Monday, July 22, 2019

The Wondrous Encounter of the Greek Poet Angelos Sikelianos with Saint Mary Magdalene

Angelos Sikelianos, born on 28 March 1884 and died on 19 June 1951, was a Greek lyric poet and playwright. His themes include Greek history, religious symbolism as well as universal harmony in poems such as The Moonstruck, Prologue to Life, Mother of God, and Delphic Utterance. His plays include Sibylla, Daedalus in Crete, Christ in Rome, The Death of Digenis, The Dithyramb of the Rose and Asklepius. Although occasionally his grandiloquence blunts the poetic effect of his work, some of Sikelianos finer lyrics are among the best in Western literature. In the six years from 1946 until 1951, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Saint Cornelius of Pereyaslavl (+ 1693)

St. Cornelius of Pereyaslavl (Feast Day - July 22)

Venerable Cornelius of Pereyaslavl, in the world Conon, was the son of a wealthy Ryazan merchant family, whose parents were named Gordiy and Theodora. In his youth he left his parental home and lived for five years as a novice of the Elder Paul in the Lukianov wilderness near Pereyaslavl. Afterwards the young ascetic transferred to the Pereyaslavl Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb on the Sands [Peskakh]. However, because he was a beardless youth, and he refused to speak, the abbot Sergius would not take him in.

Despite the refusals, the lad did not depart from the monastery. Instead, he lived outside the monastery walls and spent the night at the gates, never ceasing to beg to be taken into the monastery. Finally, seeing the patience of Conon, Sergius accepted him as a novice, declaring him deaf and dumb.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Homily on the Fifth Eothinon Gospel - Luke 24:13-35

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

The Gospel read today during Matins, refers to the appearance of Christ to the two disciples, who are not numbered among the circle of the Twelve, but instead they are among the circle of the Seventy, as they were on their way to Emmaus, a small city near Jerusalem. One of the disciples mentioned in the Gospel is Cleopas, the other, according to the tradition preserved for us, is Luke the Evangelist himself, who recorded the event.

First of all, what one finds when reading the Gospels that describe the Resurrection of Christ, is that all the descriptions are simple, plain, they do not express emotions or grand doctrines, they even express the disbelief of the disciples. All this shows the truth of the descriptions. There is nothing unnecessary, excessive, emotional. Everything is natural and true.

Fifth Sunday of Pentecost: Gospel and Epistle Reading

Fifth Sunday of Pentecost
Fifth Sunday of Matthew

Healing of the Two Gergesene Demoniacs

St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 10:1-10


Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.

Fifth Gospel Reading of Matins

Fifth Sunday Gospel Reading of Matins
(Fifth Eothinon of Orthros)

On the Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35


At that time, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Saint Paisius of the Kiev Caves

St. Paisius of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - July 19)

Venerable Paisius was a monk of the Kiev Caves Lavra around the 14th century. From the Canon to the Kiev Caves monks, venerated in the Far Caves, it is known that he was connected by oneness of mind and brotherly love with Saint Mercurius (Nov. 24). Both Saints were inseparable, they lived in the same cell, and after death were placed in the same grave. At the present time their relics rest in separate reliquaries in the Far Caves of Theodosius. According to the results of anthropological research, Paisius reposed at the age of 20-25.

Saint Roman Olegovich, Prince of Ryazan (+ 1270)

St. Roman of Ryazan (Feast Day - July 19)

The Holy Prince Roman Olegovich of Ryazan was born in 1237. According to the princely custom, his parents gave him the Slavic name Yaroslav, and at his baptism they named him Roman. He was from a line of princes, who during the time of the Tatar (Mongol) Yoke won glory as defenders of the Christian faith and of their Fatherland. Both his grandfathers perished for the Fatherland in the struggle with Batu.

In 1252, his father, Oleg Ingvarevich Krasny, returned to his homeland after fourteen years of captivity, and in 1258, feeling the approach of his demise, Prince Oleg was tonsured a monk with the name of Kosmas. He handed over the throne to his son Roman and died peacefully.

Holy Four Venerable Ascetics

Venerable Four Ascetic (Feast Day - July 19)


Four in number monastic men reached the summit,
Standing with the four noetic forms.

The Holy Four* Venerable Ascetics met their end in peace.


* According to some sources, the number is forty.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Saint Pambo of the Kiev Caves (+ 1241)

St. Pambo of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - July 18)

Venerable Pambo lived in the thirteenth century, and was a Hieromonk of the Kiev Caves Lavra. During the siege of the monastery by the Tatars, the fathers of the monastery sent Pambo out to get some food. Despite the great danger, Pambo undertook the task as a form of obedience, but the Tatars captured him and tortured him in an attempt to get him to renounce his Christian faith. He said to them: “Your gods are cursed, and I believe in Christ, the true God, who made heaven and earth. He is the Lord, the only True and Almighty, and He will deliver me from your hands with the prayers of the Holy Cave.” Indeed, the monk miraculously escaped from the torturers, for being admired by the Angels, he was transferred by them to his cell in the Kiev Caves Lavra. Before his death he went into seclusion and reposed in peace in 1241. He was buried in the Far Caves of Saint Theodosius.

Consecration of the Church of the Theotokos in Kallistratos Monastery

On July 18th we commemorate the Consecration of the Church of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos which was in Kallistratos Monastery in Constantinople. It is not known today where the exact location of this monastery was, but it probably operated from the 7th to the 10th century.

Holy Martyrs Dasios and Maron

Sts. Dasios and Maron (Feast Day - July 18)


The head of Dasios was cut off,
Maron the lamp-bearer had a similar end.

The Holy Martyrs Dasios and Maron met their end by a sword.

Holy Martyr Markellos

St. Markellos the Martyr (Feast Day - July 18)


You reclined Markellos on a fiery bed,
And fell asleep in an altogether blessed sleep.

The Holy Martyr Markellos met his end by being laid out on a fiery bed.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

5 Shrines Dedicated to Saint Marina in Crete

Below are only a select five of the many shrines dedcated to Saint Marina on the island of Crete.

1. Church of Saint Marina in Halepa

The Chapel of Saint Marina is just 300 metres from Halepa Monastery. It bears the coat of arms of the Kallergis family, one of the most powerful families of the Venetian era that enjoyed unique privileges. The church contains many well-preserved frescoes. In the past, Halepa Monastery operated as a convent at this location, before moving to its present location in 1673.

Miracles of Saint Marina After Her Martyrdom in Her Church in Antioch

The first six miracles are recorded in the account of Saint Theotimos, the biographer of Saint Marina and eyewitness to her martyrdom, while the next two were recorded in another account of her life and miracles.

Saint Marina Asks Her Nursemaid and Theotimos To Build Her a Church

1) One day the nursemaid of the elect Saint Marina came to me and said that while she was praying at midnight, a dazzling light shone on her, and an angel, crowned with precious stones, and accompanied by a group of angels, appeared to her and said, "I am the Archangel Michael, who is assigned to serve Saint Marina. I came to instruct you with what you should do: Harry up and take the body of Saint Marina from the marble casket, and put it in a hidden tomb, because she is suffering from the continuous honoring of her body." The nanny said that she did not notice any crosses on him or on any one of his followers. So, she said to that angel that she was aware that the devil can appear in the form of an angel, but without a cross on him. She asked him if he could be a devil. Then I, poor Theotimos, answered her, "I saw the angels of heaven taking the soul of the great Saint Marina and ascending to heaven while they were chanting with joy. The devil surely envies the believers who are cured every day when they visit her body and gain her blessing." Suddenly, the blessed martyr Marina, came to us in a white robe with golden crosses over it. She greeted us and said to her nanny, "Blessed be the Lord who fulfilled to me all what I asked Him. He promised me that my spirit would be in Paradise, while my body will be all over the world. That way the Lord would protect all those who touch a part of my body. You should know that the one who appeared to you in the form of an illustrious angel was my enemy, the devil. Cast him away with the sign of the cross. The Archangel Michael will give those who pray to God in any place where a part of my body is kept, all what they ask for. This year all idol worshiping will cease. I ask you to build a church in my name, in the place where the marble casket is kept."

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Sviatogorsk

The Sviatogorsk Icon of the Mother of God is from the Sviatogorsky Monastery in the province of Pskov. In the year 1563, during the time of Ivan the Terrible, in the environs of Pskov, a Tenderness Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to a fifteen-year-old shepherd and fool named Timothy, not far from the stream Lugovitsa. This icon was thereafter situated in the Voronicha parish church of Saint George. The voice from the icon said that after six years the grace of God would shine forth upon this hill.

In 1569 to this same youth upon the Sinicha hill, there appeared an Hodegetria icon of the Mother of God on a pine tree. Timothy spent forty days at this place in fasting and prayer. The miraculous voice from the icon commanded that the clergy and the people should come to the Sinicha heights with the Tenderness icon on the Friday following the Sunday of All Saints.

Tsar Nicholas II Romanov Resource Page

St. Nicholas II Romanov (Feast Day - July 17)

Holy Passion Bearers Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei

Translation of the Holy Relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov (photos)

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Saint Theodore

Saint Euphrasios, Bishop of Ionopolis

St. Euphrasios of Ionopolis (Feast Day - July 17)


You made the Word glad by your works Euphrasios,
Traverse along the path towards heaven rejoicing.

Saint Euphrasios, Bishop of Ionopolis, met his end in peace.

Monday, July 15, 2019

What Christians Can Learn from Mount Everest's Death Zone

The Death Zone

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

Mountain climbing is considered a sport in which you climb up mountains, especially high mountains, using various means for the climb.

But when it comes to climbing Everest, which is the highest peak in the world located in the Himalayas, then it becomes a very exciting and dangerous sport.

On 21 May 2019 Aliki Anastasopoulou became the third Greek woman to climb Everest, and this was reported all over the media.

Commemoration of the Union of the Great Church (A Forgotten Feast of Constantinople)

A feast that began in tenth century Constantinople, is no longer officially celebrated in the Orthodox Church. It was a feast that celebrated the Union of the Great Church, namely the Church of Constantinople. It was celebrated on the Sunday that fell between July 6th and 12th, when the Tomos of Union was read from the ambon in all the churches of Constantinople. It is not known whether or not this feast was celebrated outside of Constantinople, which may perhaps explain why it did not survive.

Emperor Leo VI caused a major scandal with his numerous marriages which failed to produce a legitimate heir to the throne. His first wife Theophano, whom Basil had forced him to marry on account of her family connections to the Martinakioi, and whom Leo hated, died in 897, and Leo married Zoe Zaoutzaina, the daughter of his adviser Stylianos Zaoutzes, though she died as well in 899. Upon this marriage Leo created the title of basileopatōr ("father of the emperor") for his father-in-law.

Holy Martyr Lollianos

St. Lollianos the Martyr (Feast Day - July 15)


With eager feet you ran to be crushed in the end,
Lollianos met his end by being kicked to death.

The Holy Martyr Lollianos met his end by being kicked by executioners.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Homily on the Fourth Eothinon Gospel - Luke 24:1-12

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Continuing our interpretation of the Eothina Gospels, that is the Gospels that are read during Matins on Sunday which refer to the Resurrection of Christ, today we will examine the Gospel that was read this morning during Matins which was the Fourth Eothinon.

Today's Gospel refers to two visits to the Tomb of Christ. The first visit was of the Myrrhbearing women, namely Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James, while the other visit was of the Apostle Peter. The important thing here is that none of them saw the Risen Christ, but the women saw two young men in bright clothing, who were angels, and Peter only saw the shroud which he found in the tomb of Christ.

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod


Bright-bearing stars of the invisible heavens,
Illumine our hearts with your rays.

The Holy Fourth Ecumenical Synod took place in Chalcedon, near Constantinople, in the Church of Saint Euphemia, in the year 451, when Marcian was the Roman Emperor. 630 Bishops were present.

The Synod of Chalcedon was concerned, once again, with the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. The teaching arose that Christ's human nature (less perfect) dissolved itself in His divine nature (more perfect): like a cube of sugar in a cup of water. Thus, in reality, Christ had only one nature, the Divine. Hence, the term: Monophysites ("mono" - one, and "physis" - nature) Monophysitism overemphasized the divine nature of Christ, at the expense of the human.

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod: Gospel and Epistle Reading

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod

Sunday That Falls Between July 13th and 19th

Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 2.
Psalm 31:11,1

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous.
Verse: Blessed are they whose transgressions have been forgiven.

Προκείμενον. Ήχος πλ. β'.
Ψαλμοί 31.11,1

Εὐφράνθητι ἐπὶ Κύριον, καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε δίκαιοι.
Στίχ. Μακάριοι, ὧν ἀφέθησαν αἱ ἀνομίαι.

St. Paul's First Letter to Titus 3:8-15


Titus, my son, the saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned. When I send Artemas or Tychicos to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful. All who are with me send greeting to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Pentecost: Gospel and Epistle Reading

Fourth Sunday of Pentecost
Fourth Sunday of Matthew

The Faith of the Centurion

St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 9:1-7


BRETHREN, the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.

Fourth Gospel Reading of Matins

Fourth Sunday Gospel Reading of Matins
(Fourth Eothinon of Orthros)

Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?

Luke 24:1-12


On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered in to the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home wondering at what had happened.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saint Paisios, Saint Porphyrios and the "Zealots" of Kavsokalyva

By Hieromonk George of Kavsokalyva

Few people know of the short passage of Saint Paisios at the Skete of Kavsokalyva, when he was still seeking an elder to submit himself to.

He was inclined towards the hesychast life and so decided to visit Cells and Sketes, still wearing his military uniform and going by the name Arsenios.

In his biography we read about his search. 'He was burdened by certain zealots who had no discernment. He thought they were called zealots because they had a lot of zeal and struggled a lot. But instead they made him feel dizzy and wanted to rebaptize him, even though he was already baptized by Saint Arsenios and even with the Old Calendar.

Amazing Footage from Meteora in 1917 and Mount Athos in 1918

The first two minutes show Meteora in 1917, and the rest shows Mount Athos in 1918 - specifically the hermitages and monasteries, as well as a procession from Vatopaidi to Karyes, then from Iveron to Vatopaidi.

Saint Paisios the Athonite and the Deer (an unpublished story)

In the guesthouse of the Monastery of Savvathiana on the island of Crete, a retired teacher recalled the following story about Elder Paisios.

Once the abbot of Koutloumousiou Monastery, Christodoulos, had a problem he was dealing with, so he decided to visit Elder Paisios early in the morning to consult him. When he arrived at his cell, he found him alone. As they spoke, a deer appeared outside his cell. When the Elder saw it, he spoke to it, saying: "I told you not to wander around in the morning because someone may kill you." The deer then lifted one its legs, and the Elder realized it was broken.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Little Known Incidents from the Life of Saint Paisios the Athonite in Konitsa

By Fr. Elias Makos

Venerable Paisios, who memory is celebrated on July 12, had God as his ally, guide and inspiration since childhood.

In everything, alone, he felt himself to be weak and powerless. With God he gained power. The closer his bond with God was, the more powerful were his experiences.

Those who had conversed with him, and are no longer alive, left behind their memories to their relatives. And those younger than him who knew him closely, as well as his own relatives, have preserved incidents from his life in Konitsa, not only of his childhood and adolescents, but also of his early monastic life.

Venerable Paisios constantly struggled to rid himself of sin, and he emerged in a field that belonged to God, and was cultivated by Him.

Holy Martyrs Andrew the General, Heraclius, Faustus, Menas, and Those With Them


For July 12th

As a celestial bloody chariot of four horses,
The four Martyrs were found to be as they set off for war.

For August 31

God sees the four chariot riders,
Causing Satan to fall, and striking down the invisible executioner.

Today we commemorate the Holy Martyrs Andrew the General, Heraclius, Faustus, Menas, and those with them. We do not know any details about them, not even the details about their martyrdoms. They are commemorated on both July 12th and August 31st. It is probably not the same Saint Andrew the General commemorated on August 19th.

Commemoration of the Holy Martyr Mamas Over at the Sigma

 Holy Martyr Mamas Over at the Sigma (Feast Day - July 12)


If I cannot give you a gift of honor Mamantos,
How can I appear to be a friend of Martyrs?

This Saint Mamas probably refers to the same Holy Martyr commemorated on September 2nd. On this day, there appears to have been a Synaxis at a shrine dedicated to Saint Mamas in the Sigma section of Constantinople. The Sigma is known to have been located above the Peribleptos Monastery. Next to the location of this monastery, in 1888 there was found a plaque on which the name "Mamas" was written, which could indicate the location of this church dedicated to Saint Mamas.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Historical Sources for the Miracle of St. Euphemia at the Fourth Ecumenical Synod

The Fourth Ecumenical Synod of 451 took place in the Church of Saint Euphemia in Chalcedon, where her sacred relics were kept. The Patriarch of Constantinople at this Synod was Anatolios, while the Pope of Rome was Leo the Great. Information about the miracle of Saint Euphemia comes from two letters: one from the the Synod to Pope Leo and the other from Patriarch Anatolios to Pope Leo. Though the passages are a bit obscure about the miracle, it says that the definition of faith was delivered by Saint Euphemia as her own confession of faith and confirmed by the holy Fathers present. It seems clear that Pope Leo already knew of the miracle, or it was common knowledge by the time these two letters were issued. The two letters are as follows, with the relevant information about the miracle highlighted:

How the Feast of Saint Euphemia on July 11th Came to Be Celebrated at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

In the Patriarchal Church of Saint George at the Phanar, by the south wall of the parecclesion of the Pammakaristos, placed on marble bases, are the caskets (larnax) with the holy relics of three female saints: Euphemia the Great Martyr, Solomone the mother of the Maccabees, and Theophano the first consort of the Emperor Leo VI the Wise. The casket of Saint Euphemia has a richly ornamented silver revetment. This relic has been in the Patriarchal Church since 1601.

Saint Arsenios, Patriarch of Alexandria (+ 1010)

St. Arsenios of Alexandria (Feast Day - July 11)

Arsenios was the brother of the wife of the Fatimid Caliph al-Aziz (975-996), which greatly contributed to the ecclesiastical career of both Arsenios himself, who became the Metropolitan of Memphis, and his brother Orestes, who became the Patriarch of Jerusalem in 986.

After the death of Patriarch Elias II of Alexandria, upon the direct instructions of Caliph al-Hakim (996-1021), the son and successor of al-Aziz, Arsenios was elevated to be the Patriarch of Alexandria on June 17, 1000.

Taking advantage of the location of the ruling dynasty, the Brother-Patriarchs achieved "primacy" among the non-Muslim confessions of Egypt. After the death of Orestes in 1005, Patriarch Arsenios also took over the administration of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, thus concentrating power over the entire Orthodox community of the Fatimid caliphate.

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Rzhevsk

The Rzhevsk (or Okovetsk) Icon of the Mother of God is from the Rzhevets Monastery in Poltava. On May 26, 1539, on the day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), in the Tver diocese, in Vyryshensk town situated in a virgin forest on the bank of the rivulet Vyryshna in the Okovetsk district, not far from the city of Rzhev, at a crossroads for people from four surrounding villages, the monk Stephen made a discovery: fastened to a pine tree was a large iron cross and on another tree an old painted icon depicting the Mother of God with Child, and also Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra. With the discovery of the holy cross and the icon there shone an extraordinary light and healings occurred. From the Day of the Holy Spirit to the start of the Apostles’ Fast, 27 healings occurred.

Holy Martyr Martyrokles

St. Martyrokles the Martyr (Feast Day - July 11)


Martyrokles found a calling for martyrdom,
You appeared as an excellent Martyr who was shot with arrows.

The Holy Martyr Martyrokles met his end by being shot with arrows.

Holy Martyr Marcian

St. Marcian the Martyr (Feast Day - July 11)


Your throat was as a chest Marcian,
Making room for the knife, to which you were condemned.

The Holy Martyr Marcian met his end by the sword.

Venerable Leo of Mandra

St. Leo of Mandra (Feast Day - July 11)


You departed the earth to revel in delights Leo,
As the original earth had of old.

Venerable Leo of Mandra met his end in peace.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Saint Silouan of the Kiev Caves

St. Silouan of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - July 10)

The Holy Schemamonk Silouan of the Kiev Caves, zealously preserved the purity of both body and soul, subduing his flesh with fasting and vigils, and cleansing his soul with prayer and the contemplation of God. The Lord granted him an abundance of spiritual gifts: boldness before God, constant joy in the Lord, clairvoyance and wonderworking. He lived at the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries.

Saint Amalia of Maubeuge (+ 690)

Saint Amalia of Maubeuge, also known as Amalberga, was born around 640 in Liege of the Walloon Region within present Belgium. She is said to have been the sister or niece of Pippin of Landen and married Count Witger, Duke of Lorraine. In her biography she is presented as the mother of three saints: Emebert, Reineldis and Gudula. Amalia joined the monastic community at Maubeuge Abbey after the birth of her youngest daughter Gudula, and when her husband Witger became a monk at Lobbes Abbey. She lived a virtuous and philanthropic life. Upon her venerable repose in 690, she was buried with her husband at Lobbes, and her children were buried there as well. In the fifteenth century her relics were transferred to Binche.

Holy Martyrs Victoria, Anatolia and Audax

Sts. Victoria, Anatolia and Audax (Feast Day - July 10);
 Victoria and Anatolia are portrayed amongst the mosaic Procession of Virgins
in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna.

These Saints lived in the time of the Emperor Decius (249-251). Anatolia and Victoria were sisters whose marriage was arranged to two noble, pagan Roman men. They resisted matrimony and their prospective grooms denounced them as Christians. They received permission to imprison the women on their estates and convince them to renounce their faith. Anatolia's suitor, Titus Aurelius, gave up, and handed her back to the authorities. Victoria’s suitor, Eugenius, was more persistent, but also ended up returning her to the authorities.

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Bianor and Silouan of Pisidia

Sts. Bianor and Silouan (Feast Day - July 10)


To Bianor.
They were not able to conquer your firm nature,
Martyr Bianor, nor did the violence of the sword.

To Silouan.
Seeing you struck by the sword Silouan,
You have become another Siloam curing suffering.

Of these two Holy Martyrs, Bianor was from the province of Pisidia, and because of his confession of Christ he stood before Severian the governor of Euphatesia, now called Ajar, which can be found in Syria and consisted of a small kingdom.* The Saint therefore stood before him, and first he was suspended and beaten with wooden swords. He was then burned with fiery metal balls, and had his teeth pulled out and ears cut off.

Synaxis of Saint John the Theologian in the Biatos or Beotos


The child of thunder greatly sounded again,
In Biatos where his house stands.

It is not certain today where Biatos or Beotos is, as indicated by the confusion of how the place is pronounced in the Synaxarion of Constantinople, however it probably refers to a district in or around Constantinople where a church dedicated to Saint John the Theologian stood. On the 10th of July, this church celebrated its Synaxis.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Koloch

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Koloch (Feast Day - July 9)

The Koloch Icon of the Mother of God manifested itself in the year 1413 during the reign of Vasily I Dimitrievich, 15 versts from the city of Mozhaisk, in the vicinity of Koloch in the Smolensk governia. A peasant of this village by the name of Luke found the holy icon and took it to his home. One of his household was paralyzed. The sick one put his forehead to the icon with faith and received complete healing.

Commemoration of the Consecration of the Church of the Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring in Constantinople

Consecration of the Church of the Zoodochos Pege (Feast Day - July 9)

The Roman Emperor Leo I (457-474) erected a magnificent church outside the imperial city of Constantinople, near the Golden Gate, dedicated to the Theotokos, having witnessing a miraculous cure by the Theotokos of a blind man receiving back his sight after drinking from a spring there. This shrine became a source of many miracles.

Holy Martyrs Andrew and Probos

Sts. Andrew and Probos the Martyrs (Feast Day - July 9)


Standing in the pit of the fire O Word,
Your two men were revived by a cool breeze.

The Holy Martyrs Andrew and Probos met their end by fire.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Saint Procopius the Fool for Christ and Wonderworker of Ustiug (+ 1303)

Saint Procopius the Fool for Christ of Ustiug (Feast Day - July 8)

Saint Procopius was a German Catholic, and according to some sources his name was Jacob Potharst. After the death of his father, who died in one of the battles of the Prussians with the Germans, Procopius was forced to leave East Prussia. He loaded his wealth on ships and went to Novgorod. He was running a merchant business in Novgorod when in 1243 he became enraptured by the beauty of the Orthodox services. He converted into Orthodoxy, gave his wealth and possessions to the indigent and became a monk at the Monastery of the Venerable Barlaam of Khutinsk outside Novgorod. After some time, fleeing fame, he left for Ustiug where Procopius chose to accomplish the ordeal of foolishness for Christ, pretending to be a fool in order to attain utmost humility. Thus he became the first Fool for Christ in Russia.

The Appearance of the Icon of the Mother of God in the City of Kazan (1579)

Appearance of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - July 8)

The Icon of the Mother of God of Kazan is said to have come to Russia from Constantinople in the 13th century. After the Tatars besieged Kazan and made it the capital of their khanate in 1438, the icon disappeared, and it is not mentioned again until the 16th century, some years after the liberation of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible in 1552.

After a fire destroyed Kazan in 1579, the Mother of God appeared in a prophetic dream to a 10-year-old girl named Matrona and told her where to find the precious image again. As instructed, Matrona told the archbishop about her dream, but he would not take her seriously. After two more such dreams, on July 8, 1579, the girl and her mother themselves dug up the image, buried under the ashes of a house, where it had been hidden long before to save it from the Tatars. The unearthed icon looked as bright and beautiful as if it were new. The archbishop repented of his unbelief and took the icon to the Church of St. Nicholas, where a blind man was cured that very day. Hermogen, the priest at this church, later became Metropolitan of Kazan. He brought the icon to Kazan's Cathedral of the Annunciation and established July 8 as a feast in honor of the Theotokos of Kazan. It is from Hermogen's chronicle, written at the request of the tsar in 1595, that we know of these events.

Saint Procopius the Fool for Christ and Wonderworker of Ustya

St. Procopius of Ustya (Feast Day - July 8)

The incorrupt and fragrant relics of Saint Procopius were discovered in the middle of the seventeenth century near the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Ustya (Vologda diocese) at the bank of the Ustya River. His body had been placed in a coffin of wicker rods and rose to the surface of the earth. None of the residents knew anything about him or when he was buried.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Homily on the Third Eothinon Gospel - Mark 16:9-20

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

This year's Sunday sermons, my beloved brethren, will refer to the Eothina Gospels, which are read during Matins on Sunday. Every Sunday morning, before the Divine Liturgy begins, during Matins (Orthros), there is a reading from a Gospel, which refers to the Resurrection of Christ. These Gospels are called Eothina, because they are read in the dawn of the morning (eothinon means "morning"), and also because they refer to the great event of the Resurrection of Christ, which is the orthros (dawn), or dawning of another life for mankind, since by His Resurrection Christ gave us another life, which is a prelude to the great day of the Kingdom of Heaven.

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