May 31, 2016

Week 4 Paschal Appeal Update

Dear friends:

Christ is Risen!

Once again, thank you very much to all those who have thus far contributed to this fundraising campaign. Your contribution goes a long way in supporting this ministry. Currently we are at 59% of our goal after 3 weeks. Hopefully we can reach to 75% by the end of this week. Once we arrive at 75%, I can begin my daily posts again, and as mentioned last week, an anonymous supporter has pledged to match every contribution, so that once we arrive at 75%, he will contribute the rest to help us arrive at 100%. To arrive at 75%, in other words, all we need is $1600. So if you have not made your contribution, and you place any value in this ministry, please send your gift today and partner with us in this ministry.

Thank you,

John Sanidopoulos

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

May 23, 2016

Week 3 Update on the Paschal Appeal

Dear friends and readers:

Christ is Risen!

Though contributions had slowed down in the second week, it is my hope that in this third week things will pick up again to reach our goal. Currently we are about half way to our goal, at 49%, and for this I extend my great appreciation to all who have thus far contributed.

To help along in reaching our $10,000 goal, I was informed this morning of some exciting news by someone who wishes to remain anonymous that they would be willing to offer a matching contribution if another $2500 is raised. Therefore, if we can raise another $2500, which would bring us at 75% of our goal, he would match that amount to bring it automatically to 100%. Thus whatever gift you contribute, will be doubled! What a great opportunity for this ministry!

To raise the incentive to contribute to this ministry, and to prove that it is making an impact, it was brought to my attention last week that the Mystagogy Resource Center, or specifically this site, is currently the 14th most popular blog in religion on the internet, and the only Orthodox blog on the list of the fifty most popular. It is also 3rd in unique monthly visitors, 10th in number of pages indexed by Google, 10th in number of incoming links, 14th in Google PR, 4th in Alexa site rank, and 3rd in compete rank.

Thank you all for visiting and taking advantage of the unique resources provided by the Mystagogy Resource Center!

Please take advantage of the offer for a matching contribution by sending along your gift today!

With love in the Risen Lord,

John Sanidopoulos

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

May 17, 2016

Week 2 Update on the Paschal Appeal

Dear friends and readers:

Christ is Risen!

First of all, a big thank you to all those who have thus far responded to the fund raiser/appeal that began a week ago in support of this ministry (see the previous post for details). Your generosity is much appreciated. We have so far reached 33% of our goal of $10,000. For those who have not yet contributed, please do so today to help us reach our goal.

Secondly, every contribution counts. As I've said in the past, if you value this ministry yet are unable to contribute, even if each of my readers gave $1 the goal would be met within a few days. No one has ever taken me up on this offer, since the lowest contribution I have ever received is $5. So if you feel like only a large contribution will count, and you are unable to make such a contribution, please consider giving whatever you can afford. This is one of the reasons I included a $2.50 subscription offer as well.

Third, regular posting will continue when the goal is met. Meanwhile I am working on projects behind the scenes which this fundraiser will help bring to fruition. If the goal is met this week, this will be the final update.

Fourth, for those wanting to keep up with the daily feasts and saints of the day till my return, you can read about the Saints and Feasts of May here and about the Pentecostarion period we are in here. On our Facebook and Twitter pages, we have also made occasional posts from the past, including the top ten most read posts of all time, and will continue making occasional posts.

Lastly, three times a day or so I update where we are at with reaching the goal at the top of this page. As I said above, we are currently as of the writing of this update at 10:00 am, at 33% of our goal.

With much appreciation for your help and support,

John Sanidopoulos

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

May 10, 2016

A Paschal Appeal from the Mystagogy Resource Center

Dear friends:

Christ is Risen!

I hope this past Great Lent and Holy Week were spiritually fruitful for you, and the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord was filled with joy and a fulfillment of all your expectations and anticipations.

Every year during the second week of Pascha I make it a point to take some time off away from posting to catch up on other business matters. And probably the most important of these matters is a fund-raising campaign for this ministry, since without the financial support of my readers, this ministry cannot move forward. Your generosity over the past three years has kept this ministry alive allowing it to be a blessing to thousands of people around the world. Please continue to lend your financial support, increase it if possible, and if this ministry is somewhat of a blessing in your day and you don't financially support this ministry please consider doing so today.

This year the Mystagogy Resource Center is committed to growth in new and exciting ways. The only thing standing in its way is the financial ability to do so. Though many people have been a blessing to this ministry with their support, financially it is still far from the goal. 2016 was supposed to be the year of publishing some new important Orthodox books, expanding and unifying and developing our online presence (which covers many things), and hoping to hire some people that will help me to get this all done. There's only so much one person can do in a day, unfortunately. It also has placed a financial burden on myself, which can't continue for too much longer.

The best way to support the Mystagogy Resource Center is by giving a one-time financial gift of what you are able to give, and continuing that support with a monthly subscription of what you can financially afford, thus becoming a partner and team member of this ministry. Up until recently I used to buy a small cup of iced coffee around five days a week for about $2.00, which totaled around $40.00 to $50.00 a month, an amount way beyond my financial capabilities these days. It's pretty insane when you think about how much something like that adds up. Because of my recent health issues that I recently wrote about elsewhere, I had to give up coffee altogether, allowing me to use that money for something more important. Coffee was more a pleasure than important to me, but perhaps you also can somewhat decrease something pleasurable in your life to allow you to give financially to something more important, like to your parish, to a charity, and even to a ministry like the Mystagogy Resource Center that has been a blessing in your life and in the lives of thousands around the world, literally in every nation, city and even remote places.

Having said that, if you are able to contribute a gift of $60 or more today, I will send you at no extra cost a copy of a booklet I wrote a while ago at the request of a former Protestant professor of mine titled Ten Reasons I Believe in the Holy Light of Jerusalem, with some updated information. For a gift of $50 or more, or at least a $10 a month subscription, I will also sign you up to have access to a private website that will feature updated information and excerpts from the future publications of this ministry. This website will be launched, due to certain technical issues over the past few months when it should have been launched, within a week or two. And all who donate will also be signed up for a monthly email personal newsletter which will begin in June, and your names as well as the names you submit for both your living and departed loved ones will be included in a list of names I submit to six monasteries. I have a goal of raising at least $10,000 with this campaign, and this appeal will determine the direction of this ministry for the coming year. To reach this goal, everyone's help is needed. Never has this ministry raised such an amount in the past.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

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

With love in the Risen Christ,

John Sanidopoulos,

Director of the Mystagogy Resource Center

Saint John the Russian Resource Page


The True Pascha of the Church

There is a paschal homily circulating online by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos that is titled in English "Pascha in the West and the East". I'm not sure who translated it, but it contains some errors in translation and it edits out certain sentences and paragraphs that places certain expressions out of context, albeit they are somewhat controversial. Even the given title is a bit misleading and covers only a small portion of the text, which is originally titled by the author as "Our Pascha", but I have expanded to "The True Pascha of the Church". Below I have translated the entire text to put it in its proper context, though I have kept as much of the previous translation as possible.

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Pascha is a feast of spring, but also a feast of the Christian who lives in the sphere of the Church. Spring is the festival of nature, which awakens from the slumber of winter and is preparing for fruition. And Christian Pascha is the spring of our life, that awakens from the darkness of death and prepares for its transcendence. "Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha; for Christ God has brought us from death to life."

May 9, 2016

The Pan-Orthodox Synod and Saint Porphyrios

By Kostas Nousis

The voices against the future Pan-Orthodox Synod do not seem to cease. Freedom of expression is a given. Besides, the disclosure of the pre-synodal texts gives and indirectly solicits the use of this right.

On the other hand, however, we should consider soberly and seriously whether the objecting voices are essential and not affected by fundamentalism, and not necessarily produced by malicious pens. As I write the above I have in mind the recent document of the Bulgarian Church and letters from certain monasteries of Mount Athos. I will begin with the Bulgarian text, which of course in its substance is relevant to the texts of the protests and disagreements produced in the letters from Mount Athos.[1] One thing that seems to strongly annoy is the term "Church", when it is attributed to the heterodox. According to dogmatic precision, this is a proper objection. The Church is one and single, the Body of Christ. It is undivided and unpartitioned. It is identified without fail with the Orthodox Canonical Dioceses. Beyond this however there should be a flexibility in dialogue and in the terminological uses with those we are in dialogue with. Moreover, the ecclesiastical and patristic tradition testifies to the freedom of the Church against words and names and in the persistence of seeking the substance, the truth of things: "Truth and piety is not in words, but in reality," says Gregory the Theologian. "We make our struggle on behalf of doctrine and reality. In matters of reality we are unanimous, though we differ in words" (Synodal Tome of 1351).

Saint Christopher as a Model for our Lives

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

In Orthodox iconography the Saint is depicted transporting Christ on his shoulder, which is why, according to tradition, he was named Christopher (Christ-bearer). This does not appear in his biographies, but what is true and of greater significance is that he was indeed a Christ-bearer and God-bearer, since he had Christ in his heart living within him and walking among him: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people" (2 Cor. 6:16; Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27). Perhaps in connection with this tradition he is the patron saint of drivers. In the Small Euchologion of the Orthodox Church there is a specific Service titled "For the Blessing of a New Vehicle," and his Dismissal Hymn is what it begins with.

The Blessing of Automobiles and Drivers for the Feast of Saint Christopher

The priest of the Chapel of Saint Nektarios in Nafplio, Fr. Vasilios Golemis, sprinkled with holy water the automobiles, motorcycles and drivers on the feast of Saint Christopher, the patron of travelers and drivers, on Monday 9 May.

After a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolis, at which time he presented the chapel with a portion of the relic of Saint Nektarios for the veneration of the faithful, the yearly blessing of the automobiles took place. The reason it is done here is because the chapel has a portion of it on the left side dedicated to Saint Christopher.

How St. Nicholas of Vounenis Became the Patron of Anifi in Nafplio

Saint Nicholas the New of Vounenis is particularly celebrated in Argolis, Greece on May 9th. More specifically, in the municipal district of Anifi in the municipality of Nafplio, where a cemetery chapel to Saint Nicholas the New was built at some unknown time in history.

The Prophet Isaiah as an Evangelist of the Gospel (St. Isidore of Seville)

By St. Isidore of Seville

Blessed Isaiah, the son of Amos, whose name is translated "Savior of the Lord," born from the tribe of Judah, noble in birth, honored and distinguished among all the prophets, prophesied under four kings of Judah who succeeded and were descended one from the other, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and in the end Hezekiah. He prophesied about Judah and Jerusalem and Israel and about Babylon and Philistia, Moab and Damascus, also Egypt and the Desert of the Sea, Idumea and Arabia, the Valley of Death and Tyre, and the land of the Negev. He met his end, however, under Manasseh, king of Judah, son of Hezekiah. Because Isaiah regularly censured Manasseh for his abominations before the Lord in Jerusalem, he was slain by being cut in half with a saw by Manasseh from his head down through his middle (Heb 11:37). Isaiah earned a double honor, the office of prophet and martyr. He was buried under the oak Rogel next to the waterfall that Hezekiah, king of Judah, had set up, when a dam was constructed with earth and dust.

May 8, 2016

Saint Thomas the Apostle Resource Page

St. Thomas the Apostle (Feast Days - October 6, Second Sunday of Pascha, June 30)

The Life and Passion of the Holy Apostle Thomas

Holy Apostle Thomas, Enlightener of India

Saint Thomas the Apostle as a Model for our Lives

Synaxarion for the Sunday of Saint Thomas

Thomas Sunday Resource Page

Antipascha — Thomas Sunday Gospel Explanation

Commentary on the Gospel for Thomas Sunday (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

The Doubt of St. Thomas (St. John Chrysostom)

The Confession of Thomas and the Blasphemy of Arius (St. John Chrysostom)

Homily for the Sunday of Saint Thomas (St. John of Kronstadt)

Thomas Didn't Believe So That All May Believe (St. Gregory the Great)

The Good Unbelief of Thomas

My Lord and My God! (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

Doubting Thomas (Fr. Alexander Schmemann)

The Personal Experience of All the Apostles

The Empirical Theology of the Church is the Mystery of the Touch of Thomas

On Doubting Your Doubts

The Risen Christ: Logic on Trial (Photios Kontoglou)

The Faith of the Mind and the Faith of the Heart

The Resurrection Gospel in Homeric Greek (and other Greek dialects)

Orthodox Bulgaria Marks Sunday of St. Thomas

On the Mission of the Apostles (Hymns by St. Romanos the Melodist)

St. Thomas, the Apostle of India (video)

The Holy Girdle (Zoni) of the Theotokos

The Skull of the Holy Apostle Thomas in Patmos

A Miracle of the Skull of the Apostle Thomas in Symi in 1978

Milatos Cave and the Chapel of Saint Thomas

Icon of St. Nilus the Myrrhgusher Gushes Myrrh in his Native Village

On the Saturday of Renewal Week, 7 May 2016, the feast of Saint Nilus the Myrrhgusher was celebrated brilliantly in his hometown of Agios Petros in Kynouria. He was born there in 1601.

Following the Divine Liturgy, a procession with his wonderworking icon and sacred relic took place around the village, in the exact place where the young Saint Nilus walked his initial steps as a child.

May 7, 2016

Saint George of Gomati (+ 1845)

St. George of Gomati (Feast Day - First Saturday of May)

Saint George lived in Gomati of Halkidiki in the early nineteenth century, when Greece was enslaved to the Turks. He had a family with children and was a miller by profession. His love and philanthropy were known throughout the region. For the poor he would grind the wheat for free and gave flour to the needy. To this day one could see the ruins of his mill.

During that difficult period of Ottoman rule and the constant revolutionary movements in Halkidiki, he lost his family and sought to leave the world behind. He ascended the mountain above his mill to live as an ascetic, alone with God.

May 6, 2016

Synaxis of Panagia Argokoiliotissa in Naxos

Panagia Argokoiliotissa (Feast Day - Bright Friday)

With the name Panagia Argokoiliotissa we refer to a sacred icon that was found in mountainous Naxos, in Argokoili, hence the name of the icon, and a monastery was erected on the spot of its finding, which occupies an area of ​​about 25 acres.

In 1835 a resident of the village Koronos in Naxos had a dream, and a similar thing took place in Argokoili, which led to the discovery of two old Byzantine icons there of the Panagia, one of which depicts her as the Life-Giving Spring. Both were eventually transferred to the village of Koronos, and from there to the Metropolis of Paros and Naxos.

The Heavenly Surgery of Saint Sophia of Kleisoura

One day Sophia became heavily ill. She was bent over from her pain. Initially there was a swelling, which gradually increased. Then there came a foul-smelling liquid for several days. Some spoke of peritonitis. Others argued that the hard rubber of the flimsy skirt she wore tore at her. As seen from the descriptions of those who watched the matter, it was probably a "periappendiceal abscess", according to medical terminology.

The Love of St. Sophia of Kleisoura for Animals

The love of Sophia did not stop only with animals. She spread her love and embraced the whole creation, rational and irrational, tame and wild. In the wild mountains around the monastery there were many bears, wolves and other wild beasts. Sophia had befriended all of them.

Of the many examples, we will record two or three which show a particular grace.

A retired military man, who used to visit Sophia until her last, from the time he served in the region during the war and later in 1949, narrated something incredible by today's standards.

Some Miracles of Saint Sophia of Kleisoura

In a letter Mr. Eleutherios M. writes:

"I was a child, and of course I liked playing games in the large courtyard of Panagia's Monastery. However in the evening I would temporarily forget about the games because I liked the stories of Grandmother Sophia, seeing her speak about the Panagia, and the appendicitis surgery she had done for her. At the spot where the operation was done there was a simple fine line, seamless, very thin. Grandmother Sophia would often show this mark.

May 5, 2016

Zoodochos Pege (Life-Giving Spring) Resource Page


Everyone sees in your Spring, O Maiden,
Manna, Siloam, and the Porch of Solomon.

Saint Irene the Great Martyr as a Model for our Lives

St. Irene the Great Martyr (Feast Day - May 5)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Irene came from Persia. Her father was a governor named Licinius. Because he was financially able he cared as much as possible for the better education of his daughter. Thus Irene, who before she became a Christian was called Penelope, studied under the best teachers of her time in almost all the known sciences. She was taught the Christian faith by one of her servants, who was illiterate according to worldly standards, but wise according to God. Hence she was baptized and received the name Irene, which suited her, because she was a peaceful, calm and gentle person. It was not long before her father found out about his daughters conversion to Christianity, which made him furious, full of anger and hatred, and for this reason he threw her at the feet of a horse in order for her to be trampled to death. Instead the horse turned against him and killed him. Irene was hurt because of this, and she wept and fervently prayed. She asked Christ to raise her father and Christ heard her prayer and raised him. Then he asked to be baptized and he was baptized along with his wife.

May 4, 2016

Saint Ephraim of Nea Makri Resource Page

St. Ephraim of Nea Makri (Feast Days (January 3 and May 5)

The Orthodox Church as the Church of the Resurrection

Pastoral Encyclical - Pascha 2005

Beloved brethren,

In the season of spring we celebrate the spring of life, which is associated with the Resurrection of Christ, and is the precursor of our own resurrection. The Resurrection of Christ is the sweetest milestone in the history of mankind, as well as the faith and life of true Christians.

The Orthodox Church is and is called the Church of the Resurrection. This is important because in the West, Christians honor the Birth and Crucifixion of Christ more, while the Orthodox Church, without underestimating these two great Despotic feasts, gives great importance to the Resurrection of Christ, since Christ by His Resurrection conquered death and gave all of us the certainty that we also will conquer death in Christ and taste of the first and second resurrection. Important are the words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians of Corinth: "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith... And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins" (1 Cor. 15:14, 17).

Even foreign scholars call the Orthodox Church the Church of the Resurrection for many reasons. We will mention some of these reasons.

Translation of the Relics of Saint Joseph Gerontogiannis


At the translation of your revered relics,
We sing hymns Father and ask for your grace.

On August 6, 1874 Saint Joseph Gerontogiannis, abbot of Kapsa Monastery in southeast Crete, invited the brotherhood back to his cell to ask their forgiveness, and received Holy Communion. He did the sign of the cross, turned right, and crossing his arms he delivered his venerable soul into the hands of the transfigured Lord.

For three days his body was unburied and was a means of popular pilgrimage for the faithful to say their final greetings and venerate him. He was buried in the Church of the Honorable Forerunner, where many continued to come and venerate his relics and icon and take dirt from his grave.

May 3, 2016

The Miraculous Spring of the Archangel Michael in Thasos and the Discovery of the Honorable Nail of the Savior

The Miraculous Spring of the Archangel Michael in Thasos

In the late eleventh century, on the island of Thasos, there was a holy ascetic named Luke, who at first lived in a place later called Louka for fourteen years, and there he built a small church dedicated to the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, where the village later was known as Theologou.

From there he decided to move to a quieter and more remote location, so he went to a cave in Potamias, where today there is a church dedicated to the Archangel Michael. He lived here in asceticism for twenty years. At around the seventeenth year, as Luke was praying, he saw before him the Archangel Michael in all his brilliance, who said to him, "Peace be with you." Frightened and amazed by this wondrous vision, the Saint said, "Most Holy Theotokos, help me." The Archangel told him to not be afraid, because he was not a phantasm, but the Archangel of God Michael, who was sent by the Lord to tell him, that in three years he would give up his spirit in peace, for his eternal repose.

Synaxis of the Panagia of Awesome Protection at Koutloumousiou Monastery

Panagia Awesome Protection at Koutloumousiou Monastery

The Holy Icon of the Theotokos known as "Awesome Protection" is the only object preserved from a great fire that destroyed a dependency of the Athonite Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou in Crete. It was brought to Koutloumousiou Monastery and worked numerous miracles, as the fathers of the Monastery and pilgrims testify. The icon is located on the icon screen of the katholikon of the Monastery, and on the Tuesday of Renewal Week it is processed from the Monastery to Protaton, to give back in return for the previous day visit of the Holy Icon of Axion Estin from Protaton to Koutloumousiou.

Synaxis of Panagia Koutsouriotissa in Erateini of Phocis

The Panagia chose a rocky, steep hill about 800 meters above sea level, near the village of Amygdalia Doridos to have her Monastery built. Before the Monastery was built in 1670, a miracle took place leading to the discovery of her Holy Icon.

A Monk of the Monastery of the Archangels in Aigio saw a light that was separate from any other light in its vividness and brilliance, and it always remained at the same spot. This made him wonder with curiosity what the light was. It seemed as if  it would be a figure who was illuminated by God. Shortly thereafter his curiosity was satisfied.

May 2, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint George the Great Martyr and Trophy-Bearer


On the twenty-third of this month [April], we commemorate the Holy and Glorious Great Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer.


George, cutting down all his foes in battles,
Is gladly cut down of his foes by beheading.
On the twenty-third, George’s neck was seized by the brazen blade.

Oil and Myrrh Gushing from the Tomb of St. George in Lydda (video)

The video below was shot a few years ago of the all-revered tomb of Saint George in Lydda of Palestine, and it shows oil and myrrh gushing out in an unexplainable way and being collected by the people:

And below is a news report from 2008 about the Church of Saint George in Lydda on the feast of Saint George (in Greek):

May 1, 2016

"On Pascha" by Melito of Sardis (a 2nd century text)

On Pascha

By Melito of Sardis (c. 190 A.D.)

1. First of all, the Scripture about the Hebrew Exodus has been read and the words of the mystery have been explained as to how the sheep was sacrificed and the people were saved.

2. Therefore, understand this, O beloved: The mystery of the passover is new and old, eternal and temporal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal in this fashion:

3. It is old insofar as it concerns the law, but new insofar as it concerns the gospel; temporal insofar as it concerns the type, eternal because of grace; corruptible because of the sacrifice of the sheep, incorruptible because of the life of the Lord; mortal because of his burial in the earth, immortal because of his resurrection from the dead.