot of Radonezh and Disciple of the Saint Sergius (+ 1426)


Holy Martyr Gobron (Michael) and the 133 Soldiers of Georgia

Holy Martyr Gobron and the 133 Soldiers of Georgia

Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea Resource Page

St. Gregory of Neocaesarea the Wonderworker (Feast Day - November 17)

Verses

Of old Gregory worked wonders,
Standing before God, he is even more wondrous.
On the seventeenth the great wonderworker died.

Saint Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesarea

Saint Gregory of Neocaesaria's Revelation of the True Faith

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Saint Eucherius, Bishop of Lyon (+ 449)

St. Eucherius of Lyon (Feast Day - November 16)

Saint Eucherius, Bishop of Lyon, was a high-born and high-ranking ecclesiastic in the Christian Church of Gaul. He is remembered for his letters advocating extreme self-abnegation. Henry Wace ranked him "except perhaps St. Irenaeus the most distinguished occupant of that see".

As was a common fifth century practice, on the death of his wife Gallia (born c. 390), he withdrew for a time to the Lerins Abbey, founded by Saint Honoratus on the smaller of the two islands off Antibes, with his sons, Veranius and Salonius, to live a severely simple life of study and devote himself to the education of his sons. Soon afterward he withdrew further, to the neighbouring island of Lerona (now Sainte-Marguerite), where he devoted his time to study and mortification of the flesh. With the thought that he might join the anchorites in the deserts of the East, he consulted John Cassian, the famed hermit who had arrived from the East to Marseille; Cassian dedicated the second set of his Conferences (Numbers 11-17) to Eucherius and Honoratus. These Conferences describe the daily lives of the hermits of the Egyptian Thebaid and discuss the important themes of grace, free will, and Scripture. It was at this time (c. 428) that Eucherius wrote his epistolary essay De laude Eremi ("In Praise of the Desert") addressed to Bishop Hilary of Arles.

Philoumenos of Jacob’s Well: The Birth of a Contemporary Ritual Murder Myth


“Philoumenos of Jacob’s Well: The Birth of a Contemporary Ritual Murder Myth”

By David Gurevich and Yisca Harani

Israel Studies
Volume 22, Number 2, Summer 2017
pp. 26-54

Abstract

In 1979, the Orthodox monk Philoumenos Hasapis was violently murdered in Jacob’s Well Church in Nablus. His death was described as a ritual murder performed by a fanatical Jewish-Israeli group. Philoumenos was later sanctified by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The story gained publicity among Orthodox Christian communities around the world and was accredited by various NGOs and scholars. However, the factual basis of the event dismissed any ritualistic motives or collective accusations for the murder. The development patterns of the popular narrative are assessed against the backdrop of similar accusations levied against medieval Jewish communities in Europe, as well as contemporary framing of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the media. The conclusions suggest reasons for the wide publicity that the narrative received, based on the cultural context of its target audience, the interests of the Orthodox Church, and the role of political actors involved.

Four Things to Consider About the Apostle Matthew


By Jacobus de Voragine

We may note that in Saint Matthew four things are worthy of consideration.

The first is his swiftness to obey; for as soon as Christ called him, he quit his custom-house, leaving his tax accounts incomplete without fear of his masters, and devoted himself completely to Christ. This ready obedience has been a source of error to some, as Jerome recounts in his commentary on that place of the Gospel: "Porphyry and the Emperor Julian find proof therein either of the ignorance of a lying chronicler, or of the witlessness of them that so promptly followed the Saviour, as if they went off after the first man who called them, without any reason whatsoever. But there is no doubt that the apostles, before they believed in Him, had seen the many signs of His power which went before Him. And of a surety, the very splendour and majesty of His hidden Godhead, which shone even in His human countenance, were enough to draw them the first time they looked upon him. For if a magnet has power to attract rings and bits of iron, how much the more can the Lord of all creation draw to Himself those whom He will!" Thus Jerome.

Saint Thomas II the New, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 669)

St. Thomas II of Constantinople (Feast Day - November 16)

Verses

Thomas departed this measured life,
Fittingly finding life without measure.

Thomas II was elected Patriarch of Constantinople six months and sixteen days after the death of his predecessor, Patriarch Peter. He ruled for three years (according to Theophanes), or two years and seven months (according to Nikephoros), or four years and seven months (according to the Leoglavious list).

Saints and Feasts of November 16


Without sense of toil Matthew was killed in the fire on the sixteenth.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew

Saint Matthew the Evangelist Resource Page


Saint Thomas II the New, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Thomas II the New, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 669)


Saint Eucherius, Bishop of Lyon

Saint Eucherius, Bishop of Lyon (+ 449)


Saint Philoumenos the New Resource Page

St. Philoumenos of Jacob's Well (Feast Day - November 29)

Verses

Philoumenos, being befriended by Christ
Was arrayed in the radiant porphyry of martyrdom.
Philoumenos was recently slaughtered violently
As the friend of God by the Well of Jacob.

Saint Philoumenos the New Hieromartyr of Jacob's Well (+ 1979)

Official Glorification of Hieromartyr Philoumenos of Jacob's Well

Synaxarion of Hieromartyr Philoumenos of Jacob's Well

Philoumenos of Jacob’s Well: The Birth of a Contemporary Ritual Murder Myth

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Good Forty Day Nativity Fast!


Today (although on the Holy Mountain it will be 13 days from now) begins a period of preparation in our Church for the great feast of the Nativity of Christ. During this period, the Church invites every human being freely and simply, saying: "We are now fasting, if you want you can come along too."

This invitation is made with love and in a mood for struggle, setting forth Christ as the "prize". In order to share in Christ, let us offer Him our own struggle and effort, showing that we want Him as our Savior and Redeemer!

Sermon 1 on the Fast of Advent (St. Leo the Great)


By St. Leo the Great

(Sermon 12: On the Fast of The Tenth Month, I)

I. Restoration to the Divine image in which we were made is only possible by our imitation of God's will

If, dearly beloved, we comprehend faithfully and wisely the beginning of our creation, we shall find that man was made in God's image, to the end that he might imitate his Creator, and that our race attains its highest natural dignity, by the form of the Divine goodness being reflected in us, as in a mirror. And assuredly to this form the Saviour's grace is daily restoring us, so long as that which, in the first Adam fell, is raised up again in the second. And the cause of our restoration is naught else but the mercy of God, Whom we should not have loved, unless He had first loved us, and dispelled the darkness of our ignorance by the light of His truth. And the Lord foretelling this by the holy Isaiah says, "I will bring the blind into a way that they knew not, and will make them walk in paths which they were ignorant of. I will turn darkness into light for them, and the crooked into the straight. These words will I do for them, and not forsake them." And again he says, "I was found by them that sought Me not, and openly appeared to them that asked not for Me." And the Apostle John teaches us how this has been fulfilled, when he says, "We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and may be in Him that is true, even His Son ," and again, "let us therefore love God, because He first loved us." Thus it is that God, by loving us, restores us to His image, and, in order that He may find in us the form of His goodness, He gives us that whereby we ourselves too may do the work that He does, kindling that is the lamps of our minds, and inflaming us with the fire of His love, that we may love not only Himself, but also whatever He loves. For if between men that is the lasting friendship which is based upon similarity of character notwithstanding that such identity of wills is often directed to wicked ends, how ought we to yearn and strive to differ in nothing from what is pleasing to God. Of which the prophet speaks," for wrath is in His indignation, and life in His pleasure," because we shall not otherwise attain the dignity of the Divine Majesty, unless we imitate His will.

Holy Martyrs Elpidios, Markellos and Eustochios

Sts. Elpidios, Markellos and Eustochios (Feast Day - November 15);
Photo depicts Mount Carmel

Verses

You endured fire Elpidios together with your two friends,
The prize of the contest rousing you to hope.

The blessed Elpidios was of senatorial rank, and entrusted with the secret things of the apostate Emperor Julian (361-363). Having written an ordinance against the Christian faith, it was revealed to Julian that Elpidios was a Christian. He therefore stood before the apostate, and being unpersuaded to deny Christ, he was made to wear a hair garment made of goat's hair. This had sharp pieces of iron nailed into it, and it had been immersed in boiling pitch to keep the sharp irons firmly in place. After this he was beaten while wearing the garment, causing his flesh to be pierced by the sharp objects.

Saint Malo, First Bishop of Aleth (+ 621)

St. Malo of Aleth (Feast Day - November 15)

Saint Malo (or Maclou, Maclovius) of Aleth was born in Wales in 520 and baptized as a young adult by Saint Brendan the Navigator. After his baptism, he became Brendan's favorite disciple. As a monk at Llancarfan Abbey in Wales, Saint Malo was known for his participation in the famous Voyage of Saint Brendan. Saint Brendan and Malo left Llancarfan Abbey with several companions and discovered the "Island of the Blest". He then went to sea on a second voyage and visited the Island of Cézembre, remaining there for some time. It is thought that Brendan, on the occasion of his second voyage, evangelized the Orkney Islands and the northern isles of Scotland.

Saints and Feasts of November 15


On the fifteenth Habibus is slain in the flames, a companion of copper.

(Fasting Day)

Holy Martyrs Gurias, Samonas and Habibus the Confessors

Holy Martyrs Gurias, Samonas and Habibus: Patrons of Honorable Marriage

Holy Martyrs Gurias, Samonas and Habibus as Models for our Lives

15th Century Church of Saints Gurias, Samonas and Habibus Open Again

Holy Martyr Habibus the Young of Edessa


Holy Martyrs Elpidios, Markellos and Eustochios

Holy Martyrs Elpidios, Markellos and Eustochios


Holy Pious Emperors Justinian and Theodora

Saints Justinian and Theodora, Emperors of the Romans


Holy Martyr Demetrios of Thrace

Holy Martyr Demetrios of Thrace


Saint Malo, Bishop of Aleth

Saint Malo, First Bishop of Aleth (+ 621)


Venerable Paisius Velichkovsky

Saint Paisius Velichkovsky: A Great Hesychast Father


Icon of the Mother of God of Kupyatitich

Icon of the Theotokos of Kupyatitich on the Cross


Beginning of the Nativity Fast

Orthodox Christmas Resource Page

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mysticism and Rationalism in the Middle Ages: The Views of St. Gregory Palamas


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

(Lecture Delivered at the University of Seattle in 1999)

SUMMARY

In man’s effort to obtain the knowledge of God and attain union with Him, various theological movements have appeared in the West and in the East. The West developed so-called scholasticism, while the East developed mysticism.

Scholasticism (11th-13th century AD), which originated from the Schools of the 9th century, is based mostly on reason (“ratio”) and this is why it is called rationalism. Its central position is that there is a single knowledge for the creation and for God, and a single methodology for the acquisition of this knowledge of the created world and the uncreated God. This means that the investigation of the created world and the acquisition of the knowledge of God are both achieved through reason.

The Mystery of the Orthodox Commemoration of a False Saint

Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Pepelenitsa of Aigealea

By John Sanidopoulos

In many of the more detailed Orthodox ecclesiastical calendars, there is a "Saint" listed which should not be listed who is commemorated on November 14th. He is often listed as "Saint Panteleimon the New Martyr at Crete", and the only biographical information about him given is that he was born in Spetses and died as a martyr by the Turks in Crete at a young age in the year 1848. In my desire to know more about him, I decided to do some research.

The only other reference to this "Saint Panteleimon" I could find was in an encyclical issued by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece dated August 30, 1865 (Protocol Number 4126). There it says that a question was posed to the Holy Synod, as to whether or not it was allowed for the churches to commemorate a certain "Neomartyr Panteleimon", and celebrate the divine services composed in his honor and previously published in a booklet. This booklet was published in Athens by the publisher "Agathe Tyche", which consists of hymns to the unknown "Neomartyr Panteleimon" who was martyred in Crete on November 12, 1848.

Saints and Feasts of November 14


Philip on the fourteenth was lifted upside down.

Holy Apostle Philip, One of the Twelve

Holy Apostle Philip, One of the Twelve

Saint Philip the Apostle as a Model for our Lives

The Fate of the Relics of the Apostle Philip

The Tomb of the Apostle Philip Discovered In Hierapolis


Saint Gregory Palamas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Thessaloniki

Saint Gregory Palamas Resource Page


Saint Euphemianos the Wonderworker

Saint Euphemianos the Wonderworker and his Church in Lysi of Cyprus


Holy New Martyr Constantine of Hydra

Holy New Martyr Constantine of Hydra (+ 1800)




Monday, November 13, 2017

On Schism in the Church (St. John Chrysostom)


By St. John Chrysostom

(Excerpt from Homily 11 on Ephesians)

If therefore we desire to have the benefit of that Spirit which is from the Head, let us cleave one to another. For there are two kinds of separation from the body of the Church; the one, when we wax cold in love, the other, when we dare commit things unworthy of our belonging to that body; for in either way we cut ourselves off from the "fullness of Christ." But if we are appointed to build up others also, what shall not be done to them who are first to make division? Nothing will so avail to divide the Church as love of power. Nothing so provokes God's anger as the division of the Church. Yea, though we have achieved ten thousand glorious acts, yet shall we, if we cut to pieces the fullness of the Church, suffer punishment no less sore than they who mangled His body. For that indeed was brought to pass for the benefit of the world, even though it was done with no such intention; whereas this produces no advantage in any case, but the injury is excessive. These remarks I am addressing not to the governors only, but also to the governed.

Holy New Venerable Martyr Damaskenos of Constantinople (+ 1681)

St. Damaskenos the Lavriotes (Feast Day - November 13)

Verses

You behold O athlete the sword with pleasure,
For you see also the crown together with the sword.

Saint Damaskenos was from the Galata district of Constantinople, within the parish of Eleousa. His parents Kyriakos and Kyriake named him Diamantes.

Orphaned at a young age, and without parental guidance, the boy became rather undisciplined in his conduct. One day he was caught doing something unlawful, and in order to save himself he agreed to convert to Islam. Later he came to his senses and repented of his denial of Christ. Fleeing to the Holy Mountain, he became a monk at the Monastery of Great Lavra, receiving the name Damaskenos.

Saint Brice, Bishop of Tours (+ 444)

St. Brice of Tours (Feast Day - November 13)

Saint Brice of Tours (Brictius; Bricius) was an orphan rescued by Saint Martin of Tours, and raised by Martin‘s clerics in the monastery at Marmoutiers. Though ostensibly a spiritual student of Saint Martin, Brice became so wild, wicked, proud, ungrateful, and disorderly that some thought him possessed by a demon! He became a priest, but was a vain, ambitious one with contempt for Martin. Many advised Martin to kick him out, but Saint Martin said that if Jesus could deal with Judas, he could deal with Brice.

Saints and Feasts of November 13


On the thirteenth the lips that were golden fell silent.

Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople

Saint John Chrysostom Resource Page


Holy Martyrs Antoninus, Nicephorus, Germanus and Manetha of Caesarea

Holy Martyrs Antoninus, Nicephorus, Germanus and Manetha of Caesarea


Saint Brice, Bishop of Tours

Saint Brice, Bishop of Tours (+ 444)


Holy New Venerable Martyr Damaskenos of Constantinople

Holy New Venerable Martyr Damaskenos of Constantinople (+ 1681)


Sunday, November 12, 2017

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


Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (or Eighth Sunday of Luke)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke

By Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

25-28. And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said unto him, "What is written in the law? How readest thou?" And he answering said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." And He said unto him, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."

Saints and Feasts of November 12


The Merciful departed on the twelfth without anything.

Saint John the Merciful, Archbishop of Alexandria

Saint John the Merciful Resource Page


Venerable Nilus the Ascetic

Saint Nilus the Ascetic of Mount Sinai

Saint Nilus the Ascetic as a Model for our Lives


Venerable Nilus the Athonite and Myrrhgusher

Saint Nilus the Myrrhgusher Resource Page


Saint Martin the Wonderworker, Bishop of Tours

Saint Martin the Wonderworker, Bishop of Tours

When St. Martin of Tours Preached Repentance to the Devil


Holy Prophet Ahijah

Holy Prophet Ahijah the Shilonite


Saint Leo Styppes, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Leo Styppes, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1143)


Holy New Martyr Savvas Samoladas of Nigdi

Holy New Martyr Savvas Samoladas of Nigdi (+ 1726)


Holy New Martyr Nicholas from the Parish of the Exi Marmara

Saint Nicholas the New Martyr from the Parish of the Exi Marmara (+ 1732)


Saint Varnava Nastic, Bishop of Hvosno

Serbian Church to Honor Gary-born St. Varnava


Commemoration of the Miracle of Saint Spyridon in 1718

Commemoration of the Miracle of Saint Spyridon in 1718

Saint Spyridon Resource Page


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