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Saints and Feasts of December 9

Monday, December 9, 2019

Conception of Saint Anna: Epistle and Gospel Reading


Conception of Saint Anna

December 9th

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Grave Mode.
Psalm 63.11,1
The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
Verse: Oh God, hear my cry.

St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 4:22-27

English

Brethren, Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married."

Προκείμενον. Ήχος βαρύς.
ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 63.11,1
Εὐφρανθήσεται δίκαιος ἐν Κυρίῳ.
Στίχ. Εἰσάκουσον, ὁ Θεός, τῆς φωνῆς μου.

Πρὸς Γαλάτας 4:22-27 τὸ ἀνάγνωσμα

Greek

Ἀδελφοί, Ἀβραὰμ δύο υἱοὺς ἔσχεν· ἕνα ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης, καὶ ἕνα ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας. Ἀλλʼ ὁ μὲν ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης κατὰ σάρκα γεγέννηται, ὁ δὲ ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας διὰ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας. Ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα· αὗται γάρ εἰσιν δύο διαθῆκαι· μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὄρους Σινᾶ, εἰς δουλείαν γεννῶσα, ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἅγαρ. Τὸ γὰρ Ἅγαρ Σινᾶ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ Ἀραβίᾳ, συστοιχεῖ δὲ τῇ νῦν Ἱερουσαλήμ, δουλεύει δὲ μετὰ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς. Ἡ δὲ ἄνω Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἐλευθέρα ἐστίν, ἥτις ἐστὶν μήτηρ πάντων ἡμῶν· γέγραπται γάρ, Εὐφράνθητι, στεῖρα, ἡ οὐ τίκτουσα· ῥῆξον καὶ βόησον, ἡ οὐκ ὠδίνουσα· ὅτι πολλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐρήμου μᾶλλον ἢ τῆς ἐχούσης τὸν ἄνδρα.

Gospel Reading

Gospel According to Luke 8:16-21

English

The Lord said, "No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away." Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you." But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."

Greek

Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος· Οὐδεὶς δὲ λύχνον ἅψας καλύπτει αὐτὸν σκεύει ἢ ὑποκάτω κλίνης τίθησιν, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ λυχνίας ἐπιτίθησιν, ἵνα οἱ εἰσπορευόμενοι βλέπωσι τὸ φῶς. οὐ γάρ ἐστι κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ φανερὸν γενήσεται, οὐδὲ ἀπόκρυφον ὃ οὐ γνωσθήσεται καὶ εἰς φανερὸν ἔλθῃ. βλέπετε οὖν πῶς ἀκούετε· ὃς γὰρ ἐὰν ἔχῃ, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν μὴ ἔχῃ, καὶ ὃ δοκεῖ ἔχειν ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ. Παρεγένοντο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον. καὶ ἀπηγγέλη αὐτῷ λεγόντων· ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἑστήκασιν ἔξω ἰδεῖν σε θέλοντες. ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς· μήτηρ μου καὶ ἀδελφοί μου οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀκούοντες καὶ ποιοῦντες αὐτόν.


An Orthodox Correction to the Catholic Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

No one is born free of the ancestral sin. The fall of Adam and Eve and its consequences were inherited by the whole human race. Of course even the Panagia could not be freed from the ancestral sin. The words of the Apostle Paul are clear: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). In this apostolic passage we see that sin is understood as a deprivation of the glory of God and also that no one is exempt from sin. So the Panagia too was born with the ancestral sin. But when was she released from it? The answer to this question must be free of any scholastic conceptions.

Holy Prophetess Hannah, Mother of the Prophet Samuel

Holy Prophetess Hannah (Feast Day - December 9)

Verses

For what shall you be praised more Hannah?
Your steadfast mind? or your blessed child?

1 Kings (Samuel)

Chapter 1

The Birth of Samuel

1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sermon on the Healing of the Crippled Woman on the Sabbath (St. Cyril of Alexandria)


By St. Cyril of Alexandria

(Though a homily by Cyril of Alexandria in full does not exist of Luke 13:10-17, the following are anonymous extracts ascribed to him.)

Behold there was a woman, who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years.

Now there was in the synagogue a woman who for eighteen years was bowed down by infirmity. And her case may prove of no little benefit to those who have understanding: for we must gather what is to our advantage from every quarter:----since by what happened to her we may see that Satan often receives authority over certain persons, such, namely, as fall into sin, and have grown lax in their efforts after piety. Whomsoever therefore he gets into his power, he involves, it may be, in bodily diseases, since he delights in punishment and is merciless. And the opportunity for this the all-seeing God most wisely grants him, that being sore vexed by the burden of their misery, men may sot themselves upon changing to a better course. For which reason St. Paul also delivered over to Satan a certain person at Corinth accused of fornication, "for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved." The woman therefore who was bowed down is said to have suffered this from the cruelty of the devil, according to our Master's words, "Whom Satan has bound for eighteen years:" God, as I said, so permitting it, either for her own sins, or rather by the operation of a universal and general law. For the accursed Satan is the cause of disease to the bodies of men, inasmuch as Adam's transgression was, we affirm, his doing, and by means of it our human frames have become liable to infirmity and decay. But when this was the state of men. God, Who by His very nature is good, did not abandon us when suffering under the punishment of a protracted and incurable malady, but freed us from our bonds, revealing as the glorious remedy for the sufferings of mankind His own presence and manifestation in the world. For He came to fashion our state again to what it was originally: for "God, as it is written, made not death: neither has He pleasure in the destruction of the living. For He created all things that they might have their being; and healthful were the generations of the world; and there is in them no poison of destruction," "but by the envy of the devil death entered into the world."

Tenth Sunday of Luke: Gospel Reading


Tenth Sunday of Luke

Gospel According to Luke 13:10-17

Healing of the Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

English

At that time, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity." And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day." Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost: Epistle Reading


Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Pentecost

St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 4:1-7

English

Brethren, I, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.

Exaposteilarion and Doxastikon of the Third Resurrection Eothinon Gospel for Sunday Matins


The following hymns from the Sunday Matins service are directly related to the Third Eothinon Resurrection Gospel (Mark 16:9-20) read before the Canon, which speaks of the events that followed the Resurrection of Christ. There are eleven eothina all together, and each Sunday is successively dedicated to one of them, then the cycle starts again. Each of the eleven eothina symbolizes one of the eleven disciples to whom the Lord appeared following His Resurrection.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona Has Reposed


Yesterday, December 7th 2019, the much-beloved Elder Ephraim of Arizona reposed in the Lord after being ill for many years. According to reports, Elder Ephraim was aware of his impending death some days before, and despite this he would still daily go out and give his blessing to the people. His personal doctor told him to not go out Saturday evening, the day of his repose, to bless the people. Elder Ephraim was lucid on the day of his repose and partook of the Immaculate Mysteries. Then at 9:00pm (Mountain Standard Time), as he was upright occupied with something, he suddenly tilted slightly to the side and died. Nurses found him practically upright, having delivered his spirit to the Lord.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

A Letter of Basil the Great to Ambrose of Milan (Letter 197)

Relic of St. Dionysius of Milan

In 374-5 Saint Ambrose of Milan sent a deputation of clerics to Saint Basil the Great to ask for the body of Saint Dionysius (May 25), who was Bishop of Milan from 349 to 355. Saint Dionysius was exiled to Caesarea of Cappadocia for not submitting to the Arian faith by Roman Emperor Constantius II. Dionysius died in exile between 360 and 362. In his Letter 197, Saint Basil assures Saint Ambrose that the relic of the Martyr is his authentic relic, which had been kept with honors by the Orthodox locals. Furthermore, he elaborately praises Ambrose and encourages him to continue his fight against Arianism. It is believed by some that this is a forged letter dating to the 12th century to account for an earlier date of the translation of the relics of St. Dionysius to Milan.

Saint Anthony of Siya (+ 1556)

St. Anthony of Siya (Feast Day - December 7)

Venerable Anthony of Siya, in the world Andrew, was born in 1479 into a family of rich farmers in the village of Kekhta near the North Dvina River. In childhood he received a fine education, read much and learned iconography. After the death of his parents, Andrew went to Novgorod, and for five years worked for a boyar [nobleman] there. He later married, but his wife died after a year.

Saint Nilus of Stolobnoye (+ 1554)

St. Nilus of Stolobnoye (Feast Days - December 7 and May 27)

Venerable Nilus of Stolobnoye was born into a peasant family in a small village of the Novgorod diocese. Orphaned at an early age, in the year 1505 he was tonsured at the Monastery of Saint Sava of Krypetsk near Pskov. After ten years in ascetic life at the monastery he set out to the River Sereml, on the side of the city of Ostashkova. Here for thirteen years he led a strict ascetic life in incessant struggle against the snares of the devil, who took on the appearance of reptiles and wild beasts. Many of the inhabitants of the surrounding area started coming to the monk for instruction, but this became burdensome for him and he prayed God to show him a place for deeds of quietude. Once, after long prayer he heard a voice saying, “Nilus! Go to Lake Seliger. There upon the island of Stolobnoye you can be saved!” Saint Nilus learned the location of this island from people who visited him. When he arrived there, he was astonished by its beauty.

Synaxis of the Consecration of the Church of the Theotokos in Kouratoros

Balaban Aga Mosque

The Synaxarion of Constantinople has for commemoration on December 7th the consecration of the Church of the Theotokos in the Kouratoros (Curator) district of Constantinople, near the Taurus Forum. According to the Patria, the foundation of the Church of the Theotokos in the Kouratoros is ascribed to Verina, the consort of Emperor Leo I the Thracian (457-474). Two other churches dedicated to the Theotokos, Blachernae and Chalkoprateia, were also built under the patronage of Verina. Along with the Martyrium of Karpos and Papylos, the Church of the Theotokos in the Kouratoros was built to resemble the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and was therefore circular. Enshrined within this church were the sacred relics of Saint Lazarus the friend of Christ together with his sisters Mary and Martha, which were translated to the Monastery of Saint Lazarus under Emperor Leo VI the Wise in 900. Some believe the present Balaban Aga Mosque is the Church of the Theotokos in the Kouratoros, because it stands in the area where the church is said to have stood, but the mosque is hexagonal and likely was just a monastery library or a building for some other use during Roman times probably associated with the Church of the Theotokos in the Kouratoros.



Friday, December 6, 2019

The Life of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker (Michael the Archimandrite, early 9th century)


This is believed to be the earliest surviving life of Saint Nicholas. It is also thought to be the first complete biography, though earlier partial accounts had been written. Michael drew on earlier written sources and oral tradition, particularly received through a monk.

John Quinn, professor of classical languages, Hope College, Holland, Michigan, was doing the first English translation of the text when he suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed and died while out jogging on June 19, 2008. His unfinished translation (sections 1-10) is offered as a memorial to his work. Sections 11-52 have been provided by the courtesy of Roger Pearse.

By Michael the Archimandrite, 
in the first half of the 9th century (between 814 and 842)

Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca 1348

Introduction

1. Appearing to us as the brightest dawn of piety and the epitome of the wondrous stars, Nicholas, the holy hierarch of Christ, trains everyone to give praise to God. As we annually commemorate him, he illuminates the way ahead of us like a light-filled beam of the sun of justice, casting the radiance of his virtues like gold-gleaming rays. Moreover, he stirs lovers of the poor, and indeed those who love Christ and those who pardon humanity, to celebrate his memory with psalmody and with hymns and, by the example he set, with mercy for those in need and, through this, to purify themselves in anticipation of sojourning with us of the divine Word made flesh of the holy Virgin. For I think there is no believer throughout the world who has not found him a help in danger and a keen ally amid various troubles. For this reason every tongue that reverences him in Christ hastens, as a debtor, to honor him with song and is roused to have him as an advocate before God.

2. This Nicholas, the holy companion and heavenly helper of those who reverently call upon him, we also, ever fixing fast the anchors of hope, pray to have as presider over our whole life in the Lord. For we have much experience of his fervent and very rapid help in all sorts of trials. Therefore, with every joy we have received your command, Leo, you who are the most God-loving of mortals and a wooer of what is good, when you urge us to publish a clearer account of this great high priest and to present, for others unaware of him, a summary that is very profoundly and yet plainly wrought, that the counsel of the virtues of the saint may be useful to them. Until now the spiritual program of this illustrious pastor was unknown to many people, as you yourself suppose, although some had knowledge of his grace from the lone Acts dedicated to him. And so eagerly stationing him before us, unworthy as we now are, as blessed helmsman of the Word and traveling-companion of God, we begin his story.

Birth and Childhood

3. Nicholas, the famous champion of those languishing in travails and prophetic high priest, by God’s choice, of the metropolis Myra, was born in the city of Patara, one of cities then illustrious in the province of Lycia, although now it is said to scarcely preserve the appearance of a village. His parents were thoroughly noble and well-off, and surpassed many in their reverence toward Christ, on account of which they kept themselves free of worldly glory and were always eager to devote themselves to the works of justice. For the ever-pious understand that the person who touches tar is not free of its stain.

4. Since their wishes were in accord with God’s, at the first coupling with each other there was conceived a fruit of righteousness: Nicholas, the lover of purity and of foresight. At the time of his conception a certain miracle occurred regarding the mother who bore him. Having become sterile from him, the all-blessed woman remained childless from then onwards for the whole span of her life, so that Nicholas, his parents’ first and only begotten child, might be an image, in reverse, of the creation of the great John, the baptizer of the Savior according to his earthly existence. John, sent ahead into the world as the lamp of the light without beginning, rid his mother’s womb of affliction; Nicholas, as he was born, provided his mother with it. After conceiving him in the flesh, she became sterile, but she became extraordinarily fertile in spirit. She was filled with virtues in Christ and was eager, along with her spouse, to serve God, for she had yoked herself to His commands.

5. When Nicholas, sanctified by God, was born from his mother’s belly, he was nurtured, as befits an infant, at the maternal breast. Then the Lord who commonly works miracles amid the servants who recognize Him showed what sort of person, in regard to his spiritual program, the great Nicholas would be in the life that would follow. For, sucking milk from his mother’s teat on the other days of the week according to the custom of infants, the blessed one took milk on Wednesdays and on Fridays once in the day at the appointed hour, letting himself nurse according to the priestly rule rather than the fullness of his stomach. And so he gave an early example of the dwelling-place of a blessed and propitious way of life. As Scripture says: “A righteous son is born for life” (Proverbs 11.19).

6. What could be clearer than this sign to demonstrate the sun that, by the flashings of the virtues of the hierarch’s spiritual program, was going to illuminate justice? Truly “a just man flourishes like a palm tree and increases like a cedar on Lebanon” (Psalm 92.13). In fact, from his very budding, so to speak, all the way to his mature yield and indeed to his death, the renowned Nicholas appeared equal in his virtue and miracles, in proportion to the advance of his age both ripening the fruits of his virtues alongside each other and multiplying the proofs of his prophetic wonders. In this way also upon him the eloquent expression of the apostle Paul would reach its fullness: “whom God foreknew, he also foreordained that they become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8.29) — but foreknowledge is not the cause of someone being virtuous or worthless, but it is from each person’s own mind that there is this or that cause — “and whom he foreordained, these he also called. And whom he called, these he also justified. And whom he justified, these he also glorified.” (Romans 8.30).

7. Observe: the Lord who knows, since he is God, all things before their birth, foreknew the angelic perfection of the way of life of the Nicholas who was coming into existence — and that he, by his own confession, would become a protector of the commandments and, because of this, in addition to his archpriestly rank, would reasonably be honored as the salvation of many people. This was the person who, from his very swaddling clothes, the Lord set up to be distinguished in the eyes of those who were familiar with him, since he was nurtured in his mother’s arms on a miraculous type of diet and was thought by those who observed well to be someone set apart for God.

8. Brought up in such an amazing way, the boy carefully conformed himself to the character of his parents. He avoided all political involvement and the corruption of the business world. He absolutely renounced meeting and associating with improper and arrogant young men. In his attention to right-mindedness, he utterly rid his heart of the desire for women, and his eyesight for theatrical spectacles. He loathed worldly amusements and the rashness of the rabble, on the grounds that they were corrupters of the virtue that makes one a friend of Christ. He did not at all shy from the sacred spaces; on the contrary, the universal church without ceasing refreshed him, tending him as though he were the chick of a turtledove. On her teachings he enlightened his mind daily, divinely elevating it to the pure and truest devotion. He preserved unquenched the lamp of his virginity, maintaining its fullness especially with the oil of charity.

Charity

9. After his parents had gone to the Lord and left him much property and an abundance of money and possessions, he reckoned that he had God as his father. Gazing chastely on Him with the eye of his soul, he firmly begged the good God that he surrender his life and all his possessions, if that seemed good to Him. He said: “Teach me, Lord, to do Your will, because You are my God” (Psalm 143.10) as well as “Make known to me, Lord, the path upon which I am to journey, because to You I have lifted my soul from all triviality and worldly lowliness.” (Psalm 143.8). He seemed to hear God, as it were, speaking clearly through the holy prophet David: “Even if wealth abounds, do not surrender your heart” (Psalm 62.11). And similarly the author of Proverbs plainly teaches: “Let almsgiving and acts of faith not abandon you, but fasten them around your neck and you will find grace” (Proverbs 3.3) as well as “That person benefits his soul, who has pity on the destitute and those who happen to be poor in their livelihood.” (Proverbs 11.17). Nicholas did not cease to continually hand over his abundance — to store it up in the secure treasure-houses of heaven. So he was repaid in full by the impoverished.

Impoverished Father

10. There was a certain man among those who were recently famous and well-born, and he was a neighbor, his home being next to Nicholas’. Owing to the plotting and envy of Satan, who always has a grudge against those who prefer to live a life in accord with God, this man was squeezed by great poverty and lack of resources. He had gone from being well-off to extreme indigence. He had three daughters who were both shapely and very attractive to the eye, and he was willing to station them in a brothel so that he might thereby acquire the necessities of life for himself and his household. For no man among the lordly or powerful deigned to marry them lawfully, and even among the lower-classes and those who owned the least bit of something there was no one well-minded enough to do this. And so the man looked away from his salvation and, as it were, fainted at the thought of prevailing upon God with persistence and prayer. By this logic he came to assent to situating his daughters in the abyss of such dishonor.

11. But the Lord who loves humankind, who never wishes his own creation to become hostage to sin, sent him a holy angel — I mean the godlike Nicholas — both to rescue him, along with his whole household, from poverty and destruction, and to restore readily his previous prosperity. For when he learned of the situation, the man who was and who was proven to be the all-honored and truly faithful steward of the Lord pondered in his mind this advice of Solomon’s that is full of help: “God loves a person who is a cheerful giver” (Proverbs 22.8) and “The one who pities a beggar is himself nurtured” (Proverbs 22.9). And again: “Provide good things before God and humankind” (Proverbs 3.4). And that one from the same place that is apt in various ways: “Save those who are led away to death” (Proverbs 24.11). By the expenditure and very generous donation of his own money, Nicholas became a most ready resource for their defense, and he saved them, though they were already being led away to a death of profligacy.

The First Gift

12. But behold the righteous man’s understanding and the manner of his charity, and wonder greatly at how unassuming his virtue was. Or rather, emulate him most eagerly in order that you, too, may be shown mercy, having great need of the kindness of God, since “He who is merciful will be shown mercy,”(Matthew 5.7) according to the Lord’s saying. The true model of purity and author of sympathy, Nicholas, wishing to use his own money to help the man, and to lead him with his daughters away from the shameful and dishonorable deed which had, in truth, already been decided for them — what does he do? He does not appear to him in person or speak about a gift or any other type of relief, thereby freeing him from shame while at the same time very carefully1 taking the trouble not to trumpet his own charity. After hurling a bag containing a large amount of gold into the house through the window at night, he quickly hastened home.

13. When the man who had been shown this mercy found the bag when it had become day, he was seized with joy and with ungovernable tears and gave thanks to God with amazement and astonishment, wondering in himself from where so great a blessing had come to him. The father of the girls, after receiving this bride-price in the belief it had been provided to them from God, and considering that the godsend was a sufficient contribution for a dowry, without delay contrived a marriage for his first daughter, having acquired for her an honorable life with joy and pleasure granted by the mediation of saint Nicholas.

The Second Gift

14. When Nicholas, the man of God and benefactor who was generous in his charity, looked and saw that his beneficence had resulted in a good and saving deed, when the young woman’s marriage-rite had passed, he threw another bag of gold, equal to the previous one, through the same window later at night, and hastily went to his own home.

15. As daybreak was dawning, the father, after shaking off the torpor of sleep, unexpectedly found this gift of gold. He fixed his face on the ground, giving prayers of thanksgiving to God with groans (as is reasonable), unable to wholly open his mouth to him because he was struck dumb at the doubling of his kindness. With cries of prayers that were only in his heart and unuttered, he said “Show me, O merciful Master, your angel among men, who has recently been proven kind to be good to us. Show me who the person is, who is seasoning for us this rich feast of yours, and what type of person he is who is ministering the wealth of your immeasurable goodness to us who are lowly, through whom, beyond hope, you saved us from spiritual death, sin, and from our calamitous poverty. For behold, through your inexpressible help, I am giving my other daughter in lawful marriage and am freeing her from the impiety which we formerly practiced because of our unexpected desperation, glorifying your all-holy name and exalting your unending goodness toward us who are unworthy.”

The Third Gift

16. Accordingly, after the father yoked his other daughter in the same way as his previous daughter and shared in the gifts of God through his servant Nicholas, he vigilantly and attentively stayed awake the following nights, confidently expecting that the person who had secretly furnished such money for her sisters would provide the dowry for his third daughter; for then he would get hold of him so long as, at any rate, he didn’t elude him when he entered the house, by falling asleep. As the man was meditating on these matters and staying awake with great effort, the worshiper of the Trinity, and of one member of the Holy Trinity, Christ, our true God, the servant Nicholas appeared. And again, at his usual point late at night, in order to escort2 the man’s third daughter as he had done to the others3, he threw in through the same window a gift of gold similar to the ones he had previously thrown in4, and withdrew quietly from the place.

17. But the father perceived his arrival because of the gift of gold that fell into the house, and, going quickly from the house, overtook the saint at a run. When he recognized who he was, he threw himself face-first at his feet with cries, and gave thanks to him over and over with many words and called him, his and his three daughters’ savior, after God, and said, “If our common Master, Christ, hadn’t stirred your goodness, we would have long ago destroyed our own lives by a shameful and destructive livelihood5. But as it is, the Lord has saved us through you, most blessed one, and rescued us from the filth of immorality. And so we ought, like a debt, to give thanks to you all of our days, because you stretched out a hand of help to us and caused the poor to rise from the ground and raised the destitute up from a dunghill6 through your generous and truly wonderful gift.” When saint Nicholas heard these words, he raised him up from the ground and, binding him by on oath not to make any of these blessings, of which he had thought him worthy7, known to anyone for as long as he8 should live, he let him go in peace.

18. O the compassion of the holy man toward the needy! O the beneficial and beautiful purpose of all-blessed Nicholas! The care of his good-natured soul revealed in visible form a model of our Savior Christ’s compassion toward us. He showed a shepherd’s consideration toward those who were sick in soul even before his visible episcopal profession9.

A Worthy Model

19. Truly, “a tree of life grows from the fruit of righteousness;” Proverbs 11.30) great Nicholas grew just from just parents, from a pious and god-loving root he blossomed as a tree of life for those in the world, nourishing, to so speak, and rekindling many people from the fruit of his own deeds. And indeed, for this reason God, too, exalted him exceedingly, and as befits what is good, placed him on a high-priestly lamp-stand as a brilliantly shining lamp for the salvation of many, in order that by running to him the oppressed might in many ways remove from themselves the cloud of despondency and obtain suitable help according to their need. And so it was necessary, it was necessary that one who had so prepared himself to be well-pleasing to God should be advanced to a pastoral dignity, in order that, by mixing his righteous action with authority, he would be able both to check and strike down those who wanted to do harm, and to rescue, as quickly as possible, those who were wronged from people who were corrupting them and making hostile plots against them.

20. And so when this divine Nicholas, after steering his life with utter self-control and holiness, had risen above his passions and sin and, perfecting holiness, concluded his life in the fear of God, always subjecting his passion and desire to reason — inasmuch as a fast had nursed him from his swaddling clothes and had reared him into manhood, and a radiant treasure of virginity made him known to all as “a tree of life planted along the banks of the waters” Psalm 1.3) of the church, or rather, of its teachings, and made and truly established him as a fruitful olive-tree in the house of the glory of the Almighty, fattening those who were distressed by hardships and comforting those who were afflicted by the thirst and heat of poverty — by a righteous decree of God, he was entrusted with the rudder of the notable metropolis of Myra.

Bishop of Myra

21. When the leader of the holy church of God of Myra at that time left behind his earthly pursuits and traveled to God10 and rightly received the rewards of his sweat, a divine fervor arose among the bishops of the surrounding cities, as well as among the leading people of the clergy of that church, to seek a man worthy of God who should become the successor to the see of the man who had died, and who should not be second to him in holiness or lacking in foresight in everything.

22. One of these people, moved by God, advised them (as was right) to pray about the task that was set before them all. The Lord, who brings to pass the will of those who fear him and hears their prayer, revealed to one of these men the manner of the appointment of the person who was going to take in hand the reins of the office of bishop in a manner pleasing to Himself11, saying to him, “Go to the house of God at night and stand at the entrance, and whoever comes to enter the church quietly before anyone else, take this man and appoint him to the office of bishop. His name is Nicholas.”

23. Accordingly, after the person who heard this God-sent voice communicated the message12 to the bishops who were around him and to the clerics who were in prayer with them, who remained farther within the church and were still industriously persisting in their prayers to God, he went out to the place which had been revealed to him. And during the early hours of dawn, great Nicholas was sent by God, and since he alone wanted to enter into the Church, the bishop took hold of him and said, “How are you called, child?” And with an unaffected and mild voice, he responded, “Nicholas, a sinner, a servant of your Holiness, O master.” When the bishop heard this, he was deeply moved by the humility of the righteous man and he said to him, “Come with me, child, because I have something to show you.” He then led him to his fellow bishops with whom he had prayed. When they saw the holy man, they sent up glory to almighty God and led him out to the middle of the temple, showing to the crowds who had come with them the shepherd who had been sent to them by God. They said, “This, brothers and children, is the man the Lord made known beforehand and foreordained to now be the bishop over all of us and your most holy universal13 church of Christ.”

24. When the inhabitants of the Metropolis of Myra who had gathered together heard this voice and trusted what their most god-loving bishops said, they joyfully received their testimony about the holy man, and they made the aptly named Nicholas14 mount the throne of the bishop’s office.

25. And he became the best shepherd of Christ’s rational creatures, he who was approved by Him and designated by name to those most holy servants who rightly and under God’s guidance sought for the worthy expounder of the Spirit to come into their midst. And he ministered the gospel of grace in perfect orthodoxy, apostolically teaching them to worship God the Father and his only-born Word and Son, our Lord and God Jesus Christ, and the Spirit, equal in power to him15, and forming an essential part of the consubstantial and divine Trinity, one God known in three persons, co-eternal and undivided, whose three specific characters are not, because of the oneness of their nature, coalesced into one person, as foolish Sabellius would have it, nor is their divine and uncreated perfect divinity16 divided into three alien and unrelated essences because of their triple personhood, as accursed Arius would have it.

26. Such were his thoughts, and he taught the chosen people of the Lord to cling to these17 doctrines in matters of theology, turning away the unholy, foolish talk of those most godless followers of Arius and Sabellius, who were at that time flooding the world like a ship, and were sending to the depth of destruction those who were unstable. And in matters concerning the arrangement of the one divine Word of the Holy Trinity and our Lord Jesus Christ, even though an opposing teaching had not been openly stirred up at that time, trying to corrupt the real distinction of the two natures that were joined in Christ, nonetheless Nicholas, who was trained to remain in the boundaries of piety, and being a holy abode of the Spirit, obeyed the blessed Apostle when he wrote the following somewhere to his own disciple Timothy. “If I am delayed,” he says, “[I am writing these things] in order that you may know how it is necessary to live in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and support of the truth. And confessedly, the mystery of godliness is great. God was revealed in flesh, was vindicated18 by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed in the world, was taken up in glory” I Timothy 3.15-16).

27. And so great Nicholas, correctly and sincerely holding fast to this great and truly mysterious mystery of piety, knew and preached the one who had been revealed in flesh and seen by angles in a servant’s form19, this is to say, the Son and Word of the Father who was before all eternity, in two perfect natures, in accordance with each essence freely willing and operating in union, but not separately, in order that the distinctive features of his two natures may be known and above censure, and in order that they may possess inseparability in the one person of Christ, in respect of which, after working both divine and human works, he was believed to be God and human by all his rational and godly-minded creation.

Demons and Idols

28. The holy-minded and true teacher20, Nicholas, while he instructed (if one must speak briefly) those whom he shepherded to cultivate this wholesome and blameless faith, was moved by a divine fervor and was illuminated in his soul by the Holy Spirit that dwelt within him, and arose with great bravery for the utter destruction of the demons. For when he saw the abominations of the deception caused by idols, and their altars still in existence in the metropolis of Myra, and the demons, who rejoice in others’ misfortunes, feasting on these, in that the more simple were deceived through certain observances of omens, he was stirred against this ungodliness. And after rekindling himself in his unwavering confidence in God, and, in place of visible weapons, arming himself with his faith in Christ (1 Thessalonians 5.8), he went about all the land of the metropolis that was under his care, razing and overturning the temples of these idols and thereby driving away the demons from that place and rendering their deception and wrongdoing ineffectual.

Temple of Artemis

29. And so when the saint had waged open war against the spirits of evil and was eager to extinguish their deceitful operations once and for all, there came to him a very divine inspiration from God and a purpose that required the greatest bravery: to overthrow the temple of Artemis, which was still left, like the other ones. For this temple excelled all other buildings in height and ornamentation and in the visitations of demons. For this reason, it provided an even greater cause of godlessness for those who were being led astray. And for this reason, he — as it was a cause of deception for the city in that area — hastened on with all the zeal of his soul and with the grace of Christ inside him to remove it from their midst and to finally make this most harmful worship of demons disappear from his own district. He went to this most foul building and overthrew not only its upper parts to the ground, but also dug up the very foundations and rendered the demons who dwelled there exiles. And they were pursued by the unseen, efficacious power of the Master of the universe through the mediation of our most holy father Nicholas, and confessed that they were being harmed by him and were being driven from their own places, pursued by God.

30. And, in brief, let the matters pertaining to the faith of this famous and God-advanced high-priest stand as I have said. But what can we say about his care and protection toward the oppressed and destitute, or of his boldness and severity toward those who were eager to kill the innocent in civil lawsuits?21 For he became a readily available corn-dealer to all of his fatherland that was under his shepherding care and abundantly provided to those who were in dire straits according to their needs, showing himself to be a father to orphans and a champion to widows and a courageous comforter to the poor among the people. And indeed, because of this everyone revered him like one of the apostles and in their troubles eagerly called to him as savior. He so relentlessly convicted those who wanted to harm the innocent, that the tyrants didn’t endure the assault of his just and reasonable rebuke, but, trembling with fear, they immediately bowed to his will and, like suppliants, propitiated his holiness.

Saving Innocents

31. And you, at least, who have read with inspired joy about the deed which has been ascribed to him, know how he laid down his own soul, imitating his own master, for three men who had received a most unjust sentence from the governor of the province, Eustathius. When they were about to be put to death because of a gift of gold22, he suddenly appeared and rescued them from death, shaking the sword to the ground and releasing them from their deadly bonds. After subjecting the juror who had been blinded by gold to fitting remarks of outrage and, as it were, correcting him from his crime, as being sympathetic, he freed them. The righteous man not only provided for those who were near him who were subjected to predatory accusers and who were godlessly and insolently mistreated by those in power, but also to those far away who were unjustly punished and were going to be given over to death, appearing to the judges in dreams and threatening them with utter horrors. He thus freed them from the calamities that were all but upon them23.

32. And this will not be reasonably accounted as unbelievable by the devout and those who have been trained in the higher philosophy. For since our holy father Nicholas practiced an angelic life from boyhood and conspicuously came to mature manhood and to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ and was, from the beginning, completely anointed in the oil of beneficence, he received the grace from God to have compassion toward the oppressed, not only with his physical and visible presence toward those who lived with him, but also toward those who were far from him and who invoked his aid with faith.

Three Generals

33. And this came to be known by all from his many other miracle workings, both those which happened long ago and which are still operative up to the present, but especially in the matter of his most swift aid to the three very famous commanders when he was summoned by them for help with an undoubting and very fervid faith, and appeared to the just emperor Constantine and to the governor of the city, Ablabius, as though in a dream. Through a threat and the exhibition of his own name he corrected the one who had taken mockery upon himself and freed him from innocent blood, while the other, who had willingly brought harm upon himself because he accepted a bribe, he shocked and terrified by the evils that would come upon him unless he should lay deceit aside from his own soul and immediately free the followers of Nepotian from the death-bringing vote.

Sailors

34. When the fame of his holiness and care had been spread abroad to almost all the world and was being borne about on everyone’s tongue24 because of these virtuous acts and good deeds and those like them, as is reasonable, some sailors, who were once sailing across the sea, when a mighty swell and storm suddenly arose against them by the plotting of a very fierce wind, saw that they were going to be altogether and completely subjected to a most inevitable danger of death. At length they remembered saint Nicholas and called to him by name for aid. Our holy father, who is quick to hear those who call to him in misfortunes with contrition, appeared to them by God’s order in the very hour of their distress and said to them, “Behold, you have called me, and I am here to help you.” And so, being seen by the sailors as strengthening them and emboldening them and assisting them and enduring with them at every part of the boat, that is, with the ropes and poles, he thus, with God’s help, saved them from the danger and, after guarding them closely, restored them to a calm anchorage.

35. After the sailors disembarked from the ship, they inquired with desire and faith after the person who saved them from a most miserable death, and wished to pay him honor with their gratitude. After learning that he was in the church, they went there to see him, and after seeing that the holy teacher of Christ was unadorned25 and that he had entered like one of the many clergy, they who had not seen this man before recognized him without any intermediary, recognizing the appearance of the saint by his manifestation and help on their ship. After slowly approaching him, they fell at his feet, giving him thank-offerings and reporting to him how he had appeared to them at their first call when they were sailing and how by his assistance he had released them from that fearful and harmful trouble.

36. But the holy minister of Christ, after seeing the men and, by the clear-sighted operation of his most-pure soul, perceived what they did in private26 and he said, “Know yourselves, children, I beg you, and steer27 your hearts toward being well-pleasing to the good and compassionate Master and Savior of our souls. For your companion, Injustice, and the utter avarice of your character, which abound together with the foul and death-bringing sexual immorality, rightly elicit in your life the corrective discipline of benevolent28 God, as diseases elicit physicians. Accordingly, ‘do not do evil things,’ as the scripture says, ‘and evil will not overcome you’ (Sirach 7.1). Rather, learn how to live well, and wear the sanctification of the body as an indispensable medicine leading to salvation, ‘without which no one will see God’ Hebrews 12.14). just as the divine apostle Paul teaches, and in the future may you have the Lord as your helper in the trials that befall you. For the virtue of the soul, gracefully offered to him like a fruit, in turn draws out his help and foresight.”

So much for these matters.

[Chapters 37-39 are only found in manuscripts pTVcd; in Vd they are placed between chapters 47 and 48; they are missing in PNWLBVf]

Famine Relief

37. I must, moreover, tell of another miracle he performed which is worthy of wonder. Once, when grain was lacking in the land of the Lycians,29 people steered Alexandrian transport ships filled with grain to the harbor of Andriake.30 The people of the trading-station informed Nicholas about them, and the holy man came from the city of Myra to Andriake and ordered the captains of the ships to unload a little from each ship, “in order,” he said, “that we may not perish from the famine.” When the captains said that the grain was the state-property of the ruling city and that “we are unable to do this,” the saint replied and said to them, “From each ship remove a hundred measures31 from your cargo, and I will ensure your indemnity32 to the treasury official of Constantinople.”

38. So they eagerly did this and gave the grain, and when a favorable wind was blowing opportunely for them, they came to Byzantium. They went to measure the grain and found their cargo in the same state as when they received it from Alexandria. They wondered at this and began to describe the wonderful miracles of saint Nicholas to the treasury officials. And everyone praised God, who always gives grace to those who love him.

39. When the saint received the grain and measured it, he distributed it to everyone as they praised God, who has power over all things, and it came about that the grain sufficed for those who received it from him for a period of two years, as a blessing. They kept some of it for sowing and scattered it in their fields, and thus enjoyed God’s kindnesses through the entreaties of his holy servant Nicholas.

Sanctity and Death

40. As one of his friends and one of the most devout monks described it to me, an account has come down from the beginning, which has its origin in tradition, that saint Nicholas was as follows: venerable and angelic in appearance, and exuding sweet smells full of sanctification, so that just at the sight of him he improved those who were with him and pushed and changed them to a better state which bordered on salvation. And if some heretic ever encountered him as he was passing by, he immediately sent away the disease of his impiety that had been blended with him over a long period of time, and sincerely accepted the faith of the righteous man.

41. And so, after living in this manner in the metropolis of Myra and after anointing everyone with his sweetest smelling and all-holy life and episcopate, he left his mortal life and went to his eternal rest, rejoicing with choruses of angels and exulting together with companies of patriarchs and ceaselessly interceding on behave of those who call upon him in faith with gladness, especially those who are in the midst of calamities and afflicted by the confiscations of property and are being tried.33 His body, honored and anointed with the sweet fragrance of his virtues, buried in the church of that district, straightaway gushed forth a sweet-smelling perfume, turning away all adverse and destructive power, but providing a saving remedy that wards off evil for the glory of the one who glorified him, Christ, our true God.

Continuing Grace

42. From that time up to our own time, the grace of the miracles of our holy father among the saints and champion of the world, Nicholas, is manifestly operative according to the will of God, and this fountain of his acts of kindness toward those who are in need is ever-flowing. For there is no one, there is no one among the sons of man who have been conspicuous in piety and have fallen into any unexpected situations and have taken refuge in him through entreaty, who has not had experience of his active aid or the completely true fulfillment of conspicuous miracles and astounding manifestations and predictions. If someone should want to pass on these matters into a written account, he will not be able to give an accurate account of these matters because one person tells of one and another person tells of another more secret miracle to his friends and neighbors, under the inspiration of the Spirit.

43. For this reason, after we add to what has already been said one of the miracles which occurred after his death, we will put an end to the labors undertaken by us about him with faith.

A Demon’s Intrigue

44. This father of ours among the saints and all-praiseworthy high-priest of Christ, Nicholas, after he made his journey to God34 and magnificently exhibited the remarkable activities of his miracles to those who were worthy even after his death, roused the nations of the pious to come together in his honor and reverence. Among these people were some people who had come from foreign and distant lands who were drawn by their longing for the saint and whose minds, as it were, were enlightened by his grace. They were preparing a tomb in order to obtain his sweet scent and his healing power.

45. When a wicked and mischievous demon, who had formerly dwelt in the temple of Artemis, but who had been chased out of it together with his companions by our holy and wonder-working father Nicholas, perceived that these people were about to make their journey to the Metropolis of Myra, it changed its form into a woman and went up to the men. Upon producing a vessel filled with oil — it was not oil, although it appeared to be oil, but was full of hostile and destructive power — the demon gave it to them and said, “I entreat you, men, take this too, which I am offering to the saint, and forgive my weakness, which does not permit me to go with you there. But you yourselves, when you get to the much beloved and revered place, pour this upon the lamps that are burning at the precinct in my place.” For since the demons which had been banished by him from the altar of Artemis tried to attack him during the entire course of the saint’s life, but were not able to repay him with any evil, in the time after these events, since they were full of the remembrance of their injuries, they contrived to display their own malice against the all-glorious precinct and his remains which it contained, through those who were going to the saint.

46. The men took the vessel from the spirit of deception and sailed the path of the sea that leads to Myra. When they had completed the first day’s interval, during the following night Nicholas, who is everywhere swiftly found to be a most fervent defender by those who are being attacked35, appeared to one of the men who had the diabolical vessel and said to him, “Rise at dawn, and throw the foreign vessel you are carrying with you into the depths of the sea.” And so when the man arose early, he immediately acted in accordance with the command of the one who had spoken to him in his sleep, and threw the vessel into the sea.

47. When he had done this, a flame immediately began to be stirred up high into the air, and smoke that caused darkness and foul smelling noxious odors were spreading about. When the flow had split open and was bursting forth and was making boiling noises and was sending forth drops that leapt like sparks, the event was terrifying for the sailors. For the whole ship was being violently driven by the swell, and they, driven out of their senses by the invisible blasts of wind and by the fear of what they saw, gave no heed to the rudders and cables that steered the ship. In this way, the means of their safety came into difficulty on every front.

48. But the aid of the one who appeared to them and who ordered them to give that satanic snare to the depth of the sea underwater, quickly took hold of them and rescued them from their most miserable danger and caused them to perceive the demon’s scheme. When the ship had gone a little ways away from that place and when the men had been released from their fear and when, as it were, a light of delight was shining in their souls, they recognized that the vessel they had thrown into the sea was full of hostile energy and was treacherously sent against the temple of the saint. For this reason, they sent up thanksgiving to God and to Nicholas for his vindication and for their safety, to the one, as the maker and protector of his own creation, and to the other as the clear mediator of God’s blessings and as the one who had himself, contrary to all expectation, brought about their safety.

Grace upon Grace

49. These few stories of the many, as it were, have been commemorated to you, concerning the life and the astounding miracles of our divine father and the universal champion of those who are trained in trials, great Nicholas. From him we have learned that those who have accepted his name on account of him and have shared in his angelic life have been thought worthy of much grace to have become workers of miracles, as emulating his virtue to the full extent of their abilities. And what is more, those who set up his most holy likeness36 and greet it, who have it as a constant companion in their houses as though it were the beloved man himself, are conspicuously rescued by his mediations with God from the various nooses and traps of a disturbed life full of tribulation, and they are thought worthy of running the course of a quiet and painless life.

Petition to Most Holy Nicholas

50. But father, initiator into the mysteries, the perfumed residence of the Holy Spirit, the most pure house of real wisdom, the abode of the uncreated Trinity which accomplishes all things, the clear representation of the angels, the aptly named victory of his chosen people, the stoutest destroyer of idols, the most active banisher of demons, the highly extolled teacher of temperance, the generous manager of Christ’s manifold gifts, the severest chastiser of transgressors, the swiftest liberator of the falsely accused, the inexhaustible sea of astounding miracles, the famous teacher of self-control and virginity, the most loud-voiced, sacred herald of piety, the harmonious and proportional standard of the high-priesthood, the honey-flowing orator of the inspired preaching, the brightest torch of Christ’s church, the comfort of the oppressed, furnished by God —

51. be also with us now, we who call on you with yearning and celebrate this festival of yours all around the world. Sanctify us by your angelic presence that is hidden in mystery. May we always have you as our liberator from dangers, we who unworthily offer these paltry things37 to you and not blooming, fragrant bouquets of words, and who have piously compelled ourselves to this — we need your help, your intercession, your provision, your management, your beneficial presence. Through these, deliver us who are undergoing trials38 from our present griefs, set us free from our temptations, save us from our afflictions. Extinguish the flame of the evils that rise against us. By your bedewed intercession, scatter the schemes of those who impiously make false claims against us, destroy the dwelling of those who despise us most unreasonably,

52. in order that we, being thus always guarded by your shelter and care, may be guarded above the calamities that befall [us] and apart from all false accusation. For Christ set you up as a most sufficient helper in the troubles of our life, who, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is worshiped by us in accordance with the orthodox faith. For glory and honor and worship befit him together who his Father, who has no beginning, and the all-powerful Spirit who is consubstantial with him, from the beginning of the creation of the universe and now and always and into the endless ages of ages. Amen.

Footnotes from Bryson Sewell:

1. Or, “most piously.”

2. i.e., figuratively, but making it possible for her to marry.

3. lit., “equally.”

4. lit., “similar to the ones thrown in.”

5. i.e., by prostituting his own daughters.

6. cf., Psalm 113.7 and 1 Samuel 2.8.

7. “Worthy” added for clarity.

8. Probably referring to Nicholas.

9. A difficult phrase, but the sense seems to be, “Even before he officially took on the role of a bishop, he already showed a shepherd’s care… .”

10. i.e., died.

11. God.

12. “The message” added for clarity.

13. Or, “catholic.”

14. His name was understood to mean “victory of the people,” from (nike) “victory,” and (laos) “people;” probably a folk etymology).

15. Probably referring to Jesus as the Word.

16. The definitions contained in the lexica do not fit the sense required in this passage. The translation “perfect divinity” is my best suggestion based on the sense of the passage, since Arius attacks the divinity of Jesus as inferior to that of the Father as a member of the Trinity.

17. lit., “the.”

18. Or, “proved to be right.”

19. Perhaps a reference to the chorus of angels who announce the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:8-21)

20. Normally means an “initiator” of mysteries.

21. i.e., by destroying them financially on false charges or “in matters of money.”

22. i.e., by a bribe.

23. lit., “calamities in their hands.”

24. lit., “in the mouths.”

25. i.e., unpretentious.

26. i.e., their private lives, their private worship.

27. A play on the men’s sea-fairing livelihood.

28. Or, “God, who loves humanity.”

29. i.e,. a south-western region now in modern Turkey in which the city of Myra was located.

30. The main harbor in Lycia.

31. lit., “modia,” a dry measure roughly equivalent to 8.75 liters.

32. i.e., I will make sure you suffer no financial loss.

33. i.e., unjustly prosecuted in court.

34. i.e., died.

35. Or, “tempted.”

36. i.e., a monument or image.

37. i.e., the above praises and appellations.

38. Or, “those being tempted.”




History of the Veneration of Saint Nicholas of Myra


One of the most popular and venerated Saints is St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, Asia Minor, who died in the middle of the fourth century. His name is equally honored among the Christians of the East, where he lived and died, and of the West, where his precious and venerable relics, which secrete a miraculous myrrh, later called “Manna of St. Nicholas,” are preserved.

Trust in Saint Nicholas Rewarded


By St. Paisios the Athonite

An elder once told a story about a monk who had gone to Karyes for some errand and had left the door of his cell open, trusting in the protection of St. Nicholas, its patron. When he returned he found that thieves had stripped the cell of everything.

"Stratelatis": The Earliest Known Account of the Life of Saint Nicholas

St Nicholas Saving Three Innocents
Ilya Repin, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Russian Postcard

Stratelatis
or The Military Officers

Anonymous Greek account from around AD 400.

This is the only surviving chapter from the earliest known account of the Life of Nicholas. The writer knew names of people and places in Myra, including the city’s topography. During the 7th century this account circulated in Greek, Latin, and Syriac. It may be the earliest incident attributed to St. Nicholas and is the only one specified in the official Roman Martyrology.1

Nikolobarbara: The Winter Celebration of St. Barbara, St. Savvas and St. Nicholas


In Greece, from December 4-6, 'Nikolobarbara' includes the feast days of St. Barbara, St. Savvas, and St. Nicholas. These days are considered to herald the onset of truly wintry cold weather, therefore homes are prepared for winter beforehand, such as preparing wood for the fire place. It is said also that the weather of these days will be the same weather as Christmas. Sayings that can be heard in various parts of Greece at this time are:

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Birthplace of Saint Savvas the Sanctified


About ten kilometers southeast from Caesarea in Cappadocia was the village of Moutalaski, today known as Talas. This is the village where Saint Savvas the Sanctified was born and raised. It had a majority Orthodox Christian population until the population exchange of 1923.

Saint Savvas lived with his father in this village until he was five years old, at which time his father had to go to Alexandria because he served as an officer in the army. He was left with his uncle Hermias and his aunt, but his aunt treated him terribly so he went to live with his uncle Gregory. This produced a violent clash between the two brothers over the care of their nephew and his estate, so Saint Savvas, being a devout Christian, entered the nearby Flavian Monastery (the Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner in Zintzintere) approximately three miles away when he was around eight years old. When he was eighteen his uncles resolved their differences and wanted to have their nephew married, but Saint Savvas fled his homeland for good and went to Jerusalem.

Probably the most notable figure of recent times to be born and raised in Moutalaski was Socrates Onassis, the father of Aristotle Onassis. Aristotle Onassis himself was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna. Socrates went on to become a successful shipping entrepreneur, which Aristotle later became famous for. In Talas today one can visit a restaurant named Onassis.

Flavian Monastery, now occupied by the Turkish army




The Birthplace of Saint Barbara

Icon of St. Barbara (ca. 1350 AD–ca. 1400 AD) from the Baalbek
Temple of Venus, now in Thessaloniki, at the Museum of Byzantine Culture.

Saint Barbara is said to have been born and raised in the village of Gelassos (Glasius) near Heliopolis, where her father Dioscorus was the governor. Heliopolis was a well known Syrian city located between Lebanon and the mountain ranges of anti-Lebanon. It received its name, which translates from the Greek as "Sun City", because they worshiped the sun there in ancient times. In 1924, it became part of Lebanon and was named Baalbek, because of the ancient worship of Baal in the region. Gelassos was approximately 1.38 miles or 2.2 kilometers from Heliopolis.

Saint Gurias, Archbishop of Kazan (+ 1563)

St. Gurias of Kazan (Feast Day - December 5)

Saint Gurias (in the world Gregory Rugotin) was the first archbishop of the Kazan diocese, established in 1555. He was born in the town of Radonezh outside Moscow into the family of a courtier. His parents were not wealthy, and so from his early years he had to serve Prince Ivan Penkov as steward of his estates.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

2019 Christmas Fundraiser and Two Exciting Announcements


Dear Readers:

2019 marked the ten year anniversary since launching my Mystagogy website, which eventually evolved to the Mystaggoy Resource Center with thousands upon thousands of pages of content. Without the support of my faithful readers, this would certainly not have been possible. Hundreds if not thousands of people all around the world have benefited greatly from this material, and this ministry keeps on getting better and better with age.

Now we are coming upon a new decade for this ministry, and I see nothing but positive things for the future. Progress is slow, but there is still progress. I try and give as much quality time as I can to provide quality material. Your appreciation is my encouragement.

Every Christmas season I encourage all my readers to provide the financial support necessary to keep this ministry going. Much time and sacrifice is required to provide quality content, time which I often don't have, but it gives me joy to share what I can. My constant hope is to see this ministry thrive and grow, and without your help this cannot be done. Therefore, please seriously consider a financial contribution today. For at least 17 cents a day, which is $5.00 a month, or $60 a year, your contribution can go a long way.

With this being said, I also have two exciting announcements.

First, this website (johnsanidopoulos.com) will no longer be the main page of the Mystagogy Resource Center. From now on the main page of this ministry will be mystagogyresourcecenter.com. MystagogyResourceCenter.com will be where all the websites of this ministry converge. It is where everything begins, and if there is a particular post you are looking for, subject links will help you find what you are looking for much easier. I have been experimenting with this idea for a while now, but nothing seemed right to me. I needed a main page solely dedicated to this in order for it to happen, with as little clutter as possible. Not much is there now, but I will be working on it when I can. As I progress, I will notify you so you can check back often. But from now on, mystagogyresourcecenter.com should be the page you first go to, and from there links are provided to all the content of the Mystagogy Resource Center.

Second, a few months ago I began two websites where I was going to start translating two classic Orthodox texts, one by St. Nektarios called Know Thyself and one by Monk Agapios Landis called Salvation of Sinners. Though I am still moving forward in translating these books, I realized a few months ago that I needed more of an incentive to get people to financially give to this ministry. For the past few years contributions have gone down, which has made things harder for me to maintain. The last thing I want to do is not provide free content anymore. For this reason, beginning on January 1, 2020, those two websites will no longer be free and open to the public. Only those who are active monthly subscribers of $5 or more, as well as annual contributors of $60 or more will have access to those two sites. And not only those two sites, but in January 2020 I will be adding three more sites in which I will be translating three other Orthodox classics never before translated. I will make further announcements about this in a month, but I guarantee you that you will love what is coming.

As you can see, the future is bright, but remember this is a one man show, and all this requires a lot of time and effort to come to fruition. So please make your contribution today, and help this ministry be successful in its mission. Thank you in advance.

A blessed Nativity season to all!

With love in Christ,

John Sanidopoulos

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John Sanidopoulos
PO Box 320284
West Roxbury, MA 02132




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