Sunday, September 23, 2018

Encomium on the Conception of Saint John the Baptist (St. Sophronios of Jerusalem)

By St. Sophronios of Jerusalem

Let us speak of the wonderful conception of the Honorable Forerunner - since it could stand as the beginning of the whole narrative - and put in order what we are triumphantly about to mention, insofar it pleases him whom we are praising today to give us the power of speech. But it might be better to begin our talk with events that preceded the conception. In this way we can demonstrate that, even before his conception, it was clear that he would become a great and important person and that he would meet the expectations of people in matters of salvation, since he would not be exempt from the consequences which the fall of the Adam and Eve had for the whole of humankind. As a result of this fall, we had reached the point where we were living on earth in misery and degeneracy, as the general legatees of God’s decision: “You are dust and shall return to dust” (Gen. 3, 19).

Conception of Saint John the Baptist Resource Page

Conception of St. John the Forerunner (Feast Day - September 23)


The man received a prophetic oracle from the Archangel,
You will beget a Prophet, and even greater than the prophets.
On the twenty-third the Forerunner appeared and received the womb.

Synaxarion for the Conception of the Honorable Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

The Conception of Saint John the Forerunner

Encomium on the Conception of Saint John the Baptist (St. Sophronios of Jerusalem)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Weeping Icon of the Holy Mandylion in Patmos

On the island of Patmos, in the main church of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, is a western-style image of the Holy Mandylion dating to the end of the 18th or beginning of the 19th century. It seems almost out of place inside the old temple filled with Byzantine-styled frescoes. Artistically it is less interesting than anything around it, being a simple image on wood with a wood-carved frame, but it has a fascinating history in and of itself, especially how it came to be displayed in the most sacred church on the island.

Holy Martyrs Isaac and Martin

Sts. Isaac and Martin the Martyrs (Feast Day - September 22)


To Isaac.
Isaac the child of Sarah came short of suffering,
Isaac the new paid in full by being slain.

To Martin.
Inspired from above with the courage of Christ,
Martin hastened to the sword and expired.

The Holy Martyrs Isaac and Martin were perfected by the sword.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Holy Martyrs Eusebius, Nestabus and Zeno who were Brothers

Sts. Eusebius, Nestabus and Zeno of Gaza (Feast Day - September 21)


Eusebius, Nestabus, as well as Zeno,
Died for their pious faith by a sword.

By Sozomen

(Ecclesiastical History, Bk. 5, Ch. 9)

Martyred During the Reign of Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363).

As I have advanced thus far in my history, and have given an account of the death of George and of Theodoritus, I deem it right to relate some particulars concerning the death of the three brethren, Eusebius, Nestabus, and Zeno. The inhabitants of Gaza, being inflamed with rage against them, dragged them from their house, in which they had concealed themselves and cast them into prison, and beat them. They then assembled in the theater, and cried out loudly against them, declaring that they had committed sacrilege in their temple, and had used the past opportunity for the injury and insult of paganism. By these shouts and by instigating one another to the murder of the brethren, they were filled with fury; and when they had been mutually incited, as a crowd in revolt is wont to do, they rushed to the prison. They handled the men very cruelly; sometimes with the face and sometimes with the back upon the ground, the victims were dragged along, and were dashed to pieces by the pavement. I have been told that even women quitted their distaffs and pierced them with the weaving-spindles, and that the cooks in the markets snatched from their stands the boiling pots foaming with hot water and poured it over the victims, or perforated them with spits. When they had torn the flesh from them and crushed in their skulls, so that the brain ran out on the ground, their bodies were dragged out of the city and flung on the spot generally used as a receptacle for the carcasses of beasts; then a large fire was lighted, and they burned the bodies; the remnant of the bones not consumed by the fire was mixed with those of camels and asses, that they might not be found easily.

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