By Archimandrite George Kapsanis
In the Apolytikion to the Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon, who we commemorate today, we ask the Saint to intercede to the Lord for the remission of our sins. One would expect that, from such a great physician as Saint Panteleimon, we would ask for the healing of physical illnesses, but the Church asks for the healing of illnesses of the soul, namely the passions, which are often the cause of physical illnesses, and are worse, because physical illnesses can also be good for people, good for their soul, to lead them to repentance, but the illnesses of the soul, the passions, lead to eternal death.
This is why the first concern of Christians, and especially monastics, should be the constant struggle for the purification from the passions and the healing of illnesses of the soul. If a serious and incurable illness appears, we are very worried and seek to find the right doctors, the right drugs, the right hospitals, we even go abroad to get well. But we are not as worried about the illnesses of the soul as we should be. And certainly all of us, including we who are of the monastic order, are not always healthy. We also have illnesses of the soul, which we know about and need to focus on. It is therefore good that with pain of heart we should ask God, before we depart this world, because afterwards it will be too late, for the Grace of God to heal us of the various illnesses of our soul, through the intercessions of the Saints, the Theotokos, and especially the great physician of humanity that we celebrate today, Saint Panteleimon, the martyric athlete and healer. Amen.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.