October 29, 2020

Miracles of Saint Anastasia the Roman at Gregoriou Monastery of Mount Athos


1. Extinguishing of a Fire in 1890

In 1890 a fire broke out in the forest of our Holy Monastery between the areas of Alonaki and Agios Theologos. The fathers, when they saw the fire, took pickaxes, saws, axes and other related items for extinguishing. They took with them also a mule, on which they hung a sack with the relics of Saint Anastasia the Roman, and hurried quickly to the burning forest.

When they got close enough to the fire, an opposite wind blew the flames in the opposite direction to the side where the fathers were. The brothers are scared lest they be surrounded by flames, so they began to move away, leaving the mule alone. The mule had already been besieged by the flames, while the fathers mourned the loss of the relics.

October 28, 2020

The Austrian Who Saved a Greek City from the Nazi's and Became an Orthodox Christian Iconographer

Josef H. Blechinger was a German soldier who turned out to be one of the greatest heroes of the Greek resistance, who literally saved a town from destruction.

Blechinger came to Greece as a conqueror with the German army. A few years later, after the war, he became Greek, changed his name to Elias Kokkinos, started a family and died in Greece.

Elias Kokkinos was born as Josef H. Blechinger in Dresden. His mother was Czechoslovakian and his father Austrian, but officially he was a German citizen. When World War II broke out, he had to enlist in the German army. First he served in occupied Poland. Then he was transferred to Greece.

The First Greek Priest Killed in the War of 1940


By Fr. Elias Makos

Within the worries and various cares of everyday life, national holidays, such as that of October 28, are stations of contemplation and example.

The epic of 1940, stimulates our historical memory, as well as our patriotic conscience, but also reminds us of the role and sacrifice of the ministers of the Orthodox Church in the national struggles.

In a grassy tomb, in the courtyard of the Church of the Panagia in Delvinaki, there is a simple inscription: "ARCHIMANDRITE CHRYSOSTOMOS TSOKONAS - FELL ON BEHALF OF HOMELAND - 11/25/1940."

The Vision of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God at Blachernae to Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ


The following account is a translation from the the Life of Saint Andrew the Fool which describes his vision of the Mother of God at the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople, for which the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God (October 1 or 28) is based on.
When a night-long doxology was held in the Holy Soros at Blachernae blessed Andrew was in attendance, behaving in his usual way. Epiphanios was also present,  and with him one of his servants. Blessed Andrew was wont to stand there as long as his zeal gave him strength, sometimes until midnight, sometimes until morning. When it was already the fourth hour of the night he saw the Most Holy Theotokos appear in full sight, very tall, from the Royal Doors, escorted by an awe-inspiring retinue in which there were, among others, the Honorable Forerunner and the Son of Thunder, holding her by the hand on both sides, and many other holy men in white robes accompanied her, some going before her, others following her, singing hymns and spiritual songs.

October 27, 2020

Saint Nestor as a Model for our Lives


 By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The martyr Nestor lived in the third century during the reigns of Diocletian and Maximian. He came from Thessaloniki and was connected with a genuine spiritual friendship with the great martyr Demetrios the Myrrhgusher. He was martyred at a young age, about eighteen years old. In that difficult period of persecution, the Church was to show forth an innumerable number of martyrs, and among them Nestor holds a prominent position.

At that time there was a giant barbarian named Lyaios, who was considered a common murderer, having killed many innocent people. However, Emperor Maximian rejoiced in him, bragged about him and boasted of his bravery and victories. For this reason, the arrogance of Lyaios had no limits, and he turned against everything, especially against the members of the Church. He said that Christians are weak, just like the God they worship, and that none of them dares to stand before him. Nestor, who loved Christ very much, wanted to battle with him, the arrogant one, and humiliate him with the power of Christ and the blessing of Saint Demetrios. So he went to the prison where Saint Demetrios was being held and confessed his thoughts to him. Saint Demetrios encouraged him and told him that he would defeat Lyaios and shed his blood for Christ. Then he entered the stadium without fear, shouted "God of Demetrios, help me!" and defeated Lyaios. Maximian, full of anger, ordered him to be killed, and the enraged crowd of idolaters shouted "death to the victor" instead of "crown to the victor", as was usually the case. Nestor, however, received the unfading crown of victory from the prize-giver Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

His life and conduct gives us the opportunity to highlight the following:

The Chapel of Saint Nestor, Patron Saint of Athletes, Next to the Kaftanzoglio Stadium in Thessaloniki


Next to the Kaftanzoglio stadium and specifically in front of the auxiliary stadium, on Agiou Dimitriou Street, there is a Chapel of the Holy Martyr Nestor. In the area where the Kaftanzoglio stadium of Thessaloniki is now built, there used to be the refugee cemeteries and in the place of the chapel that now honors the memory of Saint Nestor it was once dedicated to Saint Photini, whose holy water flowed at that point. 

Five Miracles of Saint Demetrius the New of Basarabov


The miracles of Saint Demetrios are mainly related to the treatment of the sick and the immediate help to various needs of the faithful. Most were forgotten because no one was interested in writing them. From these few below we realize the great miraculous gift of the Saint.

1) Two sisters from a village of Constanta, after building a new church in honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos, came to venerate the Saint and take a piece of his relic for their own church. They venerated the Saint and at the same time secretly cut a piece of his relic and ran to their carriage. The oxen, however, did not move from their place. Then they realized their sin. They returned the stolen item and then the animals took off and they returned to their home in peace.

Synaxis of the Panagia Kyparissiotissa in Megara

Synaxis of the Panagia Kyparissiotissa (Feast Day - October 27)

By Spyro Symeon

In every monastery when it is built it is customary in the inner courtyard of the monastery near the katholikon to place the so-called founding cypress symbol of eternity and longevity, but also a memorial of the founder of the monastery.

The same happened in the Monastery of Saint Hierotheos in Derveni of Megara. Next to the katholikon of the monastery near the tomb of Saint Hierotheos there was a huge cypress tree, the so-called "ktitoriko".

There, in the 15th century, the then twenty inhabitant monks approached with an icon of the Panagia with the last hope of being saved when pirates had surrounded the monastery and began to climb its walls.

October 25, 2020

The Possessed Man as the Fragmentation of the Human Person


By Protopresbyter Nikolaos Patsalos

On the 6th Sunday of Luke, the great Redeemer of the human race, while He was in the land of the Gadarenes, opposite Galilee, relieves, redeems and liberates a man from a terrible threat. The ‘sick’ servant in today’s Gospel is suffering from a spiritual illness. He’s possessed, that is profoundly under the influence of the unclean spirit of the cunning devil. Indeed, according to the reading, he was so enslaved to the demons that he no longer dwelt in a house, but lived among the graves. It would appear that the tormented man, being spiritually dead, found no comfort except among the dead.

The possessed man is a terrible case which everyone finds appalling. This was not a psychiatric illness but rather a dreadful, hellish experience. But he’s redeemed from this maelstrom as soon as he looks at Christ. The power of the devil diminishes, is extinguished, and becomes powerless in the face of Christ the Liberator. Demons can’t tolerate the presence of their superior, the God of all, and they wither away like weeds.

Sermon on the Healing of the Gadarene Demoniac (St. Cyril of Alexandria)


Sermons on the Gospel of Luke

By St. Cyril of Alexandria

Sermon 44

Luke 8:26-36. And they went to the country of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee. And when He went out on land, there met Him a certain man who had devils, and for a long time had not worn clothing, nor abode in a house, but in the tombs. And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, "What is there between me and Thee, Jesus, Son of God Most High? I beseech Thee, Torment me not." But He had commanded the unclean spirit to go out of the man: for from a long time it had seized him, and he was kept bound with chains and fetters, and was watched: and breaking his bonds, he was driven, by the devil into the wilderness. And Jesus asked him, saying, "What is thy name?" And he said, "Legion": because that many devils had entered into him. And they besought Him not to command them to go into the abyss. But there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought Him to suffer them to enter into them. And He suffered them. But when the devils had gone out of the man, they entered into the swine. And the herd rushed over the precipice into the lake, and was drowned. When then the keepers saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and villages. And they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man out of whom the devils had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed, and sober-minded. And they were afraid. But they who saw it told them in what manner the demoniac had been saved.

October 24, 2020

Saint Eberigisil, Bishop of Cologne (+ 593)

St. Eberigisil of Cologne (Feast Day - October 24)

Saint Eberigisil was Bishop of Cologne, being its fifth well-attested bishop, and the first with a Frankish name. He is mentioned by Gregory of Tours but always using the past tense, so it is assumed that Eberigisil died before 594. He was known and loved by the people for his diplomatic skills.

Gregory of Tours writes of him as follows:

"At Cologne there is a church in which the fifty men from the holy Theban Legion are said to have consummated their martyrdom for the name of Christ. And because the church, with its wonderful construction and mosaics, shines as if somehow gilded, the inhabitants prefer to call it the 'Church of the Golden Saints'. Once Eberigisil, who was at the time Bishop of Cologne, was racked with severe pains in half of his head. He was then in a villa near a village. Severely weakened by this pain, as I said, he sent his deacon to the church of the saints. Since there was said to be in the middle of this church a pit into which the saints were thrown together after their martyrdom, the deacon collected some dust there and brought it to the bishop. As soon as the dust touched Eberigisil's head, immediately all pain was gone."

Saint Theophilus the Recluse of the Kiev Caves (+ 13th cent.)


Very little has been preserved about the life and exploits of Venerable Theophilus the Recluse, who lived in the 12th to the 13th century. He was also known as Theophilus the Wonderworker. His relics rest in the Near Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra, and is commemorated on October 24th.

Saint Sisoes the Recluse of the Kiev Caves (+ 13th cent.)


Information about the life of the Venerable Sisoes the Schema-Monk, like many ascetics of the Kiev Caves Lavra of the 13th century, is very scarce.
He was first mentioned in the plan of the Near Caves in 1661 as "Sisoes the Faster". In 1703 he was marked as "Sisoes the Recluse".
His relics rest in the Near Caves, and is commemorated on October 24th.

October 23, 2020

Book of James (Complete NKJV Translation)


Book of James


1 1  James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
Faith and Humility

2  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9  Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10  but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11  For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

On James the Just, the Brother of our Lord (St. Jerome)


By St. Jerome

(On Illustrious Men, 2)

James, who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, after our Lord's passion at once ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles and even this is claimed by some to have been published by some one else under his name, and gradually, as time went on, to have gained authority.

October 22, 2020

Homily Five on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The Mercy of God" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The Mercy of God

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
God, by revealing Himself to the Prophets and the Righteous of the Old Testament, but also to the Apostles and Saints in the New Testament, revealed Himself and people came to know some of His attributes, that He is love, merciful, philanthropic, just, etc. The names by which we know God are His energies. That is, God showed, at times, His compassion to sinners and they realized that He was compassionate and philanthropic. He showed love and they understood that God loves.

In these revelations God revealed to the Righteous and the Saints that He is merciful. That is why in the Church, when we ask God for something, then we justify it: "For You are a merciful and philanthropic God and to you we ascribe glory."

Holy Ethnomartyr Gregory, Bishop of Methoni († 1825)

St. Gregory of Methoni (Feast Day - October 22)

Gregory Papatheodoros was born in 1770 in the village of Albaina in Olympia. He was the son of Theodoros Papatheodoros and Anastasia from the Sakelarios family. His first letters were learned in his village, and he completed his knowledge in the Monastery of Vytina, which then had a rich library. According to Grigoriadis, "he was a man of great education and spoke three languages, Turkish, Arabic and French, and knew a little Italian." 
He leaned towards service in the Church and followed the priestly stages. He was ordained a Deacon on May 16, 1800, and a Presbyter and a Chancellor on April 9, 1806. He was ordained Bishop of Methoni, Navarino and Neokastro (August 12, 1816 - October 22, 1825) by Patriarch Cyril VI of Constantinople (1813 - 1818).

Saints Theodore and Paul of Rostov

Sts. Theodore and Paul of Rostov (Feast Day - October 22)

Our Venerable Fathers Theodore and Paul founded a monastery at the River Ust, not far from Rostov, in honor of the Holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb. Saint Theodore first came to the site of the future monastery from the Novgorod region. Having set up a hut of tree branches in the forest, he settled in that place alone. On the road on a tree he hung a basket made of bark, and passers-by, guessing that a hermit lived there, began to put bread, vegetables and other alms in it. The hermit secretly took out the alms and shared it with the beggars. Having found out about this, many from the villages began to come to the hermit for alms, and he shared everything that he found in the hung basket. Saint Paul came three years later for ascetic struggles, and settled with Saint Theodore.

Synaxis of the Andronikos Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Andronikos Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - October 22)

The Andronikos Icon of the Mother of God, also known as the Monemvasia Icon or the Greek Icon, was a family icon of the Roman Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos. In 1347 he gave the icon to a monastery in Monemvasia of Peloponnesos. After an attack in 1821 by Turkish troops, the abbot of the monastery, Bishop Agapios, trying to save the miraculous Andronikos Icon, hid it in Patras. Before his death, Agapios bequeathed this icon to his relative, the Russian Consul General N.I. Vlassopoulos, whose son, A.N. Vlassopoulos, in 1839 sent the icon from Athens to Odessa with a letter for its transmission to Emperor Nicholas I Pavlovich in St. Petersburg. From 1839 to May 12, 1868, the Andronikos Icon was in the Winter Palace, and from May 12, 1868 to April 16, 1877 it was in the Trinity Cathedral, which is on the Petersburg side. In 1877, the miraculous icon was transferred to the Kazan women's monastery near the city of Vyshny Volochek of the Tver diocese. In 1984 the icon was stolen and its current whereabouts are unknown. Other feast days of this icon are May 1 and July 8.

October 21, 2020

Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Romania Persecuted by Roman Catholics: Bessarion, Sophronius, Oprea, Moses and John

Sts. Bessarion, Sophronius, Oprea, Moses and John of Romania (Feast Day - October 21)

Venerable Bessarion Sarai the Confessor

Saint Bessarion (Sarai) was a Serb who was born in Madian of Bosnia in 1714. At Baptism he was given the name Nicholas. Longing for the monastic life, he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land at eighteen, and was tonsured at the Monastery of Saint Savvas in the Holy Land in 1738 with the name Bessarion. 
After traveling to Mount Athos on his way home, he entered the Monastery of Pakrou in Slavonia. There he served as a Deacon for seven years, then he was ordained a Priest. After another pilgrimage to the Holy Land he returned again to his homeland to bear witness for his Orthodox Christian faith.

About this time there was a great deal of unrest in the regions of the Banat and Transylvania because many Romanian Orthodox Christians had been forced into union with Rome. At Karlovits around 1742, Patriarch Arsenius had heard of Saint Bessarion’s holy and ascetical life and his reputation as a preacher, and asked to see him. He sent him to defend the Orthodox faith northwest of the Carpathian Mountains and to restore the Orthodox people from Uniatism.

Saint Hilarion, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia (+ 1053)

St. Hilarian of Kiev (Feast Day - October 21)

Saint Hilarion, Metropolitan of Kiev, lived during the era of the Great Prince Yaroslav the Wise (+ 1054), son of Saint Vladimir. In the history of the Russian Church he is remembered as the first Russian installed as Metropolitan by a Council of Russian Bishops. The Russian Church up to that time had been a Metropolitan See, under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Russia’s first Metropolitans were Greeks, and they were appointed by Constantinople.

Saint Hilarion, priest of the prince’s village of Berestovo near Kiev, was the spiritual father and companion of Prince Yaroslav. Saint Nestor the Chronicler relates:

Saint Hilarion, Schemamonk of the Kiev Caves (+ late 11th cent.)

St. Hilarion of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - October 21)

Venerable Hilarion was a strict ascetic and a disciple and co-ascetic with Saint Theodosius (May 3) in the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra. Hilarion is said to have kept such abstinence that he ate very little once a week, and as a cohabitant of Saint Theodosius he imitated him by praying day and night with prostrations and tears, pleasing God. 

The Only Case of a Stylite in the Western World


In 591 Saint Vulfilaic (also known as Wulphy, Walfroy, Wulflaicus), a monk of Lombardy, had a pillar erected for him at Treves, and stood upon it barefoot, enduring great hardship in the winter. The bishops therefore compelled him to come down and to live like other monks, telling him that the severity of the climate would not permit him to imitate the great Symeon of Antioch. He obeyed his superiors, but with tears and reluctance. He died around 600 and was buried in his hermitage, today known as Mont Saint-Walfroy. This is the only instance that we know of a stylite or pillar monk in the Western world. On July 7, 979, his relics were translated to Yvois. A broken slab is all that remains of the location of the tomb of Saint Vulfilaic at Mont Saint-Walfroy, destroyed by war and lost. He is commemorated annually on October 21st. 

October 20, 2020

Saint Gerasimos and the Deadly Plague of 1760


In the year 1760, the island of Kefallonia was struck by a deadly plague of cholera. It first manifested itself in the area of Livathos, and from there was transmitted to Argostoli and other spots on the island. The mortality rate was high, which always ended in the death of the victim. While measures were taken by government officials to prevent the deadly plague from spreading, all the faithful of the island called upon Saint Gerasimos to deliver their homeland from the calamity. As Kefallonia's ever-vigilant protector and powerful intercessor before God, the Saint intervened in the following miraculous way.

At the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos there were two icons of the Most Holy Theotokos - one was an ancient icon above the relics of the Saint and one was located in the pantry. The one in the pantry had been previously moved into the church, but the following morning it was found again in the pantry. Deciding to allow the Mother of God to choose where she wanted her icon to remain, the nuns set up a place in the pantry for the icon and placed a vigil lamp before it. The icon only left the pantry during times of processions.

A Marvelous and Humorous Miracle of Saint Matrona of Chios


The following marvelous and humorous miracle of Venerable Matrona of Chios involves a blind man, a crippled man and a mute woman.

On the eve of the feast day of the Saint, the 19th of October in the year 1701, all three sufferers separately experienced a vision that united them in a paradoxical manner.

The mute woman beheld in a dream that the crippled man was pursuing her, which due to her fright caused her to scream.

Synaxarion of our Venerable Mother Matrona of Chios

St. Matrona of Chios (Feast Day - October 20)


Leaving the world completely non-worldly,
Now bride Matrona you stand before the Bridegroom.
The Venerable one had the island of Chios as her homeland, and was from a village called Volissos. Her parents were called Leo and Anna, who were modest in their manners, and were notable among others in their lineage and wealth. The blessed one, due to the fact that even in her young age she was very knowledgeable, because of this she loved God. For this reason she turned away from every other earthly love and passionate attachment to the worldly. And leaving behind her village and family and parents, she became a stranger and sojourner, on behalf of the Lord who appeared as a stranger on earth for us. From the inheritance she received from her parents, a portion she distributed to widows and orphans, and from what remained she paid the expenses for and built a church with much care, and this she dedicated to the name of the Savior Christ. 

October 19, 2020

Synaxis of the Panagia the Vasilissa in Mouzaki of Karditsa

The Holy Icon of the Panagia Vasilissa ("the Queen") is unique in Greece and its subject refers to the condition of our Panagia after her death. The Panagia after her Dormition and Metastasis in heaven received unique honors from her Lord and God, Jesus Christ. He crowns her Queen of Heaven and gives her a high throne at His right hand. That is why, as Saint John of Damascus says, our Panagia possesses the "second-place to the Holy Trinity" and that is why she is praised more than any other Saint according to the prophecy and revelation "henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." She was named Queen by the Prophet and Psalmist David: "At Your right hand stands the Queen in gold from Ophir." The Holy Icon of Panagia Vasilissa was made for the niche of the Holy Bema in the Church of Saint George and of the Holy Unmercennaries in Mouzaki of Karditsa in Central Greece, as the Priest has a special relationship with the Mother of God. The Athonite Fathers, especially Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, urges the Priests to pray a lot to our Panagia, because all the Saints prayed to the Panagia. "No gift is given by God to man," says the Elder, "except through the Panagia. The Panagia distributes the gifts to the world."

Patriarch of Alexandria Performs the Divine Liturgy of Saint Mark at the Tomb of Saints Gabriel and Kyrmidoles and Blesses the Nile River


On October 18th, to celebrate the feasts of the Holy and Glorious New Martyrs Gabriel and Kyrmidoles, Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa performed the Divine Liturgy of Saint Mark the Evangelist at the Patriarchal Monastery of Saint George in Old Cairo, where the tomb of the New Martyrs is located.

This Divine Liturgy belongs to the ancient Alexandrian tradition and is inextricably linked to the history of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, with important Byzantine influences over time, and its composition is attributed to the Apostle Mark, who founded the Church of Alexandria.

October 18, 2020

Did the Apostle Luke, Like the Apostle John, Refer to Jesus as the Word of God?

Did the Apostle Luke in his Gospel, like the Apostle John in his Gospel (Jn. 1:1), refer to Jesus as the Word (Logos) of God? The patristic testimony unanimously affirms that he did, specifically in Luke 1:2 where it says: "...just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word." In most translations of "Word" it is not capitalized, so the idea is conveyed that it is actually speaking of words, such as the way Protestants refer to Scripture, but the context is clear that this Word had eyewitnesses and servants, therefore referring to a person, specifically Jesus Christ. Below are four early patristic interpretations of Luke 1:2 to make this clearer:

Did the Apostle Luke Ever See or Hear Christ in Person?


By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite
There is a disagreement among historians regarding Luke the Evangelist.  Leo the Wise in his eothinon, and Christopher the Patrician in his iambic verses, and Theophanes the Graptos in his asmatic canon, and in the manuscript of the Synaxaristes, among others, reply that this divine Luke went to Jerusalem and saw Christ the Master alive, and he served Him. He was present at the miracles He performed. He was also at the Passion and the Resurrection. After the Resurrection he also conversed with Him and with Cleopas. He saw Him ascend into the heavens. He was also found worthy of the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Chrysostom in his first discourse on Acts and his fourth homily on Matthew, as well as Theophylact of Bulgaria in his interpretation at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke the Evangelist, and the published Synaxaristes, as well as others, say that Luke was never an eyewitness and disciple of the Lord, nor did he ever see Him alive on earth. Rather, he was a disciple of the Apostle Paul, who he met and came to believe in Christ through at Thebes of Boeotia. This is confirmed by the words of Luke himself. At the beginning of his Gospel he testifies as follows: "...just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word" (Lk. 1:2). This confirms that he did not see the Lord on earth.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke

October 18

 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 St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 4:5-11, 14-18


Brethren, conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one. Tychicos will tell you all about my affairs; he is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimos, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of yourselves. They will tell you of everything that has taken place. Aristarchos my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions if he comes to you, receive him), and Jesus who is called Justos. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. Give my greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippos, "See that you fulfill the ministry which you have received in the Lord." I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my fetters. Grace be with you. Amen.

October 17, 2020

"When I Start Thinking of Myself as Being Better Than Others..." (St. Gabriel of Georgia)


"When I start thinking of myself as being better than others, then I put a diadem on my head and go outside without shoes. People stare at me and laugh, but I see how insignificant I am."

- St. Gabriel (Urgebadze) of Georgia

Venerable Anthony of Leokhnov (+ 1611)

St. Anthony of Leokhnov (Feast Day - October 17)

Venerable Anthony was from the Tver lineage of the Veniaminov nobles. While still a youth, Anthony was very pious and loved asceticism. Desiring solitude, he seized the opportunity to leave home at the right time in search of a solitary habitation. He lived as a hermit not far from Novgorod, in the Rublev wilderness at the River Perekhoda.

Meanwhile, his secret departure from his homeland plunged his household into grief and tears; they began to look everywhere for the missing lad. Two sisters of the monk succeeded in learning about the place of his exploits. They came to the Rublev hermitage, having walked for a long time through the dense forest, calling for their ascetic brother and wept; but the Monk Anthony did not appear before them, for it was for the sake of the Lord that he left his house.

Synaxis of the Deliverer Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Deliverer Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - October 17)

The Deliverer Icon of the Mother of God, before being brought to the New Athos Simono-Kananitsk Monastery in the Caucasus, was on Mount Athos with a brother of the Russian Saint Panteleimon Monastery, Schemamonk Martinian (+ 1884). The pious schemamonk had received this icon from the ascetic Theodoulos. 
The holy icon was glorified by miracles for many centuries. After praying before this icon the inhabitants of Sparta, Greece were delivered from a plague of locusts in 1841.

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, You Preserved Your Virginity”

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, You Preserved Your Virginity” (Feast Day - October 17)
The Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, You Preserved Your Virginity” (“A Virgin Before Birth and After Birth”) was transferred to the Nikolaev Peshkov Monastery of the Moscow diocese by the Moscow merchant Alexis Grigorievich Mokeev. Around the year 1780 Alexis joined the brethren of the monastery. He had given all of his wealth to the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Macarius, and the holy icon remained in his cell.
After Alexis’s death, the icon was brought to the archimandrite, who observed that the icon was painted in oil on canvas and not according to the prescribed rules of iconography (using egg tempera on wood), and he installed it over the exit door of the Chapel of Saint Methodius, which was on a street not far from the monastery.

Saint Joseph, Catholicos of Georgia (+ 1770)

St. Joseph the Catholicos of Georgia (Feast Day - October 17)
Saint Joseph (Jandierishvili) received his spiritual education at David-Gareji Monastery. He was endowed by the Lord with the gift of wonderworking. His prayers healed the terminally ill and demon-possessed. For his wisdom and virtue, he was consecrated bishop of Rustavi, and in 1755 enthroned as Catholicos-Patriarch. Saint Joseph remained a monk-ascetic in spite of his hierarchical rank.

In 1764 Holy Catholicos Joseph, like Saint Gregory the Theologian, humbly stepped down from the archpastor’s throne and withdrew to Akhmeta in northeastern Georgia. With his own hands he cultivated a vineyard and distributed his harvest to the poor. The climate in that region was capricious—droughts were frequent, and hail would devastate the fragile crops, laying waste to the farmers’ labors. But while Saint Joseph was laboring there, the region suffered neither drought nor hail.

October 16, 2020

Hymns and Prayer Upon Entering the Chapel of Saint Longinus at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem


In the year 1855, Patriarch Cyril of Jerusalem composed the Hymnal of Zion, which are a series of prayers and hymns to be chanted and prayed as a procession took place through all the areas of the Holy Sepulchre. The following is to be chanted and said at the fourth stop when entering the chapel dedicated to Longinus the Centurion, who confessed Christ as the Son of God at the Crucifixion.

Entering into the Chapel of Saint Longinus, chant the following Troparia, in Plagal of the 2nd tone, to "More Honorable Than the Cherubim".

Translation of the Sacred Relics of Saint Kallinikos of Edessa

On 15 October 2020, in an atmosphere of joy and devotion, a Festive Hierarchical Divine Liturgy took place at the Cathedral of the Holy Protection in Edessa, to celebrate the translation of the sacred relics of the newly-canonized Saint Kallinikos of Edessa. He had been buried in the Public Cemetery of Edessa, because he wanted to be close to his people that he loved and served in his life, but now that he is canonized his sacred relics were transferred into the Cathedral of the Holy Protection, where he will be venerated by the faithful in an ecclesiastical atmosphere. The exhumation of the sacred relics took place on September 25th.

The festive celebration was officiated by nineteen hierarchs and numerous clergy and monastics, together with a crowd of the faithful despite the pandemic restrictions. Both Metropolitan Joel of Edessa and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, who knew the Saint intimately and have written about him, delivered the homilies. The service was also attended by local authorities and relatives of the newly-canonized saint.

October 15, 2020

Homily Four on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The God of our Fathers" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The God of our Fathers

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
In the Doxology, which we chant at the end of the Service of Matins, just as the word means, God is glorified for His greatness, His Light and for what He has done for man and his salvation. And the word "glorified" is interpreted as "blessed". But it is one thing when God blesses man and sends His Grace, and another when man blesses God, that is, glorifies God.

Of course, God does not need man's glorification, because He is without lack, but when man glorifies God, then man himself benefits spiritually. The glorification of God is returned as Grace and blessing to man. That is why the Holy Fathers teach that the prayer of doxology to God is more powerful than the prayer of supplication.

In today's homily we will analyze a verse of the Doxology that has great meaning.

Silence Without Awkwardness: The Spiritual Communication Between Elder Anthimos Agiannanites and Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios

By Haralambos Boussias

In the days of the birthday of our Church, that is, of holy Pentecost, in 1990, the Elder decided to make a pilgrimage to the Great Church of Christ and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

He had been invited at that time by the director of the private office of the Patriarch, Metropolitan Bartholomew of Philadelphia, the current Ecumenical Patriarch, and the Dean of the Theological School of Halki, Metropolitan Maximos (Repanellis) of Stavroupolis.

Photograph of Saint Paisios the Athonite's Father, Prodromos Enzepides

Prodromos Enzepides, father of Saint Paisios the Athonite, was probably one of the young soldiers of Varasos in Asia Minor who faced the Turkish Tchetas in battle. Here he is depicted in his authentic soldier costume, showing off his weapons.

Holy Hieromartyr Lucian the Presbyter of the Kiev Caves (+ 1243)

St. Lucian the Presbyter of the Far Caves (Feast Day - October 15)

Venerable Lucian the Presbyter lived in the 13th century. Like many ascetics of the Kiev Caves Lavra during the Mongol-Tatar invasion, very little is known about the Holy Hieromartyr Lucian. During the invasion, some of the Kiev Caves saints were also martyred. On one old gravestone with an icon of the Saint it is written that "Lucian the Hieromartyr suffered under Batu in about 1243"; nothing else is known about him. The date given here is approximate, since Kiev was ravaged by the army of the Mongol Khan Batu in 1240. The relics of the ascetic are indicated on the map of the Far Caves for the first time presumably dating back to 1744: “The Monk Lucian Hieromartyr”. According to the results of anthropological research, he died at the age of 30-35. 

October 14, 2020

Saint Nicholas Sviatosha, Prince of Chernigov, and Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (+ 1143)

St. Nicholas Sviatosha (Feast Day - October 14)

Saint Nicholas Sviatosha was a great-grandson of Great Prince Yaroslav the Wise and son of Prince David Svyatoslavich of Chernigov (+ 1123). Nicholas was the Prince of Lutsk, and he had a wife and children (his daughter was later married to the Novgorod prince Saint Vsevolod-Gabriel).

On February 17, 1106 the holy prince left his family and was tonsured at the Kiev Caves Lavra, in the Near Caves. Nicholas Sviatosha carried out his obediences with great humility. For three years he worked in the kitchen, for which he chopped wood and carried water. For the next three years, he was gatekeeper at the monastery. The Saint had a garden around his cell. Out of his own means he built at the monastery the Temple of the Holy Trinity and the infirmary church in the name of Saint Nicholas, his patron saint.

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Yakhrom

Synaxis of the Yakhrom Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - October 14)

Saint Kosmas of Yakhrom (Feb.18) was the son of a boyar who lived within the limits of Vladimir. Apparently, due to a lack of money, he was given to be raised by a neighbor-landowner, from the Sekerin boyars, and served him by traveling to cities and villages with the boyar seeking healing for his illness. 
The Yakhrom Icon of the Mother of God appeared to the holy youth Kosmas in the year 1482, while he was accompanying his master, the sick landowner. Kosmas had stopped at the bank of the Yakhrom River, not far from Vladimir, and the sick man fell asleep. Kosmas suddenly saw a bright light coming from a nearby tree, and heard a voice, “Attend and understand the words of life. Live a God-pleasing life and seek the joy of the righteous, and then you will delight in eternal blessings.” The light had come from an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.

October 13, 2020

A Miraculous Appearance of Saint Savvas the Sanctified



Holy New Martyr Bosiljka Rajicic of Pasjane (+ late 19th cent.)

St. Bosiljka Rajicic (Feast Day - October 13)

By Monk Sophronios (Copan)

In a small, humble village in Kosovo, a great event in the life of the Church took place on Sunday, May 20, 2018. On this day, the first Divine Liturgy glorifying the memory of the newly-canonized St. Bosiljka the Martyr of Pasjane was held, with the local bishop, His Grace Teodosije of Raška-Prizren, along with many priests, monks, nuns, and a multitude of the faithful in attendance. At the most recent Holy Synod meeting in Belgrade, Martyr Bosiljka, who has been venerated by the local faithful for many years, was finally officially canonized. With great joy, the faithful for the first time sang the troparion and kontakion to the saint they had for many decades venerated locally, and her holy presence and protection were strongly felt by all.

Miracles of Saint Theosebios of Arsinoe


By St. Neophytos the Recluse

The deaf man and another who was blind

Some time later, two people were walking along the road, one of whom was deaf and was holding the hand of the other, who was blind. The blind man heard wonderful hymn-singing and joyful, melodic voices and said to the deaf man: "If only you could hear the melodic hymns that I can, brother. And I wish I could see the form of the wonderful singers." The latter said he could just about hear, very faintly, some of the singing. They left the road and made their way to the place where the sound was coming from. As they were walking along, the ears of the deaf man opened completely and he could hear clearly the sublime and wonderful melody. When they got to the Church of Saint Theosebios, they didn’t see any singer, because it was angels who were praising God and, with this miracle, they made manifest the Saint. This is how the deaf man could hear plainly and the blind man was able to see again clearly. Astonished at this strange miracle, they worshiped and praised God and reverenced His servant Saint Theosebios.

Saint Anthony, Metropolitan of Chqondidi (+ 1815), and the Holy Hieromonk Jacob

Sts. Anthony and Jacob of Chqondidi (Feast Day - October 13)

Saint Anthony of Chqondidi was born to the family of Otia Dadiani, the prince of Egrisi (now Samegrelo). Anthony’s mother, Gulkan, was the daughter of the prince Shoshita III of Racha. There were six children in the family: five boys and one girl. Anthony’s sister, Mariam, later married King Solomon the Great of Imereti.
The children received their primary education from their mother, who was raised in the Christian Faith and transmitted the Faith to her children. Her vibrant faith and valorous labors were an example for all who surrounded her. After his father’s death, young Anthony was raised by his older brother Katsia. His family was preparing Anthony for a diplomatic career, and therefore they devoted special attention to his study of philosophy, literature, the fundamentals of poetry and art, and foreign languages (particularly Turkish and Persian).

October 12, 2020

Translation from Malta to Gatchina of a Portion of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, Together with the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God, and the Right Hand of Saint John the Baptist (1799)

Translation of Sacred Items from Malta to Gatchina (Feast Day - October 12)

The Translation from Malta to Gatchina of a Portion of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, together with the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God (from Mount Philermos on the Greek island of Rhodes), and the right hand of Saint John the Baptist took place in the year 1799.
These holy things were preserved on the island of Malta by the Knights of the Catholic Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, known as the Hospitallers. On June 11, 1798, when the French armies of Napolean landed on the island on their way to Egypt, the Maltese knights turned to Russia for defense and protection. They did this because the Charter of the Order of the Hospitallers forbade them to take up arms against other Christians. On October 12, 1799 they offered these ancient holy things to the emperor Paul I, who at this time was at Gatchina. In the autumn of 1799 the holy items were transferred to Saint Petersburg and placed in the Winter Palace within the church dedicated to the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands. The feast for this event was established in 1800.