Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Conversation with John Sanidopoulos (Session One)


I will be traveling for the next eleven days and be away from a computer, so there will not be any further posts until my return. Till then I have posted the daily Saints and Feasts for daily reading. Below also is a portion of an interview I did about a year and a half ago, the rest of which I may post at a later time. The interviewer, who is a friend of mine from seminary, wanted me to publish it on my site to familiarize my readers a little bit more about me and this ministry. It was never published because I thought more important things needed to be published, but since I promised the interviewer I would do it, here it is. Enjoy.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Saints and Feasts of March 9


On the ninth the legs of the forty men were broken.

Holy Forty Great Martyrs of Sebaste

Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste Resource Page


Saint Caesarius of Nazianzus, Brother of Gregory the Theologian

Saint Caesarius of Nazianzus, Brother of Gregory the Theologian


Holy Forty-Two Martyrs of Momisici

Forty-Two Martyrs of Momisici Canonized


Saints and Feasts of March 8


On the eighth Theophylaktos went near to God.

Venerable Theophylaktos, Bishop of Nicomedia

Saint Theophylaktos, Bishop of Nicomedia (+ c. 840)

Saint Theophylaktos of Nicomedia as a Model for our Lives


Venerable Paul the Confessor, Bishop of Prusia

Saint Paul the Confessor, Bishop of Prusia


Holy Apostle Hermas of the Seventy

Holy Apostle Hermas of the Seventy


Saints and Feasts of March 7


On the seventh the seven fathers were carried off in death.

Holy Seven Hieromartyrs of Chersonesos, the Bishops Ephraim, 
Basil, Eugenios, Agathodoros, Elpidios, Aitherios and Kapiton

Synaxarion of the Holy Seven Hieromartyrs of Chersonesos


Venerable Paul the Simple

The Life and Miracles of Saint Paul the Simple


Venerable Laurentios of Megara, Founder of the Sacred Monastery 
of Phaneromenis in Salamina

Saint Laurentios of Megara, Founder of the Sacred Monastery of Phaneromenis in Salamina


Saint Aimilianos the Roman 
with his Companions James and Marianos

Saint Aimilianos the Roman


Synaxis of All Saints of the Dodecanese

Synaxis of All Saints of the Dodecanese


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Saints and Feasts of March 6


On the sixth the heads of the forty-two were cut off together.

Holy Forty-Two Great Martyrs of Ammoria

Holy Forty-Two Martyrs of Ammoria in Phrygia (+ 845)

The Holy 42 Martyrs of Amorium as Models for our Lives


Commemoration of the Finding of the Honorable Cross 
and Nails by Saint Helen

Commemoration of the Finding of the Honorable Cross and Nails by Saint Helen

The Forgotten Feast and Hidden Mysteries of the Cross


Finding of the Miraculous Icon of Jesus Christ at Agia Moni

The Miraculous Icon of Jesus Christ at Agia Moni


Saints and Feasts of March 5


On the fifth Conon released his stout-hearted soul.

Holy Martyr Conon the Gardner

Holy Martyr Conon the Gardener


Venerable Mark the Ascetic and Wonderworker

Saint Mark the Anchorite of Athens

Saint Mark the Ascetic as a Model for our Lives


Holy New Martyr John of Bulgaria

Holy New Martyr John of Bulgaria (+ 1784)


Holy New Hieromartyr Parthenios Partheniades

Holy New Hieromartyr Parthenios Partheniades (+ 1805)


Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid and Zhicha

Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid and Zhicha

Response To Slanders Against St. Nikolai Velimirovich and St. Justin Popovich


Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas Resource Page


Verses

The fountain of light leadeth unto the unwaning light,
The radiant herald of the light and the truly great mind.

Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas

Synaxarion for the Second Sunday of Great Lent

St. Gregory Palamas and the Second Sunday of Great Lent

The Second Sunday of Great Lent Before the Fourteenth Century

Saints and Feasts of March 4


On the fourth Gerasimos departed life.

Venerable Gerasimos of Jordan

Saint Gerasimos of Jordan Resource Page


Holy Martyrs Paul and Juliana

Holy Martyrs Paul and Juliana of Ptolemais


Holy Martyrs Kodratos, Akakios and Stratonikos

Holy Martyrs Paul and Juliana of Ptolemais


Saint Gregory, Bishop of Assos

Saint Gregory, Bishop of Assos, and the Discovery of His Relics in 1935


Saints and Feasts of March 3


On the third Eutropios contended for the prize on the wood of the cross.

Holy Martyr Eutropios, Kleonikos and Basiliskos

Saints Eutropios, Kleonikos and Basiliskos the Martyrs


Holy Hieromartyr Theodoret, Presbyter of Antioch

Synaxarion of the Holy Hieromartyr Theodoret of Antioch


Venerable Piamun the Virgin

Holy Amma Piamun the Virgin of Egypt


The Unknown Maiden

The Unknown Maiden


Saints and Feasts of March 2


On the second Hesychios hastened to ascend to the heavens.

Holy Martyr and Virgin Euthalia

Holy Virgin and Martyr Euthalia of Sicily

Saint Euthalia as a Model for our Lives


Holy Four-Hundred and Forty Martyrs 
Who Were Killed by the Lombards

The Four-Hundred and Forty Martyrs Who Were Killed by the Lombards


Venerable Joachim of Ithaca

Saint Joachim the Papoulakis Resource Page


Saint Nicholas Planas

Saint Nicholas Planas Resource Page


Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God the Enthroned

The Enthroned (or "Reigning") Mother of God Icon


Saints and Feasts of March 1


On the first of March Eudokia endured the sword.

Holy Venerable Martyr Eudokia the Samaritan

Holy Martyr Eudokia the Samaritan of Heliopolis

Saint Eudokia the Samaritan as a Model for our Lives


Venerable Domnina the New

Saint Domnina the New of Syria


Holy Martyr Antonina

Saint Antonina the Martyr of Nicaea


Venerable Synesios of Lysi in Cyprus

Saint Synesios of Lysi in Cyprus


Venerable Agapios of Vatopaidi

Saint Agapios of Vatopaidi


Holy New Martyr Paraskevas of Trebizond

Holy New Martyr Paraskevas of Trebizond (+ 1659)


Sunday of Orthodoxy Resource Page


Verses

I rejoice on seeing the Icons that were unworthily,
Banished being accorded fitting veneration.

Sunday of Orthodoxy

Synaxarion for the First Sunday of Great Lent

The First Sunday of Great Lent Prior To the 9th Century

Before Grace - Saints of the Old Testament

Reflection for the Sunday of Orthodoxy (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Sunday of Orthodoxy.[1] Do not forget the right word[2] which you spoke to God, renewing your covenant with Him which you broke through your negligence. Remember how and why you broke it and try to avoid being unfaithful again. Pretty words are not glorious; faithfulness is glorious. Is it not glorious to have a covenant with a king? How much more glorious is it to have a covenant with the King of kings! But this glory becomes your disgrace if you are not faithful to this covenant. How many great people have been glorified since the beginning of the world! And all of them have been glorified for their faithfulness, in which they stood firm, regardless of great misfortunes and sorrows as a result of this faithfulness. They had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; Of whom the world was not worthy: they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth…. Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 11:36–38; 12:1–2).

Notes:

[1] The first Sunday of Great Lent is called “The Sunday of Orthodoxy,” and celebrates the restoration of the veneration of Icons and the victory of Orthodoxy over the Iconoclast heresy.

[2] “The right word” is a reference to the meaning of the word “Orthodox” in Russian, which is literally “rightly glorifying.”


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saints and Feasts of February 28


On the twenty-eighth the image of Basil was hidden under the earth.

Venerable Basil the Confessor

Saint Basil the Confessor


Holy Hieromartyr Proterios, Archbishop of Alexandria

Holy Hieromartyr Proterios, Patriarch of Alexandria (+ 457)


Holy Martyr Nestor

Holy Hieromartyr Nestor, Bishop of Megydos


Venerable Marana and Kyra

Saints Marana and Kyra, Two Female Ascetics of Syria


Holy Apostles Nymphas and Eubulus of the Seventy

Holy Apostles Nymphas and Eubulus of the Seventy


Holy New Martyr Kyranna the Sound-Minded

Saint Kyranna the New Martyr Resource Page


Saint Nicholas of Pskov

St. Nicholas of Pskov: "You Feed on Men's Flesh and Blood"


If it is not a leap year, then the following Saints are celebrated 
on February 28th; otherwise they are celebrated on February 29th.

Venerable Cassian the Roman

Saint John Cassian Resource Page


Saints and Feasts of February 27


On the twenty-seventh the end of Prokopios was manifested.

Venerable Prokopios the Decapolite and Confessor

Saint Prokopios the Decapolite and Confessor


Holy Martyr Gelasios the Mime

The Baptism and Martyrdom of the Comedic Actor Saint Gelasios


Venerable Thalelaios

Saint Thalelaios the Cilician

The Novel Ascetic Feat of Saint Thalelaios the Cilician


Saint Stephen, Who Organized a Home for the Elderly in Armatios

Saint Stephen, Who Organized a Home for the Elderly in Armatios (+ 614)


Venerable Asklepios and James

Saints Asklepios and James, Hermits of Syria


Holy New Martyr Elias of Trebizond

Holy New Martyr Elias of Trebizond (+ 1749)


Saints and Feasts of February 26


On the twenty-sixth the corpse of Porphyrios was hidden in the earth.

Venerable Porphyrios, Bishop of Gaza

Saint Porphyrios, Bishop of Gaza (+ 420)

Saint Porphyrios of Gaza and the World of Late Antiquity

The Miraculous Healing of St. Porphyrios of Gaza by the Thief on the Cross


Holy Martyr Photini the Samaritan

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Anatoli, Sister of Saint Photini

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Photo, Sister of Saint Photini

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Photida, Sister of Saint Photini

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page

The Holy Water of Saint Photida and the Faith of the Turkish Aga


Holy Martyr Paraskevi, Sister of Saint Photini

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Kyriaki, Sister of Saint Photini

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Photinos, Son of Saint Photini

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Joses, Son of Saint Photini

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Sebastian the Military Commander

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy Martyr Victor

Saint Photini the Samaritan Resource Page


Holy New Martyr John Kalphas

Holy New Martyr John Kalphas (+ 1575)


Saints and Feasts of February 25


On the twenty-fifth Tarasios flew away from commotion.

Saint Tarasios, Archbishop of Constantinople

Saint Tarasios Resource Page


Holy Martyr Alexander at Drizipara of Thrace

Saint Alexander the Roman, Who Was Martyred in Drizipara of Thrace


Holy Hieromartyr Reginos, Bishop of Skopelos

Holy Hieromartyr Reginos, Bishop of Skopelos (+ 362)

Saint Reginos the Hieromartyr and Wonderworking Patron of Skopelos


Homily for the First Saturday of Great Lent (St. John of Kronstadt)


By St. John of Kronstadt

"Hereafter ye shall see heaven open." (John 1:51)

I congratulate myself and many of you, my beloved brethren, with the ineffable mercy of God, with spiritual renewal, obtained through the feat of spiritual preparation, prayer, fasting and repentance, and particularly through the Communion of the most pure and Life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Even in this short time we were able to experience the benefit of fasting and prayer, let alone the benefit of spiritual preparation, confession and Holy Communion; if, of course, we wholeheartedly made use of that time for our salvation and sincerely abided by the conditions of the fast and carried out the spiritual preparation; if we abstained from the excesses in food and drink, prayed with all sincerity, humbled ourselves before God and before those who are close to us, showed mercy, learned of the multitude of our iniquities and sins and deeply regretted them, having taken a firm resolution to no longer commit them, and, finally, sincerely confessed them and received an absolution for them and their remission, and were deemed worthy to receive the Life-giving Bread.

Reflection for Clean Saturday (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

We have approached the chalice of the Lord, we have been at the Supper of the Lord. Glory to Thee, O God! Glory to Thee, O God! Glory to Thee, O God! Now is the great day of the Lord! The most glorious celebration in heaven! There is no city, nor village, nor house, where there are no people receiving Holy Communion. Across the breadth of Russia, throughout the south and east, so many people clothed in the white garments of justification have tasted of the Divine life, and have most sincerely united themselves with the Lord! The Lord’s Body has been renewed — the Body of the Church, and has been clothed in the glory belonging to it, hidden from the eyes of man, but visible to the eyes of angels. The angels worshipped the First-born when He was brought to the world in His power; now they have worshipped Him because the world has been brought again to Him. They have worshipped Him and sung out: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre; Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness" (Ps. 45:6–7).


Saints and Feasts of February 24


On the twenty-fourth the head of the Forerunner was made manifest.

First and Second Finding of the Honorable Head 
of the Holy and Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

The First and Second Finding of the Honorable Head of John the Forerunner

1st and 2nd Finding of the Head of John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist Resource Page


Venerable Erasmus of the Kiev Caves

Saint Erasmus of the Kiev Caves Monastery (c. 1160)


Friday, February 23, 2018

The Veneration of Saint Polycarp in Greece


After the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp in 155 AD, the Christians tried to take the relic of the Saint, but the pagan ruler of Smyrna ordered that they be burnt up in a fire that it may not serve as a source of blessing and veneration. Christians however were able to gather what they could and preserved them as a most-valuable treasure. One of these relics is the right arm of the Saint, which from 1475 was kept at the Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Ampelakiotissa of Kozitsa in Nafpaktos. It was covered in silver in 1792 and was a source of blessing and healing grace to the people. In 1945 the name of the monastery changed to the Monastery of Panagia Ampelakiotissa - Saint Polycarp, and the Saint was honored in the wider region, where the parishes of the villages of Mamoulada in Nafpaktos and Malamata in Phocis bear the name of the Saint. Furthermore, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Demetrios in Nafpaktos, Saint Polycarp is annually celebrated on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers.

The 12th Century Church of Saint Polycarp in Tanagra of Boeotia


This church dates back to the 12th century, and originally it bore the name of some saint that is unknown to us. For unknown reasons the church suffered destruction, either naturally or from invaders. During the Ottoman occupation the Turkish pasha had a caretaker who was a Christian named Polycarp. Before Polycarp died, he ordered his son to rebuild the fallen church. Obeying his command, Polycarp's son rebuilt the church and dedicated it to Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, in honor of his father's patron. It's annual celebration took place on February 23rd.

Life of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna


The anonymous 3rd or early 4th century Greek Life of Polycarp, attributed to Saint Pionius, recounts the life and miracles of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, describing him as a holy man and miracle worker, without referring to his martyrdom. It was written in Smyrna of Asia Minor.

1. Tracing my steps farther back and beginning with the visit of the blessed Paul to Smyrna, as I have found it in ancient copies, I will give the narration in order, thus coming down to the history of the blessed Polycarp.

2. In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, considering the repose among the faithful in Smyrna to be a great refreshment in Christ Jesus after his severe toil, and intending afterwards to depart to Jerusalem. So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, who had been his hearer in Pamphylia, being a son of Eunice the daughter of Lois. These are they of whom he makes mention when writing to Timothy, saying; Of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice; whence we find that Strataeas was a brother of Timothy. Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, but to hold fast the new mystery of the Passion and Resurrection. For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians, nor yet on the other hand of necessity on the fourteenth day: for he said nothing about the fourteenth day, but named the days of unleavened bread, the Passover, and the Pentecost, thus ratifying the Gospel.

Reflection for Clean Friday (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

Reflection 1:

"The Lord scorns the scorners, but He gives grace unto the lowly" (Prov. 3:34). Particularly remember these words when you go to confession. Nothing like pride binds your tongue to keep it from saying, “I am a sinner.” Humble yourself before the Lord, do not spare yourself, do not fear the face of man. Reveal your shame for it to be washed; show your wounds for them to be healed; tell of all your unrighteousness that you be justified. The more merciless you will be with yourself, the more compassion the Lord will show towards you, and you will leave with a sweet feeling of forgiveness. This is that grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, given from Him to those who humble themselves through sincere confession of their sins.[1]

Saints and Feasts of February 23


On the twenty-third Polycarp was burned in the flames.

Holy Hieromartyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

Saint Polycarp of Smyrna Resource Page


Venerable John, Moses, Antiochus and Antininus

Our Venerable Fathers John, Moses, Antiochus and Antininus


Venerable Zebinas, Polychronios, Moses and Damian

Our Venerable Fathers Zebinas, Polychronios, Moses and Damian


Saint Gorgonia, Sister of Saint Gregory the Theologian

Saint Gorgonia, Sister of Saint Gregory the Theologian


Venerable John the Theristis

Saint John the Theristis (Harvester) of Calabria


Venerable Damian of Esphigmenou

Saint Damian the Myrrhgusher of Esphigmenou (+ 1280)


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Great Lent in Fourth Century Jerusalem

An image thought to portray Egeria

The Spanish nun Egeria gives a most interesting first-hand account of how Great Lent was kept in Jerusalem in the late fourth century, specifically in the 380's. She writes the following:

Chapter 27. And when the Paschal days come they are observed thus: Just as with us forty days are kept before Pascha,* so here eight weeks are kept before Pascha. And eight weeks are kept because there is no fasting on the Lord's Days, nor on the Sabbaths, except on the one Sabbath on which the Vigil of Pascha falls, in which case the fast is obligatory.** With the exception then of that one day, there is never fasting on any Sabbath here throughout the year. Thus, deducting the eight Lord's Days and the seven Sabbaths (for on the one Sabbath, as I said above, the fast is obligatory) from the eight weeks, there remain forty-one fast days, which they call here Eortae, that is Lent.

Saint Maximianus, Bishop of Ravenna (+ 556)

St. Maximianus of Ravenna (Feast Day - February 22)

Born in the Istrian city of Pola, now Pula in modern Croatia, Maximianus was consecrated Bishop of Ravenna in 546 by Pope Vigilius in Patras, Greece. Maximianus was a forty-eight-year-old deacon from Pola when he became the twenty-sixth Bishop of Ravenna. Ravenna was then the capital of the Roman Byzantine Empire's territories in Italy, and Maximianus's role may have included secular political functions. According to the ninth-century Ravennate priest Andreas Agnellus, Maximianus' flock initially refused his leadership, because he was selected by the emperor Justinian I and was not their initial candidate. To a modern art historian Meyer Shapiro, Maximian was "a poor deacon of Pola who rose to a high position through his political adroitness" as a protegé of Justinian I. He had not been wanted as Bishop by the people of Ravenna, but "by shrewd maneuvers he overcame their opposition, and won their respect by his discretion, generosity, and great enterprises of church building and decoration."

Reflection for Clean Thursday (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

"Fear the Lord, and depart from evil" (Prov. 3:7). Set this as the goal of your preparation for Holy Communion, so that at the end of this preparation the fear of God will dwell in you, and a firm intention to avoid every evil will take root, even if you should have to lose everything, including your life, in order to do so. Do not limit yourself to an external routine of preparation alone, but focus in particular on yourself, enter within yourself and examine your views, whether they are in agreement in all things with the true word of God. Examine your inclinations and dispositions, whether they are what the Lord demands of you in the Gospels. Examine your whole life, whether it agrees with God’s commandments in every way. Mourn and hate whatever is offensive to God, and set in your mind never to do it again. If you do this, you will be most wise; but you would most unwise not to do this.


Saints and Feasts of February 22


On the twenty-second the revered bones appeared in the earth.

Finding of the Relics of Apostles and Martyrs at Eugenios

Finding of the Relics of Apostles and Martyrs at Eugenios in Constantinople


Venerable Athanasios the Confessor of Paulopetrion

Saint Athanasios the Confessor of Paulopetrion Monastery (+ 826)


Holy Martyr Anthusa and her Twelve Servants

Holy Martyr Anthusa and her Twelve Servants


Holy Martyr Synetus

Holy Martyr Synetus


Venerable Thalassios and Limnaios

Saints Thalassios and Limnaios of Syria


Venerable Baradatos

Saint Baradatos of Antioch


Holy Hieromartyr Telesphorus, Pope of Rome

Holy Hieromartyr Telesphorus, Pope of Rome (+ 138)


Saint Maximianus, Bishop of Ravenna

Saint Maximianus, Bishop of Ravenna (+ 556)


Saint Ariston the Wonderworker, Bishop of Arsinoe in Cyprus

Saint Ariston the Wonderworker, Bishop of Arsinoe in Cyprus


Holy Nine Child Martyrs of Kola

Nine Righteous Children Martyrs of Kola


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Life of Saint George of Amastris

St. George of Amastris (Feast Day - October 25 and February 21)

The Life and Encomium of our Holy Father and Wonderworker 
George the Archbishop of Amastris

1. Those who are stripped for an athletic contest are not chosen for the pit by the trainers until they have shown fitness matching their skill in the warm-up exercises. But my spiritual judges are urging me forward toward the very pit of letters and deem me worthy of the present challenge though I am both inexperienced and have so far produced nothing. The main reason for my delay was the following: to yield to the words of those urging me is dangerous, and to practice silence is nothing less than to prolong the test. The former gives the appearance of impudence (for undertaking anything beyond the customary is the height of arrogance), and the latter suggests indifference. But since what I just said is clearly true and even in shameful things the lesser evil is to be preferred, impudence seems to produce a lesser danger than indifference (for divinely-inspired zeal sometimes causes impudence, and red-hot desire feeds it, but indifference is of a lazy soul and near to despair). Since I considered it preferable to choose the first of the two consequences, namely to speak, I am eager to proceed now to the literary struggle itself. So that the work not appear far inferior to my zeal, I put God at the forefront of my story since it is He who puts the words in my mouth.

Synaxis of the Kozelshchansk Icon of the Mother of God

Kozelshchansk Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - February 21)

The Kozelshchansk Icon of the Mother of God was glorified in the late nineteenth century, though it is older than that. This icon is of Italian origin and was brought to Russia by one of Empress Elizabeth’s (1741-1761) maids of honor, who was Italian. The owner of the icon married a records clerk of the Zaporozhsky-Cossack army, Siromakh. So, the icon went to the Ukraine with them.

Presanctified Liturgy Resource Page


What is the Presanctified Divine Liturgy?

On the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Tracing the Origins of the Presanctified Liturgy

History of the Holy Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Homily for the First Wednesday of Great Lent (St. Ignatius Brianchaninov)


By St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

"Moreover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites." (Mt. 6:16)

Beloved brethren! Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who commanded us to forgive our neighbors all their sins before we enter the podvig of fasting, also asked us to vigilantly preserve the fast itself free from hypocrisy. As a worm born within a fruit consumes what is inside, leaving only the outer covering, so does hypocrisy annihilate the whole essence of virtue. Hypocrisy is born of vainglory (cf. Mt. 6:1, 2, 5, 16). Vainglory is the vain desire and search for temporary human praise. Vainglory comes from a deep ignorance of God, or a deep forgetfulness of God, of eternity and heavenly glory. That is why in its blindness it insatiably strives to acquire earthly, temporary glory. It imagines this glory, as it also imagines earthly life, to be an eternal, inalienable possession. Vainglory, which seeks not the virtue itself but only praise for the virtue, labors diligently only that it might exhibit a mask of virtue before human eyes. Thus the hypocrite stands before humanity dressed in an outer garment of extreme deception: virtue—the essence of which he does not have at all—is seen on his exterior, while in his soul can be seen self-satisfaction and pomposity, because he first of all deceived and deluded in himself. He takes a sick delight in the vainglory that is killing him and in the misleading of his neighbor, and sickly and detrimentally delights in his successful hypocrisy. Along with all of this, he makes himself alien to God, for "every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 16:5).

Reflection for Clean Wednesday (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

"Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God" (Prov. 2:3–5). The root of a God-pleasing life is fear of the Lord. When it comes to you, then, as a creative force, it will restructure everything within you and recreate in you a beautiful order — a spiritual cosmos. How can you acquire the fear of God? It is in you, only it is smothered. Resurrect it. Give voice to your reason, and open your heart to accept the influence of truth. Until now, your reason was not given a voice — it was enslaved, and did not dare to speak sensibly. Let it now speak. It will begin to speak about God’s omnipotence, which upholds you and could abandon you at any instant; about God’s omnipresence and omniscience, which sees everything within you and is wrathful with you for all that is bad within you; about God’s justice, which is ready to punish you now, but is restrained until the time by His mercy; about death, which at every instant is ready to catch you and give you over to judgement and retribution. Listen and bring your heart to a feeling of these truths. Awaken this feeling — and together with it will come the fear of God. This is the dawn of life.


Saints and Feasts of February 21


On the twenty-first Timothy was covered in the grave.

Venerable Timothy of Symboloi

Saint Timothy of the Monastery of Symboloi (+ 795)


Saint Eustathios, Archbishop of Antioch the Great

Synaxarion of our Holy Father Eustathios, Archbishop of Antioch

Aspects of Demonology in the text “On The Belly-Myther” of Endor by St. Eustathios of Antioch


Venerable George, Bishop of Amastris

Life of Saint George of Amastris


Saint John III the Scholastic, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint John III the Scholastic, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 577)


Synaxis of the Kozelshchansk Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Kozelshchansk Icon of the Mother of God


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Seven Great Letters of Saint Anthony the Great (Letter 7)


Letter VII

My children, ‘Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich.’ (2 Cor. 8:9.) Behold, His bondage had made us free, and His weakness has strengthened us, and His foolishness has made us wise. Again, by His death He brings to pass our resurrection, that we may be able to lift up our voice on high and say, ‘Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him so no more, but in Christ each is a new creature.’ (2 Cor. 5:16-17.) Truly, my beloved in the Lord, I tell you that as to the details of the word of liberty whereby we have been set free, I have still many other things to say to you, but there is not time now to tell you them. Now I greet you all, my dear children in the Lord, holy Israelite children in your intellectual substance. Truly it befitted you, who have drawn near to your Creator, to seek the salvation of your souls by the implanted law of the covenant. But by the abundance of wickedness and stirring up of evil and the cupidity of the passions, the implanted law of the covenant dried up, and the senses of our soul perished, and therefore we could not perceive the glorious intellectual substance, because of the death into which we had fallen. Therefore it is written in the divine Scriptures, ‘As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ (1 Cor. 15:22.) Now therefore He is the life of every rational nature created by Him after the likeness of His own image; who Himself is the true Mind of the Father, and unaltered Image of the Father. (Heb. 1:3.) But the creatures made in His image are of changeable substance; for evil is come about in us, wherein we have all died, since it is alien to the nature of our intellectual substance. Therefore through all that is foreign to nature, we have made for ourselves a home dark and full of war. An this I testify to you, that we had lost all knowledge of virtue. Therefore our Father God saw our infirmity, that we were become incapable of clothing ourselves aright in the truth; therefore in His goodness He came to visit His creatures by the ministry of the saints.

Saint Cornelius, Abbot of the Pskov Caves (+ 1570)

St. Cornelius of Pskov Caves (Feast Day - February 20)

The Hieromartyr Cornelius of the Pskov Caves was born in the year 1501 at Pskov into the noble family of Stephen and Maria. In order to give their son an education, his parents sent him to the Pskov Mirozh monastery, where he worked under the guidance of an Elder. He made candles, chopped wood, studied his letters, transcribed and adorned books, and also painted icons. Having finished his studies, Cornelius returned to his parental home with the resolve to become a monk.

Reflection for Clean Tuesday (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

The suggested readings are about the creation, the original state of the fall and the promise of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ. Take heed and learn! Now is the time for your re-creation. Embrace the Lord, and He will give you light which will enlighten your sinful darkness; He will set a firmament amidst your restless thoughts and the desires of your sin-loving heart — the good intention to firmly and steadfastly work for Him. He will establish dry land and the sea, and will give everything its place within you. Then you will begin to bring forth first herb, grass and trees — the first fruits of the virtues, and then living creatures - perfect spiritual and God-pleasing works; until at last the image and likeness of God is restored in you, as you were created in the beginning (cf. Gen. 1–26). All of this will the Lord create for you in these six days of spiritual creation, which is your preparation for Holy Communion,[1] if you will pass this time with attention, reverence and contrition of heart.

Saints and Feasts of February 20


On the twentieth Leo was buried in the earth and poured forth liquid.

Venerable Leo the Wonderworker, Bishop of Catania

Synaxarion of our Holy Father Leo the Wonderworker, Bishop of Catania

Saint Leo of Catania and the Sorcerer Heliodoros


Holy Martyr Sadok and the 
One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Martyrs With Him

Holy Martyr Sadok and the 128 Martyrs with him


Venerable Bessarion

Life and Sayings of Holy Abba Bessarion of Egypt


Saint Agathon, Pope of Rome

Saint Agathon, Pope of Rome (+ 681)


Venerable Hieromartyr Cornelius, Abbot of the Pskov Caves

Saint Cornelius, Abbot of the Pskov Caves (+ 1570)


Thirty-Four Venerable Martyrs of Valaam Monastery

34 Holy Martyrs of Valaam Monastery (+ 1578)


Monday, February 19, 2018

Holy Apostle Archippus of the Seventy

St. Archippus the Apostle (Feast Day - February 19)

Verses

Archippus longed for the extreme angle of stones,
He was crushed with stones for his longing,
On the nineteenth Archippus was killed by large stones.

Archippus was one of the Seventy Apostles. The Apostle Paul mentions him in his Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: "And tell Archippus, 'See that you fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord'" (Colossians 4:17); "To Archippus our fellow soldier" (Philemon 1:2). In the town of Colossae, the center of Christianity was in the home of Philemon. Here Christians gathered for prayer. In writing to Philemon, the Apostle Paul called this "the church at your house" (Philemon 1:2). At that time, the apostles ordained their disciples as bishops; some of them in permanent places and others as missionaries traveling to various places. Philemon was one of the latter. Apphia, Philemon's wife, hosted and served in the domestic church.

An Encomium to the Theotokos (St. Philothei of Athens)


The following is an encomium, written by Saint Philothei of Athens in her childhood years to the Most Holy Theotokos. It was discovered by the Byzantinist Professor Nicholos Bees (1883-1958), in a manuscript of the Monastery of the Great Cave in Kalavryta, and published in an article in 1923:

Lagana, the Greek Bread Traditionally Served for Clean Monday


Lagana (Greek: λαγάνα, from λάγανον) is a Greek focaccia-like flatbread traditionally baked only for Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent, and it can be found in every Greek bakery. Traditionally, it was prepared unleavened (without the yeast), but leavened lagana is nowadays more common. It is typically flat, oval-shaped, with surface decorated by impressing fingertips. Sesame seeds are a common topping, and it may also be topped with other herbs, and seasoned with olive oil. The name comes from a Greco-Roman pastry dough lagana, which is also the origin of the word lasagna, also known as tracta, from the Ancient Greek τρακτὸς.

Reflection for Clean Monday (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

“Lent has come, O mother of chastity.” What was the time before this day? A time of fornication. The soul fornicated with all that struck its eye as pleasant — both with people and with things: more fully, with sinful passions. Everyone has his passion which he pleases in all he does. It is time to put an end to this. May each of you comprehend your Delilah, who binds you and hands you over to evil enemies, and abandon her. Then you will be given more than Samson: not only shall your hair grow, but so also shall good thoughts; and not only shall your strength return, but so also your strength of will. Your eyes shall also open, your mind shall have sight and it shall see the Lord, yourself, and everything around you in the proper light. This is the favorable time! This is the day of salvation!


Clean Week Resource Page


Clean Week

Clean Week in the Monasteries of the Holy Land

How A Cypriot Village Kept the Blessed Three Day Fast

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

Elder Paisios and the Boiled Milk During Lent

Saint Philothei of Athens Resource Page

St. Philothei of Athens (Feast Day - February 19)

Verses

A scion of Athens is Philothei,
Who put on the cross as armor against the enemy.

Holy New Martyr Philothei of Athens (+ 1589)

Saint Philothei the Athenian as a Model for our Lives

The Philanthropy of Saint Philothei the Athenian

Saints and Feasts of February 19


On the nineteenth Archippus was killed by large stones.

Holy Apostle Archippus

Holy Apostle Archippus of the Seventy


Holy Martyrs Maximos, Theodotos, 
Hesychios and Asklepiodota

Holy Martyrs Maximos, Theodotos, Hesychios and Asklepiodota


Venerable Confessors Eugenios and Makarios

Saints Eugenios and Makarios the Confessors


Venerable Conon the Baptizer

Saint Conon the Baptizer


Venerable New Martyr Philothei of Athens

Saint Philothei of Athens Resource Page


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Homily on Forgiveness Sunday (St. John of Kronstadt)


By St. John of Kronstadt

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses, says the Lord" (Matt. 6:14-15).

This Sunday is called Forgiveness Sunday, because today the Church directs us to read the Gospel teaching us to forgive the transgressions of others so that our heavenly Father might also forgive us our innumerable transgressions. For that reason, from the ancient times, among the pious Christians there has been a custom, in this day, and during any day of the Cheesefare week, to ask forgiveness from each other, in those things in which they may have sinned one against another. This is a beautiful, truly Christian custom, for who does not sin against his neighbor in word, deed, or thought; and asking forgiveness from another person proves our faith in Gospel, our humility, our meekness and love of peace; on the contrary, the unwillingness to ask forgiveness from those, before whom we are really guilty, reveals in the one who is unwilling to make peace, a lack of faith, pride, conceit, remembrance of evil, disobedience to the Gospel, resistance to God, agreement with the devil. Whereas we all are children of our heavenly Father by grace, members of Christ God, members of one body of the Church, which is His body, and members of one another; God is love 1), and more than any whole-burnt offerings and sacrifices, requires from us mutual love, that love, which is "long-suffering and kind, does not envy, does not make a vain display of itself, does not boast, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not over iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails" 2). The entire Law of God consists of two words: love God and love your neighbor. With all that, the human heart is extremely selfish, impatient, self-willed, malicious and remembering of evil: it is ready to get angry at its neighbor not only for a direct evil, but also for an imaginary one, not only for an offensive word, but also for an unpleasant, or a harsh one, or even for a look, which appeared bad, or ambiguous, malicious, prideful, it almost gets angry even at the imagined thoughts of those around it. The Lord, Who sees the hearts, thus says of a human heart: "from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness" 3).

Homily for Cheesefare Sunday (St. Ignatius Brianchaninov)


By St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Beloved brethren! We have already reached the very gates of the holy fast! They are even now about to open before us! Already, according to the typicon of the Holy Church, we hear the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ read to us today in the Holy Gospels about the correct way to begin the podvig of fasting.

Forgiveness Day! Heavenly Day! (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14–15). What a simple and handy means of salvation! Your trespasses are forgiven under the condition that you forgive the trespasses of your neighbor against you. This means that you are in your own hands. Force yourself to pass from agitated feelings toward your brother to truly peaceful feelings — and that is all. Forgiveness day — what a great heavenly day of God this is! If all of us used it as we ought, this day would make Christian societies into heavenly societies, and the earth would merge with heaven.


On Those Who Do Not Accept Our Forgiveness (Abba Poemen)


Abba Betimius asked Abba Poemen, saying, "If a man be angry with me, and I express my contrition, and he will not accept it, what am I to do ?" The old man said unto him, "Take with you two of your friends, and express your contrition in their presence." And the old man Betimius said unto him, "And if he will not be persuaded to accept it then?" And Abba Poemen answered and said, "Take with you five others." And Abba Betimius answered and said, "And if he will not be persuaded by these?" Abba Poemen said, "Then take with you a priest." And Abba Betimius said, "And if he will not be persuaded then?" Abba Poemen said unto him, "Without anger and without excitement pray unto God that he may put into his mind the desire for peace, and straightway you shall have no further care." 


To read more about supporting the ministry of the Mystagogy Resource Center, please visit the DONATE page. Thank you.

Please Visit Our Sponsors

BannerFans.com