Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Saint Joachim, Metropolitan of Zichna (+ 1333)

St. Joachim of Zichna (Feast Day - December 12)

The Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner, located on Mount Menoikeion northeast of Serres in northeastern Greece, owes its foundation to Ioannikios, a former Athonite monk who settled here circa 1275. The original foundation was likely quite modest. He was joined by his nephew Joachim (sometimes named John in sources), an orphan and author of the typikon (rule) of the monastery, whom Ioannikios introduced to monastic life. Circa 1287–88, Joachim was chosen Bishop of Zichna, a fortified town southeast of the monastery. In 1290, his uncle Ioannikios was also honored with the episcopal see of Ezivai (Ezova), a village some distance to the south of Menoikeion, which prompted him to leave the monastery under the direction of Ioannikios Kaloudes. Upon the founder Ioannikios’ death, circa 1300, his nephew Joachim inherited the monastery.

Joachim of Zichna, though he apparently never himself served as superior of the monastery, was primarily responsible for making it an important institution. He built the still-existing katholikon and a refectory. He also continued a successful tradition, begun by his uncle, of obtaining imperial patronage for the monastery. In 1304, the monastery came under the protection of Simonis, daughter of Andronikos II and wife of Stefan Uros II Milutin of Serbia. Though damaged by the depredations of the infamous Catalan Company in 1307–1308, the monastery survived and continued to prosper.

Saint Abra, Daughter of Hilary of Poitiers (+ 360)

St. Abra of Poitiers (Feast Day - December 12)

Saint Abra was the daughter of Hilary of Poitiers, born around 343. She was born before her father converted to Christianity and was made a bishop. During her father's exile from Poitiers, she and her mother remained there. She is remembered for her work among the poor and spreading of Christianity in the area around Poitiers, France.

During this time, the son of the governor declared his love for Abra to her mother and sought her permission to marry. When Hilary heard that a marriage was being contrived for his daughter, he was incensed, for he had hoped that she would dedicate herself to virginity. He therefore wrote her a letter dissuading her from marriage and urging her towards the higher calling of a life of virginity, encouraging her to remain pure and far from the pleasures of the world.

Saint Therapon of Monza (+ 1597)

St. Therapon of Monza (Feast Day - December 12)

Venerable Therapon of Monza began his ascetic deeds in Moscow, and then transferred to the city of Kostroma at the Elevation of the Cross Monastery, and was tonsured there. Here he lived in asceticism for thirteen years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Daniel the Stylite and the Stylites of Constantinople

Stylitism as a Christian form of asceticism was born in early-fifth century Syria with Saint Symeon the Stylite. It reached Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, and was officially recognized by the Patriarch and the Emperor of Constantinople. To a large extent this was due to the deeds of Saint Daniel the Stylite, who was one of the most well-known Christian ascetics of the fifth century. On the order of his spiritual mentor Saint Symeon the Stylite, he settled near Constantinople where he soon attracted the attention of the metropolitans who were not used to severe forms of Christian asceticism. According to Daniel’s Life he had a miraculous gift for healing and helped all those in need. Not only common people turned to him. The high and mighty, including Emperor Leo I (457–474), asked for his help. In gratitude for curing his wife Verina of infertility, Leo I ordered a new pillar to be built for the Saint. He also had a monastery and a chapel constructed near this pillar where, at Daniel’s request, the relics of his teacher Saint Symeon were taken.

Holy Martyrs Terence, Vincent, Aimilianos and Bebaia

Sts. Terence, Vincent, Aimilianos and Bebaia (Feast Day - December 11)


The three and the one were seen decapitated,
God three in persons and one in nature.

The Holy Martyrs Terence, Vincent, Aimilianos and Bebaia met their end by the sword.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Saint Thomas Dephourkinos of Mount Kyminas in Bithynia

St. Thomas Dephourkinos (Feast Day - December 10)


Thomas established himself on the unbreakable base of God,
Showing himself mightier than the instruments of the demons.

Saint Thomas Dephourkinos was born at the foot of Mount Kyminas in Bithynia in the ninth century to middle class parents. From his youth he studied ecclesiastical writings and longed for the monastic life after visiting many monastic centers. Finally he entered one of the area monasteries and became a monk. Later in his life, when the Roman official Galolektos had founded a monastery at the Sangarios River, Saint Thomas was already an experienced monk, and the brethren chose him as head of the new monastery. He governed the monastery in an orderly way and was an example to his fellow monks.

Holy Martyr Eugenios

St. Eugenios the Martyr (December 10)


Even as Eugenios endured the wood,
He was as suffered wood before the beating with wood.

The Holy Martyr Eugenios met his end by being beaten with wood.

Holy Martyr Marianos

St. Marianos the Martyr (Feast Day - December 10)


Marianos had his head crushed by stones,
In a divinely noetic way it is bound together and crowned.

The Holy Martyr Marianos met his end by stoning.

Holy Hieromartyr Theoteknos

St. Theoteknos the Hieromartyr (Feast Day - December 10)


Theoteknos the child of God,
Eager for the grace of the Father died by the sword.

The Holy Hieromartyr Theoteknos met his end by the sword.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

On the Conception of Saint Anna (George of Nicomedia)

By George of Nicomedia

(Excerpt from his ninth century sermon titled "On the Child-b­egetting of Saint Anna".)

We had been made out of nothing by a pure act of the divine goodness, and we were destined to serve our Creator in the earthly Paradise, by the practice of holy works; but, repelling just commands, we drew upon ourselves the punishment of death by our own will. Nevertheless our Creator, acting according to His mercy, promised us our redemption and freedom; but we had to wait for the time appointed and for those who were to deliver us. Ages rolled by, the prophecies were slow in their fulfillment: all the Patriarchs and the Souls of the Just waited in painful expectation. Abraham had passed, and his descendants ardently yearned for the day which would behold the fulfillment of the mystery of Reparation. Moses caught a glimpse of it through the veils of the figures; he hoped to be the happy witness of the great event. That hope crossed the desert, it upheld the Judges, it was again confirmed unto Samuel. David made those of his own time skip with joy by announcing the nearness of its fulfillment. The choir of the Prophets proclaimed in bold accents that the Christ was soon to come forth; but one after another they disappeared deceived in their hope, for the appointed hour had not yet come, and those who were worthy had not yet shown themselves. At last the Creator of all things found unto Himself among His ancestors the worthy instruments of His designs, Anna and Joachim, the parents of Her who was to determine the accomplishment of the promise. To them, therefore, do we owe the Author of our joy and the first pledge of our happiness.

Holy Martyr Narses the Persian

St. Narses the Persian (Feast Day - December 9)


Narses the Persian offers his head to you Christ,
Which is better than the gifts of myrrh, gold and frankincense.

The Holy Martyr Narses the Persian met his end by the sword.

He may be the same Persian Martyr Narses as the one commemorated on March 29th with his eight other companions.

Holy Martyr Sositheos

St. Sositheos the Martyr (Feast Day - December 9)


Having been saved Sositheos writes a discourse,
On the salvation of God by decapitation.

The Holy Martyr Sositheos met his end by the sword.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Ten Things to Know Before Visiting the Monastery of Saint Patapios in Loutraki

1. Saint Patapios was born in 380 in the Egyptian city of Thebes. Desiring to live a life like the Egyptian ascetics, he decided to leave for the Egyptian desert as a young man where he became well known for his ascetic deeds and holiness. The more people came, the more he tried to conceal himself. No longer able to find peace in the desert he set off for Constantinople in 428. During his voyage, he met his disciple Sechnuti, who was an Egyptian rower. Their ship passed near Corinth where they stayed for seven years in cave. By 435, after seven years in Corinth, Patapios left his skete in the Geranian mountains to resume his journey to Constantinople taking with him the monk Sechnuti. In Constantinople, they secretly went to the Monastery of Blachernae, where he obtained a cell in the city wall. Patapios kept his identity a secret and resumed a life of strict fasting, vigil and prayer under the guise of a simple monk. Here he performed many miracles of healing. After a life adorned with virtue and miracles, he died at the great age of eighty-three in 463 and was buried by his disciples in the Church of Saint John the Forerunner in Constantinople.

A Miracle of Saint Parthenios When He Appeared and Took Over a Sinking Ship

One cold night the wind was whistling and the waves burst onto a ship from Chios. All hope for salvation was lost! The ship rocked up and down, constantly taking in water.

At the Monastery of Saint Mark on the island of Chios a service was being conducted. The sailors who were in danger were good friends of this monastery and its abbot, Saint Parthenios of Chios (1815-1883).

Saint Cyril of Chelma Hill, Enlightener of the Chudian People (+ 1368)

St. Cyril of Chelma Hill (Feast Day - December 8)

Saint Cyril of Chelma Hill (Chelmogorsky), Enlightener of the Chudian People, was born in the city of White Lake in September of 1285. He was tonsured at the monastery of Saint Anthony the Roman in Novgorod, where for six years he passed through various obediences. Then, after wandering through the wilderness for three years, he settled in a wild region of Kargopolsk. And here, by a command from on high, he chose Chelma Hill for his constant abode.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Saint Gregory the Hesychast, Founder of Gregoriou Monastery (+ 1406)

On the seventh of December we commemorate the Venerable Gregory the Hesychast, Founder of the Athonite Sacred Monastery of Saint Nicholas, which came to be known as Gregoriou Monastery.


You were seen to be the founder of Nicholas's Monastery,
Therefore you dwell in celestial mansions.

Venerable Ignatios

St. Ignatios the Monk (Feast Day - December 7)


Full of good works you departed Father,
From the vain and wicked after a full life.

Venerable Ignatios was a monk who lived in a cell next to the Blachernae Church in Constantinople, and reposed in peace.

Holy Martyrs Gaios and Gaianos

Sts. Gaios and Gaianos the Martyrs (Feast Day - December 7)


Even if you are cast into the midst of the furnace Gaios,
I will not be far from you, said Gaianos.

The Holy Martyrs Gaios and Gaianos met their end by fire.

Perhaps they are the same Holy Martyrs of the same names commemorated on August 11th, and were commemorated with other Martyrs in the Church of Saints Kosmas and Damian in the Dareiou district of Constantinople.

Holy Martyrs Isidore, Akepsimas and Leo

St. Isidore, Akepsimas and Leo the Martyrs (Feast Day - December 7)


With your two fellow contestants you were burnt alive Isidore,
Equally obtaining the gifts of God.

The Holy Martyrs Isidore, Akepsimas and Leo met their end by fire.

Holy Martyr Dometios

St. Dometios the Martyr (Feast Day - December 7)


Give Martyr of Christ Dometios and receive,
Give your head, and receive a great crown.

The Holy Martyr Dometios met his end by the sword.

Holy Martyr Neophytos

St. Neophytos the Martyr (Feast Day - December 7)


Neophytos died in the midst of the waters,
By water as a mysterious pathway he lives.

The Holy Martyr Neophytos met his end by being cast into the sea.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

St. Nicholas Feeds the Athonite Fathers During the Fascist Occupation

"What are you doing?" the unknown priest asked. "Is this all the wheat you have? No more?"

The fathers at the Athonite monastery replied that this was indeed all they had. It was December, and they were unable to buy any more because of the Fascist Occupation. It should be noted that 10,000 okas weight of wheat was needed a year for the monastery's survival, and that they could not even buy one oka of it.

Saint Nicholas, Protector of the Weak (A Homily by Metr. Augoustinos Kantiotes)

By Metropolitan Augoustinos (Kantiotes) of Florina

And again, my beloved, the great feast of St. Nicholas has dawned. What shall we say? Should we honor his virtues?

Should we praise his abstinence? As his Apolytikion says, he was the “teacher of abstinence”. For not only when he was older, but also when he was a child in the arms of his mother, he fasted from milk and did not nurse [on Wednesdays and Fridays].

Should we praise his meekness, for his Apolytikion says that he was the “Icon of meekness”? Amidst insults and slanders and schemes of his enemies, he responded with great meekness. He teaches us, that we ourselves, no matter how many times we are insulted and slandered in this world, we must remain meek. There is no greater power than meekness, through which the demons of hell are conquered.

Saint Nicholas on the Bus

An account from the Soviet Union, 1965.

In February, 1965, a bus full of people was going towards a city. Next to the driver there was sitting an old man with a white beard, tall, and full of vigor.He wore a heavy coat with a fur collar, and a fur cap with flaps. The bus was going slowly because of the snow which was falling outside. At one turn, the chains of the back wheels came off. The bus skidded and almost collided with another full bus. All these things happened very quickly. The driver lost control of the bus, and everyone's heart jumped. Finally the two buses halted at a distance of barely three-quarters of an inch apart, without any mishap.

Every Miracle Happens for a Reason: A Homily for the Feast of Saint Nicholas

By Archpriest Nicholai Agofonov

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker has been revered by people all over the world for seventeen centuries now. As time goes by, the veneration of St. Nicholas does not decrease. Especially among Russians, he is loved now like never before. Here in Russia there are thousands of churches and side-altars dedicated to him, where people turn to him for help for various needs: before travelling, before making an important purchase, for family happiness. People read akathists to St. Nicholas and have recourse to him as a speedy helper and intercessor before God, calling him a "wonderworker." He is called a God-pleaser because he so pleased God, and a wonderworker because God gave him the grace and blessing to work miracles. God chooses such saints and gives them a special gift. Why does this happen? Why is it not the same for each saint? We do not know the answer to this question and we will probably never know it. And there is no need to know it.

An Encomium to Saint Nicholas of Myra (St. Andrew of Crete)

By St. Andrew of Crete

O man of God, faithful servant and steward of Christ’s mysteries, and man desiring the things of the Spirit! Receive the sermon we deliver to you as a gift, and consider it our gratitude in return for grace for the miraculous and ardent help you have shown toward us. Indeed, we call you the pillar and foundation of the Church and the illuminator of the world, who maintains the word of life. Virtue has made your names many, and no good thing has escaped you, O you most good shepherd and most praiseworthy high-priest Nicholas! You have stowed away the most precious of virtues in your blessed soul like a treasure of gold and jewels, therefore becoming renowned in the entire world. For a lamp, set on a high and gilded lamp-stand, does not illuminate the blindness of the night as much as you do of late, being set on the throne of a high-priest by Christ, the True Light. As in a dry place, a dark space of the world, you light, like a torch-carrier, all your flock towards the nightless light, and as if from a high observation point you illuminate not only those who are close, but also those who stand far away, with the unwavering brightness of knowledge in Spirit. The angelic way of life has truly made you sublime; the pure and contemplative [quality] of true mingling with the Divine prepared you to fly above, near the heavenly arches. From this very place, the many kinds of virtues are assembled through practical philosophy by you, who selectively gather the lifestyles of the saints like a bee and, from them, bring together the first-fruits of virtues.

Commemoration of the Fearful Threat of the Earthquake of December 6, 1090

On the sixth of December we commemorate the conferring of philanthropy to us with the fearful threat of the earthquake.


Although a divine glance from above full of rage,
Makes the earth shake, favorable ones are quickly seen.

On December 6 in the year 1090, a strong earthquake in Constantinople damaged many houses and churches and caused colonnades to collapse. The city streets were choked with debris and many people were killed. Aftershocks followed for six days.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Burial of Saint Savvas the Sanctified

By Cyril of Scythopolis

(Life of Savvas, Ch. 77)

So it was that our father Savvas, after fighting the good fight, completing the race, and keeping the faith, was adorned with the crown of righteousness. His death occurred on 5 December of the tenth indiction, in the year 6024 since the creation of the world, when time began to be measured by the course of the sun and in the year 524 since the Word of God became man from the Virgin and was born in the flesh, according to the chronologies composed by the holy fathers Hippolytus the Ancient, the disciple of the Apostles, Bishop Epiphanios of Cyprus, and Heron the philosopher and confessor. The chronology of his life in the flesh is as follows. He came to Palestine at the age of eighteen and lived seventeen years in the cenobium and passed fifty-nine years in the desert of the Great Lavra. He died in the ninety-fourth year of his life, in the second year after the consulship of Pampadius and Orestes and in the sixth year of the present divinely protected reign.

When Saint Savvas the Sanctified Shamed a Lion

By Cyril of Scythopolis

(Life of Savvas, Ch. 33)

When by the grace of God Savvas had in a short time enlarged the lavra, increased the community, founded the cenobium of Castellium, and become exarch of all the other lavras and anchorites, his disciples and accusers mentioned above, all the more envious at the founding of Castellium, induced others in the community and, now forty in number, were driven by some evil demon to foment sedition against him. Our father Savvas, gentle towards men although a fighter against demons, yielded to them and withdrew to the region of Scythopolis; he settled in a desert spot by the river called Gadaron, and stayed there for a short time in a cave where an enormous lion was wont to withdraw.

Holy Martyr Diogenes


From men clothed in error,
Martyr Diogenes rejoiced being clothed in stones.

The Holy Martyr Diogenes met his end by stoning.

Holy Martyr Abercius

St. Abercius the Martyr (Feast Day - December 5)


Being decapitated Abercius received a great prize of the contest,
Not an olive wreath, but a crown in heaven.

The Holy Martyr Abercius met his end by the sword.

Venerable Nonnos

Venerable Nonnos (Feast Day - December 5)


Nonnos fled the bind of desire,
Now he is bound in his grave-clothes lying dead.

We have no further information about him, but some manuscripts say he was a Bishop of Ephesus, with Venerable Gratos, who is also commemorated today.

Venerable Gratos

Venerable Gratos (Feast Day - December 5)


Living like an Angel brought forth hope,
But dying as a man Gratos reproved.

Venerable Gratos met his end in peace.

We have no further information about him, but some manuscripts say he was a Bishop of Ephesus, with Venerable Nonnos, who is also commemorated today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Two New Saints from Finland Canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate

According to the official communiqué of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Throne on November 29, 2018:

"The Holy and Sacred Synod, in unanimously accepting the proposal of the Autonomous Church of Finland under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, recorded in the Hagiologion of the Orthodox Church the Venerable John of Valaam (1873-1958), and the Holy Martyr and Confessor John of Ilomantsi (1884-1918), both of whom lived and worked there."

Holy Martyrs Christodoulos and Christodouli the Virgin

Sts. Christodoulos and Christodouli (Feast Day - December 4)


Christodoulos bears the same name with you,
Virgin Christodouli, and contests with you to the sword.

The Holy Martyrs Christodoulos and Christodouli the Virgin met their end by the sword.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Annual Mystagogy Resource Center Christmas Appeal

Dear Readers:

Having entered upon the holiday season, with all of its hustle and bustle, I'm sure the last thing you want to hear is someone else asking to help them out with your hard earned money. But seeing that it is a season of giving, just as God gave us His only son, Christ the Lord, I am once again calling upon you to help support the Mystagogy Resource Center with a gift. Seeing that this ministry does not exist without your support, now is a perfect time to show what the Mystagogy Resource Center means to you.

I often receive letters and comments from people who tell me what the Mystagogy Resource Center means to them, how it is a daily part of their lives that helps them grow spiritually and enhance their knowledge of Orthodoxy is unique ways, among other things. Sometimes they practically beg me to keep it going. Thousands of people from all over the world come to the websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center for spiritually beneficial and reliable material they cannot find anywhere else. To keep this content free and open to the public, and to devote the time to produce much more of it, I am asking of you to give to this ministry out of the generosity of your heart.

Whether you are a regular reader or just happen to stop by once in a while, your help in supporting this valuable and unique Orthodox Christian ministry is greatly appreciated, even if it is only to help the numerous people around the world that do benefit from it, yet cannot afford to do so. Though any amount is greatly appreciated, a $5 a month or $60 a year donation is what we ask, if possible, to keep this ministry alive and thriving. It is a small price to pay for the great amount of time it takes to produce what is available. And many exciting things are in store for 2019, but those things will be announced in due time. Remember, except for some advertising to help cover our costs, this ministry operates on the generosity of its readers alone.

Thank you in advance, and I wish all of you a blessed Nativity season.

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Holy New Hieromartyr Gabriel II, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1659)

St. Gabriel the Hieromartyr, Patriarch of Constantinople (Feast Day - December 3)


Gabriel the New received a double crown,
As a hierarch and athlete of the Lord.

Gabriel was elected Metropolitan of Ganos and Chora on 23 March 1648 for a first term which lasted until 26 November 1651, and again in 1654. After the execution of Parthenios III he was appointed as the new Ecumenical Patriarch on 23 April 1657 with the support of the Greek Orthodox nobility. However the Holy Synod considered him uneducated and unsuitable for the throne, and deposed him seven days later, on 30 April 1657.

Saint George of Cernica (+ 1806)

St. George of Cernica (Feast Day - December 3)

Venerable George was born in 1730 to pious Orthodox parents in Săliște Sibiu of Romania. From his youth he desired to pursue the monastic life. However, at that time the Roman Catholic Austrian rulers of Transylvania suppressed Orthodoxy, especially Orthodox monasticism, inclining the believers to union. Therefore, at the age of nineteen, the young man went to Wallachia and came to the Greek Metropolitan Rosca, who at that time was in Bucharest. He became the Saint's spiritual father.

Shortly thereafter, in 1750, he went with his spiritual father to Constantinople, and then to Holy Mount Athos. Here he settled in the Vatopaidi Monastery, and was tonsured a monk and ordained as a deacon. After the death of his mentor, he became a disciple of Saint Paisius Velichkovsky in the Prophet Elias Skete. There, in 1752, he was tonsured into the Great Schema by the Saint Paisius, and in 1754 he was made a presbyter. During his stay on Mount Athos with great zeal and great spiritual benefit, he advanced along the ladder of spiritual perfection, comprehending the joy of living in Christ.

Saint Sava Storozhevsky of Zvenigorod, Disciple of Saint Sergius of Radonezh (+ 1406)

Saint Sava Storozhevsky (Feast Day - December 3)

Saint Sava Storozhevsky of Zvenigorod left the world in his early youth, and received the monastic tonsure from Saint Sergius of Radonezh, whose disciple and fellow-ascetic he was at Trinity Monastery.

Saint Sava loved solitude, and avoided conversing with people. He lived in constant toil, lamenting the poverty of his soul, and trembling before the judgment of God. He was a model of simplicity and humility, and he attained to such a depth of spiritual wisdom that in the Monastery of the Holy Trinity he was a spiritual confessor to all the brethren, including Saint Sergius, and a venerable and exceedingly learned Elder.

Holy Martyrs Agapios, Seleukos and Mamas

Sts. Agapios, Seleukos and Mamas (Feast Day - December 3)


Three men Agapios and Seleukos and Mamas,
Longing for Him who mould them they also loved the sword.

The Holy Martyrs Agapios, Seleukos and Mamas met their end by the sword.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

"I Grew Up With Saint Porphyrios"

In the videos posted below, renowned Byzantine musician Nektaria Karantzi explains that her parents were spiritual children of Elder Porphyrios, and how she grew up in an ecclesiastical atmosphere. Weekly they would visit the Elder before he died, and she would sit next to his bed and receive his blessing. When she was eight years old the Elder told her parents to put her at the chanter's stand to learn Byzantine music. This was because he would teach her hymns and got her to love singing them. It was the dream of the Elder to form a choir of women to chant in churches on Sunday. This choir was formed by a priest who was a spiritual child of the Elder, and one of the girls was Nektaria. This kicked off her career as a Byzantine musician. She later completed her studies in Byzantine Music, and received a Degree and a Diploma from the Byzantine Music School of the Metropolis of Piraeus, taught by notable tutors including Dimitris Verykios.

Saint Stephen Urosh V, Emperor of Serbia (+ 1371)

St. Stephen Urosh (Feast Day - December 2)

Saint Stephen Urosh (Stefan Uroš), the second Emperor (Tsar) of the Serbian Empire (1355–1371), was the only son of Emperor Dushan Nemany (1346-1355), by Helena of Bulgaria, the sister of Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria, and was born in the year 1337. He had been crowned as king (second highest title) in the capacity of heir and co-ruler after Dushan was crowned emperor in 1346. Dushan sought the daughter of the French king for his son, but the Pope of Rome insisted that the princess not change from the Latin confession. Dushan did not want to see a Catholic in his family, and because of this Saint Stephen Urosh entered into marriage with the daughter of Vlad, Prince of Wallachia.

Saint Solomon, Archbishop of Ephesus

St. Solomon of Ephesus (Feast Day - December 2)


Solomon has died, not the relative of David,
But Solomon the arch-shepherd of his flock.

Saint Solomon, Archbishop of Ephesus, met his end in peace.

Some believe that he and Saint Solochonos, commemorated on December 1, are the same person.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Month of December in the Orthodox Church

By John Sanidopoulos

December is the twelfth and final month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and is the seventh and last of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It got its name from the Latin word decem (meaning ten) because it was originally the tenth month of the year in the Roman calendar, which began in March. The winter days following December were not included as part of any month. Later, the months of January and February were created out of the monthless period and added to the beginning of the calendar, but December retained its name. December contains the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day with the fewest daylight hours, and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours (excluding polar regions in both cases).

Saints Ananias and Solochonos, Archbishops of Ephesus

Sts. Ananias and Solochonos of Ephesus (Feast Day - December 1)


Two shepherds died of one flock,
And both went to one place abroad.

Like Saint Onesimus, who we also commemorate today, both Saints Ananias and Solochonos (or Solochon) are unidentified Archbishops of Ephesus. This is not surprising, since we only know of twenty-five Bishops of Ephesus. Some say there are copyist errors with both of these Saints; Ananias is confused with Ananias of Persia also commemorated today, while Solochonos is the same as Solomon the Archbishop of Ephesus commemorated on December 2nd.

Saint Onesimus, Archbishop of Ephesus

St. Onesimus of Ephesus (Feast Day - December 1)


The body of Onesimus entered the earth,
Longing to gush forth beneficial grace.

Saint Onesimus, Archbishop of Ephesus, met his end in peace.

The Best of November 2018 by the Mystagogy Resource Center (MRC)

Below is the monthly review for the month of November of the ten most popular articles from the previous month on, then all the posts made on the other websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center.

1. Beware These Two Thoughts and Fear Them (St. Silouan the Athonite)

2. Confession of the Orthodox Faith (St. Gregory Palamas)

3. Saint Paisios the Athonite and the Clairvoyant Eldress Eulambia Romanides

4. Are You A Man or a Wild Beast? (St. John Chrysostom)

5. Orthodox Nativity Fast Resource Page

6. Two Old and Rare Icons of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child

7. How the West Came to Celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary

8. Did Eusebius Write About Saint Katherine in the Early Fourth Century?

9. Narration of the Vision of a Certain John Which is Altogether Beneficial

10. The Well of Docheiariou Monastery and the Archangels

1. Old Christian Virtues Gone Mad

1. The Unbelieving Physicist and a Miracle Above and Beyond the Laws of Nature

2. The Views of Orthodox Theology on Bioethical Issues (1 of 6)

1. Secular Politics and the Eschatological Vision of the Church

1. A Byzantine Nativity Icon that Depicts a Belief in Witchcraft and the Evil Eye

1. The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 4 of 4)

1. Questions and Answers 64 - 67

1. Book Review: "The Undead and Theology"

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