Dear Readers: A long time supporter of the Mystagogy Resource Center has informed me that they would like to donate $3000 to help me continue the work of this ministry, but they will only do it as a matching donation, which means that this generous donation will only be made after you help me raise a total of $3000. If you can help make this happen, it will be greatly appreciated and it would be greatly helpful to me, as I have not done a fundraiser this year. If you enjoy the work done here and want to see more of it, please make whatever contribution you can through the DONATE link below. Thank you!
(Total So Far - Day 6: $2350)

May 31, 2020

May 31 - On This Day in 1850 Florence Nightingale Proclaimed From Athens That "The Greek Church is Dead"

On Friday 31 May 1850, Florence Nightingale, who was then thirty years old, wrote to her sister Parthenope Nightingale from Athens, about her travels and experiences in Greece. After expounding with lofty words about the glories of ancient Greece, she finally begins to talk about Greece as it was in her time, and initiates the conversation by proclaiming "the Greek Church is dead." It seemed like she hated everything that has to do with the Greek Orthodox Church, even Greek weddings (!), and much preferred the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. Earlier while in Rome she blamed Greek monks for bringing images of Christ to the West, accusing them for dispelling the reverence of depicting Christ as a symbol as was done in the early Church. The only positive things Florence Nightingale had to say about the Orthodox Church was directed to individual monks and the then dead Archbishop Germanos of Patras because he "thought the best religion was to give his country independence and a constitution." Her denunciation of Orthodoxy held equally for the Russian Church, fueled by the persecution of the nuns of Minsk. Later, during the Crimean War during which she served as a nurse, Russia was the enemy.

Saint Philotheos, Metropolitan of Tobolsk and Enlightener of Siberia (+ 1727)

St. Philotheos of Tobolsk (Feast Day - May 31)

The Most Reverend hierarch, the renowned Metropolitan of Siberia and Tobolsk, was from a noble, but poor family and received a theological degree at the then famous Kiev Theological Academy.

At the end of the course, he was ordained as a priest for one of the rural churches, but he was soon widowed. He was tonsured as a monk with the name Philotheos, and joined the brotherhood of the Kiev Caves Lavra.

In Siberia Christianity began to spread among the native pagans and Mohammedans from the very conquest of this country by the Russian state (in 1581), but conversions of the Siberian non-Russians to faith in Christ were generally insignificant and mostly individual.

Sunday of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Sunday of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Daniel 3.26,27
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
Verse: For you are just in all you have done.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 20:16-18, 28-36


In those days, Paul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. And from Miletos he sent to Ephesos and called to him the elders of the church. And when they came to him, he said to them: "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities, and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, 'it is more blessed to give than to receive.' " And when he had spoken thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

May 30, 2020

Life of Saint Macrina the Elder, Grandmother of Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa

St. Macrina the Elder (Feast Day - May 30)

Saint Macrina the Elder was from Neocaesarea in Pontus and was born in the middle of the third century to a noble family. Her teacher in the doctrines and piety of the Christian faith was Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus, the first Bishop and Enlightener of Neocaesarea, who died between 270 and 275. There Macrina married a man, whose name we do not know, and among her children was Basil the Elder, who later became the father of a holy family, which includes such renowned saints as Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Macrina the Younger.

Sixth 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 20:7-12


In those days, when the apostles were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lights in the upper chamber where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychos was sitting in the window. He sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer; and being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and embracing him said, "Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him." And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the lad away alive, and were not a little comforted.

May 29, 2020

Official Announcement of the Church of Crete on the Manner of Reception of the Divine Eucharist

The Sacred Eparchial Synod of the Church of Crete, on the occasion of the discussion that has arisen, but also due to the online public debate and the various positions and views, in reference to the Mystery of Mysteries, the Divine Eucharist and Divine Communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, with a deep sense of pastoral responsibility, unanimously announces, and in every way, that the All-Holy Mystery of the Divine Eucharist is nonnegotiable, as the ecclesiastical experience testifies that the established method of transmission today, and for a series of centuries, of the All-Holy Body and Honorable Blood of our Christ to the faithful, is not the cause of illness, therefore it is not a matter of discussion or dialogue.

Saint John of Ustiug the Fool for Christ (+ 1494)

St. John of Ustiug (Feast Day - May 29)

Saint John was born in the village of Pukhovo, near Old Ustiug, of pious parents Savva and Maria. From his youth he distinguished himself by a strict life of fasting. On Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing, and on other days he ate only bread and water. His parents moved to the city of Orlets along the River Iug, forty versts from Ustiug. Left widowed, the Saint’s mother took monastic tonsure with the name Natalia at the Orletsk Trinity Monastery. The young John started by keeping silence, and then he embraced the struggle of foolishness for the sake of Christ.

Sixth 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 19:1-8


In those days, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all. And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God.

May 28, 2020

What Saint Andrew the Fool Once Saw When He Went To Church

Andrew's Vision of the Demons at Work During the Divine Service

When the righteous man had given this advice, they stood up and entered the church. The reading began and Epiphanios sat down on one of the benches, while the blessed Andrew sat down on the floor like one of the poor, his body covered by a cheap rag. When those present noticed him sitting on the floor they wondered, "What happened to this demoniac, since he has come in here?" And some said, "Perhaps for a moment he was relieved from the evil spirit that disturbs his mind." Others said, "He happened to pass by and went in to see as if it were an ordinary house, for how could he know that this is a church? May the Lord punish similarly the one who did this to him!"

Homily Five on the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ (St. John Chrysostom)

Homily Five on the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ

Ascribed to St. John Chrysostom 
(Ps. Chrysostom)

The day of the Master’s ascension is upon us. Many have travelled here, and the Father has encouraged even him, who is ill-equipped to preach. Indeed, we were thinking it would be right to cover our ineloquence with a veil of silence, and hide the magnitude of our ignorance. But because you, along with the Father and the powers above, have been urging us to address you who have assembled here in such numbers, and with them, you request that we speak about that which David long ago exclaimed concerning the ascension of the Master—“Lift up your gates, O princes, and be lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in”—Come then, let us also celebrate the things pertaining to this day.

The Ascension of the Lord: Epistle and Gospel Reading

The Ascension of the Lord

Forty Days After Pascha

Matins Gospel Reading

Gospel According to Mark 16:9-20


When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

MRC News and Announcements for May 27, 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 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):

To make a monthly contribution, choose from the options below to set your amount and click on the SUBSCRIBE button (please use a browser other than Mozilla Firefox to change the amount of the monthly donation).

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

John Sanidopoulos
PO Box 320284
West Roxbury, MA 02132

May 27, 2020

Saint John the Russian as a Perpetual Confirmer of the Resurrection of Christ

Metropolitan Chrysostomos before the relics of St. John the Russian

On 27 May 2020, at the Church of Saint John the Russian in Nea Prokopi of Evia, where the incorrupt and wonderworking relics of Saint John the Russian are located, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Chalkida said the following during the Festal Divine Liturgy, tying together the dual feast celebrated today of the Apodosis of Pascha and Saint John the Russian:

Sixth 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 18:22-28


In those days, when Paul had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesos. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully confuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

May 26, 2020

Ten Reasons Why It Is A Bad Idea To Permanently Change the Way Orthodox Christians Receive Holy Communion Due to Covid-19

By John Sanidopoulos

I've been a bit perplexed why so many Orthodox Christians around the world have been quick to jump on the "get rid of the common communion spoons" bandwagon. Not just temporarily, but permanently. Has covid-19 frightened the faithful so much? It seems so. And sometimes our reactions due to an extreme form of fear causes us to forget the consequences of our actions. For this reason, I decided to list ten reasons why I think it would be a bad idea if the common communion spoon will be done away with permanently due to covid-19 or any other virus. I will avoid being theological and just stick to being practical as much as I can.

Sixth 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 17:19-28


In those days, the Athenians took hold of Paul and brought him to the Areopagos, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears; we wish to know therefore what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagos, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being.'

May 25, 2020

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.