Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saint Alexander of Oshevensk (+ 1479)

St. Alexander of Oshevensk (Feast Day - April 20)

Venerable Alexander was born on 17 March 1427, 80 versts from Belozersk in the Vysheozersk region, several months before the death of the Venerable Cyril of Belozersk (+ 9 July 1427) – with whom he was bound together by later spiritual connections for his whole life.

Alexios (the name of Alexander in the world) was the fifth son of the rich landowner Nikephoros Osheven and his spouse Photini; he was a long-awaited child and was born through the fervent prayers of Photini. The Mother of God Herself together with the Venerable Cyril of Belozersk appeared to her and promised the birth of a son through the intercession of the Venerable Cyril. Although Alexios was the youngest son, his parents hoped to see in him their successor and someone to care for them in their old age. In childhood they taught the boy his letters and spoke of him as an enterprising landowner. At 18 years of age they sought to marry off the youth. With the permission of his parents, he went off to pray at the Kirillo-Belozersk Monastery and remained there.

Saint Theotimos, Bishop of Tomi in Scythia (+ 410)

St. Theotimos of Tomi (Feast Day - April 20)

Saint Theotimos was a native of Dacia Pontica, and was part Roman. He is believed to have been the teacher of Saint John Cassian (Feb. 29) and Saint Germanos, because he was once living in the same monastery as they were.

Some time between 385-390, Theotimos succeeded Saint Germanos as Bishop of Tomis. Saint Jerome mentions him in his book On Illustrious Men (164), where he writes: "Theotimos, Bishop of Tomi, in Scythia, has published brief and epigrammatical treatises, in the form of dialogues, and in olden style. I hear that he is now writing other works."

In his writings, Saint Theotimos speaks of the role of the nous and the heart in prayer. Perhaps because of this he is considered to be the Father of the Romanian Philokalia.

Saints Anastasios I and Anastasios II, Patriarchs of Antioch

St. Anastasios of Antioch (Feast Day - April 20)


What shall I write on your behalf Anastasios,
You who hastened to die by the sword on behalf of Christ?

There is some confusion concerning which Saint Anastasios we commemorate today. Though the Synaxaria and the Menaia tell us that on April 20 we are to commemorate an Anastasios who was Patriarch of Antioch and died by being martyred with a sword, we are not given any other details. However, the only two Patriarchs of Antioch with the name Anastasios were Anastasios I, who served twice as Patriarch from 559-570 and 593-599, and he was succeeded by Anastasios II who served from 599-609. Neither of these Patriarchs are recorded as having been martyred with a sword.

Christ as Resurrector and Life-Giver (Homily of St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"I am the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25).

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke these holy words. Not only did He speak them, but also proved them by His actions. By raising Jairus's daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, and His friend Lazarus, He proved that He is the Resurrection and the Life, the Resurrector and Life-Giver. Even so, He proved this best by His own Resurrection from the dead. For, to be alive and then to help the dead - this is something that has been heard of. But to be dead and buried, and lie in the grave for three days and to give yourself life - that was unheard of until Christ's Resurrection. It is the miracle of miracles, and the proof of a power above every other power. This miracle was performed by our Lord. Our Lord manifested this power. Therefore, true are His words, "I am the Resurrection and the Life," - true and holy, and comforting to all of us who are traveling toward the inescapable death of the body, and who hope to live beyond the grave and see our Living Lord in glory.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Correspondence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Saint Amphilochios Makris

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople is not only responsible for the canonization of numerous saints of the Church, but he had a personal relationship with some of them as well. One way he had a personal relationship with these saints was through correspondence.

Metropolitan Ignatios of Berat published a book about the recently canonized Saint Amphilochios Makris in 1993 titled Ο Γέροντας της Πάτμου: Αμφιλόχιος Μακρής (1889-1970), Βίος – Υποθήκαι – Μαρτυρίαι (The Elder of Patmos: Amphlochios Makris (1889-1970), Life - Maxims - Testimonies). Inside this biography is a series of six Letters from 1957 to 1962 by Saint Amphilochios addressed to the then young student Demetrios Archontonis (future Patriarch Bartholomew), who was between 17 and 22 years old.

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