Thursday, January 19, 2017

Synaxarion of Holy Martyr Euphrasia of Nicomedia

St. Euphrasia the Martyr (Feast Day - January 19)

Verses

Through a wise falsehood you fled wanton violence against the flesh,
And truly you contested by the sword Euphrasia.

This Saint was from the city of Nicomedia, and lived during the reign of Emperor Maximian (285-305). She was from a notable family, and was of a sensible and pious mind. After being betrayed as a Christian, and being unpersuaded to offer sacrifice to the demons, she was harshly lashed. Remaining steadfast in her confession of the Christian faith, for this reason she was handed over to a barbaric man in order to be dishonored. However the Saint fooled him in this wise manner.

Life of Saint Mark the Eugenikos of Ephesus


Saint Mark, was born with the name Emmanuel, in 1392 in the queen of cities, Constantinople. He came from pious parents, his father was called George and was a chief justice, a sakellarios, and a deacon of the Great Church, and his mother was Maria, the daughter of the pious physician Luke.

Both parents tried and succeeded in raising little Emmanuel in the teachings and admonition of the Lord. But the death of his father left him and his younger brother John orphans at a tender age.

The Saint learned his first letters from his father George, who had a famous private school. After the death of his father, his mother sent him to continue his studies with the most famous teachers of the time, John Chortasmenos (later Metropolitan Ignatios of Selymbria) and the mathematician and philosopher George Gemiston Plethon. Among his classmates was his later sworn enemy Bessarion the Cardinal.

Sayings of Abba Makarios of Alexandria


Makarios of Alexandria, born around 296, was a tradesman, a seller of sweetmeats. He went to visit Abba Pachomios at least once during Lent. He was a hermit and priest in the Cells, famous for extreme asceticism; one of his disciples was Paphnutios. He died about 393.

Saints Makarios of Egypt and Makarios of Alexandria Resource Page


Verses

The pair of Makarii had a divine death,
Sharing in the most blessed life.
On the nineteenth the Makarii obtained the blessed land.

The Makarii

Saints Makarios of Egypt the Anchorite and Makarios of Alexandria the Citizen


Saint Mark of Ephesus Resource Page

St. Mark the Eugenikos (Feast Day - January 19)

Verses

Mythically Atlas bore the heavens on his shoulders,
Truly Mark bore Orthodoxy.

Synaxarion of Saint Mark the Eugenikos of Ephesus

Life of Saint Mark the Eugenikos of Ephesus

Saint Mark the Eugenikos - the Star of Ephesus

Saint Mark of Ephesus as a Model for our Lives

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Synaxarion of Holy Martyr Theodouli of Cilicia

St. Theodouli the Martyr (Feast Day - January 18)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Verses

To Theodouli
Theodouli with her fellow-servants was not frightened by the fire,
Placing her hopes in God as a servant.

To Elladios and Boethos
Divine Boethos and Court Clerk,
You were made worthy of the glory of Christ by the sword.

To Evagrios and Makarios
Cast into the fire as pastilles,
You behold the Lord, Makarios and Evagrios.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria Resource Page

St. Cyril of Alexandria (Feast Days - January 18 & June 9)

About

Saint Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria

A Profile of Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Synaxarion of Saints Athanasius and Cyril, Archbishops of Alexandria

Saint Cyril of Alexandria as a Model for our Lives

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The House of Saint George the New of Ioannina


The house of Saint George the New (+ January 17, 1838) has been preserved till this day in Ioannina, and serves as both a chapel and a museum.

16 Miracles of Saint George the New of Ioannina

St. George the New Martyr of Ioannina (Feast Day - January 17)

1. A woman named Stamato, from Lesinitza of Zagoriou, who had a paralyzed and fixed right hand for two months, hearing of the Saint, hastened with piety, having her father and father-in-law with her. It was a Saturday evening when she reached the tomb of the Saint, and having spent the night at the tomb, Sunday morning she was found healthy. Receiving this, and her father and father-in-law left rejoicing.

2. An eight year old child, from that surrounding area, who was speechless and had paralyzed feet since birth, was placed by the Saint’s tomb with many other sick people, and was healed to the amazement of all, and began to speak, and to walk freely.

3. Also two young siblings, a boy and a girl four and eight years old, who were both paralyzed in their feet, were both healed.

Synaxarion of Holy Emperor Theodosius the Great


On the seventeenth of this month [January], we commemorate the pious emperor Theodosius the Great.

Verses

Your rule appeared not to be a hindrance,
For you O Theodosius towards salvation.

The most-pious and renowned emperor Theodosius the Great was born in Spain, illustrious according to his family, and notable in his courage. Having been made commander of the army by the Emperor of the West Gratian, son of Valentinian, he was crowned Emperor of the East by the same emperor in Sirmium, on the sixteenth of January in the year 379, and excelled very much the other emperors in goodness. However he was somewhat prone to anger, and this is evident from the many unjust executions and killings that he ordered in Thessaloniki because of the murder of Butheric. He repeated the same act in Antioch, due to the destruction of the statue of Empress Flaccilla his wife, who is celebrated on the fourteenth of September.

Sayings of Holy Abba Achilles

Holy Abba Achilles (Feast Day - January 17)

Verses

With weapons Achilles plundered cities below,
With pains Achilles gained riches in the city above.

1. Three old men, of whom one had a bad reputation, came one day to Abba Achilles. The first asked him, 'Father, make me a fishing-net.' 'I will not make you one,' he replied. Then the second said, 'Of your charity make one, so that we may have a souvenir of you in the monastery.' But he said, 'I do not have time.' Then the third one, who had a bad reputation, said, 'Make me a fishing-net, so that I may have something from your hands, Father.' Abba Achilles answered him at once, 'For you, I will make one.' Then the two other old men asked him privately, 'Why did you not want to do what we asked you, but you promised to do what he asked?' The old man gave them this answer, 'I told you I would not make one, and you were not disappointed, since you thought that I had no time. But if I had not made one for him, he would have said, "The old man has heard about my sin, and that is why he does not want to make me anything," and so our relationship would have broken down. But now I have cheered his soul, so that he will not be overcome with grief.'

The Rational Man According To St. Anthony the Great


By Dr. Constantine Cavarnos

Introductory Remarks

St Anthony (ca. 250-356 A.D.) is one of the great masters of the spiritual life of Eastern Christendom. He has been held in the highest esteem by Christians of the East from his own time down to the present. One of his eminent admirers was St Athanasius, who knew him personally and wrote a biography of him, which is one of the best sources of information we have about him. Two other outstanding admirers of this great saint are St Macarius, Metropolitan of Corinth (1731-1805) and St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (1748-1809). They have included at the beginning of the Philokalia, which was compiled and edited by them and published in 1782, a work containing many sayings and observations which have traditionally been attributed to St Anthony.

Red Sea Monasteries of Saints Anthony and Paul: A Film from 1930



The first official project undertaken by the Byzantine Institute was the examination and documentation of wall paintings in the Red Sea Monasteries in Egypt, which occurred between 1929 and 1932. Filmed in 1930, this film was likely recorded during the First Expedition (1929-1930) to the Red Sea Monasteries and it includes scenes from both monasteries of Saint Paul and Saint Anthony. It shows general exterior views of the monastery and the surrounding landscape, and it shows a glimpse of Thomas Whittemore on a camel. It also illustrates local men digging a waterway from a nearby stream and doing food preparation.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Holy Martyrs Peusippos, Elasippos, Mesippos and their Grandmother Neonilla

Sts. Peusippos, Elasippos, Mesippos, Neonilla (Feast Day - January 16)

Verses

To Peusippos, Elasippos, Mesippos
Like horses given a call signal,
The three triplets hastened with their feet to the fire.

To Neonilla
Elderly Neonilla, before the lit fire,
At the prime of her life was steadfast like a youngster.

Holy New Hieromartyr Damaskenos of Gambrovo (+ 1771)

St. Damaskenos of Gambrovo (Feast Day - January 16)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Verses

You are granted through slander,
Martyrdom O athlete of the Lord.

Damaskenos was born in a village called Gambrovo in the province of Turnovo [northern Bulgaria]. He left his country and came to Mount Athos, where he became a Monk at Hilandar Monastery. At Hilandar he was ordained a Deacon, then a Hieromonk, and finally became the Abbot. The fathers of the Monastery sent Damaskenos to Bulgaria. Throughout the duration of his visit there, he stayed at a metochion in the province of Sphistovi. Before his return to Hilandar, he gathered all his belongings and attempted to collect a certain sum he had lent to the Turks. But they were dishonorable and ill-disposed, refusing to give him the money; rather they decided to keep it, and in addition confiscated everything that Damaskenos had in the metochion.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Letter to a Person Who Had to Choose Between Suicide and Begging (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

To a person who had to choose between suicide and begging.

You write that all your worldly goods were sold off to a third party. When you found yourself out on the street with nothing and nobody, you headed to the cemetery, bent on killing yourself. You had no doubts or second thoughts about this. Exhausted by the vexations, you lay down on your parents’ grave and fell asleep. Your mother appeared to you in your sleep and berated you, saying that in the Kingdom of God there were plenty of people who had been beggars, but not a single one of those who had done away with themselves. That dream saved you from suicide. Your beloved mother really did save you, by God’s providence. You began to beg and to live off begging. And you’re asking if, by doing so, you’re transgressing God’s law.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Life and Martyrdom of Hieromartyr Platon, Bishop of Tallinn (+ 1919)

St. Platon of Estonia (Feast Day - January 14)

By Jüri Poska

ARCHPRIEST PAUL KULBUSCH, LATER BISHOP PLATON, IN SAINT PETERSBURG

The fall of the autocratic Government in Russia encouraged the Estonian leaders to present to the Russian government a proposal for granting autonomy to Estonia.

In order to accentuate this claim for autonomy, the Estonian colony in Saint Petersburg organized a powerful demonstration before the Tauride Palace on April 8, 1917. In this demonstration more than 40,000 Estonians participated, among them 15,000 soldiers of the army, enthusiastically accompanied and supported by 30 orchestras. The demonstration, carried out in perfect order, made a decisive impression in the Russian capital.

The Government on April 12, 1917 promulgated the law granting autonomy to Estonia. It was laid down in this law that Estonia should be governed by a Maapäev (Diet), in which one delegate should represent every 20,000 inhabitants, and that the executive power should be placed in the hands of a High Commissioner. As High Commissioner was appointed the Lord Mayor of the capital city of Estonia, Tallinn, Jaan Poska.

Synaxarion of Saint Stephen, Founder of Chenolakkos Monastery

St. Stephen of Chenolakkos (Feast Day - January 14)

Verses

Building Chenolakkos Monastery,
Divine Stephen dug his grave in a pond.*

Saint Stephen was from somewhere in the East and came from a noble family, like the righteous Job. From an early age he loved the ascetic life, and visited the monasteries and places of asceticism of the venerable Fathers which are in Jordan and the desert, namely that of Saint Euthymios, Saint Savvas and Saint Theodosios. Having come to know the way of life of each monastery, he went to Constantinople during the reign of Leo the Isaurian (717-741) the iconoclast.

Saint Sava of Serbia Resource Page

St. Sava, Archbishop of Serbia (Feast Day - January 14)

Verses

Seen as a luminary that enlightened Serbia,
By your works and words Sava you are a boast of Serbians.

Saint Sava, Archbishop and Enlightener of Serbia (+ 1235)

Saint Sava, Enlightener of Serbia

Saint Nina of Georgia Resource Page

St. Nina the Enlightener of Georgia (Feast Days - October 27, January 14, May 19)





Verses

The modest woman did a great work,
She converted the entire nation of the Iberians.

Saint Nina the Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia

Saint Nina of Cappadocia and Enlightener of Georgia

A Narration on the Conversion of the Iberian Nation by a Woman

Friday, January 13, 2017

Saint Paisios the Athonite on the Toll Houses and Other Signs at Death


- Elder, do the things one says while expiring have anything to do with their spiritual state?

- We must not jump to conclusions. It could be that someone is feeling so much pain at the time of their death that their face becomes distorted, making others think that they are not in a good spiritual state. However, a pained expression differs from a wild and horrified one. While the poor person suffers in their pain, the others may mistakenly think that they are struggling with the demons who have come to take their soul!

Saint James, Bishop of Nisibis

St. James (Jacob, Iakovos) of Nisibis (Feast Day - October 31 & January 13)

Verses

For October 31

James supplanted the passions of the flesh,
Bearing the name he shows forth the deed.

For January 13

James died according to nature,
Though dead he appeared as if not dead.

By Bishop Theodoret of Cyrus

1. Moses, the divine legislator, who laid bare the bottom of the sea, flooded with water the moistureless desert and worked all the other miracles, wrote down the way of life of the holy men of old, not using the wisdom he had adopted from the Egyptians but receiving the splendor of grace from on high. For from what other source could he have learnt of the virtue of Abel, the devotion of Enoch, the righteousness of Noah, the priestly piety of Melchizedek, the call, faith and endurance of Abraham, his attentive hospitality, the celebrated sacrifice of his son and the list of his other achievements, and, to speak in summary, the contests, victories and utterances of those glorious men, if he had not received the rays of the rational and divine Spirit? I too need this assistance at present, as I try to write down the life of the glorious saints of our own time and the recent past, and seek to set out a rule, as it were, for those who wish to emulate them. I must therefore invoke their prayers, and so begin my narration.

Saint Athanasios the Martyr

St. Athanasios the Martyr (Feast Day - January 13)

Verses

You were surrendered to rods Athanasios,
Quickly dying, you live much better.

Saint Athanasios was martyred after being beaten with rods.

Saint Maximos the Kavsokalyvites Resource Page

St. Maximus the Hut-Burner (Feast Day - January 13)

Verses

Maximos surpassed all in virtue,
Although in time he labored now he is in the eschaton.

Saint Maximos the Hut-Burner (+ 1365)

St. Maximos of Kapsokalyvia and Fourteenth-Century Athonite Hesychasm

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Grace and Sin Within Us Before and After Baptism (St. Diadochos of Photiki)


By St. Diadochos of Photiki

76. Some have imagined that both grace and sin - that is, the spirit of truth and the spirit of error - are hidden at the same time in the intellect* of the baptized. As a result, they say, one of these two spirits urges the intellect to good, the other to evil. But from Holy Scripture and through the intellect's own insight I have come to understand things differently. Before holy baptism, grace encourages the soul towards good from the outside, while Satan lurks in its depths, trying to block all the intellect's ways of approach to the divine. But from the moment that we are reborn through baptism, the demon is outside, grace is within. Thus, whereas before baptism error ruled the soul, after baptism truth rules it. Nevertheless, even after baptism Satan still acts on the soul, often, indeed, to a greater degree than before. This is not because he is present in the soul together with grace; on the contrary, it is because he uses the body's humors to befog the intellect with the delight of mindless pleasures. God allows him to do this, so that a man, after passing through a trial of storm and fire, may come in the end to the full enjoyment of divine blessings. For it is written: 'We went through fire and water, and Thou hast brought us out into a place where the soul is refreshed' (Ps. 66.12. LXX).

Life and Sayings of Holy Abba Elias the Wonderworker

Holy Abba Elias (Feast Day - January 12)

Verses

Another Elias shows forth to be a wonderworker,
This wonderworker being Elias.

By Saint Jerome

(Lives of the Desert Fathers, Ch. 7)

And we also saw another priest in the desert of Antinoe, the metropolis of the Thebaid, whose name was Elias; he was about one hundred and ten years old, and the monks used to say that the spirit of Elias the Prophet rested upon him. 

Saint Euthasia the Martyr

St. Euthasia (Feast Day - January 12)

Verses

Euthasia offered her head by the sword,
To God the Savior of the world.

Saint Euthasia was martyred by the sword, and offered to the Lord her honorable head.

Holy Martyr Peter the Absalamite


Verses

For October 14th

Peter entered the fire with divinely-inspired zeal,
Extinguishing the fire of godless error.

For January 12th

His heart was like charcoal of divine longing,
With pleasure Peter expired in the charcoals.

HISTORY OF THE MARTYRS IN PALESTINE

By Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea

THE CONFESSION OF PETER, WHO WAS SURNAMED ABSALOM

In the Seventh Year of the Persecution of our Days in the City of Caesarea (310/11 A.D.).

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Instructions to Get the Heart Receptive to Orthodoxy


The following instructions come from the book With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, which is a text of recorded dialogues between Saint Paisios the Athonite and his spiritual children. When inquirers and converts ask about how to make the first steps towards Orthodoxy, or even Orthodox who have been estranged from the Church for years, the advice given below are adequate and wise instructions to get the heart to be receptive to the message of Orthodoxy and the spiritual life of the Church.

Synaxarion of Saint Theodosios the Cenobiarch


On the eleventh of this month [January], we commemorate our Holy Father Theodosios the Cenobiarch.

Verses

Theodosios abbot of the common life,
As a common monastic you lost your life.
On the eleventh the Cenobiarch departed this life.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Undecorating" the Christmas Tree


By Archimandrite Iakovos Kanakis

The great joy of preparing to decorate the Christmas tree is nothing like the moment of undecorating it and putting the ornaments back into the closet. There is as much enthusiasm for the former as there is frustration with the latter. But why so much frustration? The frustration, which sometimes borders on depression, has to do with the awareness of the futility to acquire a false joy during the festive season. It is true that if this year also a change of mood is associated with artificial lights, then we also will feel a similar frustration, and its corresponding emptiness.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa Resource Page

St. Gregory of Nyssa (Feast Day - January 10)

About

Synaxarion of Saint Gregory of Nyssa

Saint Gregory of Nyssa, the "Father of Fathers"

St. Gregory of Nyssa's Vision of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

Monday, January 9, 2017

Big Announcement!!! (final update)


Dear Readers:

A little over a month ago I made a big announcement that the websites of this ministry were no longer going to be available for free access, instead they would only be accessed through paid subscription at the beginning of 2017. However, if I could get a total of 500 subscriptions at $5 a month or $60 a year by 2017, I would keep things as they are.

With the time having passed, I will reveal that the goal has not been met. Knowing how difficult it would be, I am not surprised by these results. However, this does not negate the fact that in just a little over a month, this announcement has prompted many of you to subscribe and support this ministry. In fact, my subscriptions have more than doubled from what they were previously. Also, the notes I have received of support and encouragement to keep things as they are have been overwhelming.

Therefore, in gratitude towards all those who have generously subscribed and supported this site, and expressed to me how deeply their affection is for what we do here, I will keep the websites of this ministry going as they are, with renewed enthusiasm on my part. Though this doesn't solve the issues that prompted this initial announcement to begin a paid subscription, my hope is that this last announcement update will prompt further support to reach the goal. Also, I do want to make it clear that this campaign is not over. I try to only seek financial support twice a year, during the Christmas and Easter seasons, thus I will extend this campaign till Easter time and will at that time revisit how many subscriptions and supporters there are to prevent a paid subscription service in the future.

With that being said, all will resume as normal tomorrow. Thank you to all. May your generosity turn into great blessings both in this new year and for the rest of your lives. All your names and those of your loved ones you sent to me will be submitted for intercessory prayer. God bless you all!

With love in Christ,

John Sanidopoulos

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John Sanidopoulos
PO Box 320284
West Roxbury, MA 02132

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Life and Sayings of Holy Abba Agathon of Egypt

St. Agathon of Egypt (Feast Day - January 8)

Verses


With cheerfulness and peace of heart,
Agathon in solitude remembered his death.

Agathon was a young man when he came to the Thebaid, where he was trained by Poemen. His abba thought highly of him, and Abba Joseph expressed surprise that Poemen should call such a young disciple "abba". Agathon went to Scetis, where he lived for a time with Alexander and Zoilus, who were later disciples of Arsenius. He left Scetis, perhaps after the first devastation, with his disciple Abraham, and lived near the Nile, not far from Troe. He knew Amoun, Macarius, Joseph and Peter from the early days in Scetis.

Saint Kyranna the New Martyr Resource Page

St. Kyranna the New Martyr (Feast Day - January 8 & February 28)

Verses

Lady Kyranna suffered and was tortured,
And was seen to depart to the Lord of lords.

Holy New Martyr Kyranna of Thessaloniki (+ 1751)

Holy New Martyr Kyranna as a Model for our Lives

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saint John the Forerunner and the Paralyzed Sexton


Once, there lived a sexton [neokoros], who had very much reverence, much piety, and much fear of God. He was among those that we want to be keepers and helpers in church. The church was built in honor of the Honorable Forerunner [John the Baptist]. The sexton would ring the church bells — there were three or four bells — and he would ring them with his two hands. However, one day he suffered some trauma to his left hand and he couldn’t ring the bells with just one hand. Because of this he was very distressed. The great feast day came and he couldn’t ring them sweetly, rhythmically, as normal, but first the one, then the other [never together or in patterns].

Holy New Martyr Athanasios of Attaleia (+ 1700)

St. Athanasios of Attaleia (Feast Day - January 7)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Verses

It was not the old Athanasios that departed,
But the new Martyr of the Lord.

The Holy New Martyr Athanasios was born in Attaleia (mod. Antalya). While he was in Smyrna on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, he encountered the Ottomans. They were constantly harassing him, while jeering and laughing at the faith of the Christians. But the blessed one, even though he was illiterate, always answered them rationally and wisely. He often rendered them speechless, as they were unable to refute what Athanasios asserted. They were ashamed of the frivolous doctrines of their faith; and so they conspired to slander and trap him.

A Homily of Gregory the Theologian to be Read on the Day After Theophany


St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite writes the following in his Synaxaristes under January 7th: "It should be noted, that on this the afterfeast of the Day of Lights, there is read in the philanthropic Monasteries of the Holy Mountain, as well as in the Coenobium of Dionysiou, the discourse on Baptism by Gregory the Theologian, which begins: 'Yesterday we kept high Festival on the illustrious Day of the Holy Lights.'"

The Oration on Holy Baptism

(Preached at Constantinople January 6, 381, being the day following the delivery of that on the Holy Lights.)

Oration 40

By St. Gregory the Theologian

I. Yesterday we kept high Festival on the illustrious Day of the Holy Lights; for it was fitting that rejoicings should be kept for our Salvation, and that far more than for weddings and birthdays, and namedays, and house-warmings, and registrations of children, and anniversaries, and all the other festivities that men observe for their earthly friends. And now today let us discourse briefly concerning Baptism, and the benefits which accrue to us therefrom, even though our discourse yesterday spoke of it cursorily; partly because the time pressed us hard, and partly because the sermon had to avoid tediousness. For too great length in a sermon is as much an enemy to people's ears, as too much food is to their bodies. It will be worth your while to apply your minds to what we say, and to receive our discourse on so important a subject not perfunctorily, but with ready mind, since to know the power of this Sacrament is itself Enlightenment.

The Church of Saint John the Forerunner at the Trullo in Constantinople

The Church in 2007.

This small church, one among the 36 dedicated to Saint John the Baptist in Constantinople, was part of a monastery bearing the same name. It is the smallest Byzantine church of Constantinople still extant and has never been studied.

The building lies in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Çarşamba, one of the most (Islamic) conservative areas of the walled city. It is located in Koltutçu Sokak, along a small square, surrounded by new buildings, less than 400 metres (1,300 feet) to the south of the complex of the Pammakaristos.

Nothing is known about this church before the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The appellation "trullo" or "troullos" (dome) probably comes from a dome-roofed palace that used to be in the neighborhood. The style of construction dates the building to the 12th century.

A Miracle of the Right Hand of St. John the Baptist in 2006


In June of 2006, when the incorrupt right hand of St. John the Baptist was brought on tour from Montenegro to Russia for the people to venerate it, the media reported the following miracle that took place in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, where people waited for up to eleven hours to venerate the holy relic.

Concerning a Merchant to Whom a Harlot Sold the Arm of St. John the Baptist


By Caesar of Heisterbach

(Dist. VIII, Cap. LIII.)

MONK: Not long ago a certain merchant of our country, crossing the sea, saw the arm of St. John the Baptist in his hospital, and desired it. Knowing that the custodian of the relics was following a certain woman, and knowing that there is nothing which women of that class cannot extort from men, he approached her and said, " If you will procure for me the relics of St. John the Baptist of which your lover has the charge, I will give you a hundred and forty pounds of silver." She, craving the sum offered,' refused to consent to the hospitaler until he obtained the sacred arm. This she immediately delivered to the merchant and received the promised weight of silver.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Theophany


On the sixth of this month [January], we commemorate the Holy Theophany of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Verses

The baptism of Christ split the heavens,
That those without defilement may enter therein.
On the sixth the Forerunner baptized Christ in the river.

The Holy Theophany of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ the entire holy Church of God celebrates today, performing a vigil from the evening. After arriving at thirty years of age, our Lord wanted to manifest Himself to people that He was God in body. When the Lord was baptized by John, God the Father testified from above with His voice and the occurrence of the Holy Spirit, that He was His Son truly and consubstantially. From that moment He became known to all through His miracles, and His lofty teachings, that He was indeed God, Who through the Prophets was clearly proclaimed.*

The Eight Baptisms According to St. John of Damascus


By St. John of Damascus

1. The first baptism was that of the flood for the eradication of sin. (Genesis 7:17)

2. The second was through the sea and the cloud: for the cloud is the symbol of the Spirit and the sea of the water [of baptism]. (1 Corinthians 10:1)

3. The third baptism was that of the Law: for every impure person washed himself with water, and even washed his garments, and so entered into the camp. (Leviticus 14:8)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A New Year, A New Beginning (Monk Moses the Athonite)


By Monk Moses the Athonite

Every new beginning is a joy. It is a new start. A bright sun that rises with meaning and hope. Every new start is an enjoyable contest. The new year creates assessment, thoughts, plans, programs, emotional enthusiasm. A responsible struggle is essential for these things. Every beginning renews us significantly. We forget the old and extend towards the new.

Saint John Chrysostom beautifully teaches how the year will pass pleasantly if you happily do the divine will. If you work righteousness, your day will be good. If you sin, your day will be wicked, disturbing and dark. If you believe in virtue and practice it, your entire year will go well. But if you neglect virtue and depend on the number of days, you will remain desolate and poor of all good things.

Concerning Reports of the Incorrupt Body of the Athonite Monk Stephen


By John Sanidopoulos

Yesterday I received a few inquiries concerning an alleged miracle of an Athonite monk named Stephen, whose body was found to be incorrupt by other monks some time between four and six weeks after his repose. I was sent an article which describes this titled "Miracle on Athos: incorrupt body of ascetic found", which is a translation of an article found here. Both of these are dated January 3, 2017, giving the impression this is a recent "miracle". But as I responded to my inquirers, this is actually something that took place in 2013, which I was aware of at the time, but decided not to translate and publish for a few reasons.

The Beautiful Virgin Who Hid St. Athanasius the Great for Six Years


The following accounts, written by two early fifth century historians, recall the third exile of Athanasius the Great during the reign of Constantius. Through the influence of the Eusebian faction at Constantinople, an Arian bishop, George of Cappadocia, was now appointed to rule the see of Alexandria. Athanasius, after remaining some days in the neighborhood of the city, finally withdrew into the desert of Upper Egypt, where he remained for a period of six years (356-362 AD), living the life of the monks, devoting himself to the composition of a group of writings: "Apology to Constantius", the "Apology for his Flight", the "Letter to the Monks", and the "History of the Arians". According to tradition, the identity of the beautiful virgin ascetic who hid St. Athanasius during these six years (which Palladius mistakenly numbers 30 years) was St. Syncletike of Alexandria (Jan. 5). It is said that the Life and Sayings of St. Syncletike were recorded by St. Athanasius, and it is one of the most important spiritual texts of the Church.

Life and Sayings of our Holy Mother Syncletike of Alexandria

St. Syncletike or Syncletica (Feast Day - January 5). 
Fresco above by Elder Sophrony Sakharov at the refectory of St John the Baptist Monastery in Essex.

Verses

Syncletike left behind a life of bondage,
Called by God she is joined with the servants in heaven.


By St. Athanasius of Alexandria

The blessed Syncletike, named after the heavenly assembly [synkletos], was from the land of the Macedonians. Her ancestors, having heard of the love of God and the love of Christ of the Alexandrians, went from Macedonia to lay hold of the city of the Macedonian (Alexandria). When they arrived at the place, they found the circumstances to be better than what they had heard said about the place. It was not that a large number of people pleased them, nor did they marvel at the greatness of the buildings; but finding there a single faith with pure love, they regarded this foreign settlement their second home.

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