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February 29, 2020

Saints and Feasts of February 29

On the twenty-ninth the high-minded Cassian died.

(The following Saints are to be commemorated on 
February 28th if it is not a leap year.)

Venerable Cassian the Roman

Saint John Cassian Resource Page

Venerable Germanus of Dobrogea

Saint Germanus of Dobrogea

Venerable Leo the Cappadocian

Saint Leo the Cappadocian

Saint George the Confessor, Bishop of Develtos

Saint George the Confessor, Bishop of Develtos

Saint Oswald of Worcester, Archbishop of York

Saint Oswald of Worcester, Archbishop of York (+ 992)

Saint Meletius, Archbishop of Kharkov and Akhtyr

Saint Meletius, Archbishop of Kharkov and Akhtyr (+ 1840)

Saint George the Confessor, Bishop of Develtos

The memory of Saint George the Confessor is recorded in Lavreotic Codex E 152 pp. 367a. He is remembered as a Bishop of Develtos in Thrace in the period of the heretical Monotheletes in the seventh century, and he endured many trials by the Scythians for his commitment to the Orthodox faith and piety.

He may be confused with another Saint George who was Bishop of Develtos, who was amongst those deported after the city's surrender to Krum in 812 and was tortured to death by Khan Omurtag in 815 with roughly 380 other martyrs who refused to renounce their faith. This Saint George was clubbed to death and is commemorated on January 22nd.

Saint Oswald of Worcester, Archbishop of York (+ 992)

St. Oswald of Worcester (Feast Day - February 29)

Oswald, of Danish parentage, was brought up by his uncle Oda, Archbishop of Canterbury, and was also related to Oskytel, later Archbishop of York. He was also related to the cniht Osulf, who received land while Oswald was bishop of Worcester. Oswald was instructed by a Frankish scholar Frithegod. He held the office of dean of Winchester, but he was sent by his uncle to France and entered the monastery of Fleury about 950, where he was ordained in 959. While at Fleury he met Osgar of Abingdon and Germanus of Winchester. The influence of Fleury was to be evident later in Oswald's life, when it was one of the inspirations for the Regularis Concordia, the English code of monastic conduct agreed to in 970.

Saint Germanus of Dobrogea

St. Germanus of Dobrogea (Feast Day - February 29)

Saint Germanus the Daco-Roman was born in the mid-fourth century, probably on the borders of Cassian and the Caves in the diocese of Tomis (in what is now Romania), and was related to Saint John Cassian. Saint Germanus, who was older than Saint John, was tonsured at one of the local monasteries when he was still a young man. The holy bishop Saint Theotimus I (Apr. 20) may have been his spiritual father.

Saint Leo the Cappadocian

St. Leo the Cappadocian (Feast Day - February 29)

By John Moschos

(The Spiritual Meadow, Ch. 112)

The Life and Death of Leo, a Cappadocian Monk

When that man of faith, Tiberius Caesar, was emperor (Tiberius II Constantine, 578-582), we went up to Oasis, where we met a monk called Leo, a man of Cappadocia highly versed in divine matters. Many people had told us many admirable things about him. And certainly, after we had had some intimate conversation with him and experienced the holiness of this great man, we were wonderfully edified, especially by his humility and silence, the meagreness of his possessions and the charity which he showed towards everyone.

Saint Meletius, Archbishop of Kharkov and Akhtyr (+ 1840)

St. Meletius of Kharkov (Feast Day - February 29)

Saint Meletius, Archbishop of Kharkov and Akhtyr (in the world Michael Ivanovich Leontovich), was born November 6, 1784 in the village of Stara Stanzhara in the Poltava district.

In 1808 Michael Leontovich successfully completed the Ekaterinoslav Seminary. As the best student, he was sent by Archbishop Platon of Ekaterinoslav to Peterburg, to the Saint Alexander Nevsky Spiritual Academy [in Russia, “spiritual academy” is higher level of religious training beyond seminary]. Finishing the spiritual academy in 1814 with the degree of “magister” [“teacher”], he was appointed adjunct-professor of Greek.

On March 11, 1817 Michael Leontovich was appointed to the office of secretary of the Academy Building committee.

February 28, 2020

Holy Venerable Martyr Jonah of Leros (+ 1561)

St. Jonah of Leros (Feast Day - February 28)

Saint Jonah had the island of Leros as his homeland, and at some point in his life became a monk at the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the island of Patmos. From there he and other monks with him left the monastery and went to the island of Leipsoi, which belonged to the monastery in Patmos, around the year 1550. They chose to land in the cove known as Koimisis. Seeking to find a place where people would not bother them, so they could sing hymns and converse with God alone, they chose a deserted and uninhabitable place to settle. Their first concern was to build a church for their hesychasterion, high above the sea in a difficult to reach area, for fear of pirates. There they struggled to form pathways by clearing away rocks, and they struggled with the lack of water and food. The barren land was irrigated more by the sweat of their labors than the water they could find in that desolate area, but the grace of God was sufficient for them. They eventually built a church which they dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos after the icon they brought with them from Patmos, as well as cells for them to live in.

Saint Nicholas of Pskov the Fool for Christ (+ 1576)

St. Nicholas of Pskov (Feast Day - February 28)

Venerable Nicholas of Pskov lived the life of a holy fool for more than three decades. Long before his death he acquired the grace of the Holy Spirit and was granted the gifts of wonderworking and of prophecy. The Pskov people of his time called him Mikula [Mikola, Nikola] the Fool. Even during his lifetime they revered him as a saint, even calling him Mikula the saintly.

In February 1570, after a devastating campaign against Novgorod, Tsar Ivan the Terrible moved against Pskov, suspecting the inhabitants of treason. As the Pskov Chronicler relates, “the Tsar came ... with great fierceness, like a roaring lion, to tear apart innocent people and to shed much blood.”

Holy Six Martyrs of Egypt

Holy Six Martyrs of Egypt (Feast Day - February 28)


It was written of the six Egyptians they died by the sword,
In time they will write their contests and lives.

The Holy Six Martyrs of Egypt met their end by the sword.

Holy Martyr Abrikios

St. Abrikios the Martyr (Feast Day - February 28)


Abrikios is decapitated by the sword as a worshiper of Christ,
Putting the worshipers of the gods to shame.

The Holy Martyr Abrikios (or Abirkios) met his end by the sword.

Saint Barsos, Bishop of Damascus

St. Barsos of Damascus (Feast Day - February 28)


Departing life with a festive flow,
Barsos keeps festival together with angels.

Venerable Barsos (or Bar-Jesus), Bishop of Damascus, met his end in peace.

February 27, 2020

Saint Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of Brooklyn (+ 1915)

St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Feast Day - February 27)

Saint Raphael (Hawaweeny), the first Orthodox bishop consecrated in the New World, was born in Beirut, on or near the Synaxis of the Archangels, November 8, 1860, to pious Orthodox parents, Michael and Mariam Hawaweeny. Due to the violent persecution of the Christians of Damascus in July, 1860, which saw the martyrdom of the Hawaweeny family's parish priest, the New Hieromartyr Joseph of Damascus, and hundreds of their neighbors (all are commemorated on July 11), Michael and his pregnant wife Mariam fled from Damascus to Beirut. It was here that the future saint first saw the light of day. Indeed as the child's life unfolded, it was evident that he would have no continuing city in this world, but would seek the city which is to come (Hebrews 13:14).

Saint Titus the Soldier of the Kiev Caves (+ 14th cent.)

St. Titus the Soldier of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - February 27)

Venerable Titus was a soldier who was known for his bravery. One day, he was seriously wounded with a head injury in battle. An illness caused by his wound forced him to leave the military service, so he entered the Kiev Caves Monastery. There he received healing and was tonsured a monk. 

Saint Titus the Presbyter of the Kiev Caves (+ 1190)

St. Titus the Presbyter of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - February 27)

Kiev Caves Paterikon

Discourse 23: The Priest Titus and the Deacon Evagrius, 
Two Brothers Who Were on Very Bad Terms With Each Other 
(which is part of the epistle of Bishop Simon 
of Vladimir and Suzdal to Polycarp the Monk)

Now I will tell you yet another remarkable miracle, which I myself witnessed. It happened as follows in the same holy Caves Monastery.

There were two spiritual brothers, the deacon Evagrius and the priest Titus. They loved each other deeply and sincerely, so that everybody marveled at their harmony and boundless mutual affection. But the devil, that hater of good who is always roaring like a lion seeking some­one to devour, made enmity between them and instilled such hatred that they would not look at each other. The brethren often begged them to be reconciled, but they would not listen. When Evagrius was standing in the church and Titus came in with the censer, Evagrius would avoid the incense; and if he did not do so, Titus would go past without censing him. They remained for a long time in the darkness of sin, since when Titus was cele­brating Evagrius refused to accept absolution and received communion in anger. It was the enemy that put them up to this.

Venerable Timothy of Caesarea

St. Timothy of Caesarea (Feast Day - February 27)


I honor Timothy as a friend of God,
And I exceeding honor his end.

Venerable Timothy of Caesarea met his end in peace.

Holy Martyr Nesios

St. Nesios the Martyr (Feast Day - February 27)


Nesios bore the suffering of the sinews of an ox,
Straining the sinews he forgets the pain.

The Holy Martyr Nesios met his end by being lashed with the sinews of an ox.

February 26, 2020

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Porphyrios the Bishop of Gaza


Who shall elude? Who shall neglect?
Even Porphyrios who has passed from life?
On the twenty-sixth the corpse of Porphyris was hidden in the earth.

He was from the city of Thessaloniki, the son of parents who were noble and wealthy, during the reign of Emperor Arcadius (395-408). Withdrawing from his homeland, he went to Egypt, where he went to a skete and became a monk. After five years he went to Jerusalem, and enlightened many unbelievers by the words of his teachings. For this reason he was ordained a Presbyter by the Patriarch of Jerusalem Praulius. Later he was ordained Bishop of Gaza by the Archbishop of Caesarea in Palestine John. Having become Bishop, he did many wonderful things, and many unbelievers he converted to the knowledge of God. Seeing that the provincial Christians were unjustly treated by the authorities of Gaza, who were idolaters and heretics, he went to Constantinople to seek help for those who were mistreated. There he met the great John Chrysostom who was at that time Patriarch of Constantinople and told him about the unjust treatment by the authorities of Gaza, for which reason he went to Constantinople. The divine Chrysostom therefore introduced him to the cubicularius of the emperor, whose name was Amantios.

Saint Sebastian of Poshekhonye (+ 1492)

St. Sebastian of Sokhotsk (Feast Day - February 26)

Even as a teenager Saint Sebastian felt a disposition for ascetic life and entered one of the many monasteries then, where he passed various obediences, was tonsured a monk, and was ordained a hierodeacon and hieromonk.

Not content with monastic feats within the walls of the monastery, Father Sebastian retired to the dense Poshekhonye forests along the Sokhoti River (90 versts from the city of Romanov (now Tutaev) in the Yaroslav district) and built a temple there in the name of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Soon the monk’s solitude was disturbed, other monks began to come and settle with him, and a monastic community was formed under his guidance called Sokhotsk Monastery.

Commemoration of the Ordination of Saint John Chrysostom as Archbishop of Constantinople (February 26, 398)

In the Orthodox Church the Commemoration of the Ordination of Saint John Chrysostom as Archbishop of Constantinople is celebrated on December 15th, while on February 26th is the Commemoration of the Ordination of Saint John Chrysostom as Presbyter. However, according to Socrates the historian, cited below, Chrysostom was ordained Archbishop on February 26th. His ordination as Presbyter therefore should be commemorated on December 15th.

Holy Martyr Christodoulos

St. Christodoulos the Martyr (Feast Day - February 26)


You were called to teach, and to them you were a servant,
A sword Christodoulos, brought about your end.

The Holy Martyr Christodoulos met his end by the sword.

February 25, 2020

Saint Theodore the Fool for Christ

St. Theodore the Fool for Christ (Feast Day - February 25)


Like David you willingly deserted your reason,
Escaping not from Anchus, all-blessed one, but from life.

This Theodore is mentioned in the Synaxarion of Constantinople without any biographical information. As an enigmatic figure unknown to scholarship or ecclesiastical tradition, he does appear depicted in a fresco from 1317 in the Serbian Church of Saint George in Staro Nagoričane, where he is shown with other Saints commemorated on February 25th, with an inscription that says Άγιος Θεόδωρος ο διά Xριστόν σαλός (Saint Theodore the Fool for Christ).

Saint Markellos, Bishop of Soli in Cyprus

St. Markellos of Soli (Feast Day - February 25)


Longing fervently Markellos became a drink-offering to God,
Dripping warm blood from his neck.

In the Synaxarion of Constantinople he is called Saint Markellos, Bishop of Apamea in Cyprus, and he is said to have reposed in peace. This leaves us with some confusion that requires clarification.

Holy Martyr Anthony

St. Anthony the Martyr (Feast Day - February 25)


The deluded put Anthony in the fire,
Baked with seasoning and delicious to the Lord.

The Holy Martyr Anthony met his end by being spread out on an altar of fire.

February 24, 2020

Saint Gorgonia as a Model for our Lives

St. Gorgonia (Feast Day - February 23)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Gorgonia was from Cappadocia and lived in the fourth century. She was the fruit of holy parents, Gregory the Bishop of Nazianzus and Nonna, as well as the sister of Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint Caesarius. She was a model wife and mother. From her marriage she bore five children, two boys and three girls, whom she raised "in the education and admonition of the Lord." For reasons only God knows she left this vain world prematurely, at the age of thirty-eight. Her brother Saint Gregory the Theologian in his funeral oration describes her God-pleasing life, which although brief, it was worthy of wonder and worthy of imitation. We will offer below some brief excerpts from this wonderful oration:

The First Location Where the Head of Saint John the Baptist Was Found

About 200 meters west of the traditional location on the Mount of Olives where Jesus ascended into heaven at the Dome of the Ascension, is a chapel which has been in the hands of the Russians since 1907 that marks the spot where the head of Saint John the Baptist was buried and discovered by two Syrian monks in the fourth century. Over this spot is the Chapel of the First and Second Finding of the Head of Saint John the Baptist, which celebrates its feast day on February 24th.

February 23, 2020

Holy New Hieromartyr Lazarus of Tripoli (+ 1605)

St. Lazarus of Tripoli (Feast Day - February 23)


Lazarus was burned in the furnace,
By the mighty crowd on behalf of the Master.
On the twenty-third Lazarus the Martyr burned in the flames.

Saint Lazarus was a priest from Tripoli in Peloponessos. His pious parents, Nicholas and Alexandra, raised him in the admonition and education of the Lord, leading him to the perfect measure of virtue. When he was ordained a priest, he instructed the pious in the precepts of the Gospel, while others he taught to not be unjust to the poor.

"This Is How My Thoughts Perceive Judgment Will Take Place" (St. Paisios the Athonite)

Saint Paisios the Athonite was asked:

- Elder, how will the Last Judgment take place?

- On the Day of Judgment, each person’s state will be revealed in an instant and each one will move on to where he deserves to be. Each person will observe his own wretched state like on a TV screen, as well as the other’s state. He will see himself reflected against the other and will bow his head in shame and thus move on to the place that he deserves.*

Meatfare Sunday: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Meatfare Sunday

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Psalm 146.5;134.3
Great is our Lord, and great is his power.
Verse: Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good.

The reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 8:8-13; 9:1-2


Brethren, food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol's temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother's falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

Holy Martyr Thea

St. Thea the Martyr (Feast Day - February 23)


Thea was jeered at by those in delusion by the gods,
She was slain by the sword by the protectors of delusion.

The Holy Martyr Thea met her end by the sword.

Holy Martyr Clement

St. Clement the Martyr (Feast Day - February 23)


Clement is the twig of the noetic vine,
Slain by decapitation his sweet blood pours forth.

The Holy Martyr Clement met his end by the sword.

February 22, 2020

Saint Theoktista Mikhailovna of Voronezh the Fool for Christ (+ 1940)

St. Theoktista of Voronezh (Feast Day - February 22)

The blessed woman Theoktista Mikhailovna Shulgina was a lamp of faith and the bearer of a heavy cross in Voronezh during the difficult years of communist atheism. Saint Theoktista, like Saint Xenia of Petersburg, took upon herself the feat of foolishness for Christ after the untimely death of her husband. As a naval officer, he was killed during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. When this took place, Theoktista considered the transience of this temporary life, and despite her good education and noble lineage, she decided to take up the labor of being a fool for Christ.

Saint Blaise, Pope of Rome?

St. Blaise of Rome (Feast Day - February 22)


Archpriest Blaise was seen to be great,
Having appeared on the throne in this world.

Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite has Saint Blaise as a Pope of Rome for commemoration on February 22, but there was never a Pope of Rome named Blaise, therefore his identity is unknown to us. Whether there is an error in his name, in his office or in his location is unknown. We are told he reposed in peace.

On the Commemoration of the Dead in the Divine Liturgy (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)

By St. Cyril of Jerusalem

(Catechetical Lectures 23)

Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual Hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ ; for whatsoever the Holy Spirit has touched, is surely sanctified and changed.

On the Commemoration of the Departed (St. Epiphanios of Salamis)

Aerius of Pontus in the fourth century rejected praying for the dead since he believed it promoted moral laxity in this life: "If the prayer of the people here has benefited the people there, no one would practice piety or perform good works." His objection was refuted by Epiphanios of Salamis.

On Praying for the Dead (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Aerius of Pontus in the fourth century rejected praying for the dead since he believed it promoted moral laxity in this life: "If the prayer of the people here has benefited the people there, no one would practice piety or perform good works." His objection was refuted by Augustine of Hippo.

By St. Augustine of Hippo

The prayer either of the Church herself or of pious individuals is heard on behalf of certain of the dead; but it is heard for those who, having been regenerated in Christ, did not for the rest of their life in the body do such wickedness that they might be judged unworthy of such mercy, nor who yet lived so well that it might be supposed they have no need of such mercy. (The City of God Bk. 21.24)

On the Benefits of Memorials for the Dead (St. John Chrysostom)

By St. John Chrysostom

(Excerpt from Homily 3 on Philippians)

Not in vain did the Apostles order that remembrance should be made of the dead in the dreadful Mysteries. They know that great gain results to them, great benefit; for when all the people stand with uplifted hands, a priestly assembly, and that awesome Sacrifice lies displayed, how shall we not prevail with God by our entreaties for them? And this we do for those who have departed in faith, while the catechumens are not thought worthy even of this consolation, but are deprived of all means of help save one. And what is this? We may give to the poor on their behalf. This deed in a certain way refreshes them. 

February 21, 2020

The Origins of the Cherubic Hymn

With the emergence of the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite in the early sixth century, such as On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy and On the Celestial Hierarchy, the Divine Liturgy was seen more and more as a participation in the eternal liturgy of heaven. The connection to the angelic liturgy, already present in the first century Book of Hebrews and articulated in the fourth century by John Chrysostom, found emphasis in the script for the Divine Liturgy in the years after the death of Emperor Justinian.

Saint Zacharias, Patriarch of Jerusalem (+ 632)

St. Zacharias of Jerusalem (Feast Day - February 21)


Blessed are you and your death Zacharias,
Zacharias the president of blessed land.

Saint Zacharias had been keeper of the sacred vessels (skevophylax) of the Church of Constantinople before he became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 609. In the year 614 on the 20th of May the Persian emperor Chosroes fell upon Jerusalem, looted it, stole the True Cross of the Lord, and led many Christians into captivity, including Saint Zacharias. Of the captured Christians as many as 90,000 perished.

Saint Makarios of Glinsk Hermitage (+ 1864)

St. Makarios of Glinsk Hermitage (Feast Day - February 21)

The holy Elder Hieromonk Makarios (Matthew Terent'evich Sharov in the world) was born in 1802, and came from a wealthy bourgeois family in the city of Ephraimov in Tula Province. His mother was particularly devout, always walking with a prayer rope in her hands, and she raised her children in the fear of God. Following the example of his parents, Matthew Terent'evich was also devout, humble, and led a restrained life: he did not eat quickly, he read spiritual books, avoided worldly fuss, diligently visited the temple of God and often prayed to God at home. In 1822, when he was twenty years old, he finally decided to forsake the world and enter the Glinsk Hermitage under the guidance of the ever-memorable Igoumen Philaretos (Danielevskii), a man known for the sanctity of his life.

February 20, 2020

An Update on Vasiliki Plexida, Who Miraculously Survived a Helicopter Crash in 2017

I have received a few requests for an update on Sergeant Vasiliki Plexida, who miraculously survived a helicopter crash in 2017, so I thought I would make the update public.

First, on the two year anniversary she returned to the scene of the crash with others to set up a memorial for both her miraculous deliverance and for the memory of her fellow fallen soldiers. She made the following post on Facebook on April 18, 2019 (translation mine) and posted pictures which are below:

Saint Eucherius, Bishop of Orleans (+ 743)

St. Eucherius of Orleans (Feast Day - February 20)

Saint Eucherius's sanctity was formed by his parents. His mother was a lady of great virtue. While she was carrying her son, she begged God daily for divine grace and offered the unborn Eucherius to the Heavenly Father. At his birth, his parents dedicated him to God. When he was seven, his studies were planned to form both mind and soul. After being well-educated, especially in theology, Eucherius entered the Benedictine abbey of Jumièges on the Seine in the diocese of Rouen around 714.

He spent six or seven years here practicing penitential austerities and obedience, until the senate, people, and clergy of Orléans appointed persons to Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, to beg his permission to elect Eucherius to the see vacated by the death of Eucherius's uncle, Bishop Suavaric. Charles Martel agreed and sent one of his principal officers to conduct Eucherius from his monastery to Orléans. Eucherius was horrified at the notion of being consecrated bishop and sought the protection of his brother monks. But they preferred the public good to their private inclinations, and resigned him up for that important charge. Eucherius was received and consecrated at Orléans with universal applause in 721.

Saint Eleutherius, Bishop of Tournai (+ 531)

St. Eleutherius of Tournai (Feast Day - February 20)

Saint Eleutherius was born in Tournai to Christian parents, whose family had been converted to the Christian faith by Saint Piatus a few centuries prior. Most Christian families after the martyrdom of Saint Piatus reverted to paganism. He grew up with Saint Medardus (June 8), who prophesied to him that he would one day become Bishop of Tournai, where the Kings of the Franks resided. Eleutherius was consecrated Bishop of Tournai by Saint Remigius in 486.

The first years of his episcopate were particularly difficult. In 476 Rome had fallen and the barbarian invasions of the Visigoths, Alemanni and Franks had already begun. The latter still pagans, they had established their own capital in Tournai, so Eleutherius was forced to take refuge, moving the episcopal see to the nearby and safer village of Blandain.

Saint Bolcan, Bishop of Derkan (+ 480)

St. Bolcan of Derkan (Feast Day - February 20);
photo shows Cranfield Church in Armoy

Saint Bolcan (also known as Olcan) was found, when an infant, beside his dead mother, by Darius, a chief of Carsedna. It is said he lay by his dead mother for seven days, and was found on the hill at Drumbolcan, Rasharkin around 443. He was baptized at Dunseverick by Saint Patrick, and sent by him to study in Gaul. Patrick later consecrated him in 474 as Bishop of Derkan (known also as Armoy, Conderkan, Airthir-muge, Rath-mugia) in the northern Ireland province of Ulster. He was the first Bishop of Ireland. Bolcan's school there was one of the best equipped in the island. He reposed after 480. Bolcan was reputedly buried at Cranfield Church in earth brought from Rome. This church has a well known as Olcan's Well which is said to be blessed by the Saint with healing properties.

Saint Agathon the Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves

St. Agathon the Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - February 20)

Venerable Agathon of the Kiev Caves Lavra was a great ascetic of the 13th or 14th century, who healed the sick by a laying his hands upon them. He also possessed the gift of prophecy and foretold the time of his own death.

Venerable Plotinus

Venerable Plotinus (Feast Day - February 20)


Plotinus was conveyed, carried to the Lord,
Angels conveyed Plotinus to His presence.

On this day we commemorate our Venerable Father Plotinus.

Saint Kindeos, Bishop of Pisidia

St. Kindeos of Pisidia (Feast Day - February 20)


From the earth you were taken and you turned towards her,
At the command of the creator of the earth Kindeos.

On this day we commemorate our Venerable Father Kindeos the Bishop of Pisidia.

February 19, 2020

The Place Where Saint Philothei Was Martyred

On the night of October 2nd into October 3rd of 1588, during an all-night vigil in honor of the patron saint of Athens, Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, in the Metochion of the Holy Apostle Andrew in Patisia, five Turks on their horses entered the church, vandalizing the sacred place. The nuns in a panic ran away to hide. The Turks let them run away, they didn't care. All they wanted was Philothei Benizelou. Her crime: she offered asylum to Christian women fleeing their Turkish masters to preserve their faith and chastity. Philothei courageously stood up, and the Turks grabbed her with force and knocked her down to the floor. They kicked her, beat her with clubs and after binding her to a column they whipped her without mercy. Thinking that they killed her, they then fled. The nuns came to her aid. She was then taken to the Metochion of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Perissos, where a few months later, on 19 February 1589, she died from her injuries. Today the church where she was martyred still stands along with the column she was bound to and beaten.

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Raboulas

St. Raboulas of Samosata (Feast Day - February 19)


Raboulas' flame made the designs of the demons unsuccessful,
By the design of God he departed thither.

Our Holy Father Raboulas lived during the reign of Emperor Zeno (476-491), and was born in the city known as Samosata. which is now commonly known as Samsat, and can be found in Syria, which is honored with an episcopal throne under the Metropolitan of Edessa. Having been educated by a very glorious man named Barypsabas, he learned the Syrian language. Because he conducted himself in every virtue while still a youth in age, he became a monk. Therefore he went to dwell alone in the mountains and caves, far away from people, just as the great Elijah and John the Baptist lived alone. After a few years he went to Phoenicia together with others. Because his virtues shined even more there, he became apparent to all even against his will.

Saint Theodore of Sanaxar (+ 1791)

St. Theodore of Sanaxar (Feast Day - February 19)

Venerable Theodore was born near the town of Romanov in the province of Yaroslavl in 1719, the son of Prince Ignatius Ushakov and his wife Paraskeva (or Irene). At his Baptism, he was named John.

As a young man, John Ushakov enlisted in the Preobrazhensky Guard Regiment in Petersburg, and attained the rank of sergeant. Life in the capital was fraught with great spiritual danger for a young person, but God delivered John from the wrong path.

February 18, 2020

Is the Holy Light of Jerusalem a Scam? Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol Responds

Below is translated the response of Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol to certain recent reports that the Holy Light of Jerusalem is a scam and the Patriarch uses a lighter or other light source to light the candles on Holy Saturday. The original video interview from April 2019 is below.

I went to the Holy Land and experienced Holy Week there. I was next to the Patriarch during the ceremony of the Holy Light. Outside of the Tomb, of course. What I can tell you is the following: as to how the Patriarch lights the candles inside the All-Holy Tomb, I did not see. I wasn't inside nor is anyone else inside. Not even the Guardian of the Sepulchre is there. Only the Patriarch knows. Whether he lights it with a lighter or anything else, he knows. We have historical testimonies over many centuries that say the candles of the Patriarch are lit on their own.