August 31, 2019

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

Below is the monthly review for the month of August 2019 of the ten most popular articles on, then all the posts made on the other websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center. As for the most popular post from all the websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center for the month of August, that honor goes to:

1. On the Controversial Statements of Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou

2. The Snakes of the Panagia Have Made Their Appearance in Kefallonia (2019)

3. The Veneration of Saint Phanourios in the Orthodox Church

4. Black People and the Kingdom of Heaven

Holy Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Martyrs of Nicomedia

Holy 366 Martyrs of Nicomedia (Feast Day - August 31)


The decapitated multitude carries a leap year,
Binding to completion this year of writing.

The Holy Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Martyrs of Nicomedia met their end by a sword.


* The Synaxarion of Constantinople comes to an end with this commemoration, being the last day of the ecclesiastical year, equating the 366 Martyrs with a leap year, since in a leap year there are 366 days, and the calendar of the Church reflects the possibility of a leap year, since even in a leap year the extra day, which is February 29th, also requires a commemoration. Thus the year of the Lord has come to a completion.

Holy Four Martyrs of Perge in Pamphylia

Holy 4 Martyrs of Perge (Feast Day - August 31)


The four received crowns on the path of the fire,
While the demons were persuaded of their defeat.

The Holy Four Martyrs of Perge in Pamphylia met their end by being forced to run into a spread of fire.

Holy Seven Virgin Martyrs of Gaza

Holy Seven Virgins of Gaza (Feast Day - August 31)


The seven Virgin who were decapitated honored,
The one who honored the world with seven days.

The Holy Seven Virgin Martyrs of Gaza met their end by the sword.

Holy Martyr Diadochos

St. Diadochos the Martyr (Feast Day - August 31)


Receive me the small one great Diadochos,
Singing hymns of your death with small words.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyr Diadochos. We do not have any more information about him.

Holy Martyr Phileortos

St. Phileortos the Martyr (Feast Day - August 31)


You died as a lover of feasts Phileortos,
And of your death by the sword I write.

The Holy Martyr Phileortos met this end by the sword.

August 30, 2019

Synaxis of the Holy Serbian Hierarchs (Enlighteners and Teachers)

Synaxis of the Holy Serbian Hierarchs (Feast Day - August 30)

The Synaxis of the Holy Serbian Enlighteners and Teachers was established in 1769. The Saints commemorated on this day are: Sava, first Archbishop and Enlightener of Serbia (Jan. 14); Arsenius, his successor, a great hierarch and wonderworker (Oct. 28); Sava II, son of Saint Stephen, the first-crowned King of Serbia (Feb. 8); Nicodemus, About of Hilandar, later Archbishop of Serbia (May 11); Joannicius, Archbishop, later Patriarch from 1346 to 1349 (Sept. 3); Patriarch Ephraim, an ascetic, who crowned Prince Lazarus, and later left the patriarchate to live in solitude (June 15); Spyridon, Ephraim's successor, who reposed in 1388; Macarius, who printed many church books in Serbia and abroad, was very zealous in renovating and adoring churches, and reposed in 1574; Gabriel, Archbishop, who took part in the Church Council of Moscow during the patriarchate of Nicon, for which the Turks accused him of treason and hanged him in Prusa in the year 1656. Also commemorated are Eustathius (Jan. 4), James, Daniel (Dec. 20), Sava III, Gregory, Cyril (Patriarch), John, Maximus, and Nicon. Many of them labored in asceticism on the Holy Mountain, and all were "good and faithful servants, good labourers in the vineyard of the Lord."

Holy Hierarch Eulalios

St. Eulalios the Bishop (Feast Day - August 30)


Eulalios exceeds the sweetly-sounding tettix,
Which until the end of winter time leads in silence.

The Holy Hierarch Eulalios met his end in peace.

Holy Sixteen Martyrs of Thebes

Holy 16 Martyrs of Thebes (Feast Day - August 30)


The number of those contested happened to be six and ten,
A perfectly even number of men were decapitated.

The Holy Sixteen Martyrs of Thebes met their end by a sword.

Holy Six Martyrs of Melitene

Holy 6 Martyrs of Melitene (Feast Day - August 30)


The six-starred martyrs of Christ shine,
Setting over the sea they shine in the heavens.

The Holy Six Martyrs of Melitene met their end by drowning in the sea.

August 29, 2019

The Last Dance of Salome

By Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos
(Ecclesiastical History 1.19)

As she [Salome] was journeying once in the winter-time, and a frozen river had to be crossed on foot, the ice broke beneath her, not without the providence of God. Straightway she sank down up to her neck. This made her dance and wriggle about with all the lower parts of her body, not on land, but in the water. Her wicked head was glazed with ice, and at length severed from her body by the sharp edges, not of iron, but of the frozen water. Thus in the very ice she displayed the dance of death, and furnished a spectacle to all who beheld it, which brought to mind what she had done.

The Death of John the Baptist as a Crown

By St. John Chrysostom
(On the Providence of God 22.10)

In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment? Who are those he did not set back on their feet - provided they had a penitent disposition - because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day - the same message he preached while he was living. Therefore, do not say: "Why was John allowed to die?" For what occurred was not a death, but a crown, not an end, but the beginning of a greater life. Learn to think and live like a Christian. You will not only remain unharmed by these events, but will reap the greatest benefits.

Herod is Forever Reproved by the Words of John the Baptist

By St. John Chrysostom
(On the Providence of God 22.8-9)

Note well the weakness of the tyrant compared to the power of the one in prison. Herod was not strong enough to silence his own tongue. Having opened it, he opened up countless other mouths in its place and with its help. As for John, he immediately inspired fear in Herod after his murder - for fear was disturbing Herod's conscience to such an extent that he believed John had been raised from the dead and was performing miracles (Mark 6:14-16)! In our own day and through all future time, throughout all the world, John continues to refute Herod, both through himself and through others. For each person repeatedly reading this Gospel says: 'It is not lawful for you to have the wife of Philip your brother' (Mark 6:18). And even apart from reading the Gospel, in assemblies and meetings at home or in the market, in every place, even to the very ends of the earth, you will hear this voice and see that righteous man even now still crying out, resounding loudly, reproving the evil of the tyrant. He will never be silenced nor the reproof at all weakened by the passing of time.

August 28, 2019

Black People and the Kingdom of Heaven

The following comes from the book An Ascetic Bishop: Stories, Sermons & Prayers of St. Nephon ("Blacks With White Souls," pp. 48-50), which is a translation of a manuscript discovered in the library of the Monastery of Dionysiou on Mount Athos that dates back to the year 1334. It was most likely originally written in the 9th or 10th century, though it is set in the 4th century, and reflects Orthodox Christian sentiments of the medieval Roman Empire, through the mouth of Saint Nephon, on the equality before God of the entire human race, for which grace does not discriminate based on skin color.

Another time again, when we were together in his cell, I found the opportunity to answer a question of mine in respect to the black race. The question as to whether the color of their bodies had any effect on their souls preoccupied me. Could God have an aversion to them? Because, according to what I believed, there weren't any people from their race who had fought the good fight and had been saved. I had never heard of any black person who had pleased God.

Holy Martyrs Diomedes and Lawrence

Sts. Diomedes and Lawrence (Feast Day - August 28)


The twofold athletes were tied to a tree,
Outstretched bows, made the tree empty noise.

The Holy Martyrs Diomedes and Lawrence met their end by being tied to a tree and shot with arrows.

Holy Thirty-Three Martyrs of Heraclea

Holy 33 Martyrs of Heraclea (Feast Day - August 28)


The fire raged over the athletes of the Lord,
Like abundant rain on tender plants as Moses says.

The Holy Thirty-Three Martyrs of Heraclea met their end by fire.

August 27, 2019

The Veneration of Saint Phanourios in the Orthodox Church

By John Sanidopoulos

In the Orthodox Church today, Saint Phanourios is numbered among one of its most popular saints. He is especially known as the patron saint of those who need help finding lost or hidden things, much like Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) among Catholics. And if you invoke the help of Saint Phanourios in finding something lost, you make a promise to bake a cake called a Phanouropita, which you will then bring to church to get blessed and distributed among the faithful as a testimony to his aid. This is usually as far as most people know about Saint Phanourios.

But who is Saint Phanourios and how did he become so popular among the Orthodox faithful? This is actually a complicated question that scholars have grappled with for years. He is presented as an early Christian martyr who was a soldier and suffered various forms of torture before being killed. However, there is not even the slightest mention of a saint with the name Phanourios until we find him depicted in icons on the island of Crete in the 15th century by iconographer Angelos Akotantos, and in a 16th century Vatican codex,[1] which simply speaks of a miracle that involves bringing a copy of an icon of Saint Phanourios from Rhodes to Crete.

Holy Martyr Anthousa the New

St. Anthousa the New (Feast Day - August 27)


With a mantle made of felt, and a stone fastened,
Anthousa entered the deep well.

The Holy Martyr Anthousa the New met her end by being dressed in felt, namely a rag made of hair, and having a stone tied around her neck, was cast into a well.

August 26, 2019

The Relics of Saint Natalia in Milan

The relics of Saint Natalia, commemorated on August 26th, are located in the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore in Milan. Most people don't know of her relics being in this church because they are hidden under an altar which is open away from the crowd, but those who come to venerate her are mostly Orthodox faithful.

Saint Adrian of Ondrusov (+ 1549)

St. Adrian of Ondrusov (Feast Day - May 17 & August 26)

Venerable Adrian of Ondrusov (in the world the nobleman Andrew Zavalushin), was the owner of a rich estate (Andreevschina), 9 versts from the monastery of Saint Alexander of Svir (Aug. 30). He accidentally encountered Saint Alexander of Svir during a stag hunt in 1493, and after this he went often to him for guidance, and supplied bread for the ascetics.

Saint Adrian of Uglich (+ c. 1504)

St. Adrian of Uglich (Feast Day - August 26)

Venerable Adrian of Uglich was one of the first ten disciples of Saint Paisius of Uglich (June 6), for whom he was the closest cell-attendant, disciple and co-ascetic. Together with Saint Paisius, Saint Adrian was accounted worthy of a vision of the Most Holy Theotokos in 1472. Saint Paisius was in one of the cells together with Saint Cassian of Uglich (October 2), and Saints Gerasimus and Adrian.

They were singing an Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos. Suddenly, throughout all the monastery there shone an extraordinary light, and the monks heard a voice calling them to come out of the cell. The ascetics came out in fear and in confusion, and an angel showed them the Mother of God, sitting on an airy throne and holding the Divine Infant in her arms. The ascetics fell frightened to the ground, but the angel raised them up and related to Saint Paisius the command of the Mother of God to build on this place a church in honor of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. The vision ended, and the monks spent the whole night in vigil and praise.

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Adrian of Rome

Holy Martyr Adrian of Rome (Feast Day - August 26)


Adrian was decapitated and adorned with a crown,
On the great day of crowning.

Adrian contested during the reign of Emperor Licinius in 313 while in Byzantium with his brother Dometios, who became the Bishop of Byzantium after Bishop Titus of Byzantium. He was from Rome, the son of Emperor Probus of Rome, who ruled in the year 276. This blessed man longed to be martyred for Christ, so he went to Nicomedia, and rebuked Licinius, because he vainly hindered the Roman armies, with the excuse that he was persecuting Christians. Having been punished by Licinius with various tortures, he was finally beheaded, and in this way the renowned one received the crown of martyrdom. His brother Dometios, the Bishop of Byzantium, took his holy relic and buried it in Argyropolis which was next to Byzantium, where the holy relics of the martyrs Adrian and Natalia can be found, together with the relic of Stachys the Apostle, who was anointed first Bishop of Byzantium by Andrew the First-Called.

Holy Martyrs Attikos and Sisinios

Sts. Attikos and Sisinios (Feast Day - August 26)


The two stadium running athletes together,
Ran to the swords in the stadium as deaf runners.

The Holy Martyrs Attikos and Sisinios met their end by the sword.

August 25, 2019

Homily on the Tenth Eothinon Gospel - John 21:1-14

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today's Eothinon Gospel that was read in the Matins Service refers to the third appearance of Christ to His disciples, as presented by the Evangelist John. The first appearance was in the evening of the first day, the second appearance was the following Sunday when Thomas was also present, and the third appearance is what we read today along the shore of the Sea of Tiberius.

A group of disciples, specifically seven disciples, went fishing. The disciples however were unable to catch any fish, even though they were there all night. Then at dawn, Christ appeared on land and asked them if they had anything to eat. When they responded in the negative, He urged them to drop their nets on the right side of the ship. Obeying this they caught many fish, which they later counted to be one hundred and fifty-three. With this they understood that the man was Christ. This is an incident that shows Christ manifesting Himself. We can say it was a small transfiguration. The first to understand was John, who told it to Peter who in turn wrapped his outer garment around himself and began to swim in the water to meet Christ.

Tenth Sunday of Matthew: Gospel Reading

Tenth Sunday of Matthew

Jesus Heals the Demon Possessed Boy

Gospel According to Matthew 17:14-23


At that time, a man came up to Jesus and kneeling before him said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him." And Jesus answered, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me." And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move hence to yonder place,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting." As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day."


Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐλθόντων αὐτῶν πρὸς τὸν ὄχλον προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ ἄνθρωπος γονυπετῶν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγων· Κύριε, ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν, ὅτι σεληνιάζεται καὶ κακῶς πάσχει· πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ. καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι. ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν· ὦ γενεὰ ἄπιστος καὶ διεστραμμένη! ἕως πότε ἔσομαι μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν; ἕως πότε ἀνέξομαι ὑμῶν; φέρετέ μοι αὐτὸν ὧδε. καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ τὸ δαιμόνιον καὶ ἐθεραπεύθη ὁ παῖς ἀπὸ τῆς ὥρας ἐκείνης. Τότε προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ κατ᾿ ἰδίαν εἶπον· διατί ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό; ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν ὑμῶν. ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐρεῖτε τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ, μετάβηθι ἐντεῦθεν ἐκεῖ, καὶ μεταβήσεται, καὶ οὐδὲν ἀδυνατήσει ὑμῖν. τοῦτο δὲ τὸ γένος οὐκ ἐκπορεύεται εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ καὶ νηστείᾳ. ᾿Αναστρεφομένων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· μέλλει ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοσθαι εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν αὐτόν, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθήσεται. καὶ ἐλυπήθησαν σφόδρα.

Tenth Eothinon Gospel Reading of Sunday Matins

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

Third Appearance of the Risen Jesus to His Disciples

John 21:1-14


At that time, being raised from the dead, Jesus revealed himself to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost: Epistle Reading

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost

St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16


Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

August 24, 2019

Documentary: "St. Kosmas the Aitolos"

The following Greek documentary tells the story of Saint Kosmas the Aitolos, while at the same time getting commentary from scholars and going to the various villages he visited and speaking with the people there about oral traditions they received about him from their forefathers, and what he did there and what he said and how they honor his memory today. It ends with comments from those who discovered his relics.

Saint Serapion, Abbot and Wonderworker of the Saint John the Baptist Monastery in Davit-Gareji (+ 1774)

St. Serapion the Wonderworker in Georgia (Feast Day - August 24)

Saint Serapion was abbot of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. He was endowed by God with the ability to work miracles.

Once Saint Serapion set off for the city, following at a short distance behind several of the monastery’s brothers.

While they were traveling, a group of bandits attacked the monks who were walking in front of their abbot and made off with many of the church vessels they were carrying.

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Saint Peter of Moscow

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Saint Peter (Feast Day - August 24)

The Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos Of Saint Peter was so called because it was painted by Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow (Dec. 21, 1326) while he was abbot of the Ratsk Monastery near Volhynia. During a visit to the Ratsk Monastery by Saint Maximus, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia (Dec. 6, 1306), Saint Peter gave him this icon as a gift. The Metropolitan took it to Vladimir at Klyazma, where his cathedral was then located.

Translation of the Relics of Saint Peter the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia in 1479

In the 14th century, Metropolitan Peter of Moscow and All Russia persuaded Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan I (Ivan Kalita) that he should build a cathedral to the Theotokos in Moscow like the Cathedral of the Dormition in the capital city Vladimir. Construction of the cathedral began on August 4, 1326, and the cathedral was finished and consecrated on August 4, 1327. At that time Moscow became the capital of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality.

Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow, died on December 21, 1326 and was buried in the Dormition Cathedral. By the end of the 15th century the old cathedral had become dilapidated, and in 1472 the Moscow architects Kryvtsov and Myshkin began construction of a new cathedral. The first transfer of Saint Peter's relics back to the cathedral was on July 1, 1472 and a feast day was established. Two years later, in May 1474, the building was nearing completion when it collapsed due to earthquake. The foundation for the new cathedral was laid in 1475, and in 1479 the new cathedral was consecrated by Metropolitan Gerontius. The second transfer of the relics of Saint Peter was after the consecration of the Dormition Cathedral, on August 24, 1479, and the July 1 feast day was replaced.

August 23, 2019

The Mystery of the Cross in the Icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

At the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos we kiss the sacred icon that represents the event of her Dormition. The whole icon is not only a representation of what took place during the funeral service of the Panagia, but it also shows what the Church is. It is an icon that most vividly illustrates the mystery of the Church.

The whole composition of the people depicted in the icon forms an invisible Cross. The horizontal dimension of the Cross is formed by the bed, where the dead body of the Theotokos is. The vertical dimension of the Cross is formed on the upper part by Christ, who is standing, and on the lower part by the Jew Jephonias who wished to dishonor the body of the Theotokos. It is thus an invisible Cross that consists of Christ, the Theotokos, and those present at her Dormition, most of whom sing hymns on her behalf while one tries to dishonor her.

Holy Martyr Ebba the Younger, Abbess of Coldingham, and Those With Her (+ 870)

St. Ebba the Younger (Feast Day - April 2)

The Monastery of Coldingham, in the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, founded in the seventh century by Saint Ebba (Aug. 23), sister of the kings Oswald and Oswy, was governed in the ninth century by another Ebba, who presided over a band of holy virgins following the Rule of Saint Benedict. About the year 867 several thousand Danish Viking warriors, under the command of the brothers Hinguar and Hubba, landed on the coast of East Anglia and desolated the whole north country. When Abbess Ebba received tidings of the near approach of the pagan hordes, who had already wrecked vengeance upon ecclesiastics, monks, and consecrated virgins, she summoned her nuns to Chapter, and in a moving discourse exhorted them to preserve at any cost the treasure of their chastity. Then seizing a razor, and calling upon her daughters to follow her heroic example, she mutilated her face by cutting off her nose and upper lip in order to inspire horror in the sight of the barbarian invaders. The nuns without exception courageously followed the example of their abbess. When the Danes broke into the cloister and saw the bloodied nuns with faces thus disfigured, they fled in panic. Their leaders, burning with rage, sent back some of their number to set fire to the monastery, and thus the heroic martyrs perished in the common ruin of their house. Their martyrdom took place on April 2, 870. It has been suggested her sacrificial act is the origin of the saying "cutting off the nose to spite the face."

Saint Eogan, Bishop of Ardstraw (+ 618)

St. Eogan of Ardstraw (Feast Day - August 23)

Saint Eogan was born in Leinster, the son of Cainneach and Muindeacha. His mother is said to have been of the Mugdorna of southeast Ulster. These people seem to have had some contact with the Laighin (who gave their name to Leinster), to whom his father Cainneach belonged. Since this is the area where Christianity first reached Ireland it may well be that Eoghan's father's family had been Christian for some time. As a boy he studied at Clones, and it was from there that he was carried off to Britain by pirates, and subsequently he was taken captive to Brittany, together with Cairbre of Coleraine and Saint Tigernach (Apr. 4), who is best known as the founder of the abbey of Clones. On obtaining his freedom, he went to study at Saint Ninian's Candida Casa. Others said to have studied with Ninian include Finnian of Moville. He may also have spent some time in Brittany (Armorica). Returning to Ireland, he made a foundation at Kilnamanagh, in the Wicklow hills.

Holy Thirty-Eight Martyrs of Thrace

Holy 38 Martyrs of Thrace (Feast Day - August 23)


Three times ten martyrs bore the sword,
Having with them a simple eight fellow contestants.

The Holy Thirty-Eight Martyrs of Thrace met their end by a sword.

These may be the same as the Holy Martyrs Severus and Memnon and the Thirty-Seven Martyrs of Thrace commemorated on August 20th.

August 21, 2019

15 Orthodox Shrines Dedicated to the Holy Apostle Jude Thaddaeus

1. Chapel of Saint Jude Thaddeus in the center of Athens in the courtyard of the Church of Saint Isidore at Lycabettus.

Saint Martha of Diveyevo (+ 1829)

St. Martha of Diveyevo (Feast Day - August 21)

Venerable Martha (in the world Maria Semenovna Miliukova) was born Feb. 10, 1810 to a peasant family of the Nizhny-Novgorod province, Ardatsky district, village of Pogiblo (now Malinovka; “Robin”). The Miliukov household, righteous and of a godly life, was close to Elder Seraphim of Sarov. Besides Maria there were two other older children—a sister Praskovya Semenovna and a brother Ivan Semenovich. With the blessing of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, Praskovya Semenovna entered the Diveyevo community and attained to a high spiritual life. Upon the death of his spouse Ivan entered the Sarov Hermitage.

Saint Sarmean, Catholicos of Kartli in Georgia (+ 774)

St. Sarmean of Kartli (Feast Day - August 21)

By Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze

The chronicles listing the generations of chief shepherds of Georgia reveal that Saint Sarmean was leader of the Georgian Apostolic Church from the year 767 (or 760, according to some sources) until the year 774. These were years of Arab-Muslim rule in Georgia. The Arabs persecuted the Christians, oppressed those who served in the Church, and tried in every way to convert the country to Islam. Despite the frightful abuses that the faithful endured and the transformation of the city into a residence for the emir, many Tbilisi churches continued to function.

August 20, 2019

What Sirach Said About the Prophet Samuel

Sirach 46:13-20 says:

"Samuel was loved by the Lord. As the Lord's prophet he established the kingdom and appointed rulers for the people. He judged the nation in accordance with the Law of the Lord, and the Lord protected Israel. Because Samuel was faithful, he was accepted as a true prophet. People trusted him as a seer because of his words. When his enemies were threatening him from every side, he called upon the mighty Lord and offered him a young lamb as a sacrifice. Then the Lord thundered from heaven with a mighty roar and destroyed all the enemy rulers of Philistia. When Samuel was about to die, he gave assurances before the Lord and the anointed king that he had never taken anyone's property, not even so much as a pair of shoes, and no one contradicted him. Even after he died, he prophesied to King Saul how he would die. Out of the grave he spoke as a prophet, to blot out his people's wickedness."

Saint Oswin, King of Deira (+ 651)

St. Oswin of Deira (Feast Day - August 20)

Saint Oswin succeeded King Oswald of Northumbria, probably around the year 644, after Oswald's death at the Battle of Maserfield. Oswin was the son of Osric. His succession, perhaps the choice of the people of Deira, split the Kingdom of Northumbria. Oswy was the successor of Bernicia to the north.

After nine years of peaceful rule, Oswy declared war on Oswin. Oswin refused to engage in battle, instead retreating to Gilling and the home of his friend, Earl Humwald. Humwald betrayed Oswin, delivering him to Oswy's soldiers by whom Oswin was put to death on August 20, 651.

Acts of the Martyrs of Bezabde

Saints Heliodoros and Dosa (Dausa, Dawsa) are commemorated in the Orthodox Church on August 20th. Below is the text of the Acts of the Martyrs of Bezabde, which is followed by an analysis of the text. The first is taken from the book The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars AD 226-363: A Documentary History, and the second is taken from the book Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity.

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Heliodoros and Dosa

Sts. Heliodoros and Dosa of Persia (Feast Day - August 20)


Heliodoros and Dosa, the nobles,
Both contested bravely by the grace of Christ.

In the fifty-third year of his reign, King Shapur of the Persians went out with many soldiers to a Roman fort, and began to demolish the churches of the Christians, breaking the sacred and holy icons, and burning with fire the relics of the Saints. It was at this time that Saint Heliodoros and Saint Dosa presented themselves before the king, and rebuked his impiety, proclaiming the true faith of Christ (Saint Heliodoros was ninety-five years old at the time). For this the blessed ones endured many and various tortures, and lastly, their noses were cut off and their heads were burned. Hence, the Saints thanked God, delivered their souls, and ascended crowned into the heavens.*


* For more details about these Saints, and greater details, see the Acts of the Martyrs of Bezabde. There we are told that Heliodoros was a Bishop, and when he died he made Dosa (Dausa or Dawsa) his successor.

August 19, 2019

Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou Issues Statement Pending Police Investigation

With the help and grace of God the fasts and supplications to the Most Holy Theotokos have been completed. Let us keep our eyes fixed on her grace.

Let us continue, whoever is willing and able, to ask for her saving intercessions for the sufferings that lurk among us, for the fires to cease, for the prevention of earthquakes, for the liberation of the seas of Cyprus.

What we thought was a long way off, is nearer. The prophetic words of our contemporary saints, show us that the path to eliminating evil, and reducing evil in the world, passes through our personal repentance.

In regards to another fire, that of the flesh, the Holy Spirit and evil spirits, which some have ignited for us, we will not make any comment, fully respecting the relevant police investigation being conducted.

May the Panagia help us!

Praying on your behalf to the Lord,

† The Metropolitan of Morphou Neophytos

Unexpected Misfortunes and the Providence of God

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

When an unexpected misfortune happens to us who are innocent, we should not immediately grieve but rather we should try to see in this the Providence of God, Who, through that misfortune, is preparing something new and beneficial for us. One day, unexpected news came to Blessed Theophanes, the abbot of Docheiariou (Aug. 19), that the Turks had seized his sister's son, forced him to embrace Islam and took him to Constantinople. Theophanes immediately traveled to Constantinople and, with the help of God, succeeded to find his nephew and to secretly bring him out of Constantinople and brought him to his monastery on Mount Athos. There, he again, received his nephew into the Christian faith and, after that, also tonsured him a monk. However, the brethren began to complain against their abbot and his nephew for fear of the Turks, for they were afraid that the Turks would find out and come and destroy the monastery. Not knowing what to do, Saint Theophanes took his nephew and, with him, secretly withdrew not only from Docheiariou but also from the Holy Mountain and came to Beroea. The later activities of Theophanes in Beroea and in Naousa proved how much that misfortune was beneficial to the Church. That which Theophanes could never succeed to achieve on the Holy Mountain, he achieved in these other places to which he had fled from that misfortune. Namely: he founded two new monasteries, where, in time, many monks were saved and where countless men found comfort for themselves. In addition to this, his holy relics among the Christian people became a source of healing for the strengthening of faith among many unbelievers and those of little faith. Thus, God wisely directs the destiny of men through unexpected misfortunes, which momentarily seem to men that they are going to their final destruction.

Saint Pitirim, Bishop of Great Perm (+ 1456)

St. Pitirim of Perm (Feast Day - January 29 and August 19)

Saint Pitirim, Bishop of Great Perm, was chosen and consecrated to the See of Perm after the suffering and death of Saint Gerasim of Perm (Jan. 24). Before becoming bishop, Archimandrite Pitirim was head of the Chudov Monastery. He later became known as the composer of the Canon to Saint Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow (Feb. 12), and also wrote his Life.

As bishop, Saint Pitirim first occupied himself with establishing friendly relations between the Zyryani and Voguli peoples. He circulated admonitory letters and messages, seeking to defend the Zyryani from pillage. The Voguli leader Asyka however, taking advantage of princely dissension and the remoteness of the bishop from the capital, plundered Christian settlements and killed defenseless people.

Holy Martyrs Eutychianos the Soldier and Strategios

Sts. Eutychianos and Strategios (Feast Day - August 19)


To Eutychianos.
Eutychianos was sentenced to be burned,
Great was the happiness and small the suffering by burning.

To Strategios.
Strategios bore Christ as a weapon,
Leading as a general as the flames rose.

The Holy Martyrs Eutychianos the Soldier and Strategios met their end by fire.

August 18, 2019

Homily on the Ninth Eothinon Gospel - John 20:19-31

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Eothinon read today is very well known because the first part of it is read in church during the Agape Vespers, the first day of the Resurrection of Christ, and wherever possible it is read in many languages, and also the entire text is read on Thomas Sunday. because it refers to him.

This Gospel reading describes two appearances of Christ to His disciples. The first appearance took place in the evening of the first day of the Resurrection, while Thomas was absent, and the second appearance took place the next Sunday, after eight days, in the presence of Thomas.

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost: Epistle Reading

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 3:9-17


Brethren, we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.

August 17, 2019

Ninth Sunday of Matthew: Gospel Reading

Ninth Sunday of Matthew

Jesus Walks on the Water

Gospel According to Matthew 14:22-34


At that time, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they entered the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.


Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἠνάγκασεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοὺς μαθητὰς ἐμβῆναι εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ προάγειν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ πέραν, ἕως οὗ ἀπολύσῃ τοὺς ὄχλους. Καὶ ἀπολύσας τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος κατ᾽ ἰδίαν προσεύξασθαι. ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης μόνος ἦν ἐκεῖ. Τὸ δὲ πλοῖον ἤδη σταδίους πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἀπεῖχεν, βασανιζόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων, ἦν γὰρ ἐναντίος ὁ ἄνεμος. Τετάρτῃ δὲ φυλακῇ τῆς νυκτὸς ἦλθεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς περιπατῶν ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσαν. Οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης περιπατοῦντα ἐταράχθησαν λέγοντες ὅτι Φάντασμά ἐστιν, καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ φόβου ἔκραξαν. Εὐθὺς δὲ ἐλάλησεν [ὁ ᾽Ιησοῦς] αὐτοῖς λέγων, Θαρσεῖτε, ἐγώ εἰμι· μὴ φοβεῖσθε. Ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν, Κύριε, εἰ σὺ εἶ, κέλευσόν με ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα· ὁ δὲ εἶπεν, ᾽Ελθέ. καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου ὁ Πέτρος περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν ᾽Ιησοῦν. Βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον ἐφοβήθη, καὶ ἀρξάμενος καταποντίζεσθαι ἔκραξεν λέγων, Κύριε, σῶσόν με. Εὐθέως δὲ ὁ ᾽Ιησοῦς ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἐπελάβετο αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, ᾽Ολιγόπιστε, εἰς τί ἐδίστασας; καὶ ἀναβάντων αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ πλοῖον ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος. Οἱ δὲ ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες, ᾽Αληθῶς Θεοῦ υἱὸς εἶ. Καὶ διαπεράσαντες ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν εἰς Γεννησαρέτ.

Ninth Eothinon Gospel Reading of Sunday Matins

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

Jesus Appears To His Disciples

John 20:19-31


On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him: "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them: "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said: "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.