Sunday, February 18, 2018

Homily on Forgiveness Sunday (St. John of Kronstadt)


By St. John of Kronstadt

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses, says the Lord" (Matt. 6:14-15).

This Sunday is called Forgiveness Sunday, because today the Church directs us to read the Gospel teaching us to forgive the transgressions of others so that our heavenly Father might also forgive us our innumerable transgressions. For that reason, from the ancient times, among the pious Christians there has been a custom, in this day, and during any day of the Cheesefare week, to ask forgiveness from each other, in those things in which they may have sinned one against another. This is a beautiful, truly Christian custom, for who does not sin against his neighbor in word, deed, or thought; and asking forgiveness from another person proves our faith in Gospel, our humility, our meekness and love of peace; on the contrary, the unwillingness to ask forgiveness from those, before whom we are really guilty, reveals in the one who is unwilling to make peace, a lack of faith, pride, conceit, remembrance of evil, disobedience to the Gospel, resistance to God, agreement with the devil. Whereas we all are children of our heavenly Father by grace, members of Christ God, members of one body of the Church, which is His body, and members of one another; God is love 1), and more than any whole-burnt offerings and sacrifices, requires from us mutual love, that love, which is "long-suffering and kind, does not envy, does not make a vain display of itself, does not boast, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not over iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails" 2). The entire Law of God consists of two words: love God and love your neighbor. With all that, the human heart is extremely selfish, impatient, self-willed, malicious and remembering of evil: it is ready to get angry at its neighbor not only for a direct evil, but also for an imaginary one, not only for an offensive word, but also for an unpleasant, or a harsh one, or even for a look, which appeared bad, or ambiguous, malicious, prideful, it almost gets angry even at the imagined thoughts of those around it. The Lord, Who sees the hearts, thus says of a human heart: "from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness" 3).

Homily for Cheesefare Sunday (St. Ignatius Brianchaninov)


By St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Beloved brethren! We have already reached the very gates of the holy fast! They are even now about to open before us! Already, according to the typicon of the Holy Church, we hear the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ read to us today in the Holy Gospels about the correct way to begin the podvig of fasting.

Forgiveness Day! Heavenly Day! (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14–15). What a simple and handy means of salvation! Your trespasses are forgiven under the condition that you forgive the trespasses of your neighbor against you. This means that you are in your own hands. Force yourself to pass from agitated feelings toward your brother to truly peaceful feelings — and that is all. Forgiveness day — what a great heavenly day of God this is! If all of us used it as we ought, this day would make Christian societies into heavenly societies, and the earth would merge with heaven.


On Those Who Do Not Accept Our Forgiveness (Abba Poemen)


Abba Betimius asked Abba Poemen, saying, "If a man be angry with me, and I express my contrition, and he will not accept it, what am I to do ?" The old man said unto him, "Take with you two of your friends, and express your contrition in their presence." And the old man Betimius said unto him, "And if he will not be persuaded to accept it then?" And Abba Poemen answered and said, "Take with you five others." And Abba Betimius answered and said, "And if he will not be persuaded by these?" Abba Poemen said, "Then take with you a priest." And Abba Betimius said, "And if he will not be persuaded then?" Abba Poemen said unto him, "Without anger and without excitement pray unto God that he may put into his mind the desire for peace, and straightway you shall have no further care." 


Cheesefare Resource Page


Verses

Let the world lament bitterly with our first ancestors,
For it fell together with those who fell by a sweet repast.

Cheesefare Week

Cheesefare Week

How To Spend Cheesefare Week

Why Only No Meat During Cheesefare Week?

Homily for the Wednesday of Cheesefare (St. Theodore the Studite)

Homily for the Friday of Cheesefare (St. Theodore the Studite)

Saturday of Cheesefare Resource Page

Saturday of Souls Resource Page


Saints and Feasts of February 18


On the eighteenth Leo released his soul.

Saint Leo, Pope of Rome

Saint Leo the Great Resource Page


Saint Agapetos, Bishop of Synaus

Synaxarion of Saint Agapetos, Bishop of Synaus


Saints and Feasts of the Third Sunday of February


Feast of the Corinthian Co-workers of the Apostle Paul:
Titius, Justus, Chloe and Crispus

Feast of the Corinthian Co-workers of the Apostle Paul: Titius, Justus, Chloe and Crispus


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saint Mariamne, Sister of Saint Philip the Apostle

St. Mariamne, Sister of St. Philip the Apostle (Feast Day - February 17)

Verses

Having departed the earth as a virgin,
Mariamne sees Christ of Mary the Virgin.

After the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostle Philip went with the Holy Apostle Bartholomew and his sister Mariamne to Hierapolis in Phrygia. Along the way they met Saint John the Theologian in Lydia. In Hierapolis the inhabitants worshiped vipers and serpents, in particular one large viper which was killed through the prayers of John, Philip and Mariamne. After this Saint John went on his way, while Philip, Bartholomew and Mariamne diligently worked to vanquish the gloom of idolatry from Hierapolis. Many were baptized, and a bishop and presbyters were ordained. The sick and the demonized were also healed through the grace possessed by the Saints. Having healed the blind man Stachys, he allowed them to stay in his home.

Saint Theosteriktos, Abbot of Symboloi Monastery

St. Theosteriktos of Symboloi (Feast Day - November 10 and February 17)

Verses

Having God as your firm base Theosteriktos,
You have shown to be supported by God in your works.

Our Venerable Father Theosteriktos served as abbot of the Monastery of Symboloi (Symbola) in Bithynia at Mount Olympus. There he had two renowned disciples, Saint Timothy (Feb. 21) and Saint Plato (Apr. 4); the latter was the uncle of Saint Theodore the Studite and after succeeding Theosteriktos as abbot at Symboloi he went on to establish Sakkoudion Monastery in 781, where Theodore began his monastic career. The Monastery of Symboloi was known for its strong stance against Iconoclasm. Saint Theosteriktos reposed in peace. In his icon scroll it reads: "Longing for God wipes away longing for parents." He is commemorated on both November 10 and February 17.


Holy New Hieromartyr Theodore of Adjara (+ 1822)

St. Theodore of Adjara (Feast Day - February 17)

Holy Hieromartyr Theodore of Adjara belongs to the glorious multitude of Adjaran faithful who were martyred at the hands of the Ottomans.

Saint Theodore was born in the late 18th century. At that time the Ottoman invaders had nearly completed the forced Islamization of the Adjara region. They had already annihilated those who resisted the conversion and were beginning to evict those who, in spite of their apparent acceptance of Islam, continued to “arouse suspicions.” Some abandoned their native region and fled to foreign lands.

Holy Hieromartyr Hermogenes the Wonderworker, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (+ 1612)

St. Hermogenes of Moscow (Feast Day - February 17)

The Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus, was born in Kazan around 1530, and was descended from the Don Cossacks. According to the Patriarch’s own testimony, he served as priest in Kazan in a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, near the Kazan bazaar. Soon he became a monk, and from 1582 was archimandrite of the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery at Kazan. On May 13, 1589 he was consecrated bishop and became the first Metropolitan of Kazan.

Saturday of Cheesefare Resource Page

Commemoration of All Who Struggled in Asceticism (Feast Day - Saturday of Cheesefare)

Verses

To the souls of the Venerables, whose memory abideth forever, 
Do I offer these my words as abiding oblations.

Synaxarion for the Saturday of Cheesefare

Saturday of Cheesefare: Commemoration Of All Ascetic Fathers and Mothers

Cheesefare Saturday: The Ascetic Fathers and Mothers

Saints and Feasts of February 17


On the seventeenth the Tiron was burned in fire.

Holy Great Martyr Theodore the Tiro

Holy Theodoroi Resource Page (Theodore the Stratelates and Theodore the Tiro)


Saint Mariamne, Sister of Saint Philip the Apostle

Saint Mariamne, Sister of Saint Philip the Apostle


Venerable Theosteriktos of Symboloi

Saint Theosteriktos, Abbot of Symboloi Monastery


Finding of the Sacred Relic of the 
Holy Martyr Menas the Kallikelados

Saints Menas the Kallikelados, Hermogenes and Eugraphos


Pious Emperors Marcian and Pulcheria

Saint Pulcheria, Empress of the Romans


Holy Hieromartyr Hermogenes the Wonderworker, 
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

Holy Hieromartyr Hermogenes the Wonderworker, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (+ 1612)


Holy New Martyr Theodore of Byzantium

Holy New Martyr Theodore of Byzantium (+ 1795)

St. Theodore of Byzantium and the Miraculous Deliverance of Mytilene from the Plague in 1832


Holy New Hieromartyr Theodore of Adjara

Holy New Hieromartyr Theodore of Adjara (+ 1822)


Synaxis of Panagia Dakrirooussa of Prophet Elias Skete

Panagia Dakrirooussa of the Prophet Elias Skete at Mount Athos


Friday, February 16, 2018

Synaxarion of Saint Flavian the Hermit and Wonderworker

St. Flavian the Wonderworker (Feast Day - February 16)

Verses

In this vain life having passed his time,
Flavian lives in eternal time.

Our Venerable Father Flavian went to the summit of a certain mountain, where he built a small cell, shutting himself therein, and there he spent sixty years, without ever speaking to anyone, nor being seen by anyone. Instead he inclined his nous into his heart, making himself like God, and there he received every form of consolation, according to the prophecy that says: "Take delight in the Lord, and He will grant you the requests of your heart" (Ps. 36/37:4). There he had a place a dug out, from which he could put out his hands in order to receive the food brought to him. That he may not be seen to those outside, that place was dug out slanted in a circular form. His food consisted of soaked legumes, which he only partook of once a week.

Saints and Feasts of February 16


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

Holy Martyr Pamphilos of Caesarea

Holy Martyr Pamphilos of Caesarea and his Companions


Holy Martyrs Valens, Paul and Seleucus

Holy Martyr Pamphilos of Caesarea and his Companions


Holy Martyrs Porphyrios and Julian

Holy Martyr Pamphilos of Caesarea and his Companions


Holy Martyr Theodoulos

Holy Martyr Pamphilos of Caesarea and his Companions


Holy Martyrs Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel and Daniel

Holy Martyr Pamphilos of Caesarea and his Companions


Holy Martyrs of Martyropolis

Saint Maruthas of Martyropolis and the Holy Martyrs of Persia Who Rest There


Venerable Maruthas, Who Founded the City of Martyropolis

Saint Maruthas of Martyropolis and the Holy Martyrs of Persia Who Rest There


Saint Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 449)

Saint Flavian and the Triumph of Orthodoxy in the Fifth Century


Venerable Flavian

Synaxarion of Saint Flavian the Hermit and Wonderworker


Holy New Venerable Martyr Romanos of Karpenesion

Holy New Martyr Romanos of Karpenesion (+ 1694)

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


Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Seven Great Letters of Saint Anthony the Great (Letter 6)


Letter VI

Antony to all the dear brethren who are at Arsinoe and in its neighbourhood, and to those who are with you, greeting. All you who have prepared yourselves to go to God, I greet you in the Lord, beloved, from the least to the greatest, both men and women, holy Israelite children in your intellectual substance. Truly, my children, great blessedness is come to you, for great is the grace that has been set upon you in this your generation. And it befits you, on account of Him who has visited you, not to grow weary in your striving, till you offer yourselves a sacrifice to God in all holiness, without which none can receive the inheritance.

Truly, my beloved, this is a great thing for you, that you should ask concerning the understanding of the intellectual substance, in which is neither male nor female, but it is an immortal substance, which has a beginning but no end. And you ought to know of it, that it has fallen altogether into humiliation and great disgrace, which has come upon all of us; yet it is an immortal substance, not to be dissolved with the body. For this cause God saw that its wound was incurable; and because it was so grave, He visited mankind in His clemency, and of His goodness after times had passed He delivered to them a Law, helping them through Moses the Lawgiver. And Moses founded for them the House of Truth, and wanted to heal that great wound, and could not complete the building of the house.

Saints and Feasts of February 15


On the fifteenth the legs of Onesimus were crushed.

Holy Apostle Onesimus

Synaxarion of the Holy Apostle Onesimus of the Seventy

Holy Apostle Onesimus as a Model for our Lives

Slavery and Saint Onesimus


Venerable Eusebius

Saint Eusebius the Hermit of Asikha


Holy Martyr Maior

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Maior of Gaza


Holy New Martyr John the Koulakiotis of Thessaloniki

Holy New Martyr John the Koulakiotis (+ 1776)


Venerable Anthimos Vagianos of Chios

Saint Anthimos of Chios Resource Page


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Venerable Abraham of Cyrus as a Model for our Lives


By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Venerable Abraham lived in the fifth century, specifically during the reign of the Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great. He was born in Cyrus of Syria, where he was also raised and lived in asceticism as a monk. After many years of asceticism he went to a village where pagans lived in order to teach them the true faith. However, when he began to speak to them about Christ and His Church, the pagans arrested him and buried him in dirt up to his head. They then removed him and ordered him to go far away. As he was about to go away tax-collectors came and demanded of the inhabitants the royal tax, and those unable to pay were beaten mercilessly. Venerable Abraham felt sorry for them, and after he had consulted with the tax collectors, he gathered money and made a payment in the name of those who were unable to pay. When the tax collectors left, the villagers, who were amazed by his forbearance and philanthropy, fell at his feet and begged him for forgiveness and to stay with them. He forgave them, catechized them and baptized them, and he remained with them for three years making them firm in the faith. Then, after he had built them a sacred church and provided for them a priest, he withdrew to his ascetic cell.

Saint Valentine Resource Page

St. Valentine the Presbyter of Rome (Feast Day - February 14 and July 6)

The Orthodox Saint Valentine

The Oldest Image of Saint Valentine

Holy Hieromartyr Valentine, Bishop of Interamna

Does Valentine's Day Have Pagan Origins?

The Oldest Image of Saint Valentine


Located at the foot of the Palatine Hill, Santa Maria Antiqua (or Ancient Church of Saint Mary) is the oldest Christian church in the Roman Forum dating to the 5th century. The church contains a unique collection of wall paintings from the 6th to late 8th century. Rome changed hands multiple times during Santa Maria Antiqua's use. The defeat of the Western Roman Empire by the Goths in the fifth century gave way to Eastern Roman or Byzantine and Lombard influence in the late fifth to mid eighth centuries. Artists from the Greek community surrounding the church had local influence, and there was also a Byzantine administration operating atop the Palatine Hill, at the base of which is Santa Maria Antiqua, which probably served as their chapel. This continual change in influences is thought to be a determining factor in the different styles in this church. Influences can also be traced through remaining inscriptions: Greek in Pope Martin I's (649-653) decorations, Greek and Latin in Pope John VII's (705-707) and completely Latin in Pope Paul I's (757-767). In the course of more than three centuries, up to the year 847, when an earthquake devastated the Palatine causing landslides that buried the church, Santa Maria Antiqua was enriched by extraordinary pictorial cycles, some in overlapping layers, becoming a repository of iconographic treasures among the most important of the early Middle Ages.

Holy New Hieromartyr Nicholas of Trebizond (+ 1920)


Verses

Nicholas shepherded well his flock while alive,
For he did not wish to abandon them to difficulties.

The New Venerable Martyr Nicholas was from Trebizond of Pontus, and at a young age went and settled with his parents in the small town of Katigogi, in the regions of Amasea and Amisos. At the age of eighteen he disguised himself to flee his siblings in order to go to a monastery in Jerusalem, for he exceedingly burned with longing for the monastic life. However he did not manage to accomplish this, so his siblings forced him to marry. Soon after his wife died, leaving him alone with two children, but one died of an illness and the other was taken by a relative to care for. Now alone, he was able to fulfill his spiritual longing.

Saint Hilarion the New of Georgia (+ 1864)

St. Hilarion the New of Georgia (Feast Day - February 14)

Verses

Hilarion the tower of prayer,
Crushed the heads of the demons.

Holy Hieromonk Hilarion the Georgian (Ise Qanchaveli in the world) was born in 1776 in the village of Losiantkhevi, in the Shorapani district of Kutaisi in Georgia. His parents, Khakhuli and Mariam Qanchaveli, were pious and God-fearing nobles.

According to God’s will, Ise’s uncle, the hermit Hierodeacon Stepane, took his six-year-old nephew into his care. When Stepane reposed, Ise moved to Tabakini Monastery, but learning that a seminary had opened in Tbilisi, he set off for it. On his way he visited a certain Bishop Athanasios of Nikozi to receive his blessing, but the bishop, delighted by the youth’s fervent prayers, advised him to return home to his family: “My son, you will learn much more in the wilderness than you ever could in the classroom. Return home, and the Lord, having instructed you in prayer, will lead you on a path that will serve your people and the Church.”

Saints and Feasts of February 14


On the fourteenth Auxentios shed this life.

Venerable Auxentios of the Mountain

Saint Auxentios of the Mountain (+ 470)


Venerable Maron

Saint Maron of Cyrus


Venerable Abraham, Bishop of Carrhae

Saint Abraham, Bishop of Carrhae

Venerable Abraham of Cyrus as a Model for our Lives


Saint Philemon, Bishop of Gaza

Saint Philemon, Bishop of Gaza


Holy Hieromartyr Valentine, Presbyter of Rome

Saint Valentine Resource Page


Holy Hieromartyr Valentine, Bishop of Interamna

Holy Hieromartyr Valentine, Bishop of Interamna

Saint Valentine Resource Page


Holy Twelve Greeks Who Built 
the Dormition Cathedral in the Kiev Caves

12 Greeks Who Built the Dormition Cathedral in the Kiev Caves


Venerable Isaac the Recluse and Fool for Christ 
of the Kiev Caves

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


Holy New Martyr Nicholas of Ichthys in Corinth

Holy Newly-Revealed New Martyr Nicholas of Ichthys in Corinth (+ 1554)

The Church of Saint Nicholas of Ichthys in Psari of Corinth


Holy New Martyr Damian the New

Holy New Martyr Damian the New (+ 1568)


Holy New Martyr George the Tailor, 
Also Called Paizan, of Mytilene

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


Holy Hieroschemamonk Hilarion the New of Georgia

Saint Hilarion the New of Georgia (+ 1864)


Holy New Hieromartyr Nicholas of Trebizond

Holy New Hieromartyr Nicholas of Trebizond (+ 1920)


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Queen Marie of Romania, the First Woman to Enter the Great Meteoron at Meteora


Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) was "one of the world’s most celebrated royals” and ”the Princess Di of her day”, as People magazine called her in 1985.

Among her achievements, one can count being the very first royal woman to appear on the cover of Time magazine (the cover of 4th of August, 1924), the first woman to be appointed corresponding member of the French Academy of Beaux Arts, and the first woman to ever reach the Great Meteoron Monastery.

Saint Seraphim (Sobolev), Archbishop of Bogucharsk and Wonderworker of Sofia (+ 1950)


By Archimandrite Panteleimon (Staritsky)

"From my mother’s womb
 Thou art my Protector." (Ps. 70:6)

The age-old enemy of our salvation, as if sensing in advance what a powerful and implacable adversary he would have in the person of Vladyka Seraphim, tried to destroy him while still in his mother’s womb. She had an extremely difficult and painful labor, and the doctors determined it would be necessary to operate-to extract the infant piece by piece in order to save the mother’s life. At this moment she regained consciousness and, on learning of the doctor’s decision, with an oath forbade her husband to permit the murder of her child. The next morning, at the first stroke of the church bell on December 1, 1881, she successfully gave birth without any outside help. When she saw the baby, she exclaimed, “Oh, what a serious mukhtar!” The infant was named Nicholas in honor of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, but his family sometimes called him “mukhtar,” an apparently senseless word which he disliked terribly. Years later, Bishop Nestor of Manchuria visited Vladyka Seraphim in Sofia. He presented him with a book of his memoirs, in which, in the chapter about his visit to Jerusalem, it said that the word mukhtar means “bishop” in Arabic. And so, not realizing it herself, his mother had foretold the destiny of her newborn child.

The Miraculous Vine of Saint Symeon the Myrrhgusher at Hilandar Monastery


Although they had been blessed with children, the most-pious Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of Serbia and his wife Anna, after twenty-five years of marriage, in ca. 1175, desired another child. However, Anna was sick and was fifty years old, while Stefan was sixty-one, but with faith in God they prayed for this with tears and fasting. The Lord hearkened to the imperial couple and granted them a third child, whose name was Rastko at baptism, but later became the famed Saint Sava of Serbia. After the conception of this beautiful child, the imperial couple did not have marital relations, since they had promised God that they would remain in chastity to the end of their lives.

Saints and Feasts of February 13


On the thirteenth Martinian stripped off his body.

Venerable Martinian

Synaxarion of our Holy Father Martinian of Caesarea

Saint Martinian With Zoe and Photini


Holy Apostles and Martyrs Aquila and Priscilla

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

Saints Priscilla and Aquila as Models for our Lives


Saint Eulogios, Archbishop of Alexandria

Saint Eulogios, Archbishop of Alexandria (+ 607)

Saint Eulogios of Alexandria as a Model for our Lives


Venerable Symeon, Founder of Hilandar Monastery 
at the Holy Mountain

Saint Symeon the Myrrhgusher of Serbia

The Miraculous Vine of Saint Symeon the Myrrhgusher at Hilandar Monastery


Saint Seraphim (Sobolev), Archbishop of Boguchar

Saint Seraphim (Sobolev), Archbishop of Bogucharsk and Wonderworker of Sofia (+ 1950)

Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) is Canonized


Monday, February 12, 2018

Saint Anthony II Kauleas, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 901)

St. Anthony II Kauleas of Constantinople (Feast Day - February 12)

Our Holy Father Anthony was born in 829 near Constantinople into a noble family that had moved to the countryside near Constantinople from Phrygia to escape the persecution of the Iconoclasts. Anthony became a monk at a monastery in Constantinople when he was twelve years old. He eventually became the abbot of the monastery, earning a reputation for assistance to the poor. After the restoration of Patriarch Ignatios in 867, Anthony contributed to the reconciliation between the supporters of Patriarchs Photios and Ignatios, both of whom were pursuing the same policies. He came to the attention of Stylianos Zaoutzes, the powerful minister of Roman Emperor Leo VI the Wise, who had ascended to the throne in 886. Anthony supported Leo against Patriarch Photios when Leo replaced Photios with his younger brother Stephen I. Upon the death of Patriarch Stephen I, Anthony was appointed by Leo as Patriarch of Constantinople in 893.

Saint Meletios, Archbishop of Antioch (+ 381)

St. Meletios of Antioch (Feast Day - February 12)

Verses

As the Lord grasped the hands of Meletios,
"I surrender my soul into Your hands" he said.
On the twelfth Meletios entered the all-nourishing earth.

This holy Father, who was from Meletine of Armenia, was a blameless man, just, reverent, sincere, and most gentle. Because he was exceedingly virtuous and possessed pure love in Christ, he was consecrated Bishop of Sebaste in 357. He was later banished from his throne by the Arians and departed for Beroea of Syria (this is the present-day Aleppo). After the Arian bishop of Antioch had been deposed, the Orthodox and the Arians each strove to have a man of like mind with themselves become the next Archbishop of Antioch. Meletios was highly esteemed by all, and since the Arians believed him to share their own opinion, they had him raised to the throne of Antioch in 360.

Saints and Feasts of February 12


On the twelfth Meletios entered the all-nourishing earth.

Saint Meletios, Archbishop of Antioch

Saint Meletios, Archbishop of Antioch (+ 381)

Funeral Oration to St. Meletios of Antioch (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Saint Meletios of Antioch as a Model for our Lives


Venerable Maria, who was renamed Marinos

Saint Maria of Alexandria, Also Known As Marinos


Saint Anthony II Kauleas, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Anthony II Kauleas, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 901)


Holy New Martyr Christos the Gardener

Holy New Martyr Christos the Gardener (+ 1748)


Venerable Meletios of Ypseni

Saint Meletios of Lardos, Founder of Ypseni Monastery (mid-late 19th cent.)


Sunday, February 11, 2018

History of the Third Sunday of the Triodion (Meatfare Sunday)


By John Sanidopoulos

What we know as the Triodion today with its fixed four Sundays prior to Great Lent began to be formed in the sixth century. Dorotheos of Gaza (c. 505-c. 565) informs us of the eighth week, now known as Cheesefare Week beginning with Meatfare Sunday, that was added to the original seven week period of fasting before Easter, as follows:

"The holy Apostles elected to consecrate out of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year, seven weeks of fasting, and so they ordained; but our Fathers, in their time, thought it advisable to add another week, both to train and better prepare themselves to enter on the labor of fasting and to honor with their fasting the holy number of forty days which our Lord fasted. The eight weeks, subtracting Saturdays and Sundays, makes forty days, but we honor Holy Saturday with a fast because it is a very holy day and the only Saturday fast of the year."

Homily on the Second Coming of Christ (St. Ignatius Brianchaninov)


By St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

"The Son of man shall come in His glory." (Mt. 25:31)

Beloved brethren! Not long ago, we beheld our Lord Jesus Christ born in the manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in the cradle, having taken upon Himself with His humanity all human weakness other than sin. Not long ago, we beheld Him persecuted by Herod, fleeing from the murderer’s sword to Egypt, returning to Judea, not daring to remain there, moving to Nazareth—a poor and unimportant town in inglorious Galilee, receiving baptism on the level of those who needed baptism, preaching repentance and the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. We beheld this not long ago, and we are preparing ourselves for a new, utterly astounding sight. In order to become worthy of this sight to the extent possible for humans, we intend to pre-purify our spiritual eyes — our mind and heart — through the podvig of fasting. We intend to refine through the podvig of fasting our own flesh, so that this veil which covers our spiritual nature would not be excessively thick and impenetrable, not prevent us from beholding with the required purity, faith, and contrition our Savior Who is crucified for us, Who has destroyed on the cross the wall of division between us and God (cf. Eph. 2:14). And a terrifying, most formidable sight also awaits us: the second coming to earth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can behold the first coming in pious remembrance, while the second coming has been represented to us by the Word of God in a picture of graphic eloquence and power. This picture can salvifically shake our souls with fear of God, arouse us from our deep negligence over our eternal lot, as from a lethargic sleep brought upon us by our fleshly life. "The Son of man shall come in His glory."

Homily on Christ's Second Coming (St. Gregory Palamas)


HOMILY FOUR

On the Gospel Passage Describing Christ's Second Coming 
and on Compassion and Doing Good

By St. Gregory Palamas

1. Last Sunday through the parable of the prodigal who was saved, the Church commemorated God’s incomparable love for mankind. This Sunday it teaches us about His terrifying Judgment to come, following the right order and in accordance with the prophetic sayings: “I will sing of mercy and of judgment” (Ps. 101:1), and, “God hath spoken once: twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his works” (Ps. 62:11-12).

Two Homilies on the Last Judgement (St. John of Kronstadt)


HOMILY ONE

A Christian Ending is a Reward for true Christians

By St. John of Kronstadt

"I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who will come in glory to judge the living and the dead." (7th article of the Symbol of Faith)

Who says these words? Every Christian does. Well, if every Christian says these words, then, without a doubt, so do I, and each and every one of you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, do you sincerely believe that Jesus Christ, the Righteous Judge of all those born on this earth, will come to judge the living and the dead, who will all be resurrected and receive either eternal blessedness or eternal damnation? Are you ready to meet the Judge of all and to give an answer at the terrible judgment seat of Christ for your every word and deed? Do you have any good deeds? Why do I keep asking? From the lives and deeds of Christians it is evident that they have long forgotten about the Righteous Judge, about the terrible judgment, about eternal life, and that with each passing day they rush toward eternal perdition, which they cannot even imagine. They hurry to receive their consolation here on earth, in order to be deprived of it in eternity, in heaven. They are more concerned with how to kill precious time, how to spend time in a pleasant way; but no one is concerned with how to spend time for the benefit of the soul, no one is concerned about preparing their outside work. Making it fit for themselves in the field (Prov 24:27).

Meatfare Resource Page


Verses

When Thou, O Judge of all, shalt sit to judge the earth,
Mayest Thou judge me, too, worthy to hear Thee say, “Come hither.”

Meatfare Week

Tsiknopempti - "Barbecue Thursday"

Homily for the Friday of Meatfare (St. Theodore the Studite)

Saturday of Souls Resource Page


Meatfare Sunday

Synaxarion for Meatfare Sunday

History of the Third Sunday of the Triodion (Meatfare Sunday)

Saints and Feasts of February 11


On the eleventh Blaise was decapitated at the neck by an unyielding sword.

Holy Hieromartyr Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste

Holy Hieromartyr Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste, and Those With Him

The Holy Monastery of Saint Vlasios in Trikala of Corinth


Holy Two Children Martyrs

Holy Hieromartyr Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste, and Those With Him


Holy Seven Female Martyrs

Holy Hieromartyr Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste, and Those With Him


Holy Empress Theodora, Who Restored Orthodoxy

Saint Theodora the Empress Resource Page


Finding of the Relics of the Holy Prophet Zechariah, 
Father of John the Forerunner

The Finding of the Relics of Zechariah the Prophet

Byzantine Church Found In Israel May Be Tomb of Prophet Zechariah


Venerable Gregory of Sinai

Saint Gregory of Sinai Resource Page


Saints and Feasts of the Second Sunday of February


Commemoration of the 383 God-bearing Fathers 
of the Eighth Ecumenical Synod in 879-880

The Myth of Only Seven Ecumenical Councils

What are the Criteria for an Ecumenical Synod?

Photios the Great and the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (1 of 7)

Photios the Great and the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (2 of 7)

Photios the Great and the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (3 of 7)

Photios the Great and the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (4 of 7)

Photios the Great and the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (5 of 7)

Photios the Great and the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (6 of 7)

Photios the Great and the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (7 of 7)

Critique of Francis Dvornik's "The Photian Schism"

An Official Recognition of the 8th and 9th Ecumenical Synods

Serbian Church Proposes for the Recognition of the 8th and 9th Ecumenical Synods

The Ecclesiology of the Holy and Great Synod

Saint Photios the Great Resource Page


Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Repose of Elder Nektarios Vitalis (February 8, 2018), Who Was Healed by Saint Nektarios


On Thursday, February 8, 2018, at 5:30 AM, the renowned elder and spiritual father Nektarios Vitalis, the elder of Saint Athanasius Monastery in Kouvaras, reposed in the Lord.

Elder Nektarios had been facing serious health problems lately, though he continued giving his blessing and counsel to hundreds of faithful daily. He was buried on February 9 at the Monastery of Saint Athanasius.

Commemoration of the Deliverance of Zakynthos from the Plague by Saint Haralambos in 1728


Following the fall of various Venetian-occupied cities and forts in mainland Greece and the fall of Crete in 1669, Zakynthos became a key port for Venetian trade from and towards the Levant and Constantinople - where the Ottoman Turkish authorities lagged western Europe in disease prevention and control. Additionally, Zakynthos was only a short distance from the Peloponnese where again the Ottoman Turkish authorities were lax in enacting policies to prevent disease and building appropriate infrastructure to improve sanitary conditions and the health of the inhabitants of the area. Consequently, many merchants and sailors entered and exited the port of Zakynthos from Ottoman Turkish controlled ports - these merchants and sailors were sometimes unwilling to undergo the increasingly strict measures Zakynthos enacted to avoid plague, pestilence, cholera and other disease outbreaks. Therefore, the people of Zakynthos were at significant risk of being impacted by the plague, pestilence and other disease epidemics.

Saint Prochorus the Pigweed-Eater of the Kiev Caves (+ 1107)

St. Prochorus of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - February 10)

Saint Prochorus of the Kiev Caves Lavra was a native of Smolensk, and entered the Kiev Caves Monastery under the abbot John (1089-1103). He was a great ascetic of strict temperance. In place of bread he ate pigweed (or orach), and so he was called “pigweed-eater.” Every summer, he gathered pigweed and made enough bread from it to last him for a whole year. He also ate prosphora from church now and then, and his only drink was water. Seeing the patience of Saint Prochorus, God transformed the usual bitterness of the pigweed into sweetness.

Saints and Feasts of February 10


On the tenth, Haralambos, you were decapitated at the neck.

Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos the Wonderworker

Saint Haralambos Resource Page


Holy Martyrs Porphyrios and Baptos

Saint Haralambos Resource Page


Holy Three Female Martyrs

Saint Haralambos Resource Page


Holy Martyrs Ennatha, Valentina and Paul

Holy Martyrs Ennatha, Valentina and Paul of Caesarea


Saint Anastasios, Archbishop of Constantinople

Anastasios "of Constantinople": An Iconoclast Saint?


Venerable Zeno the Letter Carrier

Saint Zeno the Letter Carrier of Caesarea

Saint Zeno the Letter Carrier as a Model for our Lives


Saint Scholastica of Nursia, Sister of Saint Benedict

Saint Scholastica of Nursia, Sister of Saint Benedict


Saint Prochorus the Pigweed-Eater of the Kiev Caves

Saint Prochorus the Pigweed-Eater of the Kiev Caves (+ 1107)


Commemoration of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos the Areovindos

The Theotokos Areovindos (Fire-Appearing)


Commemoration of the Deliverance of Zakynthos 
from the Plague by Saint Haralambos (1728)

Commemoration of the Deliverance of Zakynthos from the Plague by Saint Haralambos in 1728


Friday, February 9, 2018

Holy Virgin Martyr Apollonia of Alexandria

St. Apollonia of Alexandria (Feast Day - October 30 & February 9)

Ecclesiastical historians have claimed that in the last years of Emperor Philip the Arabian (reigned 244–249), during festivities to commemorate the millennium of the founding of Rome (traditionally in 753 BC, putting the date about 248 AD), the fury of the Alexandrian mob rose to a great height, and when one of their poets prophesied a calamity, they committed bloody outrages on the Christians, whom the authorities made no effort to protect.

Venerable Maria of Olonets (+ 1860)


In the region of Novgorod, in the county of Staraya Rus, along the Lovat River, was a little village, Peredino. This was the native village of the Elder Isaiah (in schema, Ignatius),* who later became known even in Petersburg, who was the second founder of the St. Nicephorus Monastery on Vazhe Lake in Olonets, where the relics of Sts. Gennadius and Nicephorus repose, the disciples of St. Alexander of Svir.

The blessed Elder Isaiah, together with his brother Theodore (who was later the founder of the Hermitage of Anzersk), renounced the world in his youth and began his monastic labors on Mt. Athos. The third brother, Basil Sophronov, led a pious, labor-loving life in his peasant environment, under the instruction of the Elders and especially of his own brother Isaiah. The teaching of the Elders had a good effect not only on the God-fearing Basil, but also on the other relatives of the desert dweller. In the rest times from their labors of sweat in the fields that nourished them, the villagers of Peredino often conducted conversations among themselves on feast days, and not only on how to gain money and things, a subject which usually occupies the conversation of people who are crude and dark in their understanding of God but often they would comment on what they could remember from the instructions of their nearby desert dwellers, whom they visited from time to time. Basil Sophronov married a peasant girl from the village of Golovenka, about two miles from his village of Peredino, and was received into the family of her parents. In the first years of his marriage he had no children, over which he sorrowed, and concerning which he hastened to the prayers of the desert elders, so that they might entreat the Lord to bless him with a child. Finally a child was born, a daughter, who was called Maria, by the common consent of the family.

Saints Gennadius and Nicephorus of Vazhe Lake in Vologda

Sts. Gennadius and Nicephorus of Vologda (Feast Day - February 9)

Both Saints Gennadius and Nicephorus were disciples of Saint Alexander of Svir (Apr. 17).

Saint Gennadius of Vazhe Lake (Vazheozersk) was the son of rich parents but, giving away everything, he became a disciple of Saint Alexander of Svir and lived with him in asceticism as a hermit by the river Svira. Afterwards, with the blessing of Saint Alexander, he went to Vazhe Lake, twelve versts from the Svir Monastery. And here, having built a cell, he spent his solitary ascetic life with two of his disciples.

Holy Martyrs Alexander and Ammon at Soloi of Cyprus

Sts. Alexander and Ammonios the Martyrs (Feast Day - February 9)

According to the Roman Martyrology, Alexander and Ammon were martyred in Soloi of Cyprus. According to local tradition, their martyrdom took place in the third century with twenty other Christians.


Saints and Feasts of February 9


On the ninth Nikephoros was beheaded by the sword.

Leavetaking of the Feast of the Reception of our Lord at the Temple

Reception of the Lord Resource Page


Holy Martyr Nikephoros

Holy Martyr Nikephoros of Antioch

St. John Climacus on the Remembrance of Wrongs

A Homily on the Holy Eucharist and on Not Judging Others or Remembering Wrongs


Venerable Romanos of Cilicia the Wonderworker

Saint Romanos of Cilicia the Wonderworker


Holy Hieromartyrs Markellos of Sicily, Philagrios of Cyprus 
and Pankratios of Taormina

Holy Hieromartyrs Markellos of Sicily, Philagrios of Cyprus and Pankratios of Taormina

Hieromartyr Pankratios, Bishop of Taormina


Holy Hieromartyr Peter of Damascus

Saint Peter of Damascus and His Feast On February 9


Holy Virgin Martyr Apollonia of Alexandria

Holy Virgin Martyr Apollonia of Alexandria


Holy Martyrs Alexander and Ammon

Holy Martyrs Alexander and Ammon at Soloi of Cyprus


Venerable Gennadius and Nicephorus 
of Vazhe Lake in Vologda

Saints Gennadius and Nicephorus of Vazhe Lake in Vologda

Venerable Maria of Olonets (+ 1860)


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Prophet Zechariah as a Model for our Lives


By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Prophet Zechariah, whose name means "the Lord has remembered", is one of the so-called Twelve Lesser Prophets, the eleventh among them. Zechariah was the son of Berechiah, and Iddo was his grandfather. He lived in the sixth century before Christ, and was from a priestly tribe. During the period of the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity to their homeland, the presence of the Prophet Zechariah was a blessing. God sent him to help them, that is to give them courage, to support them, to comfort them, and to keep them firm in the faith of their fathers. They called him a preacher of hope. Together with his contemporary the Prophet Haggai he was a member of the Great Synagogue, which defined the canon of the Old Testament books.

Chapel of the Prophet Zechariah in Kos


On the island of Kos, after the Asklepion, is the region of Agios Vasilios, where a stone chapel dedicated to the Prophet Zechariah is located. The consecration of this chapel took place on February 7, 2016 by Metropolitan Nathanael of Kos and Nisyros, and it was built in memory of Zacharias Gerasklis. It belongs to the Parish of Saint Athanasios Plataniou.

Saint Sava II, Archbishop of Serbia (+ 1271)

St. Sava II of Serbia (Feast Day - February 8)

Born Predislav Nemanjic, the son of the Holy King Stefan Prvovencani the First-Crowned (Sept. 24) of the Nemanjić dynasty and his Roman Byzantine wife Eudokia Angelina. He had three brothers, Stefan Radoslav and Stefan Vladislav and Stefan Uros I, and a sister, Komnena. He was also the nephew of Saint Sava I, the first Archbishop of Serbia (Jan. 14).

Saints and Feasts of February 8


On the eighth mighty Theodore was cut at the neck.

Holy Great Martyr Theodore the Stratelates

Holy Theodoroi Resource Page (Theodore the Stratelates and Theodore the Tiro)


Holy Prophet Zechariah

Synaxarion of the Holy Prophet Zechariah the Sickle-Seer

Prophet Zechariah the Sickle-Seer

Prophet Zechariah as a Model for our Lives

Chapel of the Prophet Zechariah in Kos


Holy Martyrs Martha and Mary the Sisters 
and the Venerable Martyr Lykarion

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Martha, Mary and Lykarion


Holy Martyrs Philadelphos and Polykarpos

Saints Philadelphos and Polykarpos


Saint Sava II, Archbishop of Serbia

Saint Sava II, Archbishop of Serbia (+ 1271)


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