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Saints and Feasts of September 25

Friday, September 25, 2020

Pascal's Wager and the Coronavirus

I will begin the ecclesiological sermons that I promised you, my beloved Christians of our Metropolis, but I consider it necessary to write to you a little more about the coronavirus.

1. We were at peace in other respects, but this evil has befallen us, which is reaping humanity. The doctors told us to take measures to protect ourselves from the evil, and the two basic measures are to keep our distance from each another and to wear the protective mask when we leave our homes and are among one another. The means were accepted and blessed by our Church and we received an order to transfer them to you. This I did as your Bishop. In fact, as you will remember from last year, along with these things I told you to pray and show repentance for our sins. Whatever evil that takes place is because of our sins. "Repent, my Christians," I said to you and I say to you. For even if the coronavirus were to be fought, another evil would come upon us, if we do not repent. But you do not care, because you do not associate the various evils with sin. Anyway!…

Homily Eight on the Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church: The "Triodion" and the "Pentecostarion" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church:
The Triodion and the Pentecostarion

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Among the important books that remain in the analogion of the Chanters are two very powerful books called the Triodion and the Pentecostarion, and refer to two homonymous periods of the Church. The Triodion begins on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and ends on Holy Saturday, and the Pentecostarion begins on Easter then goes up till Pentecost and ends on the Sunday of All Saints. It is a period that constitutes the heart of the entire ecclesiastical year.

The Triodion was named after the two separate words "three" and "odes". The poetic form of the canon introduced by Saint John of Damascus in the eighth century consists of nine odes. However, during this period, instead of chanting the nine odes, three odes are chanted, that is, always the eighth and the ninth odes, and every day one of the other odes, which is why this period is named Triodion.

The period of the Triodion is divided into three periods. First is the period of the first three weeks (Sundays of the Publican and Pharisee, the Prodigal Son, and Meatfare), second is the period of forty days until the Friday before Lazarus Saturday, and third is Great Week.

The Triodion is a period of preparation for Easter, so that Christians can truly celebrate the Resurrection of Christ as their own resurrection. As all matters of our life are made with conditions, so it is in the spiritual life, that is, conditions are needed. Athletes are trained to take part in small or great sporting events, and spiritual athletes, who want to defeat the devil, sin and death, must train in order to prepare themselves for Christ.

Therefore, the period of the Triodion was considered the period of the Church in order for the catechumens and those coming to Illumination to be properly prepared, so that they could be baptized on Holy Saturday and become members of the Church. Together with the catechumens the baptized also lived this revival of the Grace of Baptism, thus this period was considered important for all.

The whole structure of the Triodion period was formed through the centuries and was completed around the fifteenth century, and its character is solemn, which is why it was formerly called "the solemn Triodion". The troparia are distinguished for their theology and in fact their neptic and hesychastic theology, which shows the ascetic dimension of the Orthodox Church. The Church collected what was most exquisitely created by the sacred hymnographers, invested it with its wonderful music and this creates a wonderful atmosphere of "joyful-sorrow". The services have been completed with an amazing spiritual, theological, ecclesiastical and ascetical wealth.

The Pentecostarion was so named because it refers to fifty days, from the day of Easter until the day of Pentecost. This period is associated with four major Despotic Feasts, namely the Feast of Pascha; the Feast of Mid-Pentecost, when Christ went to the Temple of Solomon and celebrated the Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles and proclaimed Himself as the Word and Wisdom of God, the Light of the World; the Feast of the Ascension at which Christ ascended with His body into heaven; and the Feast of Pentecost, since on that day the Holy Spirit descended on the Disciples and established them as members of His Body. This Feast of Pentecost is celebrated by our Church for a whole week until the Sunday of All Saints, which shows that the purpose of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God is the sanctification of humanity, their theosis.

If the period of the Triodion is characterized as a "solemn Triodion", the period of the Pentecostarion is characterized as a "joyful" period. When one reads the troparia of that period, one observes that they are adorned by a theological wealth. The canons of the feasts have been made by great hymnographers and theologians, such as John of Damascus and Joseph the Hymnographer, Kosmas the Poet, Andrew of Crete, Germanos, Theophanes, Anatolios, Joseph the Studite, etc., who connected the events of Holy Scripture with the wonderful homilies of the Fathers of the Church, especially of Saint Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great and Saint John Chrysostom.

Both of these books, the Triodion and the Pentecostarion, are two collections made by the greatest hymnographers, who were brought to awareness by the Church, but also by the whole of humanity, who with their amazing references to Scriptural events and excellent knowledge of the Greek language, gave us theological and literary masterpieces. These were invested into by other prominent composers-chanters and became a treasure trove of universal heritage.
The Triodion and the Pentecostarion are centered around Easter. Before this period is a period of preparation and after this period there is a period of spiritual fruitfulness. All the troparia connect theology with history, compunction with joy, Cross with Resurrection, union with Christ and the Holy Spirit.

The Orthodox Church is a continuous theological festival, it is the workshop of holiness and the place of civilization.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Mill and Monastic Cell of Saint Silouan the Athonite

St. Silouan working in the mill 
In his book, St. Silouan the Athonite (1991), Elder Sophrony (Sakharov), the disciple of Saint Silouan, writes of the Saint’s time in the mill of Saint Panteleimon Monastery on the Holy Mountain, where he also devoted himself entirely to prayer (p. 25):

His first “obedience” was to work in the Monastery mill. Those were flourishing days for Russian monasticism on Mount Athos. Saint Panteleimon had expanded until it stood like a small city in the surrounding “desert.” The number of brethren rose to almost two thousand, and from Russia visitors and worshippers came in their hundreds, many of them making a long stay in the Monastery’s large hostelries. All this kept the mill extremely busy. Yet Brother Simeon [St. Silouan’s name before monastic tonsure], who slept so little and ate so sparingly, who ceaselessly devoted himself to ardent prayer, shedding abundant and at times despairing tears, punctually performed the hard work he had been set, each day lifting and transporting a heavy weight of sacks of flour.

Saint Thekla the Martyr Resource Page

St. Thekla (Feast Day - September 24)


He saved you, Thekla, when He rent the rock,
He at whose passion once the rocks were rent.
On the twenty fourth a rock received Thekla.

The Shrine to Saint Thekla in the Venetial Wall of Nicosia

In the Cypriot city of Nicosia, on the south side of the Venetian wall, near the opening of Saint Anthony and next to the Bastion called Pairaktaris (meaning "Bastion Constanta"), there, in earlier years, was a church dedicated to Saint Thekla. It was demolished by the Venetians along with many other temples when they were building the new walls of Nicosia (1567) to counter the Turkish attack. The reverence of the Greek Orthodox Christians of Nicosia to Saint Thekla forced the Venetians to build at the base of the wall, in the place where the Church of Saint Thekla was, a small arch. In the background there is a case with dimensions 0.46 X 0.50 that was used to place the icon. The arch closes with a wooden door that opens only on the day of the celebration of the memory of the Saint (September 23 and 24).

Saint Thekla and the Bubonic Plague of 1630 in the Italian City of Este

The first Cathedral in Milan was originally dedicated to the early Christian martyr Saint Thekla and the beautiful Baroque church of Este, near Venice, is still the most important church in her name to be found in Europe. It was here that in the 1630s citizens prayed to Saint Thekla during a violent outbreak of bubonic plague that killed 50,000 people in Este and the surrounding area. Some years later, in 1758, Este’s priest, Marco Marchetti, commissioned a moving portrait of Saint Thekla from Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, a key exponent of Venetian Baroque painting.

The Birthplace of Saint Silouan the Athonite

Simeon Ivanovich Antonov was born on January 17, 1866 in the village of Sovskin in the Tambov province of Russia. There he lived as one of seven children in a rural family, working from a young age in the fields, and receiving little formal schooling - two winter terms at the village primary school - which is why his spiritual child Saint Sophrony referred to him as being "illiterate" or "semi-literate". Despite this, he was still very smart and quick to grasp ideas and information.
At four years of age the word of a peddler - "Where is this God of yours, then?" - had troubled his previously undoubting faith in God. Though his father insisted the peddler was speaking as a fool, it took fifteen years before again he felt wholeheartedly that God exists and is alive. When he was nineteen and a carpenter, a pilgrim was telling the estate workers about Saint John Sezenov, whose tomb she had venerated. Hearing about the Saint's miracles and wonderworking relics made Simeon reflect: "If he was a holy man, then it means that God is here with us, so there is no point in me going off to search for him." This indicates that Simeon all those years was wondering where he could find God. With his new found reassurance, prayer was ignited in him and he began to feel drawn towards monasticism.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Homily on the Conception and Birth of Saint John the Baptist (Leontios of Constantinople)

Homily 1
On the Conception and Birth of Saint John 
the Prophet and Forerunner

By Leontios, Presbyter of Constantinople

(Delivered in 557 A.D. in either September or December, 
the day after an earthquake.)
1. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people" (Lk. 1:68); for today too "dawn has visited us from on high" (Lk. 1:78). We were sleeping in idleness, and he awakened us with his love of human beings; he made the houses shake, in order that he might make us firm by healing our wounds; he whipped what has no soul, in order to chasten what has a soul; he threw the earth into disorder, in order that those in command might be convinced. He shook, he did not destroy; he visited, he did not reveal. "For the one whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and he whips each son whom he accepts" (Prov. 3:12; Heb. 12:6). It was an earthquake that freed Peter from prison; it was an earthquake that freed Paul from fetters; it was an earthquake that Elijah "was lifted up, as it were into heaven" (4 Kings 2:11); it was an earthquake that anticipated the Master's resurrection. Why an earthquake? Where there is a movement of the divinity, there is also an uproar of the elements. Have mercy on your neighbor, and an earthquake will not harm you. Abstain from evil and God will not become angry. You, too, must say diligently in prayer the words of David: "Lord, in your anger do not rebuke me, in your wrath do not chasten me" (Ps. 6:2). Do not overwhelm me as you did the giants, nor have me burnt like the Sodomites, but pity me as you did the Ninevites.

Holy Ethno-Martyr Gregory the Kalamaras, Metropolitan of Argos (+ 1821)

St. Gregory Kalamaras of Argos (Feast Day - September 23)

Gregory the Kalamaras was born in 1769 in Alagonia, Kalamata. He served as Metropolitan of Erythra and then Patras (1780 - 1799). Then he was elected Metropolitan of Argos and Nafplio (1810 - 1821), since he was the nephew of his predecessor Gregory (1800 - 1810).
In the year 1819 he was initiated into the Friendly Society (Filiki Etaireia) by Daniel Pampoukis, abbot of the Monastery of Vrachos in Nemea. He himself initiated into the Friendly Society the elites of his province such as Ioannis Iatrou and the Papalexopoulos brothers in Nafplio, Ioannis Peroukas, Stamatis Antonopoulos, the Vlassis brothers in Argos, the priest George Velinis in Platanizos, Theodosios Bouskos in Tzaferaga, George Kakanis in Chonika, his archdeacon Athanasios Soliotis, and the priest Papa-Constantis in Achladokambos.

Conception of Saint John the Baptist: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Conception of the Honorable Prophet, 
Forerunner and Baptist John


 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 St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 4:22-27


Brethren, Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married."

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Homily on the Holy Hieromartyr Phocas, Bishop of Sinope (St John Chrysostom)



Homily on Saint Phocas the Gardener of Sinope (Asterius of Amasea)


Previously Submerged Ancient Church Under Turkish Lake Discovered in 2014 Has Now Resurfaced

Submerged church in 2014

In 2014 a basilica in northwest Turkey, hidden underwater for centuries and believed to be dating back to the 4th or 5th century AD, was discovered after aerial photographs of Lake Iznik, where ancient Nicaea was located, were taken, revealing the submerged ruins of the Roman church, only 20 meters from the banks of the lake.
It is estimated that the church was submerged into the lake during an earthquake in the year 740. Several important artifacts have been found since excavations began in 2015 with the aim to exhibit the ruins of the basilica as part of an underwater museum.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Message in a Bottle Destined for a Monastery of the Archangel Micheal on a Greek Island Finds Its Way to Libya


Three young men could not believe their luck when they found a bottle that reached the shores of Libya with two fifty euro bills and a note that they could not read because it was in Greek. 

On Friday 9/11/20, on the shores of the Ras al-Hilal area in eastern Libya, a young Libyan man found a bottle with 100 euros and a handwritten message in Greek that read: "Thank you Panormitis! Always take care of us!"

Book of the Prophet Jonah (Septuagint Translation)


Chapter 1

NOW the word of the Lord came to Jonas the son of Amathi, saying, 2 Rise, and go to Nineve, the great city, and preach in it; for the cry of its wickedness is come up to me. 3 But Jonas rose up to flee to Tharsis from the presence of the Lord. And he went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tharsis: and he paid his fare, and went up into it, to sail with them to Tharsis from the presence of the Lord. 4 And the Lord raised up a wind on the sea; and there was a great storm on the sea, and the ship was in danger of being broken. 5 And the sailors were alarmed, and cried every one to his god, and cast out the wares that were in the ship into the sea, that it might be lightened of them. But Jonas was gone down into the hold of the ship, and was asleep, and snored. 6 And the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, Why snorest thou? arise, and call upon thy God, that God may save us, and we perish not. 7 And each man said to his neighbour, Come, let us cast lots, and find out for whose sake this mischief is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonas. 8 And they said to him, Tell us what is thine occupation, and whence comest thou, and of what country and what people art thou? 9 And he said to them, I am a servant of the Lord; and I worship the Lord God of heaven, who made the sea, and the dry [land]. 10 Then the men feared exceedingly, and said to him, What is this [that] thou hast done? for the men knew that he was fleeing from the face of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 And they said to him, What shall we do to thee, that the sea may be calm to us? for the sea rose, and lifted its wave exceedingly. 12 And Jonas said to them, Take me up, and cast me into the sea, and the sea shall be calm to you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13 And the men tried hard to return to the land, and were not able: for the sea rose and grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 And they cried to the Lord, and said, Forbid it, Lord: let us not perish for the sake of this man’s life, and bring not righteous blood upon us: for thou, Lord, hast done as thou wouldest. 15 So they took Jonas, and cast him out into the sea: and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 And the men feared the Lord very greatly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord, and vowed vows. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Testament of Saint John the Stranger

The Life and Conduct of our Holy Father 

John the Hermit, known as the Xenos


I, John the monk and the hermit, known as xenos, commanded.

1. Being a source of incorruption our God created man at first in incorruption; having seen him, He gave him the possibility and He settled him at the life-giving place. So, due to the deceit and the advice of the evil-minded serpent, the forefather having not observed the command, was condemned to death. And then, O brethren, there is no man who will live and will not face death. Thus, I too, the lowly monk and known as Xenos [Stranger], having been laid down on a bed by sickness and expecting the finality of death, look, how I have arranged and manifestly set out everything regarding me, and what holy God through his oikonomia [dispensation] revealed to me; and this is how matters regarding me stand. I was born of rich parents coming from a village called Siva; and having been conceived by them, I came out of the maternal womb, longing for the solitary life from a young age. Thereafter, from mountain to mountain and in desert places wandering, being maltreated and harassed by the icy cold, I spent considerable time following the command of God and being burnt up by the burning heat of the sun and the frost of the winter. And having dwelt and lived together with the wild beasts and animals, I came as far as the mountain of Lithines, which is called Raxos. And in that place, having remained a considerable number of days and having traversed all over the mountain and having found a dense and trackless forest, I found also at that same place a cave, in which when I entered it, I found two monuments, one on the north side and the other on the south. Having gazed at them, I came out of the cave thinking to myself, what are these? And as I walked for a little, a voice came down to me from above calling me by name and commanding me in these words: "John, John, John, these that you saw here, are two monuments of Eutychios and Eutychianos, and in this place you are destined to raise a sacred and holy temple in their name". And having heard these, I stayed at the place; and having taken a great deal of trouble and given myself with my whole soul, I began to remove from the ground the trees and undergrowth and to clean the aforesaid monuments; and having done these things after many days, I raised a sacred and holy temple of Saints Eutychios and Eutychianos.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

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


The Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church:
The Parakletike

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou 

The Parakletike is a book of our Church that remains at the analogion of the Chanters in the Holy Temples and is very necessary for the Sacred Services. It is called Parakletike, because most of the hymns it contains have a comforting (parakletiko) character, that is, they bring comfort and joy to Christians. There are hymns and, at the same time, prayers.

The oldest and in fact the original name of this book was the Octaechos or Octoechos, which consisted of hymns written by Saint John of Damascus, a leading dogmatic Father of the 8th century A.D. With these hymns he hymned the mystery of the Divine Economy, that is, of the Incarnation of the Son and Word of God, especially the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the Resurrection troparia, doxastika, theotokia, canons.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Monk Onouphrios Agiannanitis (1845 - 18 September 1935)

Skete of Saint Anna on the Holy Mountain

 By Monk Moses the Athonite

He came from the hierarchical province of Metron in Eastern Thrace and was the son of a rich shepherd of many sheep. While grazing the sheep, he did not fail to pray. When he was young he decided on his monastic dedication. He left with only one cape, without money and things with him, for Mount Athos. After many adventures he arrived at the Athonite port of salvation in 1888.

He went to the Monastery of Iveron to venerate the Panagia Portaitissa. Someone approached him, and when Onouphrios informed him that he had come to become a monk, he was told to go to Papa-Menas in Mavrovounio at the Skete of Saint Anna. He went, knocked on the door, Papa-Menas came out and welcomed him with joy, telling him that the Panagia had brought him from the City. The young man admired how the Elder knew about him, without having told him anything. Entering the temple to worship he saw the icon of the Virgin "sweaty". He realized that the Elder was praying to the Panagia and she enlightened the man in the Monastery of Iveron to direct him here. As a novice he did extreme obedience. Papa-Menas (+ 1916) soon tonsured him a monk in 1890 and gave him the name of his Elder Onouphrios of Cyprus, who once for his obedience angels carried him by boat from Daphne to the beach of Saint Anna.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

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

The Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church:
The Horologion

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Last Sunday, in a short Eucharistic sermon, I referred to the liturgical book called the Euchologion. If the Euchologion is a book used by the Clergy of all degrees and helps them in the healing work they do, the Horologion is a book which belongs to the Chanters, Readers, Monks, and all Christians. Thus, while the Euchologion is located in the Holy Altar, the Horologion is located on the analogion of the Chanters. Both of these liturgical books are the most useful books and necessary for the worship of the Church.

The word "horologio" refers to something that tells time, hence the Greek word rologi (
ρολόγι) which means "watch", that tells us the time for both day and night. However, the liturgical book known as the Horologion received its name from the fact that in the beginning it had the Services of the Hours, that is, the services that include psalms, hymns and prayers that are read during the first, third, sixth and ninth hours, according to the Byzantine typikon, that is with the 6th and 9th in the morning, the 12th at noon and the 3rd in the evening. However, this liturgical book, the Horologion, over time included, in addition to the Services of the Hours, other services, which is why it was called the Great Horologion.

Crowds Continue to Flock to a Suburb of Athens to Venerate a "Weeping" Icon of the Virgin Mary

On September 11, 2020 the Metropolis of Kaisariani, Vyronas, and Hymettus issued an official statement on its website about a "weeping" icon of the Most Holy Theotokos which is in the Church of Saint Demetrios in Nea Elvetia of Vyronas, a suburb of Athens:


"With respect towards the actions of our Philanthropic God and Father and the obligation to support our brethren in times when the love for God has grown cold, we inform the pious about the event of the weeping icon of the Theotokos the Parigoritria ('Consolation') kept in the Parish of Saint Demetrios in Nea Elvetia, Vyronas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Passion of Saint Cyprian of Carthage (Prudentius)

The Passion of Cyprian

By Prudentius (348-413)

The Punic land bore Cyprian to give lustre to the whole earth everywhere; that was the home he came from, but he was to be the glory and the teacher of the world. As martyr he belongs to his native country, but by his love and speech he is ours. His blood rests in Africa, but his tongue is potent everywhere; it alone of all his body still survives in life, it alone cannot die, as long as Christ shall suffer the race of men to exist and the world to function. As long as there shall be any book, any collections of sacred writings, every lover of Christ will read thee, Cyprian, and learn thy teachings. The Spirit of God, which formerly flowed into the prophets to inspire them, was sent from heaven and flooded thee with streams of eloquence. What speech is thine! It is purer than snow, and of a new savour! Like an ambrosial liquor which soothes the heart, bathing the palate and penetrating to the seat of the soul, while it sustains the spirit and spreads through the whole frame, it makes us feel God within us entering into our marrows. Show us, O Father, from whence Thou didst give this unexpected blessing to the world.

Iconoclasm and Saint Euphemia According to Theophanes the Chronicler

In the early 9th century historical text known as the Chronicle of Theophanes, under the year 766 A.D., the following is recorded about the iconoclast Emperor Constantine V Copronymos (741-775), who together with his iconoclastic policies also forbade the veneration of relics and prayers to the saints, and this is most notably reflected in his mistreatment of the relics of Saint Euphemia, which miraculously survived an attempt at their destruction and today rest at the Phanar in the Church of Saint George at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople:

He who was ruling the Christians by the ineffable decision of God (just as the mad Ahab had ruled Israel) did far worse to the orthodox bishops, monks, laymen, rulers, and subjects under his control than did the madness of the Arabs. He totally renounced the intercession of the holy Virgin and Mother of God and that of all the saints, on the grounds that it gave no aid and was unscriptural. But all aid for us springs from this intercession.

Holy Great Martyr Euphemia: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Holy Great Martyr Euphemia

September 16

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Psalm 67.35,26
God is wonderful among his saints.
Verse: Bless God in the congregations.

The reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 6:1-10


Brethren, working together with him, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation." Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Synaxarion of the Holy Great Martyr Niketas the Goth

St. Niketas the Goth (Feast Day - September 15)


To Niketas.
Niketas is enflamed and becomes a victory-bearer,
Or we should rather say a fire-bearing victory-bearer.
On the fifteenth, Niketas was cast into the furnace.

To the Holy Martyrs who contested with St. Niketas.
A pious multitude contested in Gothia,
Casting the barbarians out of their minds.

He was an offshoot of the illustrious race of the Goths, who were located beyond the Istros River [modern day Danube], during the reign of Constantine the Great [306-337]. He was taught the pious faith as a child from the Bishop of that place named Makarios. Having been raised piously and nobly, he taught those of his own race to also believe, and to conduct themselves pious and virtuously. He also piously believed and lived virtuously, and became a preacher and teacher of the truth to all. Because the impious Athenarichos, the ruler and head of one section of the Gothic race (they were divided into two sections), was defeated with much shame by Phrikigerni, the ruler of the other section of the Goths, with the help and alliance of the divine Cross and the Roman army, as time passed he revived and strengthened once more, and with great madness the defiled one went against the pious Christians. He punished them with barbaric and unbearable punishments. The villain did not do this alone, but he ordered also those under him to imitate his own madness and savageness against the Christians.

Saint Joseph of Alaverdi, One of the Thirteen Holy Syrian Fathers (+ 570)

St. Joseph of Alaverdi (Feast Day - September 15)

Venerable Joseph of Alaverdi was from Antioch and became a disciple and companion of Saint John of Zedazeni, who in the sixth century arrived in Georgia with twelve Syrian ascetics to spread the Christian faith.

With the blessing of his teacher, Joseph settled in the village of Alaverdi in eastern Georgia, then a small village and former pagan religious center dedicated to the Moon. According to tradition, he carried with him a cross formed from the wood of the original Life-giving Cross of our Savior.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Homily for the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross (Archim. George Kapsanis)

By Archimandrite Fr. George Kapsanis,
Former Abbot of Gregoriou Monastery, Mount Athos

(Homily Delivered in 1986)

It is true that everything in the Church of Christ and in the life of Christians is sealed by the Cross of the Lord. There is nothing that happens in our Holy Church or in the life of the pious that is not sealed with the Honorable Cross of Christ. The Mystery of the Divine Eucharist is completed with the seal of the Honorable Cross. All the blessings of the priests of the Church are sealed with the Cross. The first mystery of salvation, Holy Baptism, is accomplished through the Honorable Cross. And in our daily lives, from the time we wake up to the time we lie down, and from the time we are born to the time we surrender our souls to God, and when others will surrender our perishable bodies to the grave, again the Cross seals them all.

Exaltation of the Honorable and Life-Giving Cross: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Exaltation of the Honorable and Life-Giving Cross

September 14

Matins Gospel Reading

Gospel According to John 12:28-36


The Lord said, "Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out: and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." He said this to show by what death he was to die. The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?" Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Homily for the Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross (Archim. George Kapsanis)

By Archimandrite Fr. George Kapsanis,
Former Abbot of Gregoriou Monastery, Mount Athos

(Homily Delivered in 1981)

In the apostolic reading the apostle Paul says: "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14).

There were some Christians then who boasted about various worldly things. Some for their origin, others for their wealth, etc. And they also believed that they had to observe the customs of the Mosaic Law in order to be saved. They said that it is not enough to be a Christian and believe in Christ, and that there is no salvation without observing the formal provisions of the Mosaic Law, such as circumcision. These were the Judaizer Christians. The apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians against these Judaizer Christians, as we read today.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

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

The Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church:
The Theotokarion

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos is a great feast of the Mother of God which shows the greatness and glory of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. The soul and the body of the Theotokos after her repose ascended to heaven and from there she mediates to her Lord and God.

This year, during the summer written sermons in the Holy Temples, I analyzed various liturgical books that are essential books for every Clergyman, Monastic and Christian, and on the basis of these all the Sacred Services are performed. I considered it good, within this perspective, and in order to sing hymns to the great person of our Panagia, to speak today on this great feast about the book called the Theotokarion.

Monk Joachim the Hesychast and Former Bandit (+ 1889)

Cave of Monk Joachim

By Hieromonk Anthimos Agiannanitis

A famous Kleft and Armatolos during the years of Turkish rule in Crete, a great protector of Christians, and a cause of fear to the Turks.

The following events are characteristic of this man, which show his patriotism, his pure faith, and his guileless character.

Crete was ruled by a terrible pasha who constantly persecuted the Christians and subjected them to horrible tortures. Then John, as was the name of the Kleft and Armatolos, swore to avenge the sufferings of his fellow believers.

Graves and Relics of Metropolitans Uncovered in an Excavation of a Church in Rhodes

Earlier this month, during restoration work of the floor of the Metropolitan Church of the Entry of the Theotokos on the island of Rhodes, a major unexpected discovery took place. First, there was a tomb with a Metropolitan still sitting on his throne, then there was the tomb of Saint Meletios, along with the relics of four other Metropolitans. At the same time, the foundations of the first church that was located there and dates from the 15th century were revealed.

"On the one hand, there is historical information, and on the other hand, from the findings, conclusions can be drawn. The tomb (the first to be found) may date from the 15th century. This is the deceased who was buried sitting, which means that he was a Metropolitan. The same is shown by the tomb that was in front of the throne, which had another throne inside. So it was the tomb of Metropolitans. There we found four buried remains," His Eminence the Metropolitan of Rhodes, Mr. Kyrillos, told the local radio station Palmos and the newspaper Rodiaki.

Regarding the information that mentions the tomb of Saint Meletios as a find, His Eminence clarifies:

"Saint Meletios reposed in front of Metropolitan Synesios (1865-1876), due to the shock he underwent from the slander that he endured. Saint Meletios is buried in the Metropolis, but not inside the church. In the surrounding area of ​​the church, which was a cemetery, Saint Euthymios of Rhodes was buried, who fought along with the prominent people of the island the Ottomans, as a conspirator in an attempt at revolution. There are many important findings. Let the coronavirus pass and we will organize a conference.

The history of our Church is being revealed, we make so much effort and it is unfair for 'some' to try to accuse, saying that I want to close the Metropolis to move the headquarters to Evangelismos, to turn it into a museum, etc. These things are a joke, because no Metropolitan denies his history. Soon the church will be ready to liturgize."

The Problems

According to His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos, "the work began in order to remove the staircase which had risen and created a problem at the Beautiful Gate. Along the way, when we went to repair plaster falling from the roof (not to forget those who protested, that a whole piece fell - and then protested that a person would be killed) it was found that all the plaster was rotten and hollow.

It was decided to remove the shabby parts and to plaster the temple. Subsequently, too many cracks were identified and the Ephorate of Antiquities (EAD) of the Dodecanese argued that a static study must be done. No one took the responsibility, not even me, to proceed with plasters before ensuring the static adequacy of the temple.

Eventually the study was completed and a large number of stones and other elements of the masonry were required to be replaced, plastered and the floor and some other points that do not have satisfactory static adequacy. The temple was falling, for example the bell tower, the parapet in front of the women's quarters was a meteor. In an earthquake - during liturgy - we would have a big problem. This is what the experts say, not the Metropolitan.

After the autopsy was performed a few days ago by the EAD, we are in the selection phase, one of the three samples of plaster, in order to select the most complete one. It is not my business to decide, it is Archaeology, because the temple is a monument.

So you understand that in the process, the emergence of a study, the emergence of evidence for the temple which is of the 15th century, so as not to be 'abused' again, that is, to be done correctly - in the past there have been dozens of interventions, additions and alterations from the original form - this is in fact a year late," emphasizes Metropolitan Kyrillos.

Built on the Foundations of Panagia Tholaritsa

The Entry of the Theotokos is the Metropolitan church of Rhodes that during the period of Ottoman rule, was the core of the district "Marasi of the Metropolis". According to the founding inscription, it was built in 1750 on the site of an older church dedicated to Panagia Tholaritsa. The church was probably demolished in 1481 as part of a conspiracy between Rhodians, Western Europeans living on the island and Grand Master Pierre d’Aubusson to level the temples outside the walls to prevent their use as a bulwark by the Ottomans in an impending new city.

The church acquired its current form gradually. The initially single-aisled cruciform church was extended to the south, north and west and was transformed into a three-aisled church probably in 1842, while during the reign of Metropolitan Germanos (1877-1888) the bell towers were built in the corners of the west side and the narthex with a loft. After the earthquakes of 1956-1957, a general repair was carried out during which the neoclassical decorative elements of the facades were added.

In the ornate wood-carved iconostasis of the church, which is one of the best examples of Ottoman Baroque in the Dodecanese, two construction phases are recognized. The first concerns the part of the central aisle and dates back to 1760 during the reign of Metropolitan Kallinikos from Veria, as it appears from the inscription of the silvering of two despotic icons, of Christ and the Virgin, works of John Anagnostos from Pisidia of Asia Minor. The second phase corresponds to the iconostasis of the side aisles, which according to tradition, is the work of a Thomas the "single-eyed" from Rhodes or the master Drakos Taliadouros from Kos.

The pulpit is of the same era and art, while the despotic throne, quite different with inlaid ivory and pearl mosaics, was crafted, according to an inscription, by Stamatios Diamantis in 1750. Separate wood-carved shrines with mostly silver-plated icons can be found in various places, mainly in the narthex. Silver-plated icons of fine art, some of which are despotic, are also hung on the pillars of the side aisles. The frescoes of the church were made in 1955 by Ioannis Terzis, a student of Photis Kontoglou, and his three-member crew under Metropolitan Spyridon.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Elder Gervasios Paraskevopolous in the Final Process Before Official Canonization

Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos was born in 1877 and was from Gortynia, Greece. His childhood was difficult, particularly because he lost his mother at the age of three. While studying at Rizarios Ecclesiastical School in Athens, he became a spiritual child of Saint Nektarios, who was the director of the school. He was one of the most important religious figures in modern Greek history, especially in the city of Patras, where he served as Abbot of Gerokomeio Monastery and established a successful ministry that helped revive Orthodox life among young and old alike, especially through his catechetical schools. He reposed esteemed by all for his holiness on June 30, 1964. In the consciousness of the people of Patras, he was, is and always will be a Saint of the Church, which is why at his burial the people with one accord proclaimed, "He is a Saint!" The same was done 50 years later at the translation of his relics in 2014.

Saint Euphrosynos the Cook Resource Page

St. Euphrosynos the Cook (Feast Day - September 11)


Having borne the weight of all things unbearable with courage,
Euphrosynos now rejoices in divine delight.

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Euphrosymos the Cook

Saint Euphrosynos the Cook

Saint Euphrosynos the Cook as a Model for our Lives

Saint Euphrosynos the Cook ... Cooking

Something No Orthodox Christian Kitchen Should Be Without

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Euphrosynos the Cook

St. Euphrosynos the Cook (Feast Day - September 11)


Having borne the weight of all things unbearable with courage,
Euphrosynos now rejoices in divine delight.

He was born to parents who were peasants from the country. Having been raised with a common and uneducated upbringing, he later departed for a monastery. When he was dressed in the monastic schema, he became a servant of the monks. Because he always occupied himself with cooking as a countryman, he was despised by all the monks and ridiculed. The blessed one endured all the disdain with a brave heart and mind, and with quiet thoughts, without being entirely troubled. For, although he was a common man according to his words, he was not a common man according to his knowledge. This can be clearly shown by the following narration.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Encomium on the Nativity of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos (St. Nicholas Cabasilas) - 3 of 5

...continued from part two.

6. But the all-immaculate Virgin, without having heaven as her city, without being born of the heavenly bodies, but of the earth - from this fallen race, that forgot its own nature - and according to the same manner as all, she alone, from all people of all times, resisted from the beginning to the end all evil. In this way she attributed to God the undefiled beauty that she gave to our nature and alone used all the weapons and all the power that she put inside us. With her love for God, with the robustness of her thought, the straightforwardness of her will and her majestic wisdom, she drove away all sin and set up a trophy of victory such that it cannot be compared to anything. With all this she revealed man as he was truly created, and she also revealed God, his ineffable wisdom and his infinite philanthropy. So the one she presented then, after circumscribing him with a human body, noticeable in the eyes of everyone, she captured him and portrayed him previously with her works in herself. And it was possible from all created things through her alone "to truly know the Creator". Neither the law proved capable of revealing the divine goodness and wisdom, nor the tongues ​​of the prophets, nor the art of the Creator that reveals the visible creation, nor the sky narrated by the psalmist as the "glory of God", nor even the care and provision of the Angels for the human race, nor, finally, any other of the creations. For only man, who carries within himself the image of God, when he is truly revealed as he is, without having anything wrong with him, could truly reveal God himself. But among the people who have been or will be the one who realized all this and brilliantly preserved human nature unadulterated by everything foreign is the Blessed Virgin. Because none of the others was "clean of dirt", as the prophet says. And this is exactly what is beyond all miracles and surprises not only humans but also Angels and transcends all rhetorical exaggeration: how, while the Virgin was only human and had nothing more than other humans, she was able to escape, her alone, the common disease.

The Skulls of Saints Metrodora, Nymphodora and Menodora

Saints Metrodora, Nymphodora and Menodora were three sisters from Nicomedia who were martyred by beheading and are commemorated by the Church on September 10th. The sacred skull of Saint Metrodora is preserved in Asomaton Monastery in Petraki, that of Saint Nymphodora in the Monastery of Saint Paul in Mount Athos, and that of Saint Menodora in Great Lavra Monastery in Mount Athos (photo not yet available).

The Stasidion of Saint Nektarios

When Saint Nektarios fled to Athens following being falsely accused of immorality in Egypt, where he served as the Metropolitan of Pentapolis, he began to preach and establish a name for himself in the area of Evia for a period of about three years. Then, in 1894, he was appointed dean of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School in Athens. Through his eloquent sermons, his untiring labors to educate fitting men for the priesthood, his generous philanthropy despite his own poverty, and the holiness, meekness, and fatherly love that were manifest in him, he became a shining light and a spiritual guide to many. He served as dean at Rizarios for fourteen years, from 1894 to 1908, before moving on to Aegina where he established a convent and guided some of his female spiritual children till his repose in 1920.

The Skull of the Newly-Canonized Saint Daniel of Katounakia

On September 7, 2020 the Orthodox Church celebrated the first feast of Saint Daniel of Katounakia after his official canonization by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in March. This photograph was taken by Monk Philaretos following his official canonization on March 12th at Katounakia of the Holy Mountain. The writing on the skull says:

Αὕτη ἡ κάρα ἐστί,
Δανιήλ Μοναχοῦ τοῦ ἐκ Σμύρνης τῆς Μι/
κρᾶς Ἀσίας. Ἔθανεν
τῇ 8η/9/1929,
προσδοκῶν Ἀνάστα/
σιν νεκρῶν.

This skull belongs to,
Monk Daniel of Smyrna in As/
ia Minor. He died
on 9/8/1929,
and awaits the Resurr/
ection of the dead.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Encomium on the Nativity of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos (St. Nicholas Cabasilas) - 2 of 5

...continued from part one.

4. So what is holier than the mouths that could raise such a voice to God? What is equal to those prayers, which were prayed so effectively? Of what sacrifices are these souls more beloved to God? Which altars are more sacred? Because there was a need from this root and in this way for the Mother of God to receive her spiritual body: to be born of those people who were more than all others familiar to God and with the power of prayer. In other words, the one who united people with God, dissolving the enmity that existed between them, and opened the way to heaven the prayers of people, breaking down the dividing wall, had to come to life using the appropriate bases and starting points: And if the same happened to others who were born as a fruit of prayer - either before or after - it is obvious that the Virgin is not the cause only to those who came after her, but having opened the treasure of grace for all, she is the one in which they refer to and to which the previous ones lead. Because everything good that existed before, came from there: just as the shadow comes from the body, taking from it its form and shape - because the events of the Old Testament are thus related to the events of the New Testament - or because the Virgin was the common jewel of all before she even came to life, because God with the honors he did for the nation from afar adorned his mother.

The Cave Where Saint Joachim, the Father of the Theotokos, Prayed for Forty Days and Nights

The cave where Saint Joachim, the father of the Theotokos, spent forty days and nights in prayer and fasting, as recorded in the Protoevangelion of James, is located above the Monastery of Chozeba in the Holy Land, which is dedicated to the Theotokos. Weeping here for forty days and nights, with fasting and praying over the infertility of Saint Anna his wife, who was doing the same as her husband within the confines of their home, because they were considered outcasts for being childless, Joachim said: "I shall not descend even for a drink until my Lord and my God visits me." He was visited by an Angel at this time who proclaimed to him the good news of the conception of the Panagia, through whom the salvation of humanity was accomplished. This cave had also previously been visited by the Prophet Elijah, when he fled the wrath of Queen Jezebel, and he went on from here to eventually settle for a time at Mount Sinai.

Saint Roufos, Bishop of Thessaloniki

St. Roufos of Thessaloniki (Feast Day - September 9)

Saint Roufos (Rufus) served as the Bishop of Thessaloniki from around 407 to 434, succeeding Anysios. Papal letters are addressed to him, the content of which is of great importance for the ecclesiastical history of Thessaloniki. With the letter of Pope Innocent (402-417) on June 17, 412, the Vicariate of Thessaloniki is formally established and the duties of the papal vicar, that is, of the respective Bishop of Thessaloniki, are defined.

Two relevant letters of Pope Boniface (418-422), successor of Innocent, are addressed to Roufos, a) in 419 on the occasion of the election of Bishop Perigenos of Corinth, and b) in 422 following information for an impending convening of a synod to reconsider the episcopate of Perigenos.

Saint Agathokles, Bishop of Koroni

Saint Agathokles, Bishop of Koroni, was one of the Holy Fathers who participated in the Third Ecumenical Synod, which took place in Ephesus in the year 431. He is commemorated on September 9th with all the other Holy Fathers of the Third Ecumenical Synod.

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