Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sermon for the 15th Sunday of Luke - On Zacchaeus the Tax-Collector (Monk Agapios Landos)


By Monk Agapios Landos of Crete (1585-1657)

All injustice, illegal seizure and greed is wicked and worthy of abhorrence on the part of those who love God and are of sound mind. Tax-collectors are the worst of all as regards injustice. Just as lions are worse and fiercer than any other animals in the mountains and forests, so tax-collectors and slanderers are more unjust and wicked than any other people in towns and villages. This is because greed is injustice and a sin, and is inhuman, the opposite of kindly concern for others. Just as warmth is the opposite of cold, light of darkness and white of black, so the tax-collector is opposed to the command that we should give succour to the poor.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Answer of the Three Hierarchs to Western European Education

 
 
By Archimandrite Kyrillos Kostopoulos
 
Greek and foreign scholars often hear that the European Renaissance and the European Enlightenment are the most brilliant continuation of Ancient Greek Education.

But is this claim true? With the voice of Stentor we answer: No!

Our negative answer is based on the fact that none of the European philosophers were able to contribute with their humanistic teachings to the spiritual completion of man, who has now rushed onto the stage of the European theater of the absurd.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Gangrene Humanity (Photios Kontoglou)

 
By Photios Kontoglou

Confusion and turmoil and chaos among the nations! Turmoil and shock and chaos also among the people, one by one. Where can one find the path in one's life with a high purpose, with stability and hope! It's a rare thing.

People today have become mostly empty creatures of every living idea, which would make them wander in the sea of life happy and lively, like a ship which is loaded with good cargo, and, full of hope and longing, pulls into the much-desired port, between the dry ground and wild rocks.

Rotting Like A Tomato

 

By Dr. Konstantinos Vardakas

Years ago a friend of mine went to his today well-known Elder, Venerable Ephraim of Katounakia, and asked him a question:

"Elder, it has been suggested to me to get involved in politics. What do you think? Do I have your blessing?"

And the always meek Saint answered him:

The Epistle of Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans

 
CHAPTER 0

0:1 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the Church of God the Father and of Jesus Christ the beloved, to her who hath by mercy obtained every gift, filled with faith and love, not lacking in any gift, most Godlike, and the mother of saints, to her which is in Smyrna in Asia, much joy in the blameless spirit and word of God.

CHAPTER 1

1:1 I glorify God even Jesus Christ, who hath thus made you wise; for I perceived that ye were perfected in immovable faith, as though ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in flesh and in spirit, and firmly fixed in love in the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with regard to our Lord, that he was truly of the race of David according to the flesh, the Son of God according to the will and power of God; truly born of a virgin; baptized by John, that all righteousness might be fulfilled by him;

Thursday, January 28, 2021

On Prayer (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

 
 
On Prayer

By St. Ephraim the Syrian

Not to sin is truly blessed; but those who sin should not despair, but grieve over the sins they have committed, so that, through grief they may again attain blessedness. It is good, then, to pray always and not to lose heart, as the Lord says, And again the Apostle says, ‘Pray without ceasing’, that is by night and by day and at every hour, and not only when coming into the church, and not bothering at other times. But whether you are working, lying down to sleep, travelling, eating, drinking, sitting at table, do not interrupt your prayer, for you do not know when he who demands your soul is coming. Don’t wait for Sunday or a feast day, or a different place, but, as the Prophet David says, ‘in every place of his dominion’.

On Love (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

 
On Love

By St. Ephraim the Syrian

Rightly did the Lord say, ‘My burden is light’. For what sort of weight is it, what sort of toil is it to forgive one’s brother his offences, which are light and of no importance, and to be pardoned for one’s own, and immediately justified? He did not say, ‘Bring me money, or calves, or goats, or fasting, or vigils’, so that you could say, ‘I have none, I cannot’, but he ordered you to bring what is light and easy and immediate, saying, ‘Pardon your brother his offences, and I will pardon yours. You pardon small faults, a few halfpennies, or three pennies, while I give you the ten thousand talents. You only pardon without giving anything, I nevertheless both grant you pardon and give you healing and the Kingdom. And I accept your gift, when you are reconciled to the one who is your enemy, when you have enmity against no one, when the sun does not go down on your anger. When you have peace and love for all, then your prayer is acceptable, and your offering well-pleasing, and your house blessed and you blesséd. But if you are not reconciled with your brother, how can you seek pardon from me? You trample on my words, and do you demand pardon? I, your Master, demand, and you pay no attention, and do you, a slave, dare to offer me prayer, or sacrifice, or first fruits, while you have enmity against someone? Just as you turn your face from your brother, so I too turn my eyes from your gift and your prayer.’

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Hieromonk Kosmas of Gregoriou, Missionary to Congo (+ 1989)


 By Monk Moses the Athonite

He was born in the village of Theodosia in Kilkis in 1942. At a young age he went with his parents to Thessaloniki, where they lived very poor. His second home was the church and his second father was the pastor of his parish. He enjoyed studying Holy Scripture and going to catechism. From a young age he entered the daily struggle while studying. He became spiritually connected with the late Augoustinos Kantiotis (+ 2010) and began correspondence with Fr. Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos (+ 1972), who was in Africa. The desire for missionary work was constantly burning inside him. He also had contacts with Elder Philotheos Zervakos (+ 1980) of the Longovarda Monastery of Paros. He knew technical, mechanical, electrical, electronic, nursing, lifeguard and construction things. He attended the Frontistirion for Catechists and took foreign mission courses at Apostoliki Diakonia, as well as nursing at Red Cross. He even got a degree for swimming. Later he would rescue a child from drowning in a lake in Kolwezi. He also wanted to study medicine, but he did not succeed. However, he went to the Higher Frontistirion of Rizareio School.

The Life, Works and Thought of Saint John Chrysostom (Fr. George Florovsky)

 
By Fr. George Florovsky 
 

I. Life.

Chrysostom's life was neither calm nor easy. He was an ascetic and a martyr. It was not in the desert that his feats were accomplished but in the chaos of the world, in the pulpit of the preacher, and on the episcopal throne. His martyrdom was bloodless. He was tormented not by external enemies but by his brothers who proved false to him, and he ended his life in chains, in exile, under interdiction, and persecuted by Christians for his faith in Christ and the Gospel, which he preached as a revelation and the law of life.

Chrysostom was primarily an evangelist and a preacher of the good news of the Gospel. He was also a teacher who had a lively interest in contemporary issues, and the true significance of his teaching can be fully understood only in its historical context. He condemned the Christians of the fourth century who claimed to be living according to the precepts of the Gospel and warned them that they had relaxed their efforts prematurely. This prophet of universal love frequently spoke harshly and severely because it seemed to him that he was preaching and bearing witness before men who were dead. For him the injustice and the absence of love in the Christian world assumed catastrophic, almost apocalyptic significance. "We have extinguished our fervor and the body of Christ has died." The light yoke of love seemed an unbearable burden for the indifferent world. This explains Chrysostom's ultimately bitter fate, for he was driven out for the sake of the truth which he preached. "For this the world will hate you."

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Testimony of a Miracle at Sea by Saint Nicholas from 2006


My name is Panagis M. and in 2006 I was an engineer at the RR ACACIA ferry. On December 20, we were loaded at the port of Barcelona (Spain) with SEAT cars bound for Egypt.

The weather was not bad but the news said it was deteriorating. The captain said it would not catch up with us and decided to leave.

But he made a big mistake, because at 1:30 in the morning we fell into a big storm (over 10 on the Beaufort scale), so much so that we had a cargo shift that had a slope of 38 degrees (at 45 degrees the ship overturns).

Saint Dionysios of Olympus and the Child Who Was Lost Alone in the Forest in 1971

 
In 1971, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross, which draws a large crowd from the region of Pieria to the old Monastery of Saint Dionysios, everyone was shocked by the disappearance of a little boy in the forest of Olympus. When, after days of searching, he was found calm and safe on a rock by men of the Police and the Army, he said that he was protected throughout these days by a monk. When he later saw the icon of Saint Dionysios, he recognized that he was the monk who protected him all those days in the forest of Olympus.

Everyone Wants to Change the World, But No One Wants to Change Themselves

 
By Nun Isidora

Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change themselves. We all ask God to change this ugly world, leaving ourselves out of the equation. And the years go by, while our souls do not change - the same mistakes, the same passions - until that holy hour comes, when you will rise and stand before your very self. 
 
Change me my Christ, make me new. I was also part of the world, but I did not understand.
 
 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Epistle 12 To His Nephew Nicobulus Who Mocked His Wife (St. Gregory the Theologian)

 
Nicobulus was Saint Gregory's nephew by marriage, the husband of Alypiana, daughter of his sister Gorgonia. This Nicobulus was a man of great wealth and ability, but much disinclined for public life. Gregory constantly writes to one and another high official to get him excused from appointments which had been thrust upon him. In his Epistle 12 below, written in 365 A.D., St. Gregory the Theologian wrote mockingly and instructively to his nephew to stop criticizing his wife and to focus on the positive aspects of his wife, which would serve him to count his marriage as a blessing.

Epistle 12

You joke to me about Alypiana being little and unworthy of your size, you tall and immense and monstrous fellow both in form and strength. For now I understand that soul is a matter of measure, and virtue of weight, and that rocks are more valuable than pearls, and crows more respectable than nightingales.

The Life, Works and Thought of Saint Gregory the Theologian (Fr. George Florovsky)

 
Saint Gregory the Theologian
 
By Fr. George Florovsky

I. Life

Gregory has left many autobiographical writings, and his descriptions of his life are filled with lyricism and drama. He was by nature inclined to silence and retirement, and he constantly sought isolation so that he could devote himself to prayer. However, he was called by the will of God and the wills of others to words, deeds, and pastoral work during a period of extreme confusion and turmoil. Throughout his life, which was full of both sorrow and accomplishments, he was constantly forced to overcome his natural desires and wishes.

Gregory was born about 330 at Arianzum, his father's estate near Nazianzus, "the smallest of cities" in southwestern Cappadocia. His father, who in his youth had belonged to the sect of Hypsistarians, was the bishop of Nazianzus. Gregory's mother was the dominant personality in the family. She had been the "teacher of piety" to her husband and "imposed this golden chain" on her children. Both his heritage and his education developed Gregory's emotionalism, excitability, and impressionability, as well as his stubbornness and his strength of will. He always maintained warm and close relations with his family and frequently reminisced about them.

The Incorrupt Right Hand of Saint Gregory the Theologian

 
The Church of Saint Nicholas Kopanon is located north of the city of Ioannina, near Limnopoula in the north exit of the town, on the way to Perama. In this area women used to wash clothes and beat the rugs in the water. This is why the church got the name of Kopanon (beaten). In this church is treasured the incorrupt right hand of Saint Gregory the Theologian.

In order to learn something of the history of this sacred relic, we must introduce Konstantinos T. Kazantzis. Kazantzis was born in Ioannina in 1864 and died in Kerkyra in 1927. He studied law at the University of Athens. At the Universities of Berlin and Munich he specialized in public law and was awarded a doctorate. After his studies in Germany he returned to Ioannina, but slavery was now for him, after his long stay in Europe, unbearable. Thus he followed the first wave of immigrants from Greece and the Balkans in general to America. This is where he began to write. The quality of his little literary work is excellent.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Saint Xenia of Petersburg Resource Page

 
St. Xenia the Fool for Christ (Feast Day - January 24)

Verses
 
They that are at a loss invoke Blessed Xenia,
Who having lost all things, won Christ as her Bridegroom.
On the twenty-fourth Xenia was in Heaven.
 
 
 

The Location Where Saint Xenia of Petersburg Lived With Her Husband

 
 
On the Petrograd side in St. Petersburg on Lakhtinskaya Street in 2019, a temple was consecrated in honor of St. Xenia of Petersburg. According to legend, this church is either located on the grounds or very near the location of the house in which St. Xenia lived with her husband. The more probable actual location is where the shopping center stands today on the same street.

Background

Having embarked on the path of foolishness, St. Xenia responded only to the name of her dead husband, Andrei Petrov, for whom she desired to do penance, and the locals called the street where their house was located “Andrei Petrov Street”. It received the name Lakhtinskaya Street in 1877. Archival materials confirm the legend. On the site of the present house No. 58 according to the plan of St. Petersburg in the 1800s there was a wooden one-story house of Andrei Antonov, who took ownership of the house after the Petrov's, who had a high rank of state councilor. Later, the house belonged to the wife of the court chef Wolf, and from the 1830s to the wife of the coffee-girl Petrova.

Sermon on the Healing of the Blind Man of Jericho (Metr. Anthony of Sourozh)

 
 By Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

13 January 1991

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

As in the days of the ministry of Christ on earth, Saint John the Baptist had been preaching the Gospel of repentance, the good news that repentance, turning to God, always brings us face to face with Him in reconciliation, so does also the Church now, before Lent, face us with weeks of preparation, weeks during which we look at ourselves as deeply as we can, as honestly as we can, before we are confronted with deeds of God, with His power and with the example of those who had truly turned away from evil, given themselves to God, and have found fulfillment and salvation.

Thirty-First Sunday after Pentecost: Epistle Reading

 

Thirty-First Sunday of Pentecost

St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy 1:15-17

English

Timothy, my son, the saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory to the ages of ages. Amen.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Eldress Philothei Agiometeriotissa (+ December 9, 2020)

 
 
By Archimandrite Demetrios Kavvadias
 
On Saturday, January 16, 2021, a Holy Hierarchical Forty-Day Memorial Service was held at the Holy Monastery of Rousanou at Meteora for the repose of the servant of God Philothei the Nun, Abbess of this Holy Monastery.

In the world she was known as Sophia, one of the seven children of Priest Michael and Presvytera Andromache Kosvyras, who saw the light of day on March 31, 1949 in the town of Kalambaka. Her family was originally from Agnantia, Trikala, but they went to Kalambaka for more security because at that time the wider region as well as all of Greece was groaning from the sufferings of the civil war which came to complete the evil brought to our homeland by World War II. The priests and their families were also targeted and so Father Michael lived with his family in Kalambaka.

Friday, January 22, 2021

The Veneration of Saint Anastasios the Persian in Zakynthos


By Dionysis Flemotomos

In Zakynthos, the name Anastasios celebrates on January 22, the day of the commemoration of Saint Anastasios the Persian, and not at Easter, as usually happens in the rest of Greece. This is also one of our many peculiarities, for which, as we have written other times, a special, local holiday calendar needs to be published, so that foreigners can wish us without mistakes and the necessary corrections from us, the "Many Years".

The church of this not so well-known Martyr and Saint existed in the center of the city and at the beginning of the street which led to the old hospital. It was built at the end of the 17th century by the Cretan refugee and Archpriest Stephanos Paladas, who, along with many other compatriots, found refuge on our island, after the fall of Candia. Later this temple, according to information of our various historians, came under the ownership of John Katramis, Martinegou, A. Modinou and P. Tzanne and, unfortunately, was burned down by the earthquake catastrophe of August 1953. Today, there is a street with the name of the Saint of the church, to commemorate its existence, since the older residents post-earthquake also called the area "Agios Anastasis", but today no one remembers it.

Introductory Homily on First Timothy (St. John Chrysostom)

 
Introductory Homily on First Timothy

By St. John Chrysostom

1. Timothy too was one of the disciples of the Apostle Paul. To the extraordinary qualities of this youth testimony is borne by Luke, who informs us, that he was "well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium" (Acts 16:2). He became at once a disciple and a teacher, and gave this singular instance of his prudence, that hearing Paul preach without insisting upon circumcision, and understanding that he had formerly withstood Peter upon that point, he chose not only not to preach against it, but to submit to that rite. For Paul, it is said, "took and circumcised him" (Acts 16:3), though he was of adult age, and so trusted him with his whole economy.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Timeliness of Saint Maximus the Confessor


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

(Sermon Delivered in the Metropolitan Church of Ioannina 
on 21 January 2020)

First of all, I would like to warmly thank His Eminence the Metropolitan of Ioannina and beloved brother in Christ, Maximos, for the ministry of the word that he has entrusted to me, and especially today, when the great teacher of our Church celebrates, Saint Maximus the Confessor, whose name the Metropolitan and my beloved brother in Christ bears.

Your Eminence Metropolitan of Ioannina and beloved brother Maximos, revered chorus of Hierarchs, Priests of God the Most High, ministry of Christ, most honorable leaders and chosen Christians:

It is known to all of you that from the time your Metropolitan, who bears the name of Saint Maximus, came here to Ioannina, various speeches have been made about this great teacher of the Church. Saint Maximus lived in the seventh century, in a very difficult century in many ways, and he became a foremost teacher of our Church and a great theologian, a soaring eagle of theology.

Life, Writings and Theology of Saint Maximus the Confessor (Fr. George Florovsky)

 
By Fr. George Florovsky
 
 The Life of St. Maximus

We know little about St. Maximus’ worldly life. He came from an old, distinguished family and was, it seems, favored by Emperor Heraclius — possibly even related to him. He was born about 580 in Constantinople. He received an excellent education. His biographer writes that St. Maximus received the εγκύκλιος παίδευσις: Sherwood is correct in writing that "this would mean that his training lasted from about his sixth or seventh year till his twenty-first, and contained grammar, classical literature, rhetoric and philosophy (including arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy, logic, ethics, dogmatics and metaphysics), and also that it must have included his first contact with Aristotle and the Neo-Platonists (through the commentaries of Proclus and lamblichus)." St. Maximus studied philosophy with a special love. Later on, St. Maximus’ great gift for dialectic and logic, and his formal culture with its great erudition, left their mark on his disputes with the Monothelites. His erudition was not merely restricted to ecclesiastical topics but included a wide range of secular knowl edge.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

After More Than Four Months, An Icon of the Virgin Mary Continues to "Weep" in a Suburb of Athens


Since September 8, 2020 in the Church of Saint Demetrios in Nea Elvetia of Vyronas, a suburb of Athens, an icon of the Virgin Mary continues to weep till this day. It has been confirmed to be authentic by the local Metropolis. Daily Supplication services continue there every morning at 11:00am and 5:30pm, where the names of the living and the dead are commemorated, whether given to them directly or sent to them through electronically. The number of miracles increases daily.

The Death-Bed Confession of a Persecutor of Christians

 

 
By Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolidos

Let me end with an incident told to me in Odessa a few years ago and published in the book In the Vortex of a Changing World - The New Martyrs of Berdyansk:

"Odessa 2002. The groans of an elderly patient are heard in the ward of a large state hospital in the Ukrainian city. Cancer is widespread. The pains are horrible. Painkillers are not enough. Day and night awake. The patient awaits death as a redemption. Many times he reaches the brink of death, but he seems to be indifferent. For months now he has been fighting between life and death. Ordinary people would say: 'His soul does not come out.'

The Miraculous and Prophetic Birth of Saint Euthymios the Great

 
 By Cyril of Scythopolis

Euthymios, the heavenly citizen, had parents whose names were Paul and Dionysia. They were not undistinguished but of most noble birth and adorned with every godly virtue, while as fatherland and home they had Melitene, the famous metropolis of Armenia. Blessed Dionysia, after cohabiting with her husband for many years, had not given birth, being sterile. As a result they were much disheartened, and the two of them continued for a long time to entreat God earnestly to give them a child. Going to the shrine near the city there of the glorious and victorious martyr Polyeuktos, they persevered for many days in prayer, as the account of the ancient monks that has come down to me has made known; and one night, as they were praying alone, a divine vision appeared to them and said, "Be tranquil, be tranquil; for behold, God has granted you a child who will bear the name of tranquil (euthymia), since at his birth he who grants you him will give tranquility to his churches." Noting the hour of the vision, they returned home.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Prayer of Saint Mark of Ephesus Before Departing for Italy to Attend the Synod of Ferrara-Florence

 
Prayer of Saint Mark the Eugenikos, 
Metropolitan of Ephesus
 
(Offered Before His Departure For Italy)
 
I who, in the pursuit of virtue, am idle and tormented by thoughts derived from the passions, what can I do, long-suffering Lord? Lest I fall and lose Your great gifts, and to me lest the mystery of Your goodness and good-pleasure become inactive? Don't let that happen to me, O God, You who love compassion and who loves my soul. Let me not be abandoned by You, let me not find myself on the side of the evil one that leads to deprivation, but You who receive the persistent pleas of Your saints and accepts the intercessions of Your sacred angels, especially of our most-superior Lady the Theotokos, give me the strength to follow Your path, demanding from me not the worthy fruit of repentance, but that which is in accordance with my powers. Put in my hard heart Your fear and through it completely cleanse it and soften it in Your immovable love. And when I depart from my body grant me rest in the place inhabited by Your saints, and grant me to be satisfied with the vision of Your eternal glory, for You are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Source: From Codex 226 of Dionysiou Monastery on the Holy Mountain. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.   
 
 

The "Spiritual Homilies" of Saint Makarios of Egypt (Fr. George Florovsky)

 

By Fr. George Florovsky

The Sources and the Problems with the Manuscripts.

The fifty Spiritual HomiliesΟμιλίαι πνευματικαί — which have come down to us under the name of St. Macarius of Egypt (c. 300-c. 390) — known also as St. Macarius the Great — have been one of the greatest sources in the history of early Christian mysticism and their influence has been enormous throughout the history of Christianity both in the East and the West. The question of authorship is still under contention. Since the time of the first edition (the first to publish them under Macarius' name was Johannes Picus in 1559 who added a Latin translation), it has been customary to consider the author St. Macarius. Our knowledge of St. Macarius comes chiefly from the Apophthegmata Patrum, Rufinus' translation of the Historia Monachorum, and Palladius' The Lausiac History. He was a native of Upper Egypt who, at about the age of thirty, founded a colony of monks in the desert in Scete (Wadi-el-Natrum). This colony became one of the main centers of Egyptian monasticism. After obtaining a reputation for powers of healing and prophecy, St. Macarius was ordained a priest about 340. St. Macarius was also a staunch supporter of St. Athanasius and, as a result, experienced a brief period of exile under St. Athanasius' successor Lucius, who banned him to an island in the Nile. St. Macarius was greatly influenced by St. Antony. In addition to the sources mentioned above, St. Macarius is mentioned by the historians Socrates (c.380-450) and Sozomen (early fifth century). A separate biography of St. Macarius exists in Coptic and Syriac translations. However, none of these accounts by these ancient authors mentions the writings of St. Macarius.

Holy Brothers Maximos and Dometios at Nitria

Sts. Maximos and Dometios the Brothers (Feast Day - January 19)
 
Verses

You were sanctified, young men, by prayer,
Maximos and Dometios, brothers.


Saints Maximos and Dometios were brothers according to the flesh, raised with all the comforts, prosperity and honors given to them by the imperial position of their father, Roman Emperor Valentinian I. Though handsome in appearance, within them they were adorned with the divine virtues. These young men loved God above all else and wanted to dedicated their lives completely to pleasing the Lord, so they left all that the world had to offer them and fled to Egypt to become disciples of Saint Makarios the Great in Nitria.

Saint Makarios, Bishop of Ierissos

St. Makarios of Ierissos (Feast Day - January 19)

The Venerable and God-bearing Makarios lived during the reigns of the emperors Constantine the Great (324-337), Theodosius (379-395) and Arcadius (395-408). He was probably the first Bishop of Ierissos in Halkidiki and is considered the builder of the Church of Saint Stephen in the Monastery of Konstamonitou of Mount Athos.

Monday, January 18, 2021

"On Peace With One Another": A Timeless and Always Relevant Homily of Saint Gregory Palamas

 

This first homily of St. Gregory Palamas was delivered during a procession, which took place either in December of 1350 or in January of 1351, on the third day following his entry into Thessaloniki, when the city was liberated from the Zealots by Emperor John VI Cantacuzenos (1347-1354). Though elected Metropolitan in May of 1347, Palamas, because of the strife caused by the fierce politico-religious disputes of the day, had twice been refused entry into the city, once in 1347 and then again in 1348. With this homily, he encouraged all the Orthodox Christians of Thessaloniki to be at peace with another, and unite in their purpose in Christ.

HOMILY ONE

On Peace With one Another

By Saint Gregory Palamas

Delivered three days after his arrival in Thessalonica.

1. We are all brethren in that we have one Creator and Lord, who is Father to us all. That brotherhood we share with animals and inanimate nature. We are also brethren one to another as descendants of one earthly father, Adam, and the only creatures made in God's images. But even this is common to all nations. More especially, however, we are brethren in that we are of the same race and live in the some place; and above and else, share one mother, the Holy Church and true piety, the author and finisher of which is Christ, the rightful Son of God. Not only is He our God, but He was well-pleased to be our Brother, our Father and our Head, bringing us all together into one body and making us members of one another and of Himself.

Life, Work and Thought of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (Fr. George Florovsky)


I. Life.

St. Athanasius was born into a Greek Christian family in Alexandria at the end of the third century, probably in 295. During his youth he witnessed the persecutions which took place under Diocletian. In the words of St. Gregory the Theologian, he spent "little time" in getting a general education or in studying the secular sciences but he had some knowledge of classical philosophy and of Neoplatonism in particular. He gave most of his attention to the study of Scripture, which he knew extremely well. Possibly he studied at the Catechetical School in Alexandria.

Saint Maksim of Serbia, Archbishop of Wallachia (+ 1516)

 
St. Maksim of Serbia (Feast Day - January 18)
 
Saint Maksim was the son of the Despot of Serbia, Saint Stephen the Blind (Dec. 10) and of his wife Saint Angelina (July 30). He was born in 1461, while his parents were residing in the region of Skadar, and he was baptized with the name Dorde Bramkovic. The family later moved to northern Italy and acquired castle Belgrado in the region of Friuli. His father, Despot Stephen died in 1476, and young Dorđe became his principal heir. In 1479, Emperor Friedrich III granted them castle Weitensfeld in Carinthia, and Đorđe moved there with the rest of family.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Church of the Ten Lepers in Burqin, Palestine

 
According to Christian tradition, Burqin is the place in "the region between Samaria and Galilee" where the miracle from Luke 17:11-19 took place: Jesus was passing through on his way from Galilee to Jerusalem when he heard cries for help from ten lepers who were living isolated nearby. He encountered them and told them to present themselves to the priests, although they were not yet cured. On their way their leprosy disappeared. One of them, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to give thanks. Jesus blamed the nine who did not recognize that their healing was God's gift, faith being the real salvation. Since this miracle, the current Church of the Ten Lepers, also known as the Monastery of Saint George, became a station for many Christian pilgrims.

Sermon on the Ten Lepers and Gratitude (Metr. Anthony Sourozh)

 
 
Sermon on the Ten Lepers and Gratitude

17 December 1989


By Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Ten lepers came to the Lord; ten men who were ritually unclean and therefore, ritually rejected by their community, unable to attend the common worship of the Temple, unable to come near the habitations of men; and unclean also in the eyes of men because their sickness could be transmitted to others: others could become impure, others could be sick unto death.

In Praise of the Desert Fathers of Egypt and of the Renowned Saint Anthony the Great (St. John Chrysostom)


By St. John Chrysostom

And now, should you come unto the desert of Egypt, you will see this desert become better than any paradise, and ten thousand choirs of angels in human forms, and nations of martyrs, and companies of virgins, and all the devil's tyranny put down, while Christ's kingdom shines forth in its brightness. And the mother of poets, and wise men, and magicians, were but inventions of sottish old women, but the real philosophy, and worthy of heaven, is this, which was declared unto them by the fishermen. And for this very cause, together with their so great exactness in doctrine, they exhibit also by their life that extreme seriousness. For when they have stripped themselves of all that they have, and are crucified to the whole world, they urge their course on again yet farther, using the labor of their body for the nourishment of them that be in need. For neither, because they fast and watch, do they think it meet to be idle by day; but their nights they spend in the holy hymns and in vigils, and their days in prayers, and at the same time in laboring with their own hands imitating the zeal of the apostle. For if he when the whole world was looking unto him for the sake of nourishing them that were in need, both occupied a workshop, and practised a craft, and being thus employed did not so much as sleep by night; how much more, say they, is it meet that we, who have taken up our abode in the wilderness, and have nothing to do with the turmoils in the cities, should use the leisure of our quiet for spiritual labors!

On Saint Anthony the Great (Jerome, Socrates Scholasticus, Sozomen)

 
St. Jerome (On Illustrious Men, 88):

Anthony the monk, whose life Athanasius bishop of Alexandria wrote a long work upon, sent seven letters in Coptic to various monasteries, letters truly apostolic in idea and language, and which have been translated into Greek. The chief of these is To the Arsenoites. He flourished during the reign of Constantine and his sons.

Saint Anthony and Anchorite Monasticism (Fr. George Florovsky)

 
By Fr. George Florovsky

The monastic movement developed in the early fourth century, although the essential components of monasticism are found in the earliest life of the Church. Individual anchorites were leaving the cities even earlier than the fourth century. During the time of emperor Decius (emperor from 249 to 251), they were hiding from persecution and turned their forced flight into a voluntary "ordeal," a spiritual struggle. They wandered in the wilderness and lived in caves and on precipices. Even in the cities themselves many led a reserved and aloof life — such was the "gnostic" ideal of Clement of Alexandria. In any event, communes of virgins arose quite early, as evidenced in St. Methodius' Symposium or Banquet of the Ten VirginsΣυμπόσιον ή περι άγνείας — although these were only isolated cases. “The monk did not yet know the great desert," says St. Athanasius, if he is the author of the Vita Antonii. One must distinguish, however, between the development of monasticism proper in the fourth century and the features or essential characteristics of that later monastic life which was found in the early life of the Church.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Two Most Recent Miracles of Venerable David of Evia and Saint Iakovos Tsalikes


In a recent interview with Maria Yiachnaki for the radio program "Epikairotita", Elder Gabriel, the current Abbot of the Monastery of Venerable David in Evia, reported two of the most recent miracles of Venerable David and Saint Iakovos Tsalikes, which took place within the past few weeks of 2021.

The first miracle concerns a 23 year old young man named John. On January 6, 2021 John participated in the Cross retrieval competition which followed the Sanctification of the Waters ceremony at the coastal town of Amarynthos. His goal was to capture the Cross then go to the Monastery of the Venerable David in Evia to venerate the relics of Venerable David and Saint Iakovos. As John rushed to dive into the water to retrieve the Cross first, he somehow injured his head and neck really bad, landing him in the hospital with critical injuries and in a coma. John's young friends and fellow competitors decided to put their faith in God to deliver and heal their friend, so on Saturday the 9th of January they drove two hours to the Monastery of the Venerable David, as John had hoped to have done, to venerate the relics of Saint Iakovos Tsalikes and Venerable David and seek their intercessions and aid. When they arrived, they found the Monastery to be closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, so they knocked on the door. They explained to the Abbot their situation and asked to venerate the relics of the Saints. The Abbot allowed them in, then he brought out the skull of Venerable David, and blessed a shirt that belonged to John which the boys had brought with them, then they all venerated the relic. The Abbot then gave them holy oil, which they brought to the mother of John, who rubbed the head and neck of her son with it, then they placed the blessed shirt of John on him. Immediately John began to recover from that moment. As of January 15th, John is still recovering from his injury, but he is no longer in critical condition, and many people all over Greece are praying for him.

The German Soldier Who Shot a Bullet at an Icon of Saint Barbara


During the German occupation of Greece, in the city of Sparta, there was a German soldier, known in the local community for his awkward and bad character.

One day as he was passing by the Church of Saint Barbara, he repeatedly shot at the icon of the Saint which was on the iconostasis of the crossroads towards Kalogonia, opposite the church. One of the bullets struck the Saint directly on the neck. This naturally made the Spartans react and it made them upset.
 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Pilgrimage to the Holy Peak of Mount Sinai

 
At 2400 meters and after a three hour walk and an ascent of 750 stairs from the Monastery of Saint Katherine, a pilgrim arrives at the Holy Peak of Mount Sinai, where he is greeted by the Chapel of the Holy Trinity on the spot where the Prophet Moses received the Ten Commandments from the Lord. As he enters the chapel and shows us the iconography of the chapel, mainly related to the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness led by Moses and Aaron, the priest leads the faithful in chanting the dismissal hymns to Saint Katherine and the Prophet Moses. Exiting the chapel, he takes us to the cave where Moses stayed for many days on the peak (around the four minute mark). Then he shows us the peak opposite the mountain where the body of Saint Katherine was found, and then the area where the Israelites set up their camp at the foot of Mount Sinai. He concludes by showing their next destination as they descend the mountain - the Monastery of Saint Katherine.
 

Saint Arsenios of Reggio in Calabria (+ 904)

 
Saint Elias the Cave-Dweller (Sept. 11) was born to a wealthy family of nobles in Reggio of Calabria in the year 864. One day a monk approached him in church and upbraided him for his rich clothes and frivolous life. The young man changed at once and at the age of eighteen ran away to Taormina to escape marriage. From there he traveled to Rome to venerate the tombs of the Apostles, but seeing the dissoluteness in the city and its clergy, he returned to Reggio.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Who Is Saint Sava of Serbia? (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

SAINT SAVA is the spiritual revivalist of the Serbian people.

SAINT SAVA is the founder of the national Church of the Serbian people, its first archbishop and organizer.

SAINT SAVA is the strengthener of the Orthodox faith in the Serbian people. He eradicated and rejected Western and other heresies from the Serbian people and established his people in Eastern Orthodoxy. Thus, he most powerfully influenced the determination of the historical destiny of the Serbian people.

The Tomb of Saint Nina in Bodbe Monastery

 
According to Georgian tradition, Saint Nina (or Nino), having witnessed the conversion of Georgians to the Christian faith, withdrew to the Bodbe gorge, in Kakheti, where she died in 338 on 14 January. The cause of her death was "fever and chills", which in modern terminology corresponds to malaria. Grieving over the death of the Enlightener of Georgia, King Mirian III (r. 284-361) decided to take the Saint to Mtskheta and bury her in front of Cathedral of Svetitskhoveli, where the tunic of Christ (allotted to Georgian Jews after the Crucifixion) was buried. However not even two hundred men could move the small coffin in which Nina was carried. Because of this the corpse of the Saint was buried in Bodbe, and the whole kingdom mourned for her for thirty days. King Mirian had a church built at the site of Nina's burial, which later became a convent. Before passing away King Mirian said to Queen Nana, “You, Nana, if God grants you enough time, divide the royal treasury into two and sacrifice half of it to the tomb. Let this place be honored unto the ages.”
 
 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Three Prayers For Every Orthodox Christian Household


Prayer When We Light an Oil Lamp 
or a Candle In Our Homes

Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

Prayer When We Light Incense In Our Homes

Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Hear me, O Lord.

We offer you this incense, Christ our God, as a fragrant spiritual aroma; accept it upon your heavenly altar, and send down upon us the Grace of Your All-Holy Spirit.

Monday, January 11, 2021

What My Grandmother Taught Me

 

By Archimandrite Gregory the Archipelagitis,
Former Abbot of Docheiariou Monastery on Mount Athos

My grandmother taught me with her life and her words the reverence of our forefathers: "Fasting, my child, is the basis of all physical asceticism."

Every Great Lent my grandmother and her entire household went without oil.

She taught me to light an oil lamp, to cense, to light a candle in front of icons, and to pray morning and night.

She taught me to do prostrations as prayers that are accepted by God.

Foolishness for the Sake of Christ


 By Father Chrysostomos,
Monastery of the Panagia Lampidonos

Once, on Mount Athos, I went to the Skete of the Monastery of Xenophontos, in a Cell, where Saint Athanasios the Athonite was being celebrated on his feast. Many pilgrims had come to the festival of the Cell. I was impressed by someone, whose clothing was poor, trying to make himself look like a servant of the belly, and he would go out every now and then to smoke. I asked about him and most of the comments were that he was crazy or something. I got up at some point and I approached him and told him, "Let's go outside for a while." I asked him how he found himself to be on Mount Athos and where he lived. And I said to him, "Have you been on Mount Athos for so many years and you smoke?" In fact, as he smoked, he just took the smoke in and then he released it out. We moved away from the others and I gained his trust and I said, "You will tell me the truth," and he explained to me how he came to be on Mount Athos. He lived in a cell on a hill, which had no windows, just a sleeping mattress, a candle and some books. His survival was made by serving the fathers of the Skete, shopping for them in Karyes and generally doing their chores. He never told anyone, "I'm tired and can't go." Karyes was about forty-five minutes on foot. And he told his story and I realized that I did not have a common man next to me. In the end I asked him, "Have they not proposed to make you a monk who has lived in the Skete for so many years?" And he said, "Of course, and the Abbot said it, but I believe if I was going to become a monk I could not do it." This was an excuse I did not believe. He struggles, he struggled and I am sure that at that time when his soul will rise, those who made fun of him will understand. Many years have passed since then and I do not know if he is alive.

The Nun Who Passionately Loved Christ


By Demetrios Panagopoulos (1916-1982), 
Preacher

I once knew a nun, who had divine eros. This nun helped me with her manner, so that in 1951 I returned on the path of God. This nun, when she said the word "Christ", abundant tears ran from her eyes, as if someone turned on a faucet within her. I have never seen anything like this in anyone else (I have seen it also with Elder Hieronymos of Aegina). This nun would tell me characteristically: "People should know, my Demetrios, how much Christ loves us!" As she said this the tears were running without stopping. We don't have such things, and the only things we care about, are if the third bell has rung so we can go to church for the last minute.
 

Translation by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 
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