Monday, February 20, 2017

Synaxarion of our Holy Father Leo the Wonderworker, Bishop of Catania

St. Leo of Catania (Feast Day - February 20)

Verses

Leo was indeed dead, but deemed not to decay,
Called by all, the president of Catania.
On the twentieth Leo was buried in the earth and poured forth liquid.

Saint Leo lived during the reign of Leo the Wise (886-912),* and was from the Italian city of Ravenna, the son of pious and noble parents. Due to the purity of his life, he went through all the stages of the priesthood, becoming a Reader, Subdeacon, Deacon and Presbyter. Lastly, by divine election, he became Bishop of the metropolis of Catania, which is found in the very famous island of Sicily, and where Mount Etna is located, which bursts forth flames of fire till this day. This blessed one, who bore the name of a prevailing lion, and having zeal for good and virtue, shined like a luminary in that place. In this way he attended souls, was a protector of widows, consoled the poor, dispersed the darkness of error, and by his prayers he toppled an idol statue to the earth.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Dreadful Day of Judgment


The Dreadful Day[1]

By Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria

"Let us proclaim" again today "not only one coming of Christ, but a second also, much better than the one prior, because the first was a demonstration of patience, while the next will bring the reign of the divine kingdom."[2] With these words, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem refers to the Second Coming of the Lord, which our Holy Church makes mention of on the Sunday of Meatfare.

Holy New Martyr Philothei of Athens (+ 1589)

St. Philothei of Athens (Feast Day - February 19)

Verses

A scion of Athens is Philothei,
Who put on the cross as armor against the enemy.

+++

When Philothei from things earthly was translated,
She ascended with joy to heavenly mansions.

This bright star of compassion arose in the dark days of the Turkish occupation to shed God’s mercy upon the oppressed people of Athens and to guide many endangered souls onto the path of righteousness.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Agapetos, Bishop of Synaus

St. Agapetos of Synaus (Feast Day - February 18)

Verses

You loved the Master O Agapetos,
Who calls you to a place you love.

Saint Agapetos lived during the reign of Diocletian (284-305), and came from Cappadocia, the son of Christian parents. When he was young in age, he went to a monastery there, in which there were around a thousand monks, who gathered various virtues, as a bee gathers from various flowers. There he stood as a tried laborer of the commandments of the Lord, and brought to naught his body with fasting and vigil and with the other means of self-control. For a period of eighty years he ate only bark and lupin pods and ashes instead of bread. He also was victorious over sleep, as much as it is possible for someone. He was serviceable and studious in his duties to the brethren of the monastery, and he referred to all the monks as master and lord. Thus he was made worthy to receive from God the grace to do miracles.

Saint Leo the Great Resource Page

St. Leo, Pope of Rome (Feast Day - February 18)

Verses

The soul of the divine Leo was released,
And demonic hordes he struck with fear.
On the eighteenth Leo released his soul.

About

Synaxarion of our Holy Father Leo, Pope of Rome

Saint Leo I, Pope of Rome


Friday, February 17, 2017

The Veneration of the Holy Theodores in Serres


The Old Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Theodores

"Among the many temples, [the Church of Saints Theodoroi] adorns, honors, and makes the city of Serres known to all, no less so than the other temples. It is a holy and sacred place to wonder and marvel at, built in honor of those saints whose name means 'Gift of God'."

- Theodoros Pediasimos (a man of letters and 14th century citizen of Serres)

The church of the gloriously martyred soldier saints, Saints Theodoroi, known also as the Old Cathedral, is located in the center of the old city of Serres. It is a large square basilica (internal dimensions 15.6 by 24 meters) is divided into two parts, the portico and the main body of the church, which is itself separated by two lines of columns into three naves. The large amount of early Christian masonry that was reused in the building of the church would indicate that it was built as early as the 6th century. The exquisite church has been renovated on a number of occasions. No information is available on the history of the monument until the 15th century. However, the manner in which the church was built, and its final form in particular, are the result of a number of bold, easily distinguished, major alterations made at different periods down the ages. The materials and methods used by the craftsman for each of these alterations have helped most of the reputable scholars who have researched the church's history to draw roughly the same fundamental conclusions as to its architecture and decoration.

Sources for the Veneration of Saint Theodore


5th-Century Sources

Pawstos Buzand, Epic Histories 4.10

Writing sometime in the 470s, the Armenian historian Pawstos Buzand attributes the death of the Arian emperor Valens (364-78) to Ss. Theodore and Sergius. The story is very similar to one also told of St. Mercurius, that he had killed the pagan emperor Julian (360-63).

Then King Valens gave an order for an expert to be sought and found who would be able to confront the Christian faith in writing. And he was told that there was a skilled sophist in a certain city. And so, the emperor sent his magistrianoi to him so that they might hasten to go and bring the man to him without delay, and they hurriedly fetched him.

The Passion of Saint Theodore the Recruit

St. Theodore the Tiro (Feast Day - February 17)

1. During their time Maximianus and Maximinus sent throughout all the territory of their empire an edict against all the followers of the true religion of Christ, that they could escape tortures and live by tasting food which had been offered in sacrifice, and that those who spoke against this were to be surrendered to the judges and subjected to many different punishments. At this time Theodore was conscripted for military service, and together with him many other recruits, and was assigned to a legion titled the legio Marmaritarum under the command of the praepositus Brincas. This legion was staying in the city of Amasea in the province of Hellespontus, where all were being compelled to offer sacrifice to the idols in accordance with the imperial edict.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Glorious Vision to Saint Akakios of the Holy New Martyr Romanos


In the Chapel of the Dormition of the Theotokos, at the Cell of Saint Akakios in Kavsokalyva of Mount Athos, where the Venerable New Martyr Romanos (+ 1694) lived in asceticism, there is depicted on the north wall a striking fresco dated to 1759, from the workshop of Hieromonk Parthenios from Agrafon, whose source is the life of Saint Akakios of Kavsokalyva. It depicts the appearance of the Venerable New Martyr Romanos, who is celebrated by the Church on January 5th and February 16th, with lightning-white robes.

Holy Martyr Pamphilos of Caesarea and his Companions

St. Pamphilios and Those With Him (Feast Day - February 16)

Verses

To Pamphilos
You are beyond all, Pamphilos friend of the Word,
And you are conducted to your beheading with love.

To Valens, Paul and Seleucus
Paul Seleucus, and Seleucus Valens,
Seeing the beheading rejoicing is brought by the beheading.

To Porphyrios and Julian
The two divine Martyrs leap towards the fire,
The flame of divine longing increasing within for the two.

To Theodoulos
Servants of delusion crucify on the wood,
Theodoulos the servant of the Crucified One.

To Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel, Daniel
Called by the Prophets and dying as Martyrs,
Five Martyrs boast in their beheading.

On the sixteenth Pamphilos was beheaded by the edge of the sword.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Prodigal Anarchist


By Fr. Christodoulos Bithas

Lefteris had stopped accompanying his mother to church, because he felt bored. He could not comprehend what value everything he heard had, although he had been sent for some years to catechism. It was made into a revolution to stop, and instead he coached basketball on Sunday. He could not understand what value it had in the life of a young person to encourage a lifestyle that he himself never saw as an example in anyone. As a teenager he was looking for something to make him live authentically, he wanted for someone to understand him instead of judge him, to protect him instead of wag the finger at him, to give him love instead of fake words of devotion. He wanted to see equality instead of oppression, to believe in an innovative idea instead of conservative, that gave rest instead of oppression, that liberated instead of limited. Without realizing it, he had a conflict of standards with his parents.

Synaxarion of the Holy Apostle Onesimus of the Seventy

St. Onesimus the Apostle (Feast Day - February 15)

Verses

Onesimus laid out his legs to be broken,
Legs which bravely ran on roads to Paul.
On the fifteenth the legs of Onesimus were crushed.

Saint Onesimus was a servant of the Apostle Philemon,* and according to Theodoret of Cyrus he was from Colossae, to which the blessed Paul wrote an epistle. Because Onesimus stole money from the household of Philemon, as was disclosed in the epistle of Paul to Philemon, he fled and went to Rome, and there he met the Apostle Paul finding him in bonds. Being catechized by him in the faith of Christ, and baptized, he also became wondrous in virtue. Because Paul did not consider it right for Philemon to grieve due to the theft and flight of his servant Onesimus, for this reason he sent him back to his master Philemon, together with his introductory and surrendering epistle to Philemon.

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Maior of Gaza

St. Maior of Gaza (Feast Day - February 15)

Verses

Scourged throughout with exceeding afflictions,
David stated affirming the Martyr Maior.

Saint Maior lived during the reigns of Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (286-305), and was a soldier under the Mauritanian regiment. While in the city of Gaza, he was accused to the ruler of being a Christian. Standing before the tribunal, he confessed to being a Christian, and for this he was continuously beaten for seven days with such vehemence, that thirty-six soldiers beat him one after another. Blood ran like a river from his body, so that it made the ground red. Bravely enduring such harsh punishment, the courageous contestant of Christ journeyed from the earthly military power to the heavenly military power, and delivered his soul into the hands of God, receiving from Him the crown of martyrdom.

Saint Anthimos of Chios Resource Page

St. Anthimos of Chios (Feast Day - February 15)

Saint Anthimos of Chios (+ 1960)

Spiritual Counsels of Saint Anthimos of Chios

A Prophecy of St. Nektarios of Aegina about St. Anthimos of Chios

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Prodigal Wife and the Faithful Husband (St. Paisios the Athonite)


 By St. Paisios the Athonite

A Greek-American doctor had once visited me. He was Orthodox, but didn’t have too much to do with religion. He didn’t even keep the fast on Fridays, nor did he go to church very often. He recently had an experience, and wanted to discuss it with someone. One evening, while he was praying in his apartment, the “heavens opened up”. He was flooded by light, and the ceiling disappeared, as did the other forty floors above his apartment. He remained in that flood of light for a very long time – he couldn’t even tell for how long!

The Church of Saint Nicholas of Ichthys in Psari, Corinth


The Holy New Martyr Nicholas was born around 1520 in Ichthys (or Psari), a village of Corinth. When Nicholas was twelve his parents John and Kali died from an unknown cause. As an orphan Nicholas joined some fellow villagers seeking a better life and went to Selybria of Eastern Thrace, near the city of Constantinople. There he married a Christian woman and bore children. His childhood poverty made him merciful towards the poor, whether they were Christians or Muslims. However, certain Muslims slandered him and accused him of ridiculing the Islamic faith, and this was reported to the ruler of Constantinople named Sinan, a relative of Suleiman the Magnificent. Brought before the ruler, Nicholas denied that he had ridiculed Islam, yet he still confessed his Orthodox Christian faith after being told to renounce it and embrace Islam or die. For this he was thrown in prison for four days without food or water, and on the fifth day the ruler had Nicholas bound throughout his body with chains. Then he was brought to a public place in Constantinople where a great fire was lit, and there he was slowly burned to death. This took place on Thursday, February 14, 1554.

A pious Christian recovered Saint Nicholas' sacred skull for a payment to the Turks, and he brought it to the Great Meteoron Monastery, where it is still kept today. Four years later, in 1558, Saint Damaskenos the Studite wrote his life and composed a service to the Holy Neomartyr. Unfortunately, however, this text and his memory became lost to history, until 1928 when a copy was discovered in the ruins of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Siamou, in Pindos, by Metropolitan Ezekiel of Thessaly (1874-1953). This Monastery had been one of the 420 monasteries in Greece destroyed by the Bavarian Protestants when Otto became King of Greece. News of this discovery was of particular interest to the residents of the small village of Psari in Corinth, where Saint Nicholas was born and raised, and they immediately claimed him as their patron.

In 1968 the residents of Psari built a church in honor of Saint Nicholas of Ichthys, although it was not consecrated until June 5, 1988 by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Corinth. On June 6, 1992 the skull of Saint Nicholas returned to his homeland in Psari from Great Meteoron Monastery, to the great joy of the faithful. A portion was left behind, while the rest of the skull was returned to Meteora. The interior of the church was decorated with iconography in 2006, among which depict the life story of Saint Nicholas. His memory is celebrated on February 14th and the Sunday after June 5th.

The Service of Saint Nicholas can be viewed here.


Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Being of like manner with the martyr athletes, and a champion of those in need, entreat the Master of all, to grant peace to the ecumene, and to our souls the great mercy.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the First Tone
Having accomplished your martyrdom well in the stadium, you were made worthy of the bright lot of martyrdom, and you grant to the faithful heavenly grace. Wherefore your beautiful fatherland, is glad in you, Neomartyr Nicholas, do save us from all our needs, through your intercessions O Saint.













Saint Auxentios of the Mountain (+ 470)

St. Auxentios of Mount Auxentios in Bithynia (Feast Day - February 14)

Verses

The mountain of Auxentios is like Carmel,
Where he appeared like Elias save for death.
On the fourteenth Auxentios shed this life.

Saint Auxentios was of Persian parentage but born in Syria, where his father had emigrated during the persecution of Shapur II. He came to Constantinople in the reign of Theodosius II (408-50) and obtained a commission in the imperial guard. Held in high-regard by the Emperor and by all his contemporaries on account of his piety and integrity, he enjoyed the friendship of men illustrious for their virtues and ascesis including Saint Marcian -- the future Steward of the Great Church (10 Jan.) -- Anthimos and Sittas, with whom he spent his days in fasting and prayer and nights in vigils, their faces wet with tears. They participated as often as they could in vigils at the Church of Saint Irene, which had been built by Saint Marcian, and they frequently went to the Hebdomon district to receive the counsels of John, a well-known stylite.

Saint Isaac the Recluse and Fool for Christ of the Kiev Caves (+ 1090)

St. Isaac the Recluse of the Kiev Caves Lavra (Feast Day - February 14)

Saint Isaac was the first person in northern lands to live as a fool for Christ. He died in the year 1090. His relics rest in the Kiev Caves of Saint Anthony, and part of them were transferred to Toropets by the abbot of Kudin Monastery in the year 1711. The Life of the Blessed Isaac was recorded by Saint Nestor in the Chronicles (under the year 1074). The account in the Kiev Caves Paterikon differs somewhat from that of Saint Nestor. Below is the account of Saint Nestor.

By St. Nestor the Chronicler

There was also another monk named Isaac. While still in the world, he was very rich, since in the secular life he was by birth a merchant of Toropets. But he resolved to become a monk, and distributed his fortune to the needy and to the monasteries. He then approached the great Anthony in the crypt, and besought him to receive him into the order. Anthony accepted him, and put upon him the monastic habit, calling him Isaac, for his secular name was Chern. Isaac adopted an ascetic mode of life. He wrapped himself in a hair-shirt, then caused a goat to be brought, flayed it, and put on the skin over his hair-shirt, so that the flesh hide dried upon him. He shut himself up in a lonely gallery of the crypt in a narrow cell only four ells across, and there lamented and prayed to God. His sustenance was one prosphoron, and that only once a day, and he drank but moderately of water. The great Anthony carried it to him, and passed it in to him by a little window through which he inserted his arm. Thus Isaac received his food. He subsisted thus for seven years without seeing the light of day or even lying down upon his side, for he snatched what sleep he could in a sitting posture.

Holy New Martyr George the Tailor, Also Called Paizan, of Mytilene (+ 1693)

St. George the Paizan of Lesvos (Feast Day - February 14)

Verses

Who is this other George that exists again?
He was made a new martyr. O the bravery!

The Holy New Martyr George, who is also called Paizan, was born on the island of Lesvos, in the village of Plagia near the town of Plomari. He was a tailor by trade in Constantinople. For unknown reasons he was put to death in Constantinople on the 14th of February in 1693, because he refused to abandon his Orthodox Christian faith and submit to Islam.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Synaxarion of our Holy Father Martinian of Caesarea

Sts. Martinian, Zoe and Photini (Feast Day - February 13)

Verses

Martinian quenched the flame of the flesh,
Having departed he came to an end though his flame did not end.
On the thirteenth Martinian stripped off his body.

Saint Martinian was from Caesarea in Palestine, and lived during the reign of Theodosius the Younger (408-450). When he arrived at eighteen years of age, he began his ascetic life, and could be found in deserted places and mountains. Having spent twenty-five years in withdrawal and quietude, then, after being tried through various other temptations, he was also tried with the following by the wicked devil. A certain harlot through the actions of the enemy, was moved to wear garments of poverty, and she went to that mountain where the Saint dwelt. When it was evening the defiled one bewailed that she supposedly lost her path, and if she remained outside wild beasts would devour her. Therefore she begged the Saint to receive her into his cell, and not leave her to become food for the beasts. The Saint was unable to ignore her on account of her need, so he received her into the outer section of his cell, while he went into the interior.

Synaxarion of the Holy Apostles and Martyrs Aquila and Priscilla of the Seventy

Sts. Aquila and Priscilla (Feast Day - February 13)

Verses

For February 13
The beheading of a woman, Aquila saw,
Does she not behave manly, approaching beheading like a man?

For July 14
Paul laid out his words like a net,
Catching as prey divine Aquila.
On the fourteenth Aquila was hidden in a grave.

Saint Eulogios of Alexandria as a Model for our Lives

St. Eulogios of Alexandria (Feast Day - February 13)

By Archimandrite Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Eulogios, Archbishop of Alexandria, was from Syria and served in Antioch as Presbyter and as Abbot of the Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos. He lived from the mid-sixth to early seventh century, during the reigns of Emperors Tiberius I the Thracian (578-582), Maurice (582-602) and Phokas (602-610). He came to the throne of the Church of Alexandria in 571, according to others in 579, and served as hierarch until 607. He was the predecessor of Saint John the Merciful. Not only did he perform many miracles after his repose, but also while he lived. When Saint Leo, Pope of Rome, sent his legendary epistle of Orthodoxy to the Fourth Ecumenical Synod, which had gathered in Chalcedon, Saint Eulogios praised it and proclaimed everywhere the content of the epistle. Then an Angel of the Lord appeared to Saint Eulogios in the form of the Archdeacon of Pope Leo, who thanked him for accepting the content of the epistle. The Saint thought he was conversing with the Archdeacon, however, when the Angel disappeared in front of him, then he realized what took place and glorified God. At the moment he thanked and glorified God he delivered to Him his holy soul.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sermon on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son


By George Patronos

Introduction

The Parable of the Prodigal Son, which is the Gospel reading for today, is, as is well-known, one of the most beautiful texts of world literature.

It also recalls for us the classical narrative, from Greek mythology, of the adventure of Odysseus who left Ithaca in order to become a man and wiser than before. This is to do with the eternal quest which people undertake, within time and history, leaving everything- certainty and security- to seek the unobtainable, the dream, and, in the end, made wiser by this experience of life, to return to their home and roots, where they eventually find rest.

This eternal myth was expressed so clearly and realistically by the two great traditions of the Mediterranean; by the poetic inspiration of Greek wisdom and the revelatory style of Jewish reflection. I think it’s worth paying particular attention to the iconographic tradition of the prodigal son, to see how this productive adventure unfolds before us: in the beginning it seems negative, but in the end it appears to be inevitable and necessary, so that people, in their existential restlessness shouldn’t be lost, but achieve, in the end, their desired spiritual coming-of-age and maturation.


On The Parable Of The Prodigal Son (St. John Maximovitch)


By St. John Maximovitch

"And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that fall to me'" (Luke 15:11-32).

The parable of the Prodigal Son is a most instructive lesson for youth. We see in the prodigal son the true character of flighty youth: light-minded, thoughtless, thirsting for independence; in short, everything that usually distinguishes the majority of youths.

The younger son grew up in his parents’ house. On reaching adolescence, he already began to imagine that life at home was too restrictive. It seemed unpleasant to him to live under his father’s rule and his mother’s watchful eye.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Finding of the Relics of Zechariah the Prophet

Finding of the Relics of the Prophet Zacharias (Feast Day - February 11)

Verses

Dead Zechariah was manifested in the earth,
Bounteously gushing forth living grace for the faithful.

By Sozomen the Historian

I shall first speak of the relics of the prophet. Caphar-Zechariah is a village of the territory of Eleutheropolis, a city of Palestine. The land of this district was cultivated by Calemerus, a serf; he was well disposed to the owner, but hard, discontented, and unjust towards his neighboring peasants. Although he possessed these defects of character, the prophet stood by him in a dream, and manifested himself. Pointing out a particular garden, he said to him, “Go, dig in that garden at the distance of two cubits from the hedge of the garden by the road leading to the city of Bitheribis. You will there find two coffins, the inner one of wood, the other of lead. Beside the coffins you will see a glass vessel full of water, and two serpents of moderate size, but tame, and perfectly innoxious, so that they seem to be used to being handled.”

Saint Theodora and the Icon Behind the Mirror


On the 11th of March in 843, the Empress Theodora restored the holy icons and thus ended the century-long period of iconoclasm.

On this occasion was established the annual celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy which takes place on the first Sunday of Great Lent, commemorating the restoration of holy icons and the victory of Orthodoxy over iconoclasm.

The Empress Theodora had married the fiercest pursuer of icons and relics, the Emperor Theophilos (829-842). His period of government was very strict. In that era frescoes in churches would be white-washed in order to eliminate holy figures.

Saint Theodora the Empress Resource Page

St. Theodora the Empress and Restorer of Orthodoxy (Feast Day - February 11)

Verses

Royal Theodora most-revered,
You were made worthy of the divine crown of Christ the King.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Relics of Saint Haralambos the Wonderworker


1. The largest portion of the skull of St. Haralambos is found in the Monastery of Saint Stephen at Meteora. We do not have much information how they came to acquire it, except that it was given to them by Prince Vladislav II of Wallachia (allegedly given in either 1398, 1412 or 1413, although Vladislav II reigned 1447-1456). How the Wallachians came to acquire it is not known, but two dependencies were also given to the Monastery in Wallachia.

Holy Martyrs Ennatha, Valentina and Paul of Caesarea

Sts. Ennatha, Valentina and Paul (Feast Day - February 10)

Verses

To Ennatha and Valentina
In the place of engagement the two virgin maidens,
Were given courage by the Bridegroom towards the flames.

To Paul
Paul the friend of Christ,
With longing for Christ is decapitated at the neck.

The History of the Martyrs in Palestine

By Eusebius of Caesarea

The Confession of Paul, Valentina and Ennatha

In the Sixth Year of the Persecution of our Days in Caesarea (308-9 A.D.)

Saint Scholastica of Nursia, Sister of Saint Benedict

St. Scholastica of Nursia (Feast Day - February 10)

All that we know about Saint Scholastica comes from Saint Gregory the Dialogist (Dialogues, Bk. 2, Chs. 33-34). We learn that she was the twin sister of Saint Benedict (Mar. 14), born around 480 in Nursia of Italy, and she was consecrated to God at an early age. Under her brother’s direction, she founded and governed a large convent near Monte Casino outside Plombariola, about five miles south. They were very close, and each year she would meet with her brother to discuss spiritual matters, which ended in the evening with a frugal meal together. This meeting would take place in a little house situated between his monastery and hers. The reason for this is because women were not permitted in his monastery, and men were not permitted in hers. She died about the year 543. Saint Benedict had her body placed in the tomb he had prepared for himself and made arrangement for his own body to also be placed there after his repose.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Period of the Solemn Triodion


By P.B. Paschou

The faithful of the Orthodox Church await with great joy and nostalgia every year the solemn Triodion. Fasting, temperance, repentance and spiritual joyful-sorrow are the experiences of the Orthodox, who are refreshed and renewed by the liturgical cycle of the feasts of the Triodion. We sense the roots of our tradition nourishing us and irrigating us with devoutness and holiness, much more so in the period of the Triodion.

Whoever studies carefully the Triodion, will see with how much wisdom is its whole harmonious architecture from the Holy Fathers. One cannot find perhaps a better path for the Orthodox Christian to arrive at Pascha than from the Triodion - not just as a passenger through time, but like a pious pilgrim of the Passion and Resurrection. And this is why: its constitution is dictated by the general principal, that the Triodion is a ladder for the believer, on which the last step brings us to the bright atmosphere of the luminous Resurrection of the Lord.

On the Old Testament Command of Hatred and the New Testament Command of Love


By St. John Chrysostom

(From Homily 33 on 1 Corinthians)

1 Corinthians 13:8

"Love never fails."

What means, "never fails?" It is not severed, is not dissolved by endurance. For it puts up with everything, since whatever happens will happen, he that loves never can hate. This then is the greatest of its excellencies.

Such a person was Paul. Wherefore also he said, "If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh" (Romans 11:14); and he continued hoping. And to Timothy he gave a charge, saying, "And the Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all ... in meekness correcting those that oppose themselves, if God perhaps may give them the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

On the Passion of Suspicion


By Elder Daniel Katounakiotis

Suspicion in time of peace teaches disturbance and misunderstanding. Suspicion never knows the truth, even if the eyes see the truth and circumstances speak of kindness and love. Suspicion distorts everything and persuades its lover to be convinced of a lie rather than of a truth of what he sees.

Suspicion is a false and grotesque photographer, who in photographing distorts the image of the form before him....

When temptations occur to one who suffers from suspicion, whether from men or from God for his correction, or from natural coincidences, he assumes that such or such a person instigated them, freely censuring the one who is not responsible....

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Two Miracles of Saint Theodore the Stratelates Against the Rus in the 10th Century


1. Against the Rus in 941

The celebrated appearances of Theodore Stratelates in battles against the Rus are discussed in various historical writings. The Saint's first appearance, in 941 under Romanos Lekapenos, is recounted in the Life of Basil the Younger. Although this is a work of hagiography, it includes detailed descriptions of a number of historical events from the early to mid tenth century and seems to have been written by a contemporary.

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Martha, Mary and Lykarion


On the eighth day of this month [February], we commemorate the Holy Martyrs and Sisters Martha and Mary, together with the Venerable Lykarion.

Verses

To Martha and Mary
Having passed through the same womb into the light,
Martha and Mary are deprived of the light by the sword.

To Lykarion
Lykarion received a double crown,
Both as a Venerable and Athlete of the Lord.

Saints Philadelphos and Polykarpos


Verses

Philadelphos and Polykarpos,
Were friends till the end of their lives.

Saints Philadelphos and Polykarpos are commemorated together on both October 25th and February 8th with the same iambic verses. However, on October 25th the Synaxarion says they reposed in peace, while on February 8th it says they died as martyrs. The Menologion of Basil II for February 8th confirms that Saint Philadelphos was a martyr, though it says nothing of Saint Polykarpos.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Holy One Thousand and Three Martyrs at Nicomedia

Holy 1,003 Martyrs of Nicomedia (Feast Day - February 7)

Verses

Numerous wounds were given to the one thousand and three,
Through death by the sword they seized the grace of Christ.

These Holy Martyrs were servants of the four tribunes that had captured the Holy Hieromartyr Peter of Alexandria (Nov. 24), who was beheaded under imperial orders. Following his martyrdom, these four tribunes believed in Christ together with their entire households, and they were martyred.

Saint Aprion, Bishop of Cyprus

St. Aprion of Cyprus (Feast Day - February 7)

Verses

Christ calls you, hasten to go Aprion,
Towards the prize of the allotment above.

Our Holy Father Aprion, Bishop of Cyprus, reposed in peace.


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