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March 31, 2016

The Message of the Teachings of Saint Gregory Palamas for our Times

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

(May 2010)

Hesychasm1 is the quintessence of the Orthodox tradition, identified with what it encompasses and expresses, the term ORTHODOXY. Outside of the hesychast tradition Orthodoxy is non-existent and inconceivable. The practice of hesychasm, moreover, is the "touchstone" for the recognition of authentic Christianity. Through "fasting, vigils, prayer" - with the practice of hesychasm, the heavenly gifts are acquired, according to the Orthodox patristic tradition. It should be made clear from the outset that Hesychasm means mainly the path to theosis and the experience of theosis, and secondarily examining and recording this path and experience, which is the academic meaning of the term "theology".

Holy Hieromartyr Hypatios the Wonderworker and Bishop of Gangra

St. Hypatios of Gangra (Feast Day - March 31)


A woman slays by casting a stone in a vital area,
Hypatios, alas wretched woman!
On the thirty-first Hypatios was carried off to life.

Hieromartyr Hypatios was bishop of the city of Gangra in Paphlagonia (Asia Minor). In the year 325 he participated in the First Ecumenical Synod at Nicea, at which the heresy of Arius was anathematized. After defeating and burning a dragon that had entered into the treasury of the emperor, the Saint departed Constantinople.

March 30, 2016

Interview with a Former Catholic from Poland who Converted to Orthodoxy through Baptism

In this interview with Marina Madej, a former Catholic from Poland who converted to Orthodoxy through Holy Baptism, we find one of many unfortunate examples of not allowing a convert who desires Holy Baptism to be baptized, forcing upon them oikonomia unnecessarily to the point that it drives them to a distant land seeking Baptism as their conscience urges. Since the schism in the eleventh century, the Church has traditionally accepted converts from Catholicism either by Baptism or Chrismation, the latter being allowed by oikonomia, but both traditions equally valid. To be received by Confession alone is an unnecessarily extreme form of oikonomia to receive a Catholic, as they do in Poland, which is why Marina fled to Greece to be properly received into the Orthodox Church.

Synaxarion of Saint John Climacus

On the thirtieth of this month, we commemorate our Venerable Father John the author of the Ladder.


You diligently ascended the ladder Father,
Shining with the virtues, you reached as far as the heavens.
On the thirtieth John rejoiced to be set free.

Our Venerable Father John lived during the reign of Emperor Justin II the Younger (565-574), nephew of Emperor Justinian. When he became sixteen years old, and received experience in general and external wisdom, then he offered himself to God as a most sacred sacrifice. Therefore he went up to Mount Sinai, and passed his life subject under an elder. When he attained nineteen years of age, he withdrew from his subjugation, and entered the arena of hesychia, far from the Kyriakon of the Skete at Sinai, about five miles away, at a place called Tholas. There the renowned man lived for forty entire years, daily inflamed with burning eros and the fire of love for God. He would eat from all the foods allowed to be eaten by monastics, yet he ate little. He ate from all these foods because, being discerning, all-wisely he struck at the horn of arrogance, which he thought would trouble him if he ate, as we are informed by the other monks.

March 29, 2016

Saint John Climacus Resource Page


John, who when alive in the flesh was dead,
Liveth eternally, though he appeareth a breathless corpse.
He left a writing, in which he showeth
A Ladder of Ascent, the journey of his own ascent.
About St. John and His Work

Life and Works of Saint Diadochos of Photiki

Brief Life and Teachings

Saint Diadochos was born around 400, and served as the Bishop of Photiki in Epirus of Northern Greece. In 451, he took part in the Fourth Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon as Bishop of Photiki, and supported Orthodoxy against the Monophysites. He was most likely part of a group of notables from Epirus who were captured during a Vandal raid between 467 and 474. The group was later released in North Africa, somewhere around Carthage, from whence all vanished. His exact date and place of death are thus unknown, although it is assumed he died before 486.

Characteristics of a True Superhero

The Lord, Hero of Heroes

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The Hero Lord, all heroes gathers He,
All who can maintain the Faith,
Faithful to God, to death remain;
And who can, endure sufferings
Offering thanksgiving to God
And of their sufferings being proud;
And, who others can forgive,
And insults to receive as praise;
And still, who others can instruct

March 28, 2016

St. Gregory Palamas on Augustine of Hippo and Pastoral Theology

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

1. Saint Gregory Palamas and Augustine

The work of Saint Gregory Palamas titled "One Hundred and Fifty Chapters" is a concise text, which in the way it is written recalls works of other Fathers of the Church, such as Saint Maximus the Confessor, Saint Symeon the New Theologian and others, and is regarded as a summary of the teachings of the Saint previously developed in his dialogues with Barlaam and Akindynos. In similar cases all writers at one time, after a few years, attempt to make a succinct summary of the teachings they previously delivered. However, this work has recently created concern.

Saint Eustratius the Faster of the Kiev Caves (+ 1097)

St. Eustratius of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - March 28)

Venerable Martyr Eustratius of the Kiev Caves was born in the eleventh century in Kiev into a wealthy family. As an adult, he received monastic tonsure at the Kiev Caves Monastery, after giving away all his possesions to the poor. Eustratius humbly underwent obediences at the monastery, strictly fulfilling the rule of prayer and passing his days in fasting and vigilance.

In 1096 the Polovetsians captured Kiev and ravaged the Monastery of the Caves, doing away with many of the monks. Eustratius was taken into captivity, and was sold into slavery with thirty monastic laborers and twenty inhabitants of Kiev to a certain Jew living in Korsun.

March 27, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

On this day we commemorate our Holy Father Gregory, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, the Wonderworker and Palamas, who appeared prominently in 1340.


You were truly a preacher of the bright light,
A light whose source brings splendor to the innermost sanctuary.

From the Introduction to the Writings of St. Gregory Palamas in the Philokalia*

Our Holy Father Gregory of Thessaloniki lived under the rule of Andronikos II Palaiologos, around the year 1340. Having left the world and everything in it and emigrated from Constantinople, his home, to the Holy Mountain of Athos, he embraced the monastic life. There he engaged in the toils of the greatest asceticism in the highest hesychia, with his soul turned only towards God, and he became the most God-like mirror of the Holy Spirit, being raised, as few ever were, to the summit of praxis and theoria. There, irradiated in his intellect by the contemplative splendors of the Spirit, he left to the Church of God, most-wise and most-theological writings, as a memorial of Orthodoxy.

A Homily on the Healing of the Paralytic

Holy Metropolis of Serbia and Kozani

Second Sunday of the Fast

(Saint Gregory Palamas)

Mark 2:1-12

By Fr. A.K.G.

The period of Great Lent, my brethren, is an ecclesiastical period of intense spiritual struggle, in which the Church very wisely raises us up step by step up the steps of the ladder to our spiritual perfection and our preparation for the great and holy days of the Passion and the Resurrection of our Lord. This Sunday, the second of the Fast, the Church has appointed to be read from the Gospel the healing of the paralytic of Capernaum, seeking through it to teach us that Christ is the only one who can redeem us from sin and its consequences.

March 26, 2016

St. Gregory Palamas and the Chanter with a Withered Hand

By St. Philotheos Kokkinos

The lead chanter (protopsaltis) of the Cathedral at Thessaloniki was also the choirmaster (domestikos). He would intone the first few notes of the hymn to give the other chanters the melody. He was foremost in his field, instructing and guiding others in that sacred art. He was also skilled in the art of chironomy, a method of conducting with the hand dating back to the times of the brothers John of Damascus and Kosmas of Jerusalem. The choirmaster would direct the singers with certain gestures of his right hand, raising or lowering his fingers, making signs for the melodic movement of the notes.

Holy 26 Martyrs of Gothia in the Crimea

Holy 26 Martyrs of Gothia (Feast Day - March 26)


So vast a throng of Martyrs were burned in the fire,
As is prescribed for the day today.

In around 376 A.D. the Gothic King Athanaric was enraged to see his subjects embracing Christianity because of the preaching of the Arian bishop Ulfilas. So, he ordered many of them to be tortured and executed, often without a trial. As the historian Sozomen records:

A Profitable Tale of the Monk Malchus Who Was Disobedient

Venerable Malchus (Feast Day - March 26)


See O monk the punishment received,
For being disobedient, and receive correction.

By St. Jerome
(Written in Bethlehem in 391)

About three miles from Antioch in Syria there is a certain village which is called Maronia, and in this village was an old monk whose name was Malchus, and he was a wonderful and a holy man. Now at that time I had traveled far away from the house of my fathers, and I went to Evagrius the priest, where I heard concerning the holy man Malchus, and I desired greatly to see him and to be blessed by him; so I went to him, and he received me gladly, and began to tell me about the habits of life and the works of the monks, and how it is right to fear the Lord, and having rejoiced greatly in the pious words of his doctrine, I besought him to confirm me especially in such things. Then he said unto me, “My son, I will relate unto you concerning the temptations which, in proportion to my presumption and thoughtlessness, have come upon me, in order that they may help you, and also concerning the compassionate grace of the Lord God Who took me out of and redeemed me from them, and Who permitted them to come upon me for the correction of many who should learn of me, and should not become disobedient to the exhortation of their spiritual fathers, because disobedience is the cause of death.”

March 25, 2016

The Theotokos, the Workshop of our Salvation

By Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria

When one desires to approach the person of the Most Holy Theotokos, we must be distinguished not only for our purity, but our respect, honor, reverence and humility. Because the Panagia resembles an exquisite, otherworldly and heavenly sight, a noetic and secret sound, the dimensions of which exceed not only human spiritual terms, but also all heavenly things except God, as one pious soul of the Holy Mountain writes.1

Because with the Panagia everything is wonderful and great. She herself is all-bright within the uncreated light, and becomes not only a vessel of God, but also a cherubic throne where God in His entirety dwells in her immaculate womb. "He made your womb a throne, and your belly has been made wider than the heavens,"2 chants the sacred hymnographer of the Church with wonder.

The Beauty of the Panagia (Photios Kontoglou)

By Photios Kontoglou

The Panagia is the spiritual ornament of Orthodoxy. For us Greeks she is our pained mother, the comforter, the protectress, who stands by us in every circumstance.

In every part of Greece there are built numerous churches and monasteries, palaces to this humble Queen, and a bunch of deserted shrines, in the mountains, the plains and the islands, fragrant with her virginal and spiritual scent.

Within each of these there is an old and revered icon of her with her dark and wax-golden face, which is ever being rained on with the tears of our suffering people, because we have no other help, except from the Panagia: "We who sin have no one else, who intercedes for us before God, praying endlessly, in ills and all dangers, for us who are laden with our many sins and mistakes."

The Term "Romiosini" According to Fr. John Romanides

By Protopresbyter Fr. John S. Romanides

First we must have in mind that historically there was never a distinction between the so-called Byzantine Empire and the Roman Empire. Our ancestors only knew that they were citizens of the state known as Romania and that this state in the years of the greatest leader of Romiosini, Constantine the Great, spread throughout the entire Mediterranean area, which today covers England, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, the Balkans, all of North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and the Russian coast of the Black Sea.

Saint Paisios the Athonite on the Joy of the Annunciation

Elder, can you chant the Megalynarion you wrote for the Panagia?

Come let us chant it together:

"You found much Grace from God, Mother of the Master, Great in Grace, truly Full of Grace, as Gabriel cried out; Queen of the Angels, guard your servants."

March 24, 2016

Holy Abba Zachariah of Egypt

Venerable Abba Zachariah (Feast Day - Gr. March 24; Slav. Dec. 5)


You were equated Father to God in might,
Joined to the Son of God you were displaced from earth to a new state.

Our Venerable Father Zachariah was the son of Abba Karion (Nov. 24), and together with his father he went as a child to Scete and became a Monk. He attained such extreme humility and virtue, that he was made worthy to become a vessel of the Holy Spirit, who inflamed his heart night and day. For this reason his own father Abba Karion said of him: "I have performed many more physical tasks than my son Zachariah, but I have not attained to his stature in humility and silence."

Heretics: Unhealed Healers (Fr. George Metallinos)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

Heresy is not just an error of the reasoning faculty, nor are heretics simply misplaced in finding the truth. In their case something happens deeper and more substantial. They know the Bible to the letter, often in amazing ways. But they lack something essential, and this lack radically distinguishes them from the Fathers. They lack the experience of the Holy Spirit of the Fathers, the interior illumination of the Spirit. This is because they have not gone through the therapeutic process of the Church.

March 23, 2016

Contemporary Iconoclasts (Archim. George Kapsanis)

By Archimandrite George (Kapsanis),
late Abbot of Gregoriou Monastery

It is a day of joy and glorification of the Triune God for the victory of the correct faith against the accusations of the Iconoclasts and all the heretics. Great was the pain of the Church over the prevalence of the iconoclast heresy for about a hundred years. And this is why today is a day of joy:

"A feast of joy and gladness is revealed to us today, for the teachings of the true faith shine forth in all their glory, and the Church of Christ is bright with splendor, being adorned with the holy icons which have now been restored; and God has granted unity of mind to the faithful" (Matins, Prosomoion of the Praises, Sunday of Orthodoxy).

Should Icons Be Blessed or Anointed?

An icon prepared to be blessed.

It is a fairly common practice today for clergy to bless and anoint holy icons. However, this practice is contrary to the tradition of the Church and should cease.

During the Seventh Ecumenical Synod, it was an argument of the Iconoclasts that icons are not sacred because there is no prayer read over them to consecrate them and sanctify them. The Orthodox unanimously argued that icons had no need to be consecrated, because they were sanctified by the fact that they are named. Therefore, if an image bears the name of Christ, the Theotokos or any Saint, it alone is sufficient to make it worthy of honor and veneration.

March 22, 2016

Are We Truly Orthodox Christians?

By Dr. Haralambos M. Bousias,
Great Hymnographer of the Alexandrian Church

Our Orthodoxy is the only truth. It is not an idea, a theory, a system. It is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself that assures us He is the truth, when He says: "I am the truth" (Jn. 14:6). This God-man is our Orthodoxy!

Our Orthodox faith is not a premise for knowledge. It is mostly a correct way of life. Orthodoxy is identical with orthopraxis.

Homily on Faith for the Sunday of Orthodoxy (St. Gregory Palamas)


Delivered on the Sunday of Orthodoxy

By St. Gregory Palamas

BELIEVING IN GOD IS DIFFERENT from believing God. To believe God is to regard His promises to us as sure and true, but to believe in Him is to have a right understanding of Him. Both are necessary for us and we must speak correctly in both respects, in such a way that people with correct understanding can be confident that we are faithful before the God to Whom our faith is directed and that, being faithful, we shall be justified by Him. “Abraham believed God”, it says, “and it was counted unto Him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3, Gen. 15:6, cf. Gal. 3:6, Jas. 2:23). Why was Abraham counted as righteous because he believed? He had received a promise from God that in his seed, that is, in Isaac, all the tribes of Israel would be blessed (Gen. 17:16; cf. 26:3-5, 24). Then he was commanded by God to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22:1), through whom alone the promise could be fulfilled (Gen. 17:21; 21:12), while he was still a child. “Without contradicting he, the father, was hastening on his way to become his son’s murderer while at the same time regarding the promise concerning his son as infallibly sure (Gen. 22:1-18).

March 21, 2016

The Victory of the True Faith

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

On 11 March 843, which then was the first Sunday of Great Lent, a synod in Constantinople "restored" once again onto the pillars of the churches the holy icons, thus bringing to an end the political and religious upheavals of Iconoclasm (726-843). This was pioneered by one woman, the Empress Theodora, confirming the fact that women, as a permanent institution of culture, save faith! Theodora had a venerable ending to her life in the Monastery of Gastria, and perhaps some may not know that her incorrupt and imperishable relic can be found in Kerkyra.

The Sacred Language of Symbols

By Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras

Excerpt from a Homily Delivered on the Sunday of Orthodoxy,
March 20, 2016

Orthodoxy, through the sensible, leads to the spiritual, the incorruptible and the eternal. It has its own secret, internal manner by which it sanctifies the external senses and leads to the cultivation of the internal spiritual world of man. Today we celebrate the restoration of the sacred icons. Within the beautiful, secret and sacred language of symbols we are elevated spiritually. What are the symbols that have been preserved as sacred tradition and a legacy of our Church? The candles, the lamps, the sacred icons and the way the faces of the icons are depicted, and so much more.

Saint Beryllus, Bishop of Catania

St. Beryllus of Catania (Feast Day - March 21)


Next to dead Beryllus was found a crown,
Having dominated both passions and demons.

Saint Beryllus was from Antioch in Syria, and a disciple of Peter the Apostle. Having joined the Leader of the Apostles on his missionary journey to the West, he was ordained by him Bishop of Catania which is on the island of Sicily. There he shepherded his flock well and in a God-loving manner, led many to faith in Christ, and worked many miracles, of which we will mention here only one.

March 20, 2016

What Is Orthodoxy? (Metr. Seraphim of Kastoria)

By Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria

"The paternal institution of the Church has been preserved, icons of Christ and His saints are painted and embraced with the lips, heart and will...".1

The above exhortation is characteristic, my brethren, of Saint Theophanes the Confessor, Bishop of Nicaea. We ought to preserve the institutions of the Church, the sacred traditions, the voices of the Holy Fathers, honorably embracing the sacred icons of the Master Christ, the Most Holy Theotokos and our Saints. Because, as the God-bearer John of Damascus says in one of his homilies, using the opinion of Athanasius the Great: "We the faithful do not worship icons as gods, like the pagans ... Just as Jacob, when he was about to die, venerated the tip of the staff of Joseph, not to honor the staff, but the one who held it, so also the faithful do not kiss icons for any other reason, but to show the longing of our soul."2

Holy New Hieromartyr Gregory, Metropolitan of New Patras (+ 1711)

The Holy Hieromartyr Gregory was from Thebes in Boetia and later served as Metropolitan of New Patras. One day, as he serving the Divine Liturgy in the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Saint Nicholas in Ypatis on the eve of the Akathis Hymn, certain Turks came in and slaughtered him before the Holy Altar as he held the Holy Chalice in his hands, in the presence of a number of Christians from the villages. This took place in 1711.

What Orthodox Iconography Is (Photios Kontoglou)

What Orthodox Iconography Is

By Photios Kontoglou

The religion of Christ is the revelation, by Him, of the truth. And this truth is the knowledge of the true God and of the spiritual world. But the spiritual world is not what men used to — and still do — call "spiritual."

Christ calls His religion "new wine" and "bread that cometh down from Heaven." The Apostle Paul says, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away: behold, all things have become new."

In a religion like this, one that makes the believer into a "new man," everything is "new." So, too, the art that gradually took form out of the spirit of this religion, and which it invented to express its Mystery, is a "new" art, one not like any other, just as the religion of Christ is not like any other, in spite of what some may say who have eyes only for certain meaningless externals.

Homily on the Sunday of Orthodoxy (St. Tikhon of Moscow)

Homily on the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Delivered on February 23, 1903

In the Cathedral Church of San Francisco

By St. Tikhon, Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska

This Sunday, brethren, begins the week of Orthodoxy, or the week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, because it is today that the Holy Orthodox Church solemnly recalls its victory over the Iconoclast heresy and other heresies and gratefully remembers all who fought for the Orthodox faith in word, writing, teaching, suffering, or godly living.

March 19, 2016

Homily for the First Saturday of Great Lent (St. Symeon the New Theologian)

By St. Symeon the New Theologian

The First Week of Lent

That one should not embrace and zealously observe the benefit of the fast only in the first week of Lent, but that the zealous must continue the same zeal in all the weeks of Lent.

Brethren and fathers,

What we are about to say we ought to have addressed to your charity last Sunday. I was aware, however, that every one of us believers, together with the whole Christian people, both monks and laity, with fervent zeal accepts the blessing of fasting in the holy first week of Lent, and that each one of us willingly puts its yoke upon our neck (Sir. 51:26). Even among those who greatly despair of their own salvation and live their lives without fear and reverence for God there is no one who rejects the law of fasting in that week. Rather, as far as he is able, he joins with all in observing abstinence. So I come today to speak a few short words to you about the present season.

The Chapel of Saints Theodoroi in Nafplio, Built by Theodoros Kolokotronis

Between the years 1825 to 1832 Theodoros Kolokotronis, the General and hero of the Greek War of Indpendence who was known as the Elder of the Morea, together with his relatives built a chapel to his patrons Saints Theodoroi (Theodore the General and Theodore the Tiro), on property known as Kiul Tepe that was given to him after the liberation of the city from the Turks.

Holy Martyrs Claudius the Tribune, his Wife Hilaria, and their Sons Jason and Maurus

Sts. Claudius, Hilaria, Jason and Maurus (Feast Day - March 19)


For Claudius the Tribune
Claudius abandoned the sea of error,
Within the sea you cast aside error.

For Hilaria
Hilaria was beheaded by the sword,
Now she sees the most bright face of God.

For Jason and Maurus
Together the brothers were beheaded,
Brothers Maurus and Jason were of one mind.

The Holy Martyr Claudius was at first a pagan and a Roman tribune, to whom the Holy Martyrs Chrysanthos and Daria were sent after their arrest by the prefect Celerinus, in order to have them tortured. When he saw the Saints remained unharmed from their torments and not a wound appeared on their body, despite the fact that Chrysanthos was mercilessly beaten with thorny rods till the point his tormentors became exhausted and he afterwards rejoiced as if it was another being beaten; when he saw this wonder, being of sound mind he recognized that this was done by the power of God. For this reason he fell down at the feet of the Saint and straightway was baptized, together with his wife Hilaria, and his two sons Maurus and Jason, with all his servants and friends and soldiers under him and their friends.

March 18, 2016

The Salutations and the Role of the Theotokos in Great Lent

By Sotirios Sarvanis

Holy and Great Lent began a few days ago and the climate is already solemn and mournful, as befits this period. It is the most beautiful and sweetest season of the year, as we are given a great opportunity for prayer and repentance on our part and absolute devotion which makes this desire even stronger.

The worship life of our Church contains beautiful and solemn services, such as the Solemn Vespers, the Great Compline, as well as the Salutations of the Most Holy Theotokos which give us special strength during this period. And the Panagia, as we know, is our greatest mediatrix to our All Good God.

Why did the Church place the Salutations to the Panagia during Great Lent? What relationship does it have with the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord which we will shortly experience?

Advice for Healthy Fasting During Great Lent

By Dr. Popi Karatzis,
Clinical Dietitian-Nutritionist, MSc, PhD

The fasting of Great Lent for many is a period of physical detoxification of the body from the widespread consumption of animal products we observe the other days of the year.

Nutritionally, it is recommended to abstain from all animal products. Foods excluded from the diet are dairy, meat, fish, eggs.

The effect of the exclusion of such foods from the diet is the consumption of fruits, vegetables, pasta, bread, legumes and food cooked in oil to achieve an energy balance.

Sex and Great Lent

By John Sanidopoulos

One of the most confusing issues Orthodox Christians have about Great Lent has to do with the subject of sex between a husband and a wife during this solemn period of repentance and mourning. Some people strongly believe that this forty day period, including the seven days of Holy Week, should be a period of total abstinence from sex in order to completely devote themselves to prayer and fasting, and indulge the flesh as little as possible. Others believe that such a suggestion is total nonsense, that God and the Church have no place in the bedroom, and that sex has no negative impact on the spiritual life. The biblical and patristic teaching of the Church, however, generally falls somewhere in the middle between these two extremes.

March 17, 2016

Select Orthodox Hymns from the Greek Service to St. Patrick of Ireland

The currently used English Service of Saint Patrick is a translation of the Slavonic Service composed in the 1970's by Valeria Hoecke of New York and blessed for use by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

The Greek Service was composed in 2005 by Panagiotis Somalis, Protopsaltis of the Church of Saint John Chrysostom in Nikaia, Greece. He has composed about 14 Services in all to the Orthodox Saints of the West, including: 1. St. Julius of Rome, 2. St. David of Wales, 3. St. Patrick of Ireland, 4. St. Cuthbert, 5. St. Columban, 6. St. Martin Pope of Rome, 7. St. Vincent of Saragossa, 8. St. Afra of Augsburg, 9. St. Frederick of Utrecht, 10. St. Boniface of Metz, 11. St. Walburga, 12. St. Eulalia of Merida, 13. St. Samson of Dol, 14. St. Ninian, Apostle of the Picts.

March 16, 2016

An Icon of Saint John the Forerunner Gushing Myrrh in Chicago

By Theodore Kalmoukos

An unexplained phenomenon has been occurring since July 19th of 2015 in the community of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Homer Glen, Illinois, where an icon of Saint John the Forerunner exudes a fragrant liquid.

The National Herald contacted Fr. Sotirios Dimitriou, who has served as a priest in the community since the year 1993, and he said "the icon of Saint John the Forerunner exudes some kind of liquid that has a beautiful scent.

Synaxarion of Saint Aninas the Wonderworker

St. Aninas the Wonderworker (Feast Day - Gr. March 16, Slav. March 18)

On the sixteenth of this month [March], we commemorate our Holy Father Aninas the Wonderworker.


You concealed the vessel wonderworking Aninas,
Unable though to conceal the grace of the miracle.

Our Holy Father Aninas from a young age, without any education, loved gentleness and quietude, wherefore he lived in quiet seclusion. After the death of his parents, he withdrew at age fifteen into the desert near the Euphrates River. There he came upon an Elder named Maium, known for his extreme poverty, and settled there with him living a life of vigils and prayer. Living such an extreme life of poverty, they were only able to eat once every four days. They rejoiced and delighted to live in such a manner, considering their meager food as if it came from a royal table.

Holy Martyr Sabinos of Hermopolis

St. Sabinos the Martyr of Egypt (Feast Day - March 13 and 16)


For March 13

Abibos was cast into the river together with a stone,
Sailing out of the vulgar river of life.

For March 16

The Nile River, as a trial by water,
Sabinos put to shame with his manliness.
On the sixteenth Sabinos was hence carried away.

Saint Sabinos was from the city of Hermopolis in Egypt and came from a wealthy aristocratic family. He was distinguished for his blameless life and deep faith.

When Emperor Diocletian (284-305) initiated a persecution against the Christians, the governor Arrianos sought to arrest Sabinos. This was because Sabinos was held in high esteem and honor by the Christians of the area, and he was known for exceeding the other Christians in his zeal for the Christian faith. He therefore fled with other Christians outside the city and stayed in a small house.

March 15, 2016

An Old Testament Analogy of Great Lent (Metr. Nicholas of Mesogaia)

By Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia and Lavriotiki

Great Lent, my beloved brethren, begins today and will be completed in forty days on the Friday of Lazarus. As our Church introduces us to this blessed arena of spiritual struggles and virtues, whose main weapon is the weapon of fasting, together with the accompanying weapons of almsgiving, prayer, personal struggle and the mysteries, it is an opportunity to deepen a little the way we will emerge from this struggle, to complete productively, creatively and spiritually the journey of the forty days that stretch before us.

This journey has an analogy in the treasures of the Old Testament. The analogy is the journey of the people of Israel from Egypt to the Land of Promise, with one difference: it did not take place over the course of forty days but forty years. That journey, as recorded in the Book of Exodus and completed in the Book of Joshua the son of Nun, lasted forty years.

March 14, 2016

Welcome to the New Mystagogy Resource Center!

Dear Readers:

If you haven't noticed, this ministry has a new name. Instead of simply being called Mystagogy, I have expanded the name to be the Mystagogy Resource Center: An International Orthodox Christian Ministry or simply M.R.C. Please refer to it by this name from now on.

For those who have been following this website for some time now, you will have noticed that I have been creating more and more individual resource pages recently, mainly focusing on feast days and saints for now, but will soon expand to include a wide variety of subjects. Providing such resources that are easily accessible, well researched, expansive and focused has been a primary goal of this ministry, and will continue to be. With such a foundation, the future possibilities of this ministry are endless!

Providing these resources takes countless hours and much effort to research and produce, as you can imagine. At the same time, my goal for this ministry is not only to provide information, but more so to be an inspiration and blessing in people's lives for their spiritual benefit. And now that we have entered the period of Great Lent, on our journey towards Holy Week and Pascha, I hope to provide material that will help to be a means of making this time as spiritually fruitful as possible.

I have described this ministry as An International Orthodox Christian Ministry, because people from literally every inhabited place on earth with internet access has visited this and my other sites, much of the material posted here is translated in over a dozen languages from diverse countries, and donations have come in over the past few years from over 30 countries, testifying to its wide outreach.

With this being said, and since we are now in a time where we should be especially focused on virtues such as almsgiving, I also want to inform you that although this ministry is growing in many ways, contributions to this ministry have reached a low. Perhaps it is my fault, as I don't ask for contributions as much as I should. I have tried to only focus on asking for contributions twice a year (Christmas and Easter time), but this is no longer enough. In fact, in the past four months I have had more cancellations in monthly contributions than additions. From what I have been informed, this is because of financial hardships, especially with the holidays recently passing and tax season upon us. But this ministry needs your regular help, whether it be monthly or annually, in order to take its necessary progressive course. So if this ministry is at all of value to you, please help as you are able today. For those who can't even afford $5 a month at this time, I have added an option to contribute $2.50 a month in the subscription box below. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Click on the DONATE button to make a one-time donation (a Paypal account is not needed to make a one-time donation):

To send in your donation, please do so to the following address:

John Sanidopoulos
PO Box 320284
West Roxbury, MA 02132

I pray you all have a spiritually progressive, blessed and fruitful lenten period,

John Sanidopoulos,
Director of the Mystagogy Resource Center

The Purpose of Great Lent (Archim. Alexios of Xenophontos)

By Archimandrite Alexios,
Abbot of Xenophontos Monastery, Mount Athos


Holy and Great Lent is a spiritual arena for the virtues, a time of repentance and prayer, watchfulness and sorrow, a period of fasting, purification of the soul and forgiveness.

This entire blessed period is a sacred journey, which is annually presented by our Holy Church, for every believer who seeks to journey together with Christ the Savior, to rise with Him and share in His eternal divine Kingdom.

How A Cypriot Village Kept the Blessed Three Day Fast

The occupied Cypriot village of Zodeia

By Vasilios Haralambous

The elderly of my enslaved village of Zodeia remember the Orthodox habit of certain villagers who observed the so-called "three-day fast", which is kept for the first three days of Great Lent. Beginning on Clean Monday they would do a three-day fast, without food or water. This blessed Orthodox habit is now mainly practiced in monasteries.

Study Finds A Three-Day Fast Regenerates the Entire Immune System

Sarah Knapton
June 5, 2014

Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as "remarkable".

Although fasting diets have been criticised by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection.

Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.

March 13, 2016

Homily One for the Vespers of Forgiveness (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke of Simferopol

My brothers and sisters, we must have engraved in our hearts and always remember the words of Christ: "If you forgive men their offenses, then our heavenly Father will also forgive you; if you do not forgive men their offenses, neither will our Father forgive your offenses" (Matt. 6:14-15). These words of the Lord are very fearsome. If we do not forgive the offenses of our neighbors then Christ, at His Fearsome Judgement, will place us on His left and will not forgive our sins, because we did not forgive the offenses of our neighbor. You see, truly it is a fearsome thing to not forgive other people.

The Role of Asceticism for People Today

By Metropolitan Panteleimon of Koroneia

Saint Anthony the Great is one of the greatest ascetics to come out of our Church. He is called the "professor of the desert". This is because he teaches the centuries old value of asceticism.

But what is the point of asceticism for people today? First, it is necessary in relation to ourselves. Through it we keep our desires, inclinations and instincts in check. Our "governing" mind, logic or reason, must be "the charioteer" that guides the "horses" of our inclinations and instincts. Otherwise the "chariot" will be disturbed and the horses, or instincts, will lead the charioteer, the rational man, into danger.