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Saints and Feasts of May 25

Monday, May 25, 2020

MRC News and Announcements for May 25, 2020 (Please Read)

Dear Readers:

Christ is Risen!

I just wanted to update everyone on some news and announcements regarding the ministry of the Mystagogy Resource Center.

First of all, I have received a few inquiries about donations and subscriptions. Since 2012, I usually do a fundraiser for the work of the Mystagogy Resource Center twice a year - before Christmas and after Easter. This year, because of the worldwide coronavirus crisis and the devastating economic impact it has had, I decided to skip making a request for donations after Easter and will wait till Christmas time, in the hopes of an economic recovery by then.

Second, last year around Christmas time I had announced a new subscription service that was going to give access to five exclusive websites beginning late January. Due to some issues with that, I had to extend that date, and with one issue piling on top of another, everything is finally about ready to launch. In fact, it will be launched June 1st. The process was a lot more difficult than I anticipated, permissions needed to be granted, and on top of everything my life got a lot busier once the coronavirus crisis hit.

The five websites are basically five different books I am working on and translating from Greek to English. The five books are:

1. Salvation of Sinners by the Monk Agapios Landros
2. Know Thyself by St. Nektarios of Aegina
3. The Complete Letters of Fr. John Romanides
4. Mystical Experiences from the Holy Land
5. From the Ascetic and Hesychastic Hagiorite Tradition

I'm very excited to get all these great books out to the public. Excerpts from these five books will be posted once a week until they are completed. And when each is completed, new books will be added which I am also anxious to work on. This is exclusive content, and they will only be available to those who subscribe monthly for $5 or more, or who make a donation of at least $60 a year beginning from last year July 1st 2019. Once you cease your subscription or your annual fee is complete, you will no longer have access to this material. On June 1st all those who are eligible will receive an email from me with instructions on how to access these websites. If I do not have your updated email, please send it to me at mystagogy@aol.com along with your name so I can check to see if you are eligible.

With that being said, I want everyone to know that if you are not a subscriber or annual contributor, a $5.00 monthly subscription or a $60 annual donation is a very small fee to have exclusive access to these five great Orthodox books, and that is not to mention the content that is given out daily for free on the ten websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center. Unfortunately, with the coronavirus crisis, we have lost about twenty subscribers, as well as major sponsors, and it has been a major financial hit, however at the same time I am very grateful to all those who have continued subscribing. Also, I am very grateful that in this difficult time for everybody I have also gained a few new subscribers and have received some donations even without me having to make a request. So if you can right now, sign up for the exclusive content, but if you can't right now, please do so in the future when you are able.

Stay safe everyone, and my condolences to all those who may have experienced loss during this time.

With love in the Risen Lord,

John Sanidopoulos

Click on the DONATE button to make a one-time donation (a Paypal account is not needed to make a one-time donation):

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To send in your donation, please do so to the following address:

John Sanidopoulos
PO Box 320284
West Roxbury, MA 02132

Third Finding of the Honorable Head of Saint John the Baptist: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Third Finding of the Honorable Head of Saint John the Baptist

May 25

Matins Gospel Reading

Gospel According to Luke 7:17-30


At that time, the report concerning Jesus spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. The disciples of John told him of all these things. And John, calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And when the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, 'Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?'" In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."

When the messengers of John had gone, he began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings' courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who shall prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." When they heard this all the people and the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John; but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

Sixth Monday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Psalm 103.4,1
Who makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God you are very great.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 17:1-9


In those days, when the apostles had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ." And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas; as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked fellows of the rabble, they gathered a crowd, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the people. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them; and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard this. And when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday of the Blind Man: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 1.
Psalm 11.7,1
You, O Lord, shall keep us and preserve us.
Verse: Save me, O Lord, for the godly man has failed.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 16:16-34


In those days, as we apostles were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followed Paul and us, crying, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers; and when they had brought them to the magistrates they said, "These men are Jews and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs which it is not lawful for us Romans to accept or practice." The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one's fetters were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family. Then he brought them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Sermon for the Sunday When the Gospel of the Blind is Read (St. Sebastian Dabovich)

By St. Sebastian Dabovich

(Read first the ninth chapter of St. John)

His is the Gospel for today. What lesson have we to learn on this day? We must find the substance in these words, and feed on it, for it is spiritual food. When we have digested this Divine food, it will be assimilated with our natures, and our humanity will become purer, brighter, stronger, yea—and perpetual, so long as it lives with the Word of God, for hath not the Savior Himself said when the devil tempted Him who hungered in the wilderness: That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? So then, have we considered the Gospel while being read? If so, we find that the principal subject of it is the miracle which was worked by our Lord Jesus Christ. Next, we observe the man who was the object of the miracle, and finally we get a perspective of the condition. The circumstances which surrounded this miracle were most unfavorable for the blind man's confirmation in the faith, although he succeeded against such materialistic odds, and likewise for an open manifestation of the glory of the Wonder-worker Himself, yet the greatness of which became the more conspicuous as passion-bound opinions, systems and classes strived to overcome or, in the least, to belittle it. When I stop to meditate, it seems that I am transported to the green hills of Judea, where the common folk of both hill country and populous valley are all astir with lively discussions in the midst of their every-day duties, as in their homes they go about to and fro, and, mind you, it is all about religion and politics; religion first and politics after—insomuch as it is related with the proud nature of a people, who boasted of being the chosen race of God, who expected His messenger, and were to be ruled by none other than the Messiah Himself, unto all ages. It was a day of expectations, indeed. The intellect of the masses had been sharpened to a turning point. The very “times” themselves were full with signs. Everybody was inquiring. The people willingly divided themselves into two sets: those that taught and those that were taught. The nearer that some of them had gotten to the truth, the more danger there was of taking falsehood for the truth, and thereby more danger of two blind men falling into one pit. Passions, although with a semblance of a higher quality, yet human and materialistic, ruled the hour. In such a midst Christ, the only true teacher of men, had come. No one condemned false doctrine so energetically as this teacher had done, and no one had taught with such invincible strength and power as He did. Now the whole company of teachers arose against this One, and, notwithstanding their divisions, they knew how to agree in one and the same decision which suited them all, and that was: That He led the multitude astray (John vii: 12), He speaketh blasphemies (Luke v: 21), He pervertelh our nation (Luke xxiii. 2), and, at the end, for His teaching said they: He is worthy of death (Matt. xxvi. 66). But they could not destroy the work of Him, whom they hated, for the people did see in Him The Great Prophet (Luke vii: 16). Above His calling as a teacher, He had the merits of a miracle worker. What now could His angry enemies do or say against this?

Fifth Saturday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 2.
Psalm 31.11,1
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous.
Verse: Blessed are they whose transgressions have been forgiven.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 15:35-41


In those days, Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Come, let us return and visit the brethren in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are." And Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Laskarina Bouboulina, a Great Greek Heroine

Laskarina Bouboulina, one of the most well-known female Greek revolutionaries in Greece yet almost completely unknown outside of Greece, was born in a prison in Constantinople on 11 May 1771, who became a famous heroine of the Greek War of Independence in 1821 as a naval commander for the Greek army. She was killed on 22 May 1825 as the result of a family feud in Spetses by being shot in the head.

The Blood-Stained Stones of Saint Basiliskos of Comana

Stones with drops of blood of the Holy Martyr Basiliskos of Comana, commemorated on May 22, can be found in the Church of Saint Mitrophan in Voronezh.

Saint Fulk of Santopadre

St. Fulk of Santopadre (Feast Day - May 22)

Saint Fulk was from England and lived in the seventh century. He went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and other holy places with Bernard, Arduin and Gerard. Upon returning from the Holy Land, Saint Fulk and his companions stopped at Mount Gargano to visit the Grotto of the Archangel Michael. Going north to Benevento (present Lazio), Saint Fulk stopped in the town of Amnen (today Santopadre, in the province of Frosinone), where he spent the rest of his life selflessly helping victims of the plague that struck the region. After his death by the same plague he was buried at the hospital where he helped the sick.

Holy Martyr Markellos

St. Markellos the Martyr (Feast Day - May 22)


Markellos drank fiery molten lead,
Not just drank it, but drank it like water.

The Holy Martyr Markellos met his end by drinking molten lead.

Holy Martyr Kodros

St. Kodros the Martyr (Feast Day - May 22)


On a chariot of horses you arrived at the celestial winning post,
With your hands raised and accepting the crown Kodros.

The Holy Martyr Kodros met his end being dragged by horses.

Fifth Friday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Grave Mode.
Psalm 98.9,1
Exalt the Lord our God.
Verse: The Lord reigns; let the people tremble.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 15:5-12


In those days, some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, "it is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses." The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us; and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." And all the assembly kept silence; and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Saint Helen and Greek Folk Customs and Traditions

Saint Helen, due to her philanthropic actions and the enormous work she undertook in the Holy Land to uncover sacred shrines for the benefit of the faithful, is especially beloved among Christians. The Greek people have associated many traditions with her name.

Asia Minor

Along with her son Constantine, they are considered patron saints of pilgrims to the Holy Land. "May you go with the help of St. Constantine, and return with the prayers of St. Helen," was said by Greeks in Asia Minor to those who traveled to the Holy Land.

A Recent Wondrous Appearance of Saint Helen in Cyprus

Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Saranti, Cyprus

By Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou

To understand the magnitude and strength of the Service of a Consecration of a Temple, I will tell you a story from five years ago (around 2011) that took place in a village of our Metropolis, in Saranti. There Saint Helen appeared to a woman who lives in that village, and the church there is dedicated to Saints Constantine and Helen.

This woman was facing a difficult illness and one day Saint Helen appeared to her and said: "I will make you well! But I also have a problem that I need your help with."

"What problem do you have, my Saint Helen?"

A Summary of What Constantine the Great Did for the Christian Faith

In 1770 the French historian Charles Le Beau (1701-1778) wrote in The History of the Lower Empire about the contribution of Constantine the Great:

The Emperor consulted Christianity on the measures he took for its advancement, and he employed no methods but such as it approved.

He distinguished those who professed it, by favours; he took pains to reduce paganism to contempt and oblivion, by shutting up, dishonouring, demolishing the temples, stripping them of their riches, laying open the artifices of the idolatrous Priests, and prohibiting sacrifices, as far as he might without violence, and without endangering the character of father of all his subjects, even of those, who remained in error.

Where he could not abolish superstition, he suppressed the disorders at least, which were the consequence of it.

He made severe laws to restrain those horrible excesses, which nature disclaims.

He preached Jesus Christ himself by his piety, his example, his conferences with the deputies of Infidel nations, and the letters which he wrote to the Barbarians.

Far from paying to the Heathen gods the honour of placing his statue in their temples, as Socrates falsely asserts, he forbad that abuse, according to Eusebius, by an express law.

Bishops he held in great veneration; and established them in many places.

He rendered the exterior form of worship august and magnificent.

He set up in every part the salutary sign of the cross: every gate and every wall of his palaces exhibited that image.

His coins no longer bore inscriptions expressive of superstition: he was represented on them with his face lifted up towards heaven, and his hands extended in the posture of a suppliant.

But he did not abandon himself to a headlong zeal; he chose to refer to time, circumstances, and above all to divine grace, the completion of God's work.

Temples were still remaining at Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Gaza, Apamea, and in several other places, where the destruction of them would have been attended with fatal consequences.

We have a law, which was posted up at Carthage the day before his death, confirming the privileges of the Priests in Africa.

It was reserved to Theodosius to give the final stroke.

Humanity and religion itself are indebted to Constantine for not having given martyrs to idolatry.

Saints Constantine and Helen: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Saints Constantine and Helen, the Equal to the Apostles

May 21

Matins Gospel Reading

Gospel According to John 10:9-16


The Lord said, "I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."

Fifth Thursday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 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 Acts of the Apostles 14:20-28; 15:1-4


In those days, Paul went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to lconion and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed. Then they passed through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia; and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled. And when they arrived, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples. But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brethren. And when they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Synaxarion of our Venerable Fathers Niketas, John and Joseph, Founders of Nea Moni in Chios

On this day (May 20th) we commemorate our three Venerable and God-bearing Fathers Niketas, John and Joseph, the founders of the Sacred and Royal Nea Moni in Chios.


The three Venerables now stand,
Together with the noetic beings before the Holy Trinity.

These Venerable Fathers were from the renowned island of Chios, when Michael the Paphlagonian (1034-1041) and Michael Kalaphates (1041-1042) reigned, and even during the reign of Constantine Monomachos (1042-1055). Having forsaken the world and the pleasures of the world, the blessed ones ascended the mountain on Chios called Provateion, where they found and entered into a cave, and occupied themselves with every form of asceticism according to the monastic conduct, eating only bread and drinking simple water once a week.

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Asklas the Egyptian

St. Asklas the Egyptian (Feast Day - May 20)


The tongue of Asklas the Egyptian brought fire,
Tongues of fire through his divinely inspired preaching.

He was from the Thebaid of Egypt, and was accused before the governor Arrian for his faith in Christ. Having boldly confessed Christ, he was suspended and lacerated on his sides, and then put in prison.

Venerable Mark the Hermit

St. Mark the Hermit (Feast Day - March 5 and May 20)


Mark was given a great garden in Eden,
The garden Christ found at his tomb of old.

Venerable Mark the Hermit reposed in peace.*


It seems most likely this is the same Saint the Church commemorates on March 5th where he is known as Venerable Mark the Anchorite of Athens, an ascetic who was discovered and written about by Abba Serapion. In the Synaxarion of Constantinople, he seems to be slightly confused with Saint Mark the Ascetic, who authored various texts. In more recent times, it seems, Mark of Athens and Mark the Ascetic were distinguished and both were commemorated together on March 5th, while in the Slavic Churches Mark of Athens is commemorated on April 5th. In reality, however, it seems like he was always commemorated, with no biographical information, on May 5th.

Fifth Wednesday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 3.
Luke 1: 46-48
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Verse: For he has regarded the humility of his servant.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 13:13-24


In those days, Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem; but they passed on from Perga and came to Antioch of Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it." So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: "Men of Israel, and you that fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. And for about forty years he bore with them in the wilderness. And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance, for about four hundred and fifty years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king; of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' Of this man's posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. Before his coming John had preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel."

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Holy Hieromartyr Melchizedek, Bishop of Kisamos (+ 1821)

St. Melchizedek of Kisamos (Feast Day - May 19)

Melchizedek Despotakis, originating from Heraklion in Crete, became a monk at a young age and went to the the city of Iasi, Romania for higher education as an apprentice near the teacher Kleoboulos. In January 1818 he was ordained Bishop of the Diocese of Kisamos and Selino, succeeding Ioannikios. Being brave and with a thriving national phronema, he had been introduced into the Revolutionary Organization called “Filiki Eteria” (Friendly Company) by Pangalos Varnavas. He became a leader of the revolution of 1821. He had a brave and fearless character and, as a bishop, he repelled many unjust demands of the Turkish Janissaries.

Saint Sergius of Shukhtom (+ 1609)

St. Sergius of Shuktom (Feast Day - May 19)

Venerable Sergius of Shukhtom was born at Kazan and baptized with the name Stephen. For three years he traveled to the holy places of Palestine, Constantinople and Greece, studying the monastic life. He returned to Novgorod, then he went to the Solovki Monastery. In 1603 he received the monastic schema from Archimandrite Isaiah, who later painted his icon, and he was given the name Sergius.

Saint Cornelius of Paleostrov and Olonets (+ 1420)

St. Cornleius of Paleostrov (Feast Day - May 19)

Venerable Cornelius was born at Pskov, and was tonsured a monk at Valaam Monastery. Then, through Finland, he went to the White Sea and enlightened the Gentiles there, more than once being exposed to mortal danger. For some time, Saint Cornelius wandered through through various monasteries, collecting invaluable experience from humble hermits and ascetics.

Holy Martyr Kyriaki of Nicomedia and Those With Her

St. Kyriaki of Nicomedia (Feast Day - May 19)


Prudently you escaped the eternal fire,
Which brings temporary pleasure Kyriaki.

In the city of Nicomedia during the reign of Emperor Maximian, six holy virgins suffered martyrdom for their faith in Christ. The principal one, named Kyriaki, having freely reproved Maximian for his impiety, was most severely scourged and lacerated, and then consumed with fire.

Fifth Tuesday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 Epistle Reading

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

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 12:25; 13:1-12


In those days, Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, bringing with them John whose other name was Mark. Now in the Church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time." Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Secularization of the Mystery of the Eucharist Due to Covid-19

By Kostas Nousis

The situation has begun to escalate. The focus, unfortunately, is in the way the Holy Eucharist is transmitted.

The images circulating on the internet and in the news have become, mainly from Orthodox bishops and priests, absolutely heartbreaking.

You may be increasingly wondering where Orthodoxy will be a few years from now.

We know very well that the boundaries between fundamentalism and healthy zeal are easily shifting these days because of the unpredictable pandemic, due to our sins.

Father Benedict Petrakis and the Tuberculosis Patient

Archimandrite Benedict Petrakis

By Archimandrite Haralambos Vasilopoulos

In Ioannina, near the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries of Kastro, within the castle of Ali Pasha, there was a small sanatorium for tuberculosis patients who were about to die.

Between 1938 and 1940 after the Divine Liturgy, Father Benedict Petrakis would go to this sanatorium every Wednesday or whenever he was needed and he would give Holy Communion to the sick patients.

Saint Theodore I, Pope of Rome (+ 649)


Man-eating executioners I call wolves,
They ate the flayed flesh of Theodore.

Saint Theodore came from Jerusalem, he was the son of a bishop, and was of Greek ancestry. His date of birth is unknown. He was a cardinal deacon, (possibly around 640) and became a full cardinal under Pope John IV. He was elected to succeed Pope John IV, after his short reign, and was quickly confirmed by the Eastern Roman Exarch of Ravenna, possibly because of his Greek ancestry. He was consecrated on November 24, 642.

Holy Martyr Julian

St. Julian the Martyr (Feast Day - May 18)


In his contest Julian encountered a bush,
Honoring the incarnation of God, the bush being a type of.

The Holy Martyr Julian met his end by being dragged over a thorn bush.

Saint Anastaso in Leukadion

St. Anastaso in Leukadion (Feast Day - May 18)


Anastaso lives even though she is initiated into a common law,
The Resurrection remaining common to the race.

Saint Anastaso in Leukadion reposed in peace. We have no biographical information about Saint Anastaso, though she probably lived or her relics rested in Leukadion, which is also pronounced in other sources as Leukation, Leukatis or Leukaktis, located on the Bithynian coast not far from Akritas, very close to Dakibyza.

Venerable Martinian in Areobindos

St. Martinian in Areobindos (Feast Day - May 18)


Martinian escaped from below,
And now enters the heavenly dimension.

On this day we commemorate our Venerable Father Martinian in Areobindos. We do not have any biographical information about Venerable Martinian, but it is assumed he lived as a monk in or around the Church of the Theotokos in the Areobindos quarter of Constantinople, or perhaps his relics rested there.

Fifth Monday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Psalm 103.4,1
Who makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God you are very great.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 12:12-17


In those days, Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran and told that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, "You are mad." But she insisted that it was so. They said, "It is his angel!" But Peter continued knocking; and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Tell this to James and to the brethren." Then he departed and went to another place.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Homily on the Gospel About the Samaritan Woman (St. Gregory Palamas)

Homily Nineteen

On the Gospel About the Samaritan Woman

And That We Must Despise the Things of the Present

By St. Gregory Palamas

1. Throughout the current season of fifty days we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ from the dead, proving by the length of this feast its superiority over the others. For if these fifty days also include the yearly commemoration of the ascension into heaven, it too shows the distinction between the risen Master and those of His servants who have from time to time been brought back to life. All who were raised from the dead were raised by other people, and when they died again, returned to the earth. But when Christ rose from the dead, death no longer had any power over Him (Rom. 6:9). He alone resurrected Himself on the third day and, instead of returning again to the earth, He ascended into heaven, making our human substance share the same throne as the Father, being equally divine. He alone became the beginning of the coming resurrection of all (Col. 1:18), the first-fruits of them that slept (1 Cor. 15:20), the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18), and the Father of the world to come (Is. 9:6 Lxx). "As in Adam all," sinners and the just, "die, so in Christ shall all," both sinners and the just, "be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power and put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:22-26), at the time of the General Resurrection, "at the last trump" (1 Cor. 15:52). "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:53).

Saint Barbara and the Miraculous Deliverance from a Smallpox Epidemic on the Island of Lefkada in 1922

Every year on the Third Sunday of May in the parish of Panagia of the Stranger (Παναγίας των Ξένων) and specifically in the Chapel of Saint Paraskevi, commemoration is made of the miraculous deliverance of the residents of the island of Lefkada from an epidemic of smallpox in 1922, through the intervention of the Holy and Glorious Great Martyr Barbara, which was established by a royal decree on July 8, 1940. It was during this epidemic that the Monastery of Saint George in Marantochori was turned into a place of quarantine for the sick. In fact, this resulted in the destruction of the precious frescoes of the temple, as they were whitewashed in an attempt to disinfect them. A procession takes place in honor of Saint Barbara on this day throughout the streets of Lefkada beginning from the Chapel of Saint Paraskevi.

Christ Went to Jacob's Well to Teach Us to Honor and Dwell in the Memory of His Saints (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

By St. Cyril of Alexandria

(Commentary on John, Bk. 2, Ch. 4)

Having crossed the borders of Judaea, and being now among aliens, the Savior rests upon Jacob's well, showing us again as in a type and darkly, that even though the preaching of the gospel should depart from Jerusalem, and the Divine Word at length hasten forth to the Gentiles, there shall not be lost therewith to Israel the love to their fathers, but Christ shall cleave to them again, and shall again be refreshed and rest, as in His Saints, preserving to them the pristine unfading grace. For He loves to dwell in the memories of His Saints, that He may make Himself an example to us in this also, and may become the Beginning and Door of the honor given to the fathers. But being wearied with His journey, as it is written, He rested, that in this too He may accuse the impiety of those that drove Him away. For whereas they ought to have gained His friendship by kindly honors, cherishing Him with reverence and fear, as a Benefactor, they maltreat the Lord with toil and labors, that He may be true, saying of them in the book of Psalms, "And they rewarded Me evil for good."

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman and the Internalization of the Truth of Christ (St. Theophan the Recluse)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Samaritan woman's fellow citizens said to her after two days with the Savior in their midst, "Now we believe not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). It happens this way with everyone. At first they are called to the Lord by an external word, or as for many now, simply by birth. But when they taste in practice what it is to live in the Lord, they no longer cleave to the Lord through their external affiliation with Christian society, but through their inner union with Him. It is necessary for all who are born in Christian societies to make this a law for themselves; that is, to not limit themselves to mere external affiliation with the Lord, but to seek to unite with Him inwardly, that they may always bear witness within themselves that they are standing in the truth. Why is this necessary? It is necessary to embody within oneself the truth of Christ. The truth of Christ is a restoration of what is fallen. Thus, put off the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and put on the new man, which is created after God in righteousness and true holiness (cf. Eph. 4:22–24), and you will know within yourself that the Lord Jesus Christ is in truth the Savior — not only for the world, but also for you.

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Psalm 103.24,1
O Lord, how manifold are your works. You have made all things in wisdom.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 11:19-30


In those days, those apostles who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to none except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number that believed turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad; and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a large company was added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians. Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabos stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world; and this took place in the days of Claudius. And the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brethren who lived in Judea, and they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ and the Plague in Constantinople

(Life of Andrew the Fool, 30)

At that time a great plague broke out in this queen of cities, and one could see the blessed man sitting on the ground in the middle of the avenues and streets of the city, as well as in the porticoes, wailing and lamenting loudly, for he was entreating the Lord, who loves mankind, to forgive us our sins and have pity on us and stop the terrible pestilence. When the passers-by saw him thus upset they said, "Look how he wails and laments over his mother who just passed away!" Others said, "Look how the crazy man bewails his sins, as the Holy Writ says, for one can also shed tears under the influence of demons. Ο that there were Christians who had such tears, so that they could drown the abyss of their trespasses!" Still others said, "Who knows? Maybe regaining his reason for a moment he laments over his own fate?" With these remarks they went away.

Holy Martyrs Isaac, Symeon and Bachthisoes of Persia

Sts. Isaac, Symeon and Bachthisoes (Feast Day - May 16)


In the fire expired three who were like-minded,
Isaac, Symeon and Bachthisoes.

The Holy Martyrs Isaac, Symeon and Bachthisoes were from Persia and lived during the reign of King Shapur II (309-379). Fire-worshiping Persians arrested them for being Christians and brought them before King Shapur, who urged them to deny their faith in Christ and offer up a sacrifice to the sun and to fire. They replied: "We will not deny Christ, who is the true God, and the Creator of all that has been made. We turn away from the sun and fire, for they are among the things He has made."

Holy Martyr Papylinos

St. Papyllinos the Martyr (Feast Day - May 16)


Papylinos found destruction by the sword,
Destroying both the gates of delusion and the gods.

The Holy Martyr Papylinos met his end by the sword.

Holy Martyr Peter the Kalyvite at Blachernae

St. Peter Kalyvites (Feast Day - May 16)


Peter's faith was unshaken as a rock,
Being brought to the sinew cords for his words.

Saint Peter the Kalyvite was the first victim of Iconoclasm on May 16, 762 under Emperor Constantine V Copronymos. His martyrdom was recorded by Theophanes (Chronicle 21), where he misnames him as Andrew, confusing him with Andrew the Stylite (whom Theophanes in Chronicle 27 misnamed as Peter) who was also killed by Copronymos. Theophanes writes:

Commemoration of the Consecration of the Church of Saint Euphemia Near the Neorion Harbor

The Neorion Harbor (second inlet from bottom along the left side of Golden Horn), from Byzantium nunc Constantinopolis Braun and Hogenberg, 1572.

According to the Synaxarion of Constantinople, on May 16th we commemorate the Church of Saint Euphemia near the Neorion Harbor of Constantinople at the Church of Hagia Dynamis. It appears this commemorated the consecration of the church. It was one of at least five churches in Constantinople dedicated to Saint Euphemia. We are not specifically told if it was a church, a chapel or a shrine, but it appears to have either been right next to or even inside the Church of Hagia Dynamis, which was dedicated to the Holy Power of God. The Neorion Harbor itself was active since the fourth century under Emperor Constantine the Great, and was in fact the first harbor erected after Constantinople was founded, and lay on the southern shore of the Golden Horn, east of today's Galata Bridge.

Fourth Saturday after Pascha: Epistle and Gospel Reading

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 2.
Psalm 31.11,1
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous.
Verse: Blessed are they whose transgressions have been forgiven.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 12:1-11


About that time, Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword; and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church. The very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, "Wrap your mantle around you and follow me." And he went out and followed him; he did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened to them of its own accord, and they went out and passed on through one street; and immediately the angel left him. And Peter came to himself, and said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."

Friday, May 15, 2020

When Funerals Are Not Beneficial and It Is More Compassionate to the Dead to Not Conduct Them (From the Life of Saint Pachomios the Great)

Life of Saint Pachomios the Great

Chapter Three

And it came to pass once that Abba Pachomios went to another monastery to visit the brethren who were there, and as he was on his journey he met the funeral of a certain brother of the monastery who was dead, and the monks were going to the funeral and were singing as they went; and there were also among them the parents of the man who had died.

Now the brethren saw from a distance the holy man coming towards them, and they set down the bier upon the ground so that he might come and pray over him. And when the blessed man had come, and had said a prayer, he commanded the brethren not to sing any more psalms and hymns over him; and he also commanded them to bring the garments of him that had died, and they brought them, and in the presence of them all he ordered the men to burn them; then, when they had been burned he commanded that the dead body should be taken and buried without any further singing.

Saint Isaiah, Bishop of Rostov and Suzdal (+ 1090)

St. Isaiah of Rostov (Feast Day - May 15)

Saint Isaiah was born near Kiev. He was tonsured a monk at the Kiev Caves Lavra by Saint Theodosius. Feeling an ardent love for the Savior, the young monk lived in strict and severe exploits with fasting and prayer. At the same time, he was gentle, humble, obedient, non-possessive, brotherly loving, and with restraint and patience he killed carnal passions.

Saint Isaiah of the Kiev Caves (+ 1115)

St. Isaiah of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - May 15)

Venerable Isaiah struggled in asceticism at the Kiev Caves Lavra from the late 11th to the early 12th centuries. He pleased the Lord with his life of silence and tireless labor, for which he is called a "lover of labor." The Saint also had a special grace to resist demonic attacks. He reposed in the Lord on May 15, 1115. His relics rest in the Near Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra.

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