Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Best of March 2021 by the Mystagogy Resource Center (MRC)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Commemoration of the Negligent Monk who Joyfully Died Because He Did Not Condemn Anyone


In Slavic Churches there is included in the festal calendar the commemoration of an unnamed negligent monk who died joyfully because he had victoriously passed his entire life without ever condemning or judging anyone and forgiving those who wronged him in any way. His feast is on March 30th and is based on the following story as recorded by Saint Anastasios of Sinai:

A certain monk, living in a monastery, spent his days carelessly, not caring about his salvation, but indulging all his life in idleness. Having lived to his advanced years, he was approaching death. When he fell ill with a serious illness and was already at his last gasp, he was not at all afraid of death, but prepared to be parted from the body with joy, praising and glorifying God. The brothers and the abbot of that monastery who surrounded him said to him:

The Origins of John Climacus: Was He the Son of Saints Xenophon and Maria?


In his Life of John of the Ladder, Daniel, a monk of Raithu and contemporary of John, writes: "I cannot say for certain in what memorable city this great man was born and reared." For a man whose book The Ladder holds such a special place in the life of the Church, to not know anything of his origins, is most unfortunate, though it has helped monastics through the ages to focus more on what he wrote rather than the writer himself.

While it gives Saint John Climacus somewhat of an aura of mystery, there still have been speculations. Perhaps the most popular speculation is that which is recorded by Saint Dimitri of Rostov in his Life of Venerable John of the Ladder, where he presents the case that John Climacus was the son of Saints Xenophon and Maria and the brother of Arkadios, who are commemorated by the Church all together as a family on January 26th. Saint Dimitri writes the following information in a footnote:

Monday, March 29, 2021

Great Lent Is An Extraordinary Time To Learn To Truly Pray


By Monk Moses the Athonite

The main elements of Great Lent are prayer and fasting. Prayer presupposes faith. A person who does not pray is helpless, insecure, blind and alone.

They are attached to the earth, to matter, they do not know how to fly high, to sail in the heavens, to have necessary celestial assistance. They are magnetized, bound, clinging to the perishable earth. They do not detach easily. They try to treasure the earth. They are constantly looking for pleasures, to make them happy, but rather they give them pain. It is sad and worthy of lamentation to see them seeking joy in the mud. The ascent to heaven begins with repentance, sincere repentance, compunctionate remorse. It is worth feeling that you were not created for the dirt. Empathy does not really make you happy. Adherence to the hereafter is a serious mistake and has costs with bitter consequences. It is not impossible to climb higher than the peaks. It is possible for everyone. As long as they want it, they love it. At first we are hesitant, cowardly, scared, we do not want to risk it.

The Church of Saint Athanasios in Thessaloniki and the Greek Revolution of 1821


The Church of Saint Athanasios is located in the center of the city of Thessaloniki, southeast of the Church of Acheiropoietos, at the junction of Egnatia Street with Sokratous Street.

According to an inscription above the southern entrance, the church was built in 1818. It is a three-aisled wooden-roofed basilica with a nave, an architectural type that was widespread in Macedonia during the Turkish occupation and especially in the 19th century.

However, one of the tragic events of the Greek Revolution in Thessaloniki, which is associated with the church, and remains unknown in the collective memory of the city, is what happened in the then newly built Church of Saint Athanasios.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Second Sunday of Great Lent - Saint Gregory Palamas and the Paralytic (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men." (Mk. 2:3)

On the Second Sunday of the Fast, the Church decided to celebrate the memory of Saint Gregory Palamas, as a continuation of the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Indeed, today we heard the echo of last Sunday, since Saint Gregory was a worthy son of the Church, who contributed to the triumph of Orthodoxy in a difficult time.

Saint Gregory Palamas, a great hesychast, and then Archbishop of Thessaloniki, expressing the experience of all the Holy Fathers, fought the Rationalism of the fourteenth century and protected the Orthodox Faith from the danger of agnosticism and pantheism, developing the fundamental truth of the Church around the mystery of the indivisible division of the essence and energy of God. This teaching is necessary for our time, because many have a personal ignorance of the energy of God, as a result of which they confuse it with something created, while others speak thoughtfully about these great issues of the faith.

Homily for the Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

In 1341 the teachings of Barlaam the Calabrian were condemned at the Synod of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch ordered his writings to be burned, while the teachings of St. Gregory Palamas were vindicated.

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

(Delivered in 1987)

Today we celebrated the memory of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki. Saint Gregory is a great theologian of our Church, a great spiritual teacher, a great Hierarch of our Church.

In the fourteenth century westerners, as today so also then, were imbued with the spirit of rationalism and could not understand what divine Grace is and how God's Grace works in man. They tried to rationally interpret what is the Grace of God.

Homily for the Second Sunday of Great Lent (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)


Three Ways That Lead Us Into the Presence of God
 
By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Delivered in 1925)

In today’s Gospel, the paralytic arose immediately, took his bed upon his shoulders and walked past everyone. And everyone was amazed and glorified God saying: “We’ve never seen anything like this”.

Let us take a look at the marvelous powers the Lord reveals for us with this miracle:

He reads people’s hearts, discovering faith in some and malice in others.

He forgives the soul its sins and makes it healthy, purified of the source of sickness and disability.

He restores health to the sick and paralyzed body by the power of His word.

How wonderful, how dreadful and how breathtaking and life-giving is the presence of the living Lord!

Homily on the Second Sunday of the Great Fast (Archbishop Averky of Syracuse)


By Archbishop Averky of Syracuse

On the second Sunday of the Great Fast it is as though this triumph of Orthodoxy is repeated and deepened in connection with the celebration of the memory of one of the greatest pillars of Orthodoxy‚ the hierarch Gregory Palamas‚ Archbishop of Thessalonica‚ who by his grace-bearing eloquence and the example of his highly ascetic private life put to shame the teachers of falsehood who dared reject the every essence of Orthodoxy‚ the podvig (in an approximate translation the word podvig means “spiritual struggle”) of prayer and fasting‚ which enlightens the human mind with the light of grace and makes it a communicant of the divine glory.

Second Sunday of Great Lent - Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)


By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

On this day is celebrated the memory of our Holy Father Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki. The Horologion says this about him:

"This divine father was from Asia Minor, and as a child he was raised in the royal court of Constantinople, where he was educated in both our own and in secular wisdom. After this, while still a youth, he abandoned the imperial court and went to live on the Holy Mountain of Athos and in a skete of Beroea. He spent some time in Thessaloniki to treat an illness brought on by his rigorous lifestyle. In Constantinople he attended a synod that had convened in 1341 against Barlaam the Calabrian and in 1347 against Akindynos who was like-minded to him, where he bravely contested on behalf of the correctness of the doctrines of Christ's Eastern Church. In 1349 he was appointed Metropolitan of Thessaloniki, and he shepherded this flock in an apostolic manner for 13 years. Having lived a total of 63 years in which he wrote many things, he departed to the Lord. His sacred relic is preserved in the metropolis of Thessaloniki, and his Service of Praise was composed by Philotheos the Patriarch in the year 1368, at which time his feast was established for this day."

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Athanasios Diakos, Papaflessas and the Taking Up Of Arms


By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

These two (among others) Clergymen took up arms and went to battle on behalf of the faith and homeland. From an ecclesiastical perspective, did they do the right thing?

Saint Luke of Simferopol needed as a doctor, to dedicate some time (around 1930) to do surgeries for pyogenic infections, temporarily leaving aside the Priesthood. However, during this time he made a great discovery in medical science. His name was discussed (under Stalin!) throughout the Soviet Union. On the radio, in newspapers and in magazines the Priest Luke was praised! The Christians boasted!

Leontius of Neapolis: A Seventh Century Defender of Holy Images


Below is a copy of a paper by Nicholas Gendle titled "Leontius of Neapolis: A Seventh Century Defender of Holy Images". Right click on each page to expand, or read the text here.
 

"Madness With Meaning" - A True Miracle Story of Crazy-John

 
The following story was told by Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou based on the testimony of a certain lady he knows who was a spiritual child of Elder Eumenios, who had given her before his venerable repose the cane of Saint Nikephoros the Leper as well as a portion of his sacred relics. This blessed soul, said the Metropolitan, was close with the late famous Crazy-John (Trelo-Yiannis), whose name in the world was Constantine, about whom, as is well-known, books have been written, albeit in a "fictional" style.

In a certain church in Athens, on the formal and festive day of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the faithful entered, holding icons they had brought from their homes, in commemoration of the restoration of the icons on this bright day. During this Service the lady who is well known to us was present, who at one point saw Crazy-John enter the church, holding above his head a flowerpot with withered flowers! During the procession of the sacred icons, which takes place on this day in some churches, certain Christians were making fun of Crazy-John, for his strange "lifting" of the flowerpot. This good lady of ours, who was processing with Crazy-John, tried to knock some sense into him, saying: "My Constantine, put down the flowerpot now! You're not being serious on such a day and time!" He responded to her: "What you see, is madness with meaning! You see a flowerpot. In the end you will see everyone fall down in veneration!"

Friday, March 26, 2021

Saint Basil the New (+ 944) - with some critical notes

St. Basil the New (Feast Day - March 26)

Venerable Basil the New[1] left the world in his youth, and struggled in a desolate place in Asia Minor where he lived as a grazer. Once, courtiers of the Roman Emperor were passing by and saw him dressed in rags, and were alarmed by his strange appearance. Suspicious of the holy ascetic, they captured him and brought him to the city, where the Arab eunuch Samonas who was a parakoimomenos questioned him. When asked who he was, the Saint merely said that he was a stranger in the land.

They subjected the monk to terrible tortures, but he endured it in silence, not wishing to reveal the details of his ascetic life to them. Samonas lost his patience and asked Saint Basil, “Impious one, how long will you hide, who are you, and from where do you come?”

Holy Hieromartyr Theodore of Cyrene with the Holy Martyrs Irenaeus the Deacon and Serapion and Ammonius the Readers

Sts. Theodore of Cyrene, Irenaeus the Deacon, Serapion and Ammonius the Readers (Feast Day - March 26)

Saint Theodore the Bishop of Cyrene with his companions Saints Irenaeus the Deacon and Serapion and Ammonius the Readers were from Pentapolis of Libya. They all had their tongues cut out probably during the persecution of Diocletian but survived the ordeal, dying in peace during the lapse in persecutions.
 
 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Church Where General Theodoros Kolokotronis Wept in his Darkest Hour


In the early days of the revolution, Theodoros Kolokotronis had marched triumphantly through cheering crowds, but in the following weeks few things went right for him. After the events of Kalamata, he headed north to Karytaina with Nikitas Stamatelopoulos, Elias Mavromichalis, the Plapoutas brothers, Kanellos Deligiannis, Papaflessas and Anagnostaras. Karytaina was an isolated village on a rocky outcrop in the central Peloponnese, with an old Byzantine castle over it. Turks were besieged in the castle by some thousand and a half armed Greeks. When 2000 enemy soldiers with 700 cavalry reached Karytaina from Tripolitsa all the Greeks fled, as Kolokotronis observed from afar with his telescope. For over 400 years of slavery the Greeks were used to obeying orders like good subjects and with the exception of the law-breaking klephts and law-enforcing armatoloi the villagers had no idea how to use a rifle. They needed the first victory, to acquire self-confidence. Kolokotronis had to then hide in a tree to allow the Turks to pass without noticing him. He was left alone and when he was asked by his soldiers to leave to fight another battle, he said: "I am not coming. I sit in these mountains where the birds know me better than my neighbors." Papaflessas ordered a young soldier to stay with Kolokotronis: "Stay with him, so that the wolves don't devour him." Kolokotronis stayed alone. And as he says in his memoirs:

Romanism and Costes Palamas

 

PREFACE

The lecture herein published is being offered in English translation as a means of allowing the descendants of the West Romans to take a preliminary glance at people in South East Europe and the Middle East who still call themselves Romans and sing songs and write poetry about themselves as Romans.

Much in this lecture is a summary of sections of a larger study which among other things examines why the Franks decided that the East Romans should not be called Romans.

This decision had a peculiar impact on a town in Cappadocia which gave two emperors to the empire. In some histories the first one is a Roman emperor because he ruled before Heraclius (610-641) and the second is supposedly a Byzantine emperor because he ruled after.

Two Homilies on the Annunciation to the Theotokos Delivered by Saint Photios the Great

 

Below are copies of two homilies delivered by St. Photios the Great in the ninth century on the Annunciation of the Theotokos. Right click on each page to expand, or read the text here.

Annunciation of the Theotokos Resource Page

 
  Verses

The Angel announced to the Virgin
The great Son of the Father’s great Counsel.
The Angel said, "Rejoice", to Mary on the twenty-fifth.
 
 
On the Annunciation of our Exceedingly Pure Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary (St. Gregory Palamas)

'Homily on the Annunciation' by St. Nicholas Cabasilas

Homily on the Annunciation (St. John of Kronstadt)

Homily on the Annunciation by St. Luke of Simferopol

The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Secret Mysteries of the Annunciation

The Annunciation: An Announcement of Great Joy on Earth

Fasting Rules For Annunciation and Palm Sunday

The Annunciation In Early Christian Art

Liturgical Clarifications Concerning the Akathist Hymn

The Only Thing New Under the Sun

The Theotokos and Ancestral Sin

The Theotokos and the Church

The Theotokos as a Teacher of Asceticism and Noetic Prayer

Saint Paisios the Athonite on the Joy of the Annunciation

The Theotokos, the Workshop of our Salvation

Questions Often Asked About the Mother of God

Annunciation Tower In Moscow

Nazareth Celebrates Annunciation

Bulgarian Traditions For the Annunciation

Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos Resource Page

Panagia Oxylithiotissa: A Church Perched Atop A Volcano

The Discovery of the Holy Icon of the Theotokos in Trikeri in 1825

Priest Distributes 1 Ton of Fish To People of Rhodes

Synaxis In Honor of the Archangel Gabriel

 
 

The Primary Difference Between the Greek Revolution and Both the American and French Revolutions


While the philhellenes of the West looked to Greece as the ancient homeland of Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Thucidydes, Alexander the Great, Plato and Aristotle, those whom they viewed as descendants of the Hellenes themselves went beyond this pagan association and viewed themselves as descendants of the Romans of the Roman Empire, whose capital was the Constantinople founded by Emperor Constantine, which was indelibly attached to Orthodox Christianity; therefore their war of independence was primarily about the freedom to worship freely as Orthodox Christians without being enslaved as lower-class citizens subject to the harsh regulations of the followers of Islam in their own homeland. Contrary to this, America fought for freedom from a king's tyranny, and France for freedom from papal supremacy and a Catholic monarchy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Greek Independence Day Resource Page


"When we got our weapons, 
first we said for the Faith 
and then for the Nation." 
(General Theodoros Kolokotronis)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Documentary: "March 25 - Greek Independence Day"

The First Celebration and Location of Greek Independence Day
 
 
 
 

 

The Romiosini of 1821 and the Great Powers (Fr. John Romanides)


The Romiosini of 1821 and the Great Powers 
 
Orthodoxos Typos
25 March 1978
 
 By Protopresbyter Fr. John Romanides
 
(Translated by John Sanidopoulos)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Kalo Voli! The Famous Wish of the Greek Revolutionaries

Greek Revolutionary hero and general Markos Botsaris shot in the head by a Turk in Karpenisi, painted by Peter von Hess.
 
"Kalo Voli" was a famous wish Greek rebels and revolutionaries wished each other during Turkish rule. It was a last wish that the enslaved Greeks exchanged before starting a battle or a clash with their Ottoman oppressors. Kalo Voli can be translated into English best as "Good Bullet" or even "Good Shot".

The strange and unexpected thing about this wish is that it does not mean what comes to mind. That is, to wish their fellow soldiers a good bullet or good shot with the reasoning being to achieve as many dead enemies as they can.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Second Homily on the Sunday of Orthodoxy (St. Luke of Simferopol)


By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

I have heard some of you ask, "Was fasting instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ or was it designated by the Church?" I was very upset when I heard this. Why was I upset? Because this question shows that you despise the canons of the Church. In this way you become like the heretics who, out of pride, turned away from the Orthodox Church and despise its canons.

Of course fasting was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The Lord Himself fasted for forty days in the wilderness before the preaching of salvation began. To the disciples of John the Forerunner, who asked Him, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?" the Lord replied as follows: "“Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast (Μatt. 9:14-15).

An Old Local Liturgical Custom Came to Light Last Week in Crete



Greek media reported a great tragedy last week, when on Wednesday afternoon a little boy who was two and a half years old was found in a barrel with limewater, under unknown circumstances, in the village of Ligortynos in the municipality of Archanes Asterousia of Heraklion, and while his death was initially confirmed, after 2 hours and 40 minutes he developed a pulse.

The little boy was hospitalized in critical condition and intubated in the Intensive Care Unit of the University General Hospital of Heraklion, from Wednesday night.

The little boy, moreover, had not been baptized before the accident. While the child was in intensive care, an air-baptism was given to him Thursday around midnight, where instead of water the child is baptized in the air in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The name he was given was Zacharias after his two grandfathers who also bear the name, but he was also given the middle name Nikitas, which in Greek means "victorious", in the hopes he would emerge victorious in his struggle for life.

When Archimandrite Pavel Gruzdev Was Taught a Lesson in Humility


The famous elder and confessor, Archimandrite Pavel Gruzdev (+ 1996), told the following story about himself.

Once he, already old and half-blind, went to a big city with a Metropolitan in order to serve with him.

The Metropolitan gave Father Pavel money for the return journey, and they parted. There was time before the arrival of the train, so Father Pavel decided to have lunch.

He entered a cafe, and the girl behind the counter said to him:

"Old man, you better leave, you are poorly dressed."

Monday, March 22, 2021

To the Unknown Orthodoxy (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

(Sermon delivered on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 25 February 2018, at the Metropolitan Church of Saint Demetrios in Nafpaktos)

Today is the Sunday of Orthodoxy, my beloved brethren, and the Orthodox Church celebrates as Theology and as Church and as Life. It is therefore not only about the Orthodox faith, but about Orthodox life - it is ortho-doxy and ortho-life.

As is customary everywhere today, in all the Holy Temples where a Divine Liturgy takes place, sermons on the subject of Orthodoxy will be heard and many Bishops, Clergy and theologians will speak about Orthodoxy. All speakers - Orthodox, Neo-Orthodox, Post-Orthodox, Patristic, Neo-Patristic, Post-Patristic, Modern, Post-Modern - will refer to Orthodoxy and will try to present what they themselves think is the Orthodox Church, Orthodox Theology and Orthodox Tradition.

The question then is: What is Orthodoxy?

Sunday, March 21, 2021

First Sunday of Great Lent - The Secret Life of Orthodoxy (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"...hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn. 1:51)

Nathaniel is surprised because the Lord revealed the guilelessness of his heart and the place where he was. Answering his question, the Lord offers a new revelation: "I assure you that hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." This gives us the opportunity to make a small comment and to present very quickly the greatness of Orthodoxy, which we honor today.

What Is Orthodoxy? (Protopresbyter George Metallinos)


By Protopresbyter George Metallinos,
Professor Emeritus, School of Theology, University of Athens

In speaking about Orthodoxy, we must not repeat the mistake of Pilate when he asked Christ, “What is truth?”1 The correct question is: “Who is Truth?” For the truth is not an idea, a theory, or a system, but a Person, the All-Holy Person of the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. This is how we should ask about Orthodoxy, too, since it is identical with the Theanthropic Person of God the Word. He, as God-Man is Orthodoxy; He is the All-Truth.

1. If we wanted to define Christianity, qua Orthodoxy, in conventional terms, we would say that it is the experience of the presence of the Uncreated (God)2 in history and the potential for the created (man) to become God “by Grace.” Given the continuous presence of God in Christ in historical reality, Christianity offers man the possibility of deification (θέωσις = theosis), just as medical science provides him with the possibility of maintaining or restoring his health, though in both cases through a definite therapeutic process and a specific way of life.
 

First Sunday of the Great Fast - Sunday of Orthodoxy (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)


 By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

The first Sunday of Great Lent is called the "First Sunday of the Fast" or the "Sunday of Orthodoxy". It is called the First Sunday of the Fast because it is the first Sunday of the Great Fast, namely Great Lent. It is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy because on this day we celebrate the restoration of Holy Icons and the Triumph of the Orthodox Faith against the terrible heresy of the Iconoclasts, who were heretics that did not accept ascribing honor to Holy Icons, instead calling this honor "idolatry".

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Nun Sophia Tsatsarounou (+ March 9, 2021) and Two of Her Own Wondrous and Personal Testimonies of the Holy Light of Jerusalem


Nun Sophia Tsatsarounou worked as a pediatrician in various missions around the world and devoted her whole life to the love of fellow human beings and ministry. Despite being bedridden because of a rare musculoskeletal disease, she did not cease to glorify God and teach love without words. She viewed the suffering of her life as her own Via Dolorosa, carrying her own personal cross. Those who knew her called her Sophoula and felt the imprint she left on their hearts. Even while bedridden, she prayed for the whole world. Her love knew no boundaries, that's why everyone loved her deeply. Like a martyr herself, she departed on the Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste in 2021.

Father Ioannis Keramidzis (+ March 19, 2021)


 By Styliani Almp

With great sorrow we received news today of the departure of the holy levite of the Acropolis Museum, Fr. Ioannis Keramidzis!

What a great loss to our Church this blessed man of God is!

He performed the Divine Liturgy daily, commemorating a myriad of names.

He brought rest to thousands of souls from all the lengths and widths of the earth.

Most-fatherly, most-Orthodox, low-key, a worthy laborer in the Vineyard of our Lord.

He was a man of living, continuous, unhesitating and unscattered prayer, that went directly into the ears of Holy God and was always heard, in as much as this humble priest achieved richly the Grace and Love of our Triune God.

He served at the shrine of Panagia Skiadeni in Rhodes, and with the miraculous appearance to him of Saint George he was invited to Athens to serve his humble temple there, in the area of Makriyianni, within the courtyard of the area of the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

He took care to translate the life and teachings of Saint Gabriel (the Fool for Christ) of Georgia, who he made known in Greece. Pilgrims to the temple were able to partake in the Grace and blessing of the personal sacred garment of the Saint, which this holy priest brought back as a treasure.

He was an honorable and direct, untiring and unbending spiritual worker, a brave fighter in the struggles of the faith.

He possessed the good testimony of everyone.

He was a figure that was similar to many Athonite ascetics.

He was without property and always merciful.

He lived and breathed with and for the Saints.

May we have his blessing!

A Good Paradise, Papa-Yianni!

May the Lord richly repay you for all your labors and sacrifices!

May we be found worthy to gaze upon once again your calm figure in the Heavenly Kingdom!

Your departure is a great loss for us!

May we have your blessing! Forgive us!

"Christ is Risen, my joy!" as you used to say.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.  


Clean Saturday Resource Page

 
 
 

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Panagia, our True Mother (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)


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

Among the blessed and holy traditions of our Church is this beautiful typikon that we have: To read the Salutations of the Panagia every Friday night during the period of Great and Holy Lent and to gather all the Orthodox in the churches and to say "Rejoice" to our Panagia, a "Rejoice" that is not only a "poetic license", but mainly expresses the deepest gratitude of our soul to the Mother of God and Mother of us all, to whom we owe so much.

And if we did not have the holy and blessed Theotokos, we would not have our Lord and God and Savior. That is why our Church, as you know, pays great homage to our Panagia, and where Christians gather to praise the Savior Christ, they praise together with Christ our Panagia also.

Clean Friday Resource Page

 
 
 
 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Homily on Fasting (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, 
Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on February 23, 1947)

Great Lent is beginning and I want to speak to you about fasting. You will say: "Why is he talking to us about fasting, since we have been hungry for a long time, and we are going through an ongoing Great Lent?" So what, don't I need to talk about it? Indeed, it is needed very much!

The fast, which you have fasted until now, is a punishment from God, but the fast that begins tomorrow is a holy fast, established by the Holy Church, which is not a punishment from God, but a blessing of God, the mercy of God.

The fast which you have been fasting for a long time, will not give you any kind of reward, because the reward from God is only for good intention. If you fasted out of necessity, because you are unable to eat better, this is not your good intention.

"By Fasting, Vigil and Prayer One Obtains Heavenly Gifts" (A Homily of St. Anthimos of Chios)


By St. Anthimos of Chios

(Addressed to Nuns on April 16, 1946)

It is said: "By fasting, vigil and prayer one obtains heavenly gifts" ("νηστεία, αγρυπνία, προσευχή ουράνια χαρίσματα λαβών"). How beautiful, how comforting are these words spoken by our Holy Fathers, in order to fulfill us! They first of all mention fasting, the mother of virtues, to urge us to make the effort; and then vigil and then prayer.

We will also grab hold of fasting, sisters, so the commotions will cease; that the foolish disturbances and the fuss of the belly will cease. The days of fasting have come; the good fast. When someone wants to ask God for anything, they must fast in order for it to be given. Fasting is so fulfilling, so effective. It soothes the nerves, calms the passions, stores patience within the heart, cleanses the mind, weakens frustrations and scandals; for where fasting takes place, it calms every frustration and disturbance. It banishes arguments, does away with babbling, and one becomes more devout, calm, silent, and less moved to speak words. This is because the cutting off of food does not give the tongue the disposition to speak, and even good words are spoken with difficulty. One only engages day and night in entreaty before God, because after fasting will come vigil and then prayer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Clean Wednesday Resource Page

  
 
 
 
 
 

Saint Patrick and the Legends of the Snakes and the Shamrock


During Great Lent in the year 441, Patrick retired to a mountain in Connaught to commune alone with God. He fasted forty days and forty nights. He wept until his chasuble was soaked with tears. The mountain Croagh Patrick - or Patrick's Hill - is 2,510 feet above the waters of Clew Bay. It is what the Irish call their Holy Mountain. Once a year in July, a pilgrimage is mad to the little chapel on its crest. Some forty thousand pilgrims have climbed the mountain in one day, many  often removing their shoes and socks before ascending a hard path on their bare feet. Now many believe that during Saint Patrick's sojourn upon this mountain that he banished all snakes from Ireland. The life of Saint Patrick, however, has been long shrouded in legend. In reality, the account of Saint Patrick banishing snakes from Ireland was furnished some seven hundred years after Patrick lived, to explain Ireland's freedom from snakes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Blessed Kyra-Maria the Prosphoron-Maker, Keeper of the Holy Icon of Panagia Oikonomissa (+ March 7, 2021)

 

On March 7, 2021, the most revered Maria Dendrinelli departed for heaven at the age of 86, a widow, originally from the island of Kos, a woman of deep faith and much reverence.

An old woman, she loved the Panagia and had her icon, which she had brought from the Dodecanese, in the most central part of her small house, in Agia Paraskevi, Attica.

Kyra-Maria, as she was known, was an amazing person.

In her life could be applied the words of the psalmist: "The Lord sustains the orphan and the widow" (Psalm 145:9). And indeed, God was seen as her helper and her covering and her protector, throughout her difficult life.

The Oldest Christian Monastery in the World (With Frescoes and Greek Inscriptions) Found in Egypt


 
In the Bahariya Oasis, members of a Norwegian-French archaeological expedition discovered a Christian monastic site with frescoes and Greek inscriptions, which is deemed the oldest monastery, perhaps not only in Egypt but also all over the world.

It is a monument that was built around 350 AD in the area of Tal Ganoub Qasr al-Agouz, which is located 370 kilometers southwest of Cairo.

Excavations are being carried out there by the French institution “Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale” (IFAO) and the Norwegian institution “MF Vitenskapelig Høyskole.”

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Theater and Actors of Hypocrisy (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting." (Matt. 6:16)

When the Lord came into the world, He found a perverted spiritual condition. All the worship of fallen man had been transformed into a public spectacle. It was moving in the periphery. Hypocrisy was everywhere. People were anthropocentric even on their path to God. Fasting, prayer, righteousness were the means of projection. Instead of worshiping God, man worshiped himself. He was trying to reach God through his ego. He did not know that deification comes through the blessedness of humility, through the complete disappearance, or rather through the transformation of the ego. This truly horrific situation is vividly and graphically described in today's Gospel passage. The Lord, healing this morbid spiritual condition that was demonic, moved it from the periphery to the depths. Everything must be done "in secret". We will seek today to study a little both hypocrisy and hypocrites.

Clean Week - The First Week of Great Lent (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)


 By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

Holy and Great Lent begins on the day after Cheesefare Sunday. This period is a period of strict fasting, prolonged sacred Services and of general spiritual meditation. During this period not even marriages take place nor any other joyful events. The fasting of Great Lent is most ancient. The divine Chrysostom says that the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod "in assembling together established forty days of fasting, prayer, listening to sacred sermons, worship gatherings, so that during these days we would all with diligence be cleansed, and through prayer and almsgiving and fasting and vigils and tears and confession and by all other means, so that with a clean conscience, as much as it is possible for us," we can celebrate the holy days of the Passion and the Resurrection of the Lord, approaching the Holy Mysteries, which the Lord delivered to us precisely for these days. We fast therefore, says the same Holy Father, "not for Easter nor for the Cross, but for our own sins."

Clean Monday Resource Page

 
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