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Saints and Feasts of October 21

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Saint Gerasimos and the Deadly Plague of 1760


In the year 1760, the island of Kefallonia was struck by a deadly plague of cholera. It first manifested itself in the area of Livathos, and from there was transmitted to Argostoli and other spots on the island. The mortality rate was high, which always ended in the death of the victim. While measures were taken by government officials to prevent the deadly plague from spreading, all the faithful of the island called upon Saint Gerasimos to deliver their homeland from the calamity. As Kefallonia's ever-vigilant protector and powerful intercessor before God, the Saint intervened in the following miraculous way.

At the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos there were two icons of the Most Holy Theotokos - one was an ancient icon above the relics of the Saint and one was located in the pantry. The one in the pantry had been previously moved into the church, but the following morning it was found again in the pantry. Deciding to allow the Mother of God to choose where she wanted her icon to remain, the nuns set up a place in the pantry for the icon and placed a vigil lamp before it. The icon only left the pantry during times of processions.

A Marvelous and Humorous Miracle of Saint Matrona of Chios


The following marvelous and humorous miracle of Venerable Matrona of Chios involves a blind man, a crippled man and a mute woman.

On the eve of the feast day of the Saint, the 19th of October in the year 1701, all three sufferers separately experienced a vision that united them in a paradoxical manner.

The mute woman beheld in a dream that the crippled man was pursuing her, which due to her fright caused her to scream.

Synaxarion of our Venerable Mother Matrona of Chios

St. Matrona of Chios (Feast Day - October 20)


Leaving the world completely non-worldly,
Now bride Matrona you stand before the Bridegroom.
The Venerable one had the island of Chios as her homeland, and was from a village called Volissos. Her parents were called Leo and Anna, who were modest in their manners, and were notable among others in their lineage and wealth. The blessed one, due to the fact that even in her young age she was very knowledgeable, because of this she loved God. For this reason she turned away from every other earthly love and passionate attachment to the worldly. And leaving behind her village and family and parents, she became a stranger and sojourner, on behalf of the Lord who appeared as a stranger on earth for us. From the inheritance she received from her parents, a portion she distributed to widows and orphans, and from what remained she paid the expenses for and built a church with much care, and this she dedicated to the name of the Savior Christ. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Synaxis of the Panagia the Vasilissa in Mouzaki of Karditsa

The Holy Icon of the Panagia Vasilissa ("the Queen") is unique in Greece and its subject refers to the condition of our Panagia after her death. The Panagia after her Dormition and Metastasis in heaven received unique honors from her Lord and God, Jesus Christ. He crowns her Queen of Heaven and gives her a high throne at His right hand. That is why, as Saint John of Damascus says, our Panagia possesses the "second-place to the Holy Trinity" and that is why she is praised more than any other Saint according to the prophecy and revelation "henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." She was named Queen by the Prophet and Psalmist David: "At Your right hand stands the Queen in gold from Ophir." The Holy Icon of Panagia Vasilissa was made for the niche of the Holy Bema in the Church of Saint George and of the Holy Unmercennaries in Mouzaki of Karditsa in Central Greece, as the Priest has a special relationship with the Mother of God. The Athonite Fathers, especially Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, urges the Priests to pray a lot to our Panagia, because all the Saints prayed to the Panagia. "No gift is given by God to man," says the Elder, "except through the Panagia. The Panagia distributes the gifts to the world."

Patriarch of Alexandria Performs the Divine Liturgy of Saint Mark at the Tomb of Saints Gabriel and Kyrmidoles and Blesses the Nile River


On October 18th, to celebrate the feasts of the Holy and Glorious New Martyrs Gabriel and Kyrmidoles, Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa performed the Divine Liturgy of Saint Mark the Evangelist at the Patriarchal Monastery of Saint George in Old Cairo, where the tomb of the New Martyrs is located.

This Divine Liturgy belongs to the ancient Alexandrian tradition and is inextricably linked to the history of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, with important Byzantine influences over time, and its composition is attributed to the Apostle Mark, who founded the Church of Alexandria.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Did the Apostle Luke, Like the Apostle John, Refer to Jesus as the Word of God?

Did the Apostle Luke in his Gospel, like the Apostle John in his Gospel (Jn. 1:1), refer to Jesus as the Word (Logos) of God? The patristic testimony unanimously affirms that he did, specifically in Luke 1:2 where it says: "...just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word." In most translations of "Word" it is not capitalized, so the idea is conveyed that it is actually speaking of words, such as the way Protestants refer to Scripture, but the context is clear that this Word had eyewitnesses and servants, therefore referring to a person, specifically Jesus Christ. Below are four early patristic interpretations of Luke 1:2 to make this clearer:

Did the Apostle Luke Ever See or Hear Christ in Person?


By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite
There is a disagreement among historians regarding Luke the Evangelist.  Leo the Wise in his eothinon, and Christopher the Patrician in his iambic verses, and Theophanes the Graptos in his asmatic canon, and in the manuscript of the Synaxaristes, among others, reply that this divine Luke went to Jerusalem and saw Christ the Master alive, and he served Him. He was present at the miracles He performed. He was also at the Passion and the Resurrection. After the Resurrection he also conversed with Him and with Cleopas. He saw Him ascend into the heavens. He was also found worthy of the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Chrysostom in his first discourse on Acts and his fourth homily on Matthew, as well as Theophylact of Bulgaria in his interpretation at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke the Evangelist, and the published Synaxaristes, as well as others, say that Luke was never an eyewitness and disciple of the Lord, nor did he ever see Him alive on earth. Rather, he was a disciple of the Apostle Paul, who he met and came to believe in Christ through at Thebes of Boeotia. This is confirmed by the words of Luke himself. At the beginning of his Gospel he testifies as follows: "...just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word" (Lk. 1:2). This confirms that he did not see the Lord on earth.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke

October 18

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 4.
Psalm 18.4,1
Their voice has gone out into all the earth.
Verse: The heavens declare the glory of God.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 4:5-11, 14-18


Brethren, conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one. Tychicos will tell you all about my affairs; he is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimos, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of yourselves. They will tell you of everything that has taken place. Aristarchos my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions if he comes to you, receive him), and Jesus who is called Justos. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. Give my greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippos, "See that you fulfill the ministry which you have received in the Lord." I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my fetters. Grace be with you. Amen.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

"When I Start Thinking of Myself as Being Better Than Others..." (St. Gabriel of Georgia)


"When I start thinking of myself as being better than others, then I put a diadem on my head and go outside without shoes. People stare at me and laugh, but I see how insignificant I am."

- St. Gabriel (Urgebadze) of Georgia

Venerable Anthony of Leokhnov (+ 1611)

St. Anthony of Leokhnov (Feast Day - October 17)

Venerable Anthony was from the Tver lineage of the Veniaminov nobles. While still a youth, Anthony was very pious and loved asceticism. Desiring solitude, he seized the opportunity to leave home at the right time in search of a solitary habitation. He lived as a hermit not far from Novgorod, in the Rublev wilderness at the River Perekhoda.

Meanwhile, his secret departure from his homeland plunged his household into grief and tears; they began to look everywhere for the missing lad. Two sisters of the monk succeeded in learning about the place of his exploits. They came to the Rublev hermitage, having walked for a long time through the dense forest, calling for their ascetic brother and wept; but the Monk Anthony did not appear before them, for it was for the sake of the Lord that he left his house.

Synaxis of the Deliverer Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Deliverer Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - October 17)

The Deliverer Icon of the Mother of God, before being brought to the New Athos Simono-Kananitsk Monastery in the Caucasus, was on Mount Athos with a brother of the Russian Saint Panteleimon Monastery, Schemamonk Martinian (+ 1884). The pious schemamonk had received this icon from the ascetic Theodoulos. 
The holy icon was glorified by miracles for many centuries. After praying before this icon the inhabitants of Sparta, Greece were delivered from a plague of locusts in 1841.

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, You Preserved Your Virginity”

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, You Preserved Your Virginity” (Feast Day - October 17)
The Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, You Preserved Your Virginity” (“A Virgin Before Birth and After Birth”) was transferred to the Nikolaev Peshkov Monastery of the Moscow diocese by the Moscow merchant Alexis Grigorievich Mokeev. Around the year 1780 Alexis joined the brethren of the monastery. He had given all of his wealth to the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Macarius, and the holy icon remained in his cell.
After Alexis’s death, the icon was brought to the archimandrite, who observed that the icon was painted in oil on canvas and not according to the prescribed rules of iconography (using egg tempera on wood), and he installed it over the exit door of the Chapel of Saint Methodius, which was on a street not far from the monastery.

Saint Joseph, Catholicos of Georgia (+ 1770)

St. Joseph the Catholicos of Georgia (Feast Day - October 17)
Saint Joseph (Jandierishvili) received his spiritual education at David-Gareji Monastery. He was endowed by the Lord with the gift of wonderworking. His prayers healed the terminally ill and demon-possessed. For his wisdom and virtue, he was consecrated bishop of Rustavi, and in 1755 enthroned as Catholicos-Patriarch. Saint Joseph remained a monk-ascetic in spite of his hierarchical rank.

In 1764 Holy Catholicos Joseph, like Saint Gregory the Theologian, humbly stepped down from the archpastor’s throne and withdrew to Akhmeta in northeastern Georgia. With his own hands he cultivated a vineyard and distributed his harvest to the poor. The climate in that region was capricious—droughts were frequent, and hail would devastate the fragile crops, laying waste to the farmers’ labors. But while Saint Joseph was laboring there, the region suffered neither drought nor hail.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Hymns and Prayer Upon Entering the Chapel of Saint Longinus at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem


In the year 1855, Patriarch Cyril of Jerusalem composed the Hymnal of Zion, which are a series of prayers and hymns to be chanted and prayed as a procession took place through all the areas of the Holy Sepulchre. The following is to be chanted and said at the fourth stop when entering the chapel dedicated to Longinus the Centurion, who confessed Christ as the Son of God at the Crucifixion.

Entering into the Chapel of Saint Longinus, chant the following Troparia, in Plagal of the 2nd tone, to "More Honorable Than the Cherubim".

Translation of the Sacred Relics of Saint Kallinikos of Edessa

On 15 October 2020, in an atmosphere of joy and devotion, a Festive Hierarchical Divine Liturgy took place at the Cathedral of the Holy Protection in Edessa, to celebrate the translation of the sacred relics of the newly-canonized Saint Kallinikos of Edessa. He had been buried in the Public Cemetery of Edessa, because he wanted to be close to his people that he loved and served in his life, but now that he is canonized his sacred relics were transferred into the Cathedral of the Holy Protection, where he will be venerated by the faithful in an ecclesiastical atmosphere. The exhumation of the sacred relics took place on September 25th.

The festive celebration was officiated by nineteen hierarchs and numerous clergy and monastics, together with a crowd of the faithful despite the pandemic restrictions. Both Metropolitan Joel of Edessa and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, who knew the Saint intimately and have written about him, delivered the homilies. The service was also attended by local authorities and relatives of the newly-canonized saint.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Homily Four on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The God of our Fathers" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The God of our Fathers

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
In the Doxology, which we chant at the end of the Service of Matins, just as the word means, God is glorified for His greatness, His Light and for what He has done for man and his salvation. And the word "glorified" is interpreted as "blessed". But it is one thing when God blesses man and sends His Grace, and another when man blesses God, that is, glorifies God.

Of course, God does not need man's glorification, because He is without lack, but when man glorifies God, then man himself benefits spiritually. The glorification of God is returned as Grace and blessing to man. That is why the Holy Fathers teach that the prayer of doxology to God is more powerful than the prayer of supplication.

In today's homily we will analyze a verse of the Doxology that has great meaning.

Silence Without Awkwardness: The Spiritual Communication Between Elder Anthimos Agiannanites and Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios

By Haralambos Boussias

In the days of the birthday of our Church, that is, of holy Pentecost, in 1990, the Elder decided to make a pilgrimage to the Great Church of Christ and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

He had been invited at that time by the director of the private office of the Patriarch, Metropolitan Bartholomew of Philadelphia, the current Ecumenical Patriarch, and the Dean of the Theological School of Halki, Metropolitan Maximos (Repanellis) of Stavroupolis.

Photograph of Saint Paisios the Athonite's Father, Prodromos Enzepides

Prodromos Enzepides, father of Saint Paisios the Athonite, was probably one of the young soldiers of Varasos in Asia Minor who faced the Turkish Tchetas in battle. Here he is depicted in his authentic soldier costume, showing off his weapons.

Holy Hieromartyr Lucian the Presbyter of the Kiev Caves (+ 1243)

St. Lucian the Presbyter of the Far Caves (Feast Day - October 15)

Venerable Lucian the Presbyter lived in the 13th century. Like many ascetics of the Kiev Caves Lavra during the Mongol-Tatar invasion, very little is known about the Holy Hieromartyr Lucian. During the invasion, some of the Kiev Caves saints were also martyred. On one old gravestone with an icon of the Saint it is written that "Lucian the Hieromartyr suffered under Batu in about 1243"; nothing else is known about him. The date given here is approximate, since Kiev was ravaged by the army of the Mongol Khan Batu in 1240. The relics of the ascetic are indicated on the map of the Far Caves for the first time presumably dating back to 1744: “The Monk Lucian Hieromartyr”. According to the results of anthropological research, he died at the age of 30-35. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Saint Nicholas Sviatosha, Prince of Chernigov, and Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (+ 1143)

St. Nicholas Sviatosha (Feast Day - October 14)

Saint Nicholas Sviatosha was a great-grandson of Great Prince Yaroslav the Wise and son of Prince David Svyatoslavich of Chernigov (+ 1123). Nicholas was the Prince of Lutsk, and he had a wife and children (his daughter was later married to the Novgorod prince Saint Vsevolod-Gabriel).

On February 17, 1106 the holy prince left his family and was tonsured at the Kiev Caves Lavra, in the Near Caves. Nicholas Sviatosha carried out his obediences with great humility. For three years he worked in the kitchen, for which he chopped wood and carried water. For the next three years, he was gatekeeper at the monastery. The Saint had a garden around his cell. Out of his own means he built at the monastery the Temple of the Holy Trinity and the infirmary church in the name of Saint Nicholas, his patron saint.

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Yakhrom

Synaxis of the Yakhrom Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - October 14)

Saint Kosmas of Yakhrom (Feb.18) was the son of a boyar who lived within the limits of Vladimir. Apparently, due to a lack of money, he was given to be raised by a neighbor-landowner, from the Sekerin boyars, and served him by traveling to cities and villages with the boyar seeking healing for his illness. 
The Yakhrom Icon of the Mother of God appeared to the holy youth Kosmas in the year 1482, while he was accompanying his master, the sick landowner. Kosmas had stopped at the bank of the Yakhrom River, not far from Vladimir, and the sick man fell asleep. Kosmas suddenly saw a bright light coming from a nearby tree, and heard a voice, “Attend and understand the words of life. Live a God-pleasing life and seek the joy of the righteous, and then you will delight in eternal blessings.” The light had come from an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A Miraculous Appearance of Saint Savvas the Sanctified



Holy New Martyr Bosiljka Rajicic of Pasjane (+ late 19th cent.)

St. Bosiljka Rajicic (Feast Day - October 13)

By Monk Sophronios (Copan)

In a small, humble village in Kosovo, a great event in the life of the Church took place on Sunday, May 20, 2018. On this day, the first Divine Liturgy glorifying the memory of the newly-canonized St. Bosiljka the Martyr of Pasjane was held, with the local bishop, His Grace Teodosije of Raška-Prizren, along with many priests, monks, nuns, and a multitude of the faithful in attendance. At the most recent Holy Synod meeting in Belgrade, Martyr Bosiljka, who has been venerated by the local faithful for many years, was finally officially canonized. With great joy, the faithful for the first time sang the troparion and kontakion to the saint they had for many decades venerated locally, and her holy presence and protection were strongly felt by all.

Miracles of Saint Theosebios of Arsinoe


By St. Neophytos the Recluse

The deaf man and another who was blind

Some time later, two people were walking along the road, one of whom was deaf and was holding the hand of the other, who was blind. The blind man heard wonderful hymn-singing and joyful, melodic voices and said to the deaf man: "If only you could hear the melodic hymns that I can, brother. And I wish I could see the form of the wonderful singers." The latter said he could just about hear, very faintly, some of the singing. They left the road and made their way to the place where the sound was coming from. As they were walking along, the ears of the deaf man opened completely and he could hear clearly the sublime and wonderful melody. When they got to the Church of Saint Theosebios, they didn’t see any singer, because it was angels who were praising God and, with this miracle, they made manifest the Saint. This is how the deaf man could hear plainly and the blind man was able to see again clearly. Astonished at this strange miracle, they worshiped and praised God and reverenced His servant Saint Theosebios.

Saint Anthony, Metropolitan of Chqondidi (+ 1815), and the Holy Hieromonk Jacob

Sts. Anthony and Jacob of Chqondidi (Feast Day - October 13)

Saint Anthony of Chqondidi was born to the family of Otia Dadiani, the prince of Egrisi (now Samegrelo). Anthony’s mother, Gulkan, was the daughter of the prince Shoshita III of Racha. There were six children in the family: five boys and one girl. Anthony’s sister, Mariam, later married King Solomon the Great of Imereti.
The children received their primary education from their mother, who was raised in the Christian Faith and transmitted the Faith to her children. Her vibrant faith and valorous labors were an example for all who surrounded her. After his father’s death, young Anthony was raised by his older brother Katsia. His family was preparing Anthony for a diplomatic career, and therefore they devoted special attention to his study of philosophy, literature, the fundamentals of poetry and art, and foreign languages (particularly Turkish and Persian).

Monday, October 12, 2020

Translation from Malta to Gatchina of a Portion of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, Together with the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God, and the Right Hand of Saint John the Baptist (1799)

Translation of Sacred Items from Malta to Gatchina (Feast Day - October 12)

The Translation from Malta to Gatchina of a Portion of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, together with the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God (from Mount Philermos on the Greek island of Rhodes), and the right hand of Saint John the Baptist took place in the year 1799.
These holy things were preserved on the island of Malta by the Knights of the Catholic Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, known as the Hospitallers. On June 11, 1798, when the French armies of Napolean landed on the island on their way to Egypt, the Maltese knights turned to Russia for defense and protection. They did this because the Charter of the Order of the Hospitallers forbade them to take up arms against other Christians. On October 12, 1799 they offered these ancient holy things to the emperor Paul I, who at this time was at Gatchina. In the autumn of 1799 the holy items were transferred to Saint Petersburg and placed in the Winter Palace within the church dedicated to the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands. The feast for this event was established in 1800. 

Synaxis of the Rudens Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Rudens Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - October 12)

The miraculous Rudens Icon of the Mother of God was revealed in 1687 in the town of Rudnya in the Mogilev diocese. In 1689, the local priest, Father Vasily, transferred it to the female Kiev Pechersk Monastery. Since 1712, the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos resided in the Kiev Florovsky Monastery in Podil after its merger with the Kiev Pechersk Monastery. In the 1920s, the miraculous icon, placed in a beautiful robe adorned with diamonds, disappeared; it appears to have been stolen from the temple. But now in the Ascension Cathedral you can venerate the copy of the miraculous icon.

There are quite a few revered copies of the miraculous Rudens Icon of the Mother of God. Among them is an icon painted on canvas that was in the Church of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos in the town of Aleshki of the Kharkiv region. Legend says that it was brought to the Kharkov borders around 1612 by a certain priest Peter Andreev, who came from the Podolsk region, fleeing the persecution of the Uniates.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Rediscovery of Saint Athanasios the Demon-Destroyer


This Sunday, 11 October 2020, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Oraiokastro, a municipality in Thessaloniki, the first celebration of a ninth century Saint will take place after many centuries, together with a veneration of his relics, whose memory had entirely been forgotten - Saint Athanasios the Demon-Destroyer and Metropolitan of Trebizond.

The parish priest, Fr. Nicholas Monasterides, has written the following about how this Saint was rediscovered:

Sermon on the Parable of the Sower (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

Sermons on the Gospel of Luke

By St. Cyril of Alexandria

Sermon 41

Luke 8:4-8 - And when a large multitude was gathered together, and some of every city were come to Him, He spake by a parable. "The Sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and was trampled upon, and the birds of heaven devoured it. And other fell upon the rock, and, when it had sprung up, it withered away because it had no moisture. And other fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up with it, and choked it. And other fell upon the good ground, and it grew up, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. While saying these things He cried out, He that hath ears to hear let him hear."

The blessed prophets have spoken to us in manifold ways respecting Christ the Savior of us all. For some proclaimed Him as a Light that was to come: and others as One of royal rank and greatness. For one of them even says, "Blessed is he who hath seed in Zion, and kinsmen in Jerusalem: for lo! her just king shall reign, and princes shall bear rule with judgment. And that man shall be one that hides his words." For the word of the Savior is constantly, so to speak, hidden. So also the blessed Psalmist has brought Him before us saying, "I will open My mouth in parables." See therefore that that which was spoken by Him in old time has come to pass. For a large multitude was assembled round Him of people from all Judaea, and He spake to them in parables. But inasmuch as they were not worthy to learn the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, the word was wrapt for them in darkness: for they had killed the holy prophets, and being guilty of much blood of the righteous, heard themselves thus plainly addressed: "Which of the prophets have not your fathers killed?" And again, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killes the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto her; how often would I have gathered thy children, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you."

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Homily Three on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "Daily Prayer Life" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
Daily Prayer Life

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
The Divine Liturgy is eminently a prayer and offering up to God which is made by the Church, every Sunday, on the memorials of the saints, but also whenever it must be performed. In the monasteries, especially on Mount Athos, it is performed daily.

But beyond the prayers of the Church and the Divine Liturgy, Christians must pray daily. Man is in fact a praying being, he is a being who must pray. After all, he was created by God in His image and according to His likeness, the prototype of his creation is the Son and Word of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and this means that he must be trace back to his prototype and refer to Him. When he does not do this, he shows that he has lost his destination.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Homily Two on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The Incarnation of the Son and Word of God" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The Incarnation of the Son and Word of God

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Last Sunday we analyzed the first verses of the Doxology, which we chant or read every morning in the Service of Matins or in our morning prayers, when we wake up from sleep, that refers to the Triune God, Who has showed us the light, both sensible and spiritual. Today we will look at the next verses, which refer to the incarnation of the Son and Word of God.

It seems from this that every prayer is done in a special way, and in every prayer a whole theology is hidden. At first we referred to the Triune God, who is the foundation of our biological and spiritual life, and then we refer to the incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. The reference to the Triune God is called theology and the reference to the incarnation of the Son and Word of God is called divine economy. Both are great mysteries of our salvation.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Saint Pelagia the Harlot, A Living Embodiment of the Goddess Aphrodite

On October 8th the Orthodox Church commemorates a fourth century woman who is said to have been a very beautiful actress, dancer and the most notorious prostitute in Antioch, so beautiful in fact that no carnal men could take his eyes off of her. She was a haughty woman who enjoyed being the center of attention, splendidly yet scantily adorned, accompanied by a large crowd of admirers, leaving in her wake a fragrance of alluring perfume. Her birth name was Pelagia, but the people of Antioch called her Margarita after the many pearls she adorned herself with by her sinful lifestyle. One day, when she overheard Archbishop Nonnus of Antioch preaching about the Last Judgment, Pelagia was overcome by the weight of her sins, and after being reborn in the waters of baptism and once again assuming her birthname Pelagia, she went on to lead a life of repentance and chastity till her death.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Father Timothy Strelkov: A Russian Priest Who Was Beheaded in 1918, Miraculously Survived for 12 Years, and Was Hacked to Pieces in 1930


A great miracle took place in the life of the priest Father Timothy Strelkov. He was condemned to death by the communists, beheaded, but by the miraculous intervention of God his head was restored. This miracle of modern times has been likened to that which took place in the life of Saint John of Damascus in the eighth century, whose hand was cut off but healed by the Lord and grown back on again.
These events happened in the following manner.
Father Timothy Porfirievich Strelkov lived in the village of Mikhailovka in the Urals, twelve kilometres from the regional center of Duvan. This priest of deep faith was the younger brother of another priest, Father Theodore Strelkov, who left with the armies of Admiral Kolchak to the East, to Harbin, where he died.

Museum Dedicated to the Great Romanian Theologian Fr. Dumitru Staniloae Established in Bucharest


The great Romanian theologian of the 20th century now has a museum in the heart of Bucharest, near kilometre zero. 
The museum dedicated to Father Staniloae was set up by the Old St George Parish and is located on the ground floor of the parish house in the courtyard.
Parish Priest Sorin Tancău explained to Basilica.ro where the idea for the project came from and presented some important aspects regarding the usefulness of the museum.
“The initiative to organize a parish museum started from the fact that the famous theologian lived for a long time in that space with his wife and daughter, Lydia, starting in 1947.”

No Prophet is Accepted in his Own Country


Luke 4:16-30
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 
 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.  And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Homily One on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The Triune God" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The Triune God 

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

This year in the Sunday morning sermons, which will be read in the Sacred Temples, we will try to interpret in simple words the verses of the Doxology, which we chant each time in the Matins service on Sunday and other festive days, but we also read it in the daily Matins and in other sacred services.

The Doxology is a collection of verses from Holy Scripture, the Old and New Testaments, which are chanted together at the end of the Matins service. And if one considers that the Service of Matins is chanted every day around sunrise, then one realizes that the God who raised the light is praised, and at the same time we ask God to bless us and protect us from any evil that will occur during the day. Thus, the Doxology has an inner unity, which we will see in the sermons every Sunday this Summer.

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Fearsome and Beneficial Vision of Kosmas the Monk

The Fearsome and Beneficial Vision 
of Kosmas the Monk
(To Be Read on October 5th) 
I mourn as I see the strange things of hell,
While I rejoice as I see the resting place.
In the thirteenth year of the reign of Romanos Lekapenos, in the year 932, there was a man in Constantinople who was the chamberlain among the servants who stood by the royal bed-chamber of Alexander, who ruled shortly prior to Romanos, and was the son of Basil the Macedonian, the brother of Leo the Wise. This man of God abandoned the world and the things of the world, because he loved the monastic conduct. He was renamed Kosmas through the angelic schema, and later made Abbot of the revered monastery which is near the Sagarios River. After some years had passed, this divine Kosmas fell into a terrible and heavy illness, and he remained in this state for a long time. After five months had passed, the Saint recovered somewhat from his illness, and slightly getting up from his bed, he sat, being held up on both sides by his brothers that aided him. He then immediately went out of himself, and remained in this ecstasy from the third hour of the day until the ninth. His eyes remained open, looking up to the ceiling of his house. His mouth whispered certain words, all of which were inarticulate and incomprehensible. Coming back to himself for a short time, he said to those present: "Give me the two pieces of bread which I received a short time ago from the honorable Elder." Saying this, he placed his hands on his bosom, seeking to find what he asked for. Some of those present, considering that the Elder fell into a divine ecstasy, begged him to reveal to them the big mystery, saying, "Speak to us, O Father." He spoke without refusing them, for the great benefit which we would receive from it. "Do tell us where you were for so many hours? To what vision was your mind raised? With whom did you converse, as you moved your lips?" Seeing them in much lamentation and begging, the Saint said: "Stop, my children, stop. When the Lord wills and I come to myself, then I will surely fulfill your request." In the morning therefore, since the whole brotherhood gathered in the cell of the Saint, the honorable Elder began to narrate his vision, and said the following to them.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Domnina, Bernike and Prosdoke


On this day [4th of October] we commemorate the Holy Martyr Domnina and her daughters Berine and Prosdoke

The three maidens were washed in the current of the river,
Ignoring their lives.
These Saints, inflicted with divine zeal and eros for God, left their homes and relatives and went to the city of Edessa. While residing there, behold there suddenly came Berine's* man and father, who were pagan Greeks, together with other soldiers. The Saints were therefore arrested, and went to Hierapolis, near which a river runs. While the soldiers were eating and getting drunk, the Saints secretly escaped, and praying to God, they entered the river. There they gave themselves over to the waves of the river. In this way the blessed ones met their end through drowning in the water.**

On Malice and the Love of Enemies According to Saint John of Kronstadt

By St. John of Kronstadt
You hate your enemy? You are foolish. Why? Because if your enemy persecutes you, you also inwardly persecute yourself; for say, is it not persecution, and the most cruel persecution, to torture yourself by your hatred towards your enemy? Love your enemy, and you will be wise. O, if only you knew what a triumph, what blessedness it is to love your enemy, and to do good to him! So did the Son of God, so did God in the Holy Trinity, triumph, and still triumphs, through His love, over the ungrateful and evil-natured human race; so also did God's saints triumph over their enemies, by loving them and doing good to them. 
Every person that does any evil, that gratifies any passion, is sufficiently punished by the evil he has committed, by the passions he serves, but chiefly by the fact that he withdraws himself from God, and God withdraws Himself from him: it would therefore be insane and most inhuman to nourish anger against such a man; it would be the same as to drown a sinking man, or push into the fire a person who is already being devoured by the flame. To such a man, as to one in danger of perishing, we must show double love, and pray fervently to God for him; not judging him, not rejoicing at his misfortune. For my sake, says Jesus, but for their sakes, too. ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.’” (Mt. 5:44)

On the Love of Enemies According to Saint Silouan


By Jean-Claude Larchet

ALTHOUGH IT IS natural and usual to love those who love us and to do good to those who do good to us (Mat.t 5:46-47; Luke 6:32-33), to love our enemies is distasteful to our nature. One can say that it isn’t in our power but is an attitude that can only be the fruit of grace, given by the Holy Spirit. This is why St. Silouan the Athonite writes, “The soul that has not known the Holy Spirit does not understand how one can love one’s enemies, and does not accept it.”

The starets repeatedly says that love of enemies is impossible without grace. “Lord, You have given the commandment to love enemies, but this is difficult for us sinners if Your grace is not with us…. Without God’s grace we cannot love our enemies…. He who has not learned to love from the Holy Spirit, will certainly not pray for his enemies.” On the contrary, St. Silouan always taught that this attitude is a gift of the Holy Spirit: “The Lord has commanded us to love our enemies, and the Holy Spirit reveals this love to us…. When you will love your enemies, know that a great divine grace will be living in you.”

Excerpts from the Sermon for the Second Sunday of Luke (St. Cyril of Alexandria)


By St. Cyril of Alexandria
 (Excerpts from Sermon 29 on the Gospel of Luke)
6:31. As ye wish that men should do unto you, even so do ye unto them. 
It was probable however that the holy apostles would perchance think these things difficult to put into practice: He therefore Who knows all things takes the natural law of self-love as the arbiter of what any one would wish to obtain from another. Show yourselfself, He says, to others such as you wish them to be towards you. If you would have them be harsh and unfeeling, fierce and wrathful, revengeful and ill-disposed, show yourself also such, but if on the contrary you would have them be kind and forgiving, do not think it a thing intolerable to be yourself so. And in the case of those so disposed, the law is perchance unnecessary, because God writes upon our hearts the knowledge of His will: "for in those days, saith the Lord, I will surely give My laws into their mind, and will write them on their heart."

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Corpus Areopagiticum (Fr. George Florovsky)

By Fr. George Florovsky

The Nature of the Corpus

The body of works collected under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite is one of the most enigmatic literary efforts of Christian antiquity. There is no reason to doubt its pseudo-epigraphic character, and there is no way one should see as its author "Dionysius the Areopagite" who was converted by the apostle Paul's sermon in Acts 17:34, and who, according to ancient tradition, became the first bishop of Athens (see Eusebius, IV, 23, 4). Testifying against this is not only the total lack of any mention of Dionysius' works before the sixth century, but also the very nature of the text or corpus, which is too far removed from the artless simplicity of the earliest Christian epoch both in terms of language and way of thinking. This was self-evident even before the Areopagiticum's dependence — both ideologically and literary — on the Neo-Platonic teacher Proclus (410-485) had been unquestionably established. Moreover, the unknown author evidently wanted to create the impression of a man of the apostolic epoch — a disciple of St. Paul, a witness to the eclipse which occurred on the day of the Savior's death, a witness to the Holy Virgin's Assumption, and an associate of the holy apostles. The claim to authentic antiquity is perfectly obvious, and the question of a premeditated "forgery" arises.

The Basis of Theology According to St. Dionysius the Areopagite

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
In the teaching of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite we observe six basic points.

The first is the Thearchy, which is the beginning of theosis. 
The second point is that from the participation in the powers of God we have the Theonyms, and the most basic Theonyms are that God is Good and Beautiful. Good means progress, light that comes to us, and Beautiful means that it ignites the desire for Him.

The third point is the participation in the Theonyms, that is, the Hierarchy, which means the beginning of holiness. Participation in the Theonyms, is the sharing of the theonyms and this is the sacred order, the sacred science, the sacred energy. Thus we have the heavenly hierarchy, the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and the hierarchy in the mind of man.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Homily Ten on the Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church: "The Typikon" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


The Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church:
The Typikon

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
On the Analogion, which stands in front of the Chanters, where books are kept that they use for their work, there are various other small books that are useful. Among them is the Psalter, which has all the Psalms of David that are read with the established services and are chanted. There is also the Engolpion of the Reader. This book has the most useful and necessary elements for the Chanter and the Reader, so that they do not lose a lot of time finding them in other books.
But today, in this last sermon, we will mention another very useful book called the Typikon.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Saint Sava of Vishera (+ 1461)

St. Sava of Vishera (Feast Day - October 1)
Venerable Sava of Vishera was the son of the noble, John Borozda, of Kashin. From childhood, he was noted for his piety. He initially lived the ascetic life at the Tver Savvino Wilderness Monastery, where the brethren chose him to be the abbot.
Shunning honors, Saint Sava went to Mount Athos in 1411, where he worked on copying service books. Upon his return from Athos, he selected a solitary place seven versts from Novgorod on the banks of the River Vishera for his ascetic efforts.

Transfer of the Terebovlya Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God from Terebovlya to Lvov (1674)

October 1 commemorates the transfer of the Terebovlya Icon of the Mother of God from the town of Terebovlya to Lvov in 1674.
This icon of the Most Holy Theotokos originally appeared in the principality of Galich during the time of the Terebovlya princes, in the thirteenth, or perhaps as early as the twelfth century. After the decline of the Galich principality in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Roman Catholics tried many times to seize the icon and bring it to their own church.
The Orthodox believers of Galich and Terebovlya always prayed fervently before the Terebovlya icon, asking the Mother of God to protect them whenever Russia was attacked by enemy forces, and its citizens were led into captivity. 

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Kasperov

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Kasperov (Feast Day - October 1)
This holy icon had been brought to Kherson from Transylvania by a Serb at the end of the sixteenth century. Passing down from parent and child, the icon had come to a certain landowner Mrs. Juliana Ionovna Kasperova of Kherson in 1809.By the time it came into her hands, the icon had decayed significantly.
One night in February of 1840 she was praying with tears, seeking consolation in her many sorrows. Looking at the icon of the Virgin, she noticed that the features of the icon, darkened by age, had suddenly become bright and was renewed. Soon the icon was glorified by many miracles, and people regarded it as wonderworking. 

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Barsky

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Barsky (Feast Day - October 1)
The Barsky icon is located at the Convent of the Protection of the Mother of God, located in the city of Bar of the Podolsk diocese (present-day Vinnitsa region of Ukraine). This city experienced all the misfortunes of the rule of Catholic Poland in western Russia. Its final accession to Russia took place in 1793.

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Gerbovets

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Gerbovets (Feast Day - October 1)
The origin of the icon is unknown. Its appearance in the Dormition Monastery at Gerbovets, Moldavia is associated with an event that occurred shortly before Christmas in 1790. Then, Colonel Nikolai Alekseevich Albaduev came from the Moscow region to the monastery to visit his old friend Abbot Pachomius. Here, a tragic incident happened to him: an unbroken horse threw the Colonel, causing a fatal wound. This happened on December 14, and on December 17 the colonel was buried in the monastery church dedicated to Saint Nicholas. After that, relatives came and brought a family heirloom as a gift to the Gerbovets Monastery - an ancient icon of the Mother of God passed down from generation to generation. Since then, she began to be called Gerbovetskaya.

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