June 30, 2014

The Translation of the Relics of the Holy Elder Fr. Gervasios Paraskevopoulos

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary since the repose of the Holy Elder Fr. Gervasios Paraskevopoulos, the teacher and spiritual father of the city of Patras. Yesterday, 29 June 2014, His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras presided over the translation of the relics of Elder Gervasios at the Anaplastiki School in Patras, which was founded by the Elder and where he was buried. Following Great Vespers for the Holy Twelve Apostles, his sacred relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Paraskevi at the Camp of the School in a special reliquary, with great celebration. The church and youth camp were also founded by the Elder. When the Clergy, Monks and faithful beheld with tears the uncovering of the sacred relics of the Elder, they cried out the same thing that was said at his Funeral on July 1, 1964: "He is a Saint!"

The Holy Twelve Apostles as Models for our Lives

Holy Twelve Apostles (Feast Day - June 30)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The birthday of a saint, on which the Church celebrates their memory, is considered the day of their death, because it is at the same time and day as their birth in the Kingdom of God. Thus, while each of the Twelve Apostles of Christ celebrates on different days, nevertheless for the Church to honor them and show the unity between them, it determined to celebrate the Twelve on June 30th every year. Besides the Twelve Apostles, Christ had a wider chorus of Apostles, seventy in number. The Twelve Apostles were His closest associates, who followed Him everywhere. After the deduction of Judas Iscariot from the chorus of the Twelve Apostles, his place was taken by Matthias. The names of the Twelve Apostles are: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew (Nathanael), Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Jude the Brother of God and Matthias.

Synaxis of All Saints of the Lavra of Saint Savvas in the Holy Land

On the Third Sunday after Pentecost, we commemorate all the Holy Fathers who shined brilliantly in the Lavra of the Venerable Savvas the Sanctified in the Holy Land.

These photos show various icons of the Holy Fathers of Saint Savvas Monastery as well as their sacred skulls.

June 29, 2014

Saint Paul the Apostle as a Model for our Lives

Holy Apostle Paul (Feast Day - June 29)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The principal facts of the life of the Apostle Paul are known, such as his zeal for the traditions of his fathers, his miraculous conversion to Christ, his journeys and his suffering. What is perhaps less known are his ascetic struggles, his spiritual warfare, his inner life which was hidden from the eyes of the world, for it was "hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). However he himself made some allusions to his ascetic way of life, saying that he brings violence against his flesh, hardening and subduing his body that he may not be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).The subject of his salvation seriously occupied him and truly showed that he was frightened at the thought that perhaps others would be saved through his preaching and miracles, and yet he remain outside the "bridal chamber". The incurable illness of his body integrated him into this perspective. He considered it a blessing and gift of the love of God, given to him to protect him from falling into the great passion of pride due to the many miracles he performed, as well as the major revelations given to him.

Saint Peter the Apostle as a Model for our Lives

Holy Apostle Peter (Feast Day - June 29)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Apostle Peter had fiery zeal and great love for Christ. Of course, during the Passion he denied Him three times with an oath, but he repented. He remembered, after the crow of the rooster, the word of Christ, who had foretold his fall into the sin of denial, and after he went out and wept bitterly. Christ, after His resurrection, restored him to the apostolic office, after he asked three times if he loves Him, and gave him the mandate to shepherd His reasonable flock.

June 28, 2014

Father Moses the Athonite (+ June 1, 2014)

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

On June 1st, the beloved and respected Fr. Moses the Athonite, well known to us all, fell asleep in the Lord in Kastoria, where he received the generous love of His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria and his self-sacrificing escorts, and as always the affection of his disciple Fr. Chrysostomos, who for many years was his guardian angel, with his kindness and authentic way of behavior. All those who served Elder Moses will receive their just praise and blessing from God, because they served a contemporary venerable ascetic, a witness for Christ, a confessor of the faith, a true missionary, an authentic teacher.

I have followed Fr. Moses for years and saw his struggling spirit and his Athonite conscience, distinguished by intense spiritual concerns and blessed cardiac shock.

I will write some simple thoughts about this wonderful personality.

June 27, 2014

Saint Porphyrios and the Singing Nightingale (audio narration)

In the audio above Saint Porphyrios narrates an incident from early in his monastic life on the Holy Mountain where he did perfect obedience, and had purity of the nous and noetic prayer after his encounter with Old Demas in the church of Great Lavra Monastery. Then in the wilderness of Mount Athos he heard the singing of a nightingale hidden in the foliage of trees, and he realized it was singing in the quiet glorifying God. His narration of this incident in his later years is amazing (the narration below is not the exact same as the one in the audio, but it speaks of the same incident):

Saint Sampson the Innkeeper as a Model for our Lives

St. Sampson the Innkeeper (Feast Day - June 27)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Sampson lived in the sixth century and came from a rich family of Rome. He studied the sciences of his time and especially medicine, which he also practiced. He had much love for all without discrimination. When his parents departed from this world, he distributed his property and inheritance to the poor and departed for New Rome. In Constantinople he lived in poverty and served and healed those who suffered mentally and physically. Many incurable diseases were healed by his prayers, yet so the people would not understand and praise him, he pretended they were healed from ointments and herbs. Once he healed Emperor Justinian from an incurable and painful disease and then he, out of gratitude to the Saint, built a large hospital for him, which was also an inn, hence his name as "the Innkeeper", where he gave free hospitality to the poor and needy.

Saint Porphyrios: "They Have Committed Every Sin Of The Flesh, But I Love Them"

The Elder told me one day:

"Boys and girls come to me sometimes. Those poor children, and what haven't they done. They have committed every sin of the flesh, but I love them."

June 26, 2014

Wondrous Discovery of an Icon of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Kefallonia

John Papadatos
June 21, 2014

The apple tree "spoke" and showed the secret it hid in its roots for years! A truly beautiful story was revealed a few days ago outside the church of Valsamata (Pammegiston Taxiarchon = All-Great Ruling Order of Archangels).

An Encyclical On Ecumenism and the Recent Meeting Between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Pope in Jerusalem

On June 1, 2014 His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki issued the following beneficial, challenging and balanced encyclical to mark the meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis in Jerusalem on the 50th anniversary of the mutual lifting of the anathemas.

Saint David of Thessaloniki as a Model for our Lives

St. David the Dendrite of Thessaloniki (Feast Day - June 26)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The venerable David came from Thessaloniki and lived in the sixth century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. His way of life was austere and ascetic and a continuous sacrifice on the altar of love and philanthropy. In emulation of the stylites he remained for three consecutive years in a tree praying continuously. Burning with love for God he endured "the heat of the day and the frost of night", "striking a blow" to his body that he may not find himself to be "disqualified", according to the words of the Apostle Paul. He especially liked to pray the words of the sacred Psalmist, which he applied in his own life: "I have become like a pelican of the wilderness; I have become like an owl in a ruined house. I have watched, and am become as a sparrow dwelling alone on a roof" (Ps. 101:6-7 LXX).

June 25, 2014

Saint Febronia as a Model for our Lives

St. Febronia the Venerable Virgin Martyr (Feast Day - June 25)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Febronia lived in the third century, during the period of persecution against the Church. At the age of 17 she went to live in a monastery in Mesopotamia, where her aunt Nun Bryenni was the abbess. She was endowed with many gifts and was distinguished from the other nuns for her zeal towards the spiritual life and for her love towards God, as well as each and every fellow human being. Her soul was most-beautiful and bright, but Saint Febronia was also endowed with physical beauty. Her sacred Synaxarion states that she had dazzling beauty and this was the reason for her martyrdom.

June 24, 2014

The Political Vision of Athanasios Parios and His Disputes With Koraes

Athanasios was indeed a restless spirit. This made him use a thematology that did not remain within a narrow theological framework, but was broader socially and politically. He was simultaneously a polymath and polyglot, that resulted in him realizing the deep upheavals brought about by the Enlightenment in Europe. Thus he began with fairly conservative language to determine the polar events and constructs in Europe and attacked their heretical arbitrariness, as he called it. So he wrote a book (Patristic Teaching) which opposed the liberal proposals of the Enlightenment revolution. This book was published by the Patriarchate and seemed aimed at expressing the political considerations and requirements of the Gate, and for this reason may not fully reflect the views of the author. This book is the cause for attacks against the Church by the Enlighteners, who accused them of being Turkophiles with a slave mentality, even though it was obvious that it reflected the views of the vast majority of Phanariotes, who lived with the constant fear that a local revolt, even if successful, would also expose the rest of the Greeks to the vengeful fury of the Turks. This was a fear not at all unfounded, since it was based on events that preceded this time (e.g. Orlov Revolt) and continued until 1922.

Synaxarion for the Nativity of the Honorable Forerunner John

On the 24th of this month [June], the Nativity of the honorable, 
glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John


Zachariah danced with his wife,
Not with many children, but with one great one.
The mother bore the Forerunner on the twenty-fourth.

June 23, 2014

Transitioning Gender and Transcending Gender

The "New Man" of the "Third Indeterminate Gender"

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Until now we knew that there were two genders, the male and the female, or man and woman. There were also some who wavered between these for various reasons, primarily due to the passions. But recently there has arisen another person of the "third gender", as it has been named by the courts, after many years of battles made by such people of an "indeterminate gender" or "third gender".

June 22, 2014

Synaxis of Panagia Arvanitissa in Chios

Panagia Arvanitissa (Feast Day - Ascension Day and Second Sunday After Pentecost)

The Church of Panagia Arvanitissa

In Karyes, Chios there is a church (chapel) dedicated to Panagia Arvanitissa. Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042 - 1054 A.D.) sent masons (who came from Northern Epirus) to build Nea Moni in Chios. After the construction of Nea Moni (which, despite looting and destruction by the Turks, still survives) these people remained on the island and became residents. Their descendants were shepherds and settled in Kochlia (which includes the villages of Karyes, Avgonyma, Anavato and Dafnona).

Group of 75 Are Baptized Orthodox in Harare, Zimbabwe

On Saturday, June 21, Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe baptized a group of 75, both young and old, in Harare, at the Missionary Center of Saint Nektarios of the Holy Archdiocese of Zimbabwe.

June 21, 2014

Mount Athos, a Sleepless Vigil Lamp

On the Second Sunday of Matthew, which falls on the Second Sunday After Pentecost, we celebrate the Synaxis of All Saints of Mount Athos, as it was established by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite. Beginning from the night before, every Athonite monk and ascetic, in every monastery, skete and cell of Mount Athos, keeps vigil in honor of all the Holy Fathers who shined brightly through their life and deeds on the Holy Mountain for over a thousand years. Below is a brief reflection by the Orthodox Awareness Network about the significance of the Holy Mountain to the world, as well as a prayer for those who ceaselessly pray for us.

June 20, 2014

The German Protestant Who Was Told By St. Nektarios To Become Orthodox

On June 20th we went with the Association for the Protection of the Unborn Child on a pilgrimage trip to Aegina.

We venerated the grace-flowing relics of Saint Nektarios and went into his bedroom, his tomb and in his majestic new church, which was built by the late Metropolitan Hierotheos of Hydra.

A nun told us about many miracles of Saint Nektarios, such as healing those suffering with cancer, those who have been seriously injured, and even the clinically dead. She also told us about apparitions of the Saint as well as the following amazing incident:

Historic Liturgy at an Isolated Hermitage of Meteora

A historic Divine Liturgy took place on May 24, 2014 at an isolated hermitage of Meteora that can only be accessed by rock climbing.

June 19, 2014

Crowds of Turks Gather to View the Body of an 1100 Year Old Nun in Cappadocia

Nikos Chiladakis
May 31, 2014

A relic of a Greek Orthodox nun, which lies exposed in the museum of the city of Nigde in Cappadocia, has sparked huge interest among Turks who come in droves to see and admire in awe. As much as this sounds surprising, this relic comes from a period and place known as saint-bearing Cappadocia, where monasticism flourished, leaving until today a great historical legacy for the current residents of modern Turkey.

After 16 Centuries the Relics of St. Myron are Wondrously Uncovered in Crete

May 12, 2014 was an important day for Orthodoxy in Crete and the village of Agios Myronas in Heraklion. It was on that day that around 200 portions of the relics of St. Myron the Wonderworker (Aug. 8) were discovered in the church that bears his name in the village that bears his name.

Milos is Consecrated a "Sacred Island" for its Ancient Christian Catacomb

The catacombs of the island are the oldest Christian monuments of Christendom.

June 15, 2014

Famed for its indented coastline, Milos has been declared a "sacred island" as it hosts the unique monument of early Christian catacombs.

June 18, 2014

31 Baptized Orthodox and Medicines Given in Dolisie, Congo

June 13, 2014


On the morning of 12th June 2014, His Grace Panteleimon, Bishop of Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon arrived in the city of Dolisie, where he baptised thirty-one newly-enlightened Christians of all ages, at the outdoor baptistery at the Holy Parish Church of St Irene.

The Exhumation and Translation of the Relics of St. Justin Popovich

Aimilios Polygenis
June 16, 2014

Over fifteen thousand pilgrims arrived at the Monastery of Valjevo in Celje, to participate in the historic event of the exhumation of St. Justin Popovich.

The First Church Dedicated to St. Nikephoros the Leper

Sacred Metropolis of Thera
June 17, 2014

By the grace of God construction work for the Sacred Parish Church of Saint Nikephoros the Leper has been completed in Thera.

June 17, 2014

The Recent Repose of Three Scholarly Athonite Elders

By John Sanidopoulos

Within one week three renowned scholarly Athonite Elders, noted for their important writings and social work, reposed in the Lord. The first to pass away was the prolific Elder Moses the Athonite. A few days later Elder Nikodemos Bilalis, founder of the Pan-Hellenic Union of Friends of Those Who Have Many Children, fell from the roof of his cell in Kapsala while on a ladder. And on the day of Pentecost the well-known Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Gregoriou, Archimandrite George Kapsanis, gave up his spirit.

June 16, 2014

Saint Gregory of Mystra, Patron of Sparta

St. Gregory Mystriotis from Strongyli in Lichada
(Feast Day - Sunday of All Saints and July 23)

The venerable Gregory was an offspring of an official Christian family in the region known as Mystra, and he lived in the eleventh century. From an early age he was taught the sacred writings and showed zeal for the monastic life.

June 15, 2014

Apostles Fast Resource Page

"After the long feast of Pentecost, fasting is especially necessary to purify our thoughts and render us worthy to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit ... Therefore, the salutary custom was established of fasting after the joyful days during which we celebrated the Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, and the coming of the Holy Spirit."

- St. Leo the Great

June 11, 2014

An Important Message Before I Return

Dear Readers:

Before I return to my regular posting schedule on this site, there are a few updates I wanted to inform you about.

First of all, I want to thank all those who have financially contributed to this ministry and placed value in it. Without you, we would not exist.