July 31, 2019

The Best of July 2019 by the Mystagogy Resource Center (MRC)

Below is the monthly review for the month of July 2019 of the ten most popular articles on johnsanidopoulos.com, then all the posts made on the other websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center.


1. The Earliest Known Image of the Virgin Mary (Circa 150 AD)

2. When Two Jehovah's Witnesses Approached Saint Gabriel the Confessor

3. Amazing Footage from Meteora in 1917 and Mount Athos in 1918

4. 10 Places in Massachusetts of Interest to Orthodox Christians

5. What Christians Can Learn from Mount Everest's Death Zone

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

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

8. Holy Synod of the Church of Greece Declares the Day of the Unborn Child

9. Finding of the Grave and Relics of Saint Raphael in Karyes of Mytilene in 1959

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


1. Giannis Antetokounmpo and His Orthodox Christian Faith

2. Greek Pop Singer and Eurovision Contestant Baptized Orthodox

3. Movie: "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days " (2005)


1. Movie Trailer: "The Current War" (2017)


1. The Righteous Shall Dwell in Eternal Fire


1. The View of Satan and Demons in Acta S. Marinae

2. Deals with the Devil: A Brief Musical History


1. Teachers of Orthodox Christianity and Teachers of Other Religions

2. A Brief Overview of Zoroastrianism


1. Questions and Answers 93 - 97


1. 20 - Book Review: "The Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople. Ecclesiastical Policy and Image Worship in the Byzantine Empire"


1. Sick Catechists: A Concern In Catechism

2. The Youth and the Parish

3. Saint Marina As A Role Model For Young Women


1. A Brief Life of Saint Nektarios (1846-1920)


1. Saints Who Read "Salvation of Sinners": St. Kosmas the Aitolos (+ 1779)


1. Remembering Dr. Norman Geisler

2. Top Twelve Movies of 2019 (So Far)

3. My 4th of July Traditions

Commemoration of the Consecration of the Church of the Theotokos in Blachernae

On July 31st we commemorate the consecration of the revered temple of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos in Blachernae.

In 450, Empress Aelia Pulcheria started to build a church near a fountain of holy water situated outside the walls of Theodosius II at the foot of the sixth hill of Constantinople. After her death in 453, the shrine was completed by her husband, Emperor Marcian.

Emperor Leo I erected near the church two other buildings: a parekklesion to the Holy Soros, since it hosted the holy mantle and robe of the Theotokos brought from Palestine in 473, and the Holy Bath edifice, which enclosed the fountain.

Holy New Hiero-Confessor Basil (Preobrazhensky), Bishop of Kineshma (+ 1945)

St. Basil of Kineshma (Feast Day - July 31)

The Saint's greatness was rooted in his upbringing, which was strict even by the standards of nineteenth century Russia. His father, a priest, kept all secular influences out of the home, nor were the children allowed to wander outside the surrounding hedgerow which marked the boundaries of their world. But the apparent harshness of this monastic like environment was dissolved in an atmosphere of true Christian love, and the social isolation was frequently broken by the glad reception of poor folk and pilgrims. The lack of distractions and the training in prayer and spiritual struggle disposed the mind to concentrate, so that the children's delayed education proved no intellectual disadvantage and served to benefit their spiritual welfare, which was their parents' main concern.

Saint Arsenius, Bishop of Ninotsminda (+ 1082)

St. Arsen of Ninotsminda (Feast Day - July 31)

Arsenius (Arsen) of Ninotsminda was an ascetic who labored in the 11th century. History tells us that he was a brilliant translator, writer, calligrapher, and theologian, and indeed one of the greatest Church figures of his time.

Saint Arsenius was tonsured a monk in Jerusalem, and after some time he returned to Georgia, where he was consecrated Bishop of Ninotsminda. But the venerable Arsenius longed to lead a life of solitude, so he approached King Davit Kuropalates for permission to resign from the bishopric and settle at a monastery. The king honored Arsenius’s request, and the pious man set off for the monastery with John Grdzeslidze, a man of letters and another great figure in the Church.

Holy Twelve Martyrs of Rome

Holy 12 Martyrs of Rome (Feast Day - July 31)


Twelve offshoots of Old Rome O Word,
Receive as your new decapitated Martyrs.

The Holy Twelve Martyrs of Rome met their end by the sword.

July 30, 2019

When Two Jehovah's Witnesses Approached Saint Gabriel the Confessor

One time two female Jehovah's Witnesses approached Saint Gabriel [the Confessor of Georgia and Fool for Christ]. They had been sent to him in order for Father Gabriel to lead them on the path of truth. When they entered his cell, the Saint shouted with a mysterious tone in his voice:

"The hail has come and found the stone!"

He then began to cry for a long time. The women, unable to bear it anymore, asked him why he was crying.

Saint Rufinus, Bishop of Assisi

St. Rufinus of Assisi (Feast Day - July 30)

According to tradition, Rufinus of Assisi (Rufino in Italian), who is the patron saint of Assisi, Italy, was the first Bishop of Assisi. He was responsible for converting Assisi to Christianity, but at what date is disputed. He is said to have died as a martyr at Costano, where a church was dedicated to him in 1038, and whence, according to Petrus Damiani, his relics were translated to Assisi in the 8th century. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia he is likely the same saint denoted under 11 August in the Roman Martyrology as Episcopus Marsorum (Bishop of the Marche).

Saint Tsotne Dadiani the Confessor (+ 1259)

Saint Tsotne Dadiani (Feast Day - July 30)

Saint Tsotne Dadiani, a virtuous military leader and the prince of Egrisi, lived in the middle of the 13th century.

During that time Georgia languished under the yoke of Mongol oppression.

After the death of Queen Rusudan in 1245, the Mongols began to exact exorbitant fees from the Georgian princes, and they established compulsory military service for their Georgian subjects. The situation became unbearable, and the Georgian nobility planned a massive rebellion against the invaders.

Saint Herman of Solovki (+ 1479)

St. Herman of Solovki (Feast Day - July 30)

Venerable Herman did not receive an education and in 1428 went to live as a hermit at the River Vyg, by a chapel. It was here in the year 1429 that Saint Sabbatius of Valaam Monastery came upon him while seeking a solitary place for his ascetic deeds. Herman told Sabbatius about Solovki Island, and both monks crossed the sea and settled on Solovki. They built themselves a cell beneath the Sekir Heights, where they lived for six years. Sabbatius reposed on 27 September 1435, while Herman was away gathering supplies at Onega.

Herman continued his ascetic efforts on the island together with another wilderness-dweller, Saint Zosima (Apr. 17). Herman lived on the island for more than 50 years, and with Zosima established the Solovetsky Monastery when other monks had gathered, in which Zosima served as abbot until his repose in 1479, and was replaced by Arsenius.

July 29, 2019

Nativity of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker

On July 29, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the Nativity of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Bishop of Myra in Lycia, who is one of the most revered saints in Russia.

In addition to the two main holidays dedicated to Saint Nicholas, celebrated on December 6 (the Saint's blessed repose) and May 9 (the transfer of his holy relics to the city of Bari), there are other days when the Church remembers the God-pleaser Nicholas.

The Feast of his Nativity was not very widely known in Russia, but in 2004, with the blessing of Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, the celebration of the Nativity of Saint Nicholas was revived.

What is commemorated today is the following, as written in his Life by Saint Dimitri of Rostov:

Saint Lupus the Confessor, Bishop of Troyes (+ 479)

St. Lupus of Troyes (Feast Day - July 29)

Saint Lupus (in French known as Loup or Leu) was born around 383 at Toul, and he was the son of a wealthy nobleman, Epirocus of Toul. Having lost his parents when he was an infant, Lupus was brought up by his uncle Alistocus. Being learned and eloquent, Lupus was a lawyer for some years with great reputation, and held a number of estates in Maxima Sequanorum. Lupus was brother-in-law to Saint Hilary of Arles, as he had married one of Hilary's sisters, Pimeniola. After six years of marriage, he and his wife parted by mutual agreement, and made a mutual vow of perpetual continency.

Holy Martyr Mamas

St. Mamas the Martyr (Feast Day - July 29)


As an initiate of the seas Mamas,
You had the courage to seek out the depth of the sea.

The Holy Martyr Mamas met his end in the sea.

Holy Martyr Basiliskos the Elder

St. Basiliskos the Elder (Feast Day - July 29)


Indeed Basiliskos as the Psalm says,
Asps and basilisks you walked upon by your decapitation.

The Holy Martyr Basiliskos the Elder met his end by the sword.

Holy Martyrs Who Were a Father, Mother and Two Children

Holy Father, Mother and Two Children Martyrs (Feast Day - July 29)


The father is burned and the one who begat and the children,
The father-mother-children family of athletes.

The Holy Martyrs who were a Father, Mother and Two Children met their end by fire.

Holy Martyrs Benjamin and Berius

Sts. Benjamin and Berius the Martyrs (Feast Day - July 29)


The two athletes now stand before,
The Holy Trinity with noetic beings in the heavens.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyrs Benjamin and Berius, whose Synaxis was celebrated next to the Palace of the Hebdomon in Constantinople.

July 28, 2019

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost: Epistle Reading

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 12:6-14


Brethren, having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Homily on the Sixth Eothinon Gospel - Luke 24:36-53

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today's Eothinon Gospel is a continuation of the events that took place last Sunday, as we heard. That is, the two disciples, who were going to Emmaus and recognized the Risen Christ, hastened to the other disciples and informed them of all that took place. And at that time, Christ Himself appeared in their midst, without them expecting it. Therefore, in today's Gospel we hear about the appearance of the Risen Christ to His disciples, as well as His Ascension into the heavens. These are two great events of importance for the whole world.

Sixth Sunday of Matthew: Gospel Reading

Sixth Sunday of Matthew

Healing of the Paralytic in Capernaum

Gospel According to Matthew 9:1-8


At that time, getting into a boat Jesus crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say 'Rise and walk?' But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" he then said to the paralytic -- "Rise, take up your bed and go home." And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were astonished, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.


Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον διεπέρασε καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν πόλιν. Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον· καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν εἶπε τῷ παραλυτικῷ· θάρσει, τέκνον· ἀφέωνταί σοι αἱ ἁμαρτίαι σου. καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· οὗτος βλασφημεῖ. καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν· ἵνα τί ὑμεῖς ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν; τί γάρ ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον, εἰπεῖν, ἀφέωνταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι, ἢ εἰπεῖν, ἔγειρε καὶ περιπάτει; ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας - τότε λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ· ἐγερθεὶς ἆρόν σου τὴν κλίνην καὶ ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου. καὶ ἐγερθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ. ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ὄχλοι ἐθαύμασαν καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν Θεὸν τὸν δόντα ἐξουσίαν τοιαύτην τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.

Sixth Eothinon Gospel Reading of Sunday Matins

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

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

Luke 24:36-53


At that time, Jesus, having risen from the dead, stood in the midst of his disciples and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high."

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

July 27, 2019

A Banker's Testimony of a Miracle from 1893 in Asia Minor

Adalia in the 1840's

The following letter was published in The Spectator on 27 May 1893, which describes a miracle that took place at the Church of Saint Panteleimon in Adalia (Attaleia or Antalya), Asia Minor on April 25th that year. The author and witness is A.G.M. Dickson, a well known banker of the time. Dickson was a scholar of Oxford University who spoke French, modern Greek, Italian and Turkish. He had worked for the Imperial Ottoman Bank in 1890-1898, had been Athens manager of the Ionian Bank in 1899-1904, before becoming the Alexandria-based Sub-Governor of the National Bank of Egypt. He had served in 1915 as Commissioner of Currency and Finance to the British invasion force in Turkey, and had a wide knowledge of the east Mediterranean and the Middle East. In 1917 he was appointed manager of the British Trade Corporation.

Holy Seven Apostles of Bulgaria - Saints Cyril, Methodios, Clement, Nahum, Sava, Gorazd and Angelrius

On July 27th the Bulgarian Orthodox Church honors Saints Cyril and Methodios with five of their most famous disciples - Clement, Nahum, Sava, Gorazd and Angelarius. Though these Saints each have their own feast day, today they are celebrated together.

After the death of Cyril and Methodios in Moravia, some of their disciples fled persecution and arrived in Bulgaria, where they found refuge and support, while others were sold to Jews as slaves and taken to Venice where they were bought by ambassadors of the Roman Emperor Basil the Macedonian and returned to Constantinople. Clement and his companions were forced to march to the border, being beaten all along the way by German soldiers. All this was done secretly without the knowledge of King Wiching, who had wished, in his stubborn and obstinate heretical belief, to keep them in prison and to continue tormenting them until they recanted their faith.

Saint Joasaph, Metropolitan of Moscow (+ 1555)

Sr. Joasaph of Moscow (Feast Day - July 27)

Joasaph was first a monk and then abbot at the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra since 1529. He enjoyed the favor of Grand Prince Vasili III. After Metropolitan Daniel had been deposed at the church sobor of 1539, Joasaph was elected Metropolitan of Moscow just three days later on February 5, 1539.

In his confession of faith, the beloved metropolitan wrote: “In everything I follow the holiest patriarchs, who observe the true immaculate Christian faith, established by the holy apostles and conveyed by God-bearing fathers, and not the one that Isidore brought from the unholy Latin cathedral, which beamed with mischief. In addition, I promise not to do anything from just pleasing the Grand Duke or many princes, even if they threatened me with death, forcing me to do something contrary to the divine and sacred canons.” Blessed Joasaph fulfilled his promise with complete firmness.

Venerable Manuel

Venerable Manuel (Feast Day - July 27)


As thoughts Manuel obey the passions,
  He was an emperor over passions before his death.

Venerable Manuel met his end in peace.

Holy One Hundred and Fifty-Three Martyrs of Thrace

153 Holy Martyrs of Thrace (Feast Day - July 27)


Receive the same number of contestants by sea my Christ,
As were caught in the Sea of Tiberius.

The Holy One Hundred and Fifty-Three Martyrs of Thrace met their end in the sea.


* This is in reference to John 21:1-14, which describes the miraculous catch of 153 fish.

July 26, 2019

Synaxis of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos in Pagidion Next to the New Colonnade

On July 26th we commemorate the Synaxis of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos in Pagidion next to the New Colonnade.

According to the Chronicle of John Malalas, during the reign of Emperor Leo I the Thracian, in the year 469, there was "a great conflagration in Constantinople, such as had never been experienced before. The flames spread from sea to sea, and the emperor Leo, fearing for the palace, left the city and crossed over to Saint Mamas. He spent six months there on a processus. He built a harbor there and a colonnade, which he called the New Colonnade, as it is called to the present day."

Consecration of Chrysovalantou Monastery Which Was Dedicated to the Archangels

The Monastery of Chrysovalantou was located on the fifth hill of Constantinople, known then as Chrysovalantou from which the Monastery took its name, though the Monastery itself was dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, or perhaps only Gabriel. In the ninth century biography of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou, we read that on July 26th the celebration of the consecration of the Monastery took place, and on this day also its abbess Saint Irene was informed by an angel that she would die the day after the feast of Saint Panteleimon, which would be July 28th.

Consecration of the Archangel Gabriel in Chaldais

According to the Lavra Codex D39 the consecration of the Church or Monastery of the Archangel Gabriel in Chaldais took place on July 25th, while the Synaxaristes of Saint Nikodemos says it was on July 26th. The location of Chaldais is probably where the people of Chalybes dwelt, mentioned by classical authors as living in Pontus and Cappadocia in northern Anatolia. Their territory was known as Chaldia, extending from the Halys to Pharnakeia and Trebizond in the east and as far south as eastern Anatolia.

Consecration of the Archangel Michael in Skallai

According to the Lavra Codex D39 the consecration of the Church or Monastery of the Archangel Michael in Skallai took place on July 25th, while the Synaxaristes of Saint Nikodemos says it was on July 26th. The location of Skallai is probably where Bebek is located today in modern Istanbul, along the European shores of the Bosphorus, and another Greek name for it was Chelai.

Holy Martyr Appion

St. Appion the Martyr (Feast Day - July 26)


Without hesitation you bent your neck to the sword,
With your death Appion you drank a drink.

The Holy Martyr Appion met his end by the sword.

Venerable Ignatios of Steirion

St. Ignatios the Steironitis (Feast Day - July 26)


Before departing this earth he bore fruits of virtue,
The Steironitis fled barrenness.

Venerable Ignatios of Steirion met his end in peace.

July 25, 2019

Elder Nektarios Marmarinos, Founder of the Monastery of Saint Patapios in Loutraki, Has Reposed

On Sunday 21 July 2019, Elder Nektarios Marmarinos reposed in the Lord at the age of 98. He is most noted as being the founder of the Monastery of Saint Patapios in Loutraki.

Elder Nektarios, known as Kyriakos in the world, was a spiritual child of Elder Ieronymos of Aegina, who taught him the art of hesychasm and increased in him the love for the divine services and the monastic life. It was while he was in Aegina that he was inspired to one day build a monastery for women in imitation of his beloved Saint Nektarios of Aegina.

Holy Synod of the Church of Greece Declares the Day of the Unborn Child

The establishment of the Day of the Unborn Child was announced by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece in a decision taken on 9 July 2019, which is officially taking a stand against abortions.

As stated in the relevant circular, this decision was taken to protect the child and to solve the country’s demographic problem. The Day of the Unborn Child is set for the first Sunday after Christmas.

Saint Elias, Archbishop of Thessaloniki

St. Elias of Thessaloniki (Feast Day - July 25)

Archbishop Elias of Thessaloniki played an active role in the ecclesiastical events that preceded the Fifth Ecumenical Synod.

On January 6, 553 he signed with Apollinaris of Alexandria and Domninus of Antioch the letter sent by Patriarch Eutychios of Constantinople, who took the initiative to convene the Synod, addresses to Pope Vigilius. This letter emphasized the urgent need to maintain ecclesiastical unity, and contained the confession of faith of the four Ecumenical Synods that had preceded as well as the papal letters.

Saint Macarius of Zheltovod and Unzha (+ 1444)

St. Macarius of Zheltovod and Unzha (Feast Day - July 25)

Venerable Macarius of Zheltovod and Unzha was born in the year 1349 at Nizhni-Novgorod to pious parents named John and Maria. When he was still a baby, he would start crying every time he heard the ringing of the bells of the nearby church. There was no way to console the child. The parents would not want to bring the baby boy to the church, afraid that he would disturb the service with his crying; but eventually they decided to try. And, to their surprise, as soon as they brought the child to the church, he became quiet, smiling joyfully. From this time on, the parents had to attend every service at the parish church, and to take the child with them, because if they stayed at home during the service, the baby would again start crying.

July 24, 2019

Saint Hilarion of Tvali (+ 1041)

St. Hilarion of Tvali (Feast Day - July 24)

Venerable Hilarion of Tvali (Tulashvili) served as abbot of Khakhuli Monastery in southwestern Georgia at the beginning of the 11th century.

In his work The Life of George of the Holy Mountain, George the Lesser writes that Venerable Hilarion was outstanding in virtue and celebrated for his sermons and ascetic labors.

Saint Hilarion raised the young George of the Holy Mountain to be a brilliant writer, translator, theologian and patriot. From him George also received a blessing to enter the monastic life.

Saint Christiana of Termonde (+ 750)

Saint Christiana was born in England and is said to have been the daughter of an Anglo-Saxon king. An angel visited her in the guise of a poor man, who got her to forsake the idolatry of her country and be baptized by him a Christian. Abdicating her royal position, she decided to devout her life to Christ in asceticism. She crossed over to Flanders in Belgium where she lived in piety under Saint Hilduardus in Dikkelvenne (Ticlivinum), near Ghent, until her death in 750. Her relics were translated from Dikkelvenne to Termonde about the end of the ninth century, and were enshrined with those of Saint Hilduardus. She is commemorated July 24, and also on September 7, the day on which her relics were translated to Termonde. She is the patron saint of Termonde, Belgium.

Holy Martyr Hermogenes

St. Hermogenes the Martyr (Feast Day - July 24)


Without mercy all your teeth were pulled out,
Escaping, Hermogenes, those with grinding teeth.

The Holy Martyr Hermogenes met his end by having all his teeth pulled out.*


* It is likely that this caused him to die by infection and bleeding.

Holy Martyr Hymenaeus

St. Hymenaeus the Martyr (Feast Day - July 24)


Hymenaeus rejoiced as he went to the sword,
Just as the bridegroom as he goes to his wedding.

The Holy Martyr Hymenaeus met his end by the sword.

Holy Martyr Kapiton

St. Kapiton the Martyr (Feast Day - July 24)


With the eyes of his soul on the all-seeing Master,
Kapiton stretched forth his neck to the sword.

The Holy Martyr Kapiton met his end by the sword.

July 23, 2019

Commemoration of the Holy Martyrs Killed by the Bulgarians During the Reign of Nikephoros the Emperor

Holy Martyrs Killed by the Bulgarians (Feast Day - July 23);
Khan Krum feasts while a servant brings the skull of Nikephoros I
fashioned into a drinking cup.


Righteous men were tortured in various ways,
Men who were killed in various ways.

Emperor Nikephoros, who is called the Patrician and in general Logothetis, in the ninth year of his reign, which was the year 811 after Christ, left Constantinople to do battle against the Bulgarians, with his entire army, having with him his son Staurakios, and his son-in-law Michael. Gathering in a battle with the Bulgarians, they defeated them as a nation, and raised up a notable banner. Proud of this victory, as one who is thoughtless, he sat in luxury, abiding among food and drink, careless of imperial things; such carelessness caused the Bulgarians to gain courage.

Holy Martyr Vitale of Ravenna

St. Vitale of Ravenna (Feast Day - July 23)


Apollinaris was cut down,
Vitale hastened at once to arrive.

Saint Vitale (Vitalius, Vitalis) was born in Milan, where he was a soldier and wealthy citizen. He was married to a woman named Valeria, and was the father of Milan’s patron saints, Gervasius and Protasius.

Holy Hieromartyr Apollonios, Bishop of Rome

St. Apollonios of Rome (Feast Day - July 23)


Apollonios wrestled with a double hardship,
Exerting himself towards the fire and the bow and arrow.

The Holy Hieromartyr Apollonios, Bishop of Rome, met his end by the bow and arrow and by fire.

It should be noted, that we do not have a record of a Bishop of Rome that went by the name of Apollonios. It is possible this could be an unknown Martyr of the Early Church, or even someone like Saint Apollonios the Apologist or Apollonios the Bishop of Ephesus.

Holy Seven Martyrs of Carthage


Seven athletes were put to death by the sword,
They stand before Christ as Holy Ones of the Holy One.

The Holy Seven Martyrs of Carthage met their end by a sword.

We do not know exactly who these Seven Holy Martyrs were or when they lived, but some sources say they were from Carthage while others say Chaldia.

Synaxis of the Holy Prophet and Baptist John in Olympou Next to Saint Thomas

On July 23rd we celebrate the Synaxis of the Holy Prophet and Baptist John in Olympou next to Saint Thomas. We do not know which church this refers to or the location, as there were four or five churches dedicated to Saint Thomas in the area of Constantinople that we know of, and about twenty churches dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.

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.

July 21, 2019

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost: Epistle Reading

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

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.

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 Matthew: Gospel Reading

Fifth Sunday of Matthew

Healing of the Two Gergesene Demoniacs

Gospel According to Matthew 8:28-34; 9:1


At that time, when Jesus came to the country of the Gergesenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one would pass that way. And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.


Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐλθόντος τῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς τὸ πέραν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γεργεσηνῶν ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ δύο δαιμονιζόμενοι ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἐξερχόμενοι, χαλεποὶ λίαν, ὥστε μὴ ἰσχύειν τινὰ παρελθεῖν διὰ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἐκείνης. καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔκραξαν λέγοντες· τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, ᾿Ιησοῦ υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ; ἦλθες ὧδε πρὸ καιροῦ βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς; ἦν δὲ μακρὰν ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν βοσκομένη. οἱ δὲ δαίμονες παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες· εἰ ἐκβάλλεις ἡμᾶς, ἐπίτρεψον ἡμῖν ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ὑπάγετε. οἱ δὲ ἐξελθόντες ἀπῆλθον εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων· καὶ ἰδοὺ ὥρμησε πᾶσα ἡ ἀγέλη τῶν χοίρων κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἀπέθανον ἐν τοῖς ὕδασιν. οἱ δὲ βόσκοντες ἔφυγον, καὶ ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἀπήγγειλαν πάντα καὶ τὰ τῶν δαιμονιζομένων. καὶ ἰδοὺ πᾶσα ἡ πόλις ἐξῆλθεν εἰς συνάντησιν τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ, καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν παρεκάλεσαν ὅπως μεταβῇ ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν. Καὶ ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον διεπέρασε καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν πόλιν.

Fifth Eothinon Gospel Reading of Sunday 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.