Friday, June 18, 2021

Saint Leontios, Bishop of Neapolis (+ 668)

St. Leontios of Neapolis (Feast Day - June 18)

Saint Leontios was born around 590 in the Cypriot city of Neapolis, which today is called Limassol. At some point he became the Bishop of Neapolis.

We do not know much about his life, and what we do know is of little certainty, but he is primarily known for what he wrote.

He wrote the Life of John the Merciful, which was commissioned by Archbishop Arkadios of Constantia. Some believe that Leontios knew Saint John the Merciful (+ 619) personally and had met him in his younger years in Alexandria. Whether this is true or not, we know that he gathered the details of his life when he went on a pilgrimage to Alexandria to venerate the relics of Saints Cyrus and John.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Holy New Hieromartyr Parthenios Pagkostas of Patmos (+ 1629)

St. Parthenios of Patmos (Feast Day - June 17)


You were called, Parthenios, to confess Christ,
Courageously you contested, boast of Patmos.

Saint Parthenios, who was known as Panagiotis Pagkostas in the world, came from a noble family on the island of Patmos, and was a ship captain by trade. Commercial reasons often forced him to travel to various ports in Europe, even to those in the distant Netherlands. At some point he no longer desired worldly pursuits and decided to devote his life fully to Christ by becoming a monk at the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Patmos.

In the year 1606 Parthenios signed as Abbot of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian a letter he sent to the governor of the Venetian Republic of Crete. In 1607, the year of the foundation of the Monastery of Zoodochos Pege, he is still the Abbot of the Monastery. This is confirmed by the wall plaque which is the founding inscription on the lintel of the main entrance of the katholikon of Zoodochos Pege: "Parthenios the Hieromonk and Abbot of Patmos...."

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

1955 Encyclical of Saint Luke of Crimea (To Encourage Priests To Always Preach the Gospel Even Though They May Not Be Theologically Educated)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea
(1955 Encyclical) 

To Encourage Priests To Always Preach the Gospel 
Even Though They May Not Be Theologically Educated
If the priest seeks for the grace of God, if the mind and heart of the priest are filled with the words of God, then his mouth will speak from the heart.

The Holy Spirit who dwells in the heart of the priest, He will preach through the humble mouth of the priest…

There are so many subjects for sermons in Holy Scripture that one can easily find them if one reads them. But few read them…

Remember, brethren, also Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who read the whole of the New Testament every week.

But some do have a hard time preaching… What about them?

When Metropolitans Neophytos of Morphou and Athanasios of Limassol Visited Eldress Galaktia

In a 2017 sermon, Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou spoke the following words about Eldress Galaktia, without naming her, recalling a visit he made to see her in Crete together with Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol.

I know a holy woman in Crete, an old woman, a nun, a great saint. When she reposes it will be understood. Even the people of Crete have not come to recognize her value.

I was with the Metropolitan of Limassol, and I told him: "I know this holy woman, let's go see her." We went.

She described our character, our health issues, our problems, our Metropolises, and even said something about each of our futures. It was amazingly accurate.

Saint Dodo of Gareji (+ 623)

A companion of Saint David of Gareji, Saint Dodo was born around 532 and belonged to the royal family Andronikashvili. He was tonsured a monk while still a youth, and was endowed with every virtue.

An admirer of poverty and solitude, he labored as a hermit at Ninotsminda in Kakheti.

Having heard about the miracles of David of Gareji, Saint Dodo set off for the Gareji Wilderness to witness them himself. The venerable fathers greeted one another warmly and began laboring there together.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Last Words of Eldress Galaktia

By Father Antonios Fraggakis,
Preacher of the Holy Metropolis of Gortyna

She told us on 25 March 2021:

(These words were heard by five people and I immediately communicated them to Metropolitans who respect and love her.)

"I'm leaving. I wanted to stay in order to first fulfill a certain wish of mine, but I can do it from there. I said to the Great Master: 'Please take me now! I don't want honors on my wretchedness.'"

I asked her:

"What did He say?"

"We shall see it."

Saint Photios the Great Against the Augustinian Doctrine of Original Sin

Theodore of Mopsuestia (ca. 350-428) wrote a book titled Against the Defenders of Original Sin which Saint Photios the Great read and reviewed in his Bibliotheca (177). It is often said that Theodore was the only eastern bishop who not only spoke about but also against Original Sin as formulated in the West, but with this review we see that Saint Photios does as well.  The chief defender of the doctrine of Original Sin, according to Theodore, was someone named "Aram", which scholars today mostly agree refers to Saint Jerome. However, Saint Jerome defended the doctrine of Original Sin primarily as a reaction to the extremes of Pelagianism, following in the footsteps of Saint Augustine. In actual fact, it was Saint Augustine who formulated the doctrine of Original Sin, also as a reaction to the extremes of Pelagianism, which is why Fr. George Florovsky writes of this book, "Theodore wrote against St. Augustine’s doctrine of original sin." Saint Photios was clearly unaware of both Saint Augustine's and Saint Jerome's defense of this doctrine, which he views as an obvious heresy foreign to the teachings of the Church and an extreme reaction against Pelagianism. Seeing that he praises Saint Augustine elsewhere in his writings, one wonders what he would have said about him if he knew that it was he who formulated this heresy. For pointing out the errors of these anonymous defenders of Original Sin, which were primarily Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome, Theodore of Mopsuestia is praised by Saint Photios, however Theodore also takes a wrong turn at points and falls into Nestorianism and Origenism and Pelagianism, which Saint Photios also discerned and condemned. Further, Theodore clearly embellished some points about Jerome in particular to make him look worse and supplement his argument. Unfortunately, everything we know of Theodore of Mopsuestia's book Against the Defenders of Original Sin comes from this review of Saint Photios and some fragments that alone have come down to us. Below is the excerpt of Saint Photios's review dealing with this book against Original Sin, to show how he condemned without hesitation this "new" false doctrine as something foreign to the Church.

Homily on Saint Jerome (Metr. Sotirios of Pisidia)

By Metropolitan Sotirios of Pisidia

On June 15th the Church remembers St. Jerome, a commemoration highlighting the bond between East and West that existed before the Great Schism (1054).  He was born in the Roman province of Dalmatia (which includes today’s city of Grahovo Polje, Slovenia) in the year 347.  His parents were wealthy Christians, who sent their son to Rome for an education under the best teachers.  He studied Latin and Greek Literature, as well as Philosophy and Rhetoric.  After that, the Saint studied Theology in Trier (the Celtic city of Trevorum, which is on the border between France and Germany), Aquileia (the ancient Roman city on the gulf of the Adriatic Sea) and in Antioch of Syria.  In Constantinople, he studied under St. Gregory the Theologian (329-390) and in Alexandria under Didymus the Blind (c. 313-398).  From this valuable experience came a thorough education and fluency in five languages, which prompted Pope Damasus (366-384) of Rome to invite St. Jerome to become his personal secretary and advisor in 382.  Despite such a high position, St. Jerome felt called to the Holy Land. After a long time in the Nitrian Desert (in northwestern Egypt, between Alexandria and Cairo), engaged in spiritual exercises in the midst of great holy ascetics, he made Bethlehem his permanent home in 386. While there he founded two monasteries, one for men (where he was the Abbot), and one for women. He was the spiritual father for both communities, and in addition to their monastic obligations, they engaged in studying and writing.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Homily on the Sunday of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered May 25, 1947)

On the Sunday before the great day of Pentecost, the Holy Church celebrates the memory of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod.

We need to know what an Ecumenical Synod is and what the significance of the First Ecumenical Synod was.

The holy apostles told the bishops to hold an Ecclesiastical Synod, that is, a conference of bishops, who together had to decide on the affairs of the Church. It was decided that such Synods should be convened frequently, twice a year. This is how it was done, and such local Synods were convened to resolve not very important issues.

On the Sunday of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod (St. Neophytos the Recluse)

 Catechesis 15

On the Holy Fathers of the Synod of Nicaea and
On the Orthodox Faith Which They Dogmatized and
That Right Faith is Needed as Well as Right Life

By St. Neophytos the Recluse

Today is a feast between two bright and saving feasts [the Ascension and Pentecost]. Today, between two great festivals that reach to heaven, the multi-luminous stars make their appearance. Today, between the two chariots whose path leads to heaven, three hundred and eighteen charioteers have appeared, not of course to direct these two steered chariots, but to direct those who do not believe and have mounted the chariots, to lead them towards faith, since the one chariot lifted from earth towards the heavenly arches with the flesh-bearing God the Word from the earth to the bosom of the Father, while the other chariot is the "the other Comforter" (Jn. 14:16) instead of Christ who ascended, which He sent down from heaven "like the blowing of a violent wind" (Acts 2:2), that the words of Christ may be fulfilled when He said "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (Jn. 16:7-8).

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (Fr. George Florovsky)


By Fr. George Florovsky 

The city of Nicaea was selected as the city to host the First Ecumenical Council. Constantinople was to be officially inaugurated only in 330 and hence at the time of the convening of the Council of Nicaea the imperial residence was in Nicomedia, very close to Nicaea. Nicaea — its name comes from the Greek for "victory" — was easily accessible by sea and land from all parts of the empire. The imperial letter convening the council is no longer extant. Eusebius informs us that the emperor sent letters of invitation to the bishops of all countries and instructed them to come quickly — σπευδειν άπανταχόθεν τους επισκόπους γπάμμασι τιμητικοίς πpoκaλoυμevoς. All expenses were to be paid from the imperial treasury. The number of bishops present has come down to us as 318 — so states Athanasius, Socrates, and Theodoret. An element of mystical symbolism became attached to this number of 318, some seeing in the Greek abbreviation a reference to the cross and a reference to the "holy name of Jesus." St. Ambrose in his De fide (i, 18) connected the number of 318 with the number of servants of Abraham in Genesis 14:14. The number differs in other accounts. For example, Eusebius gives the number as two-hundred and fifty — πεντηκοντα και διακοσίων αριθμόν. But Eusebius does not include the number of priests and deacons. Arabic accounts from a later period give the number of more than two-thousand bishops. The extant Latin lists of signatures contain no more than two-hundred and twenty-four bishops. There appears to be no reason why the number of 318 is not in fact accurate. If one includes the number of priests, deacons, and others, then the number may have reached two thousand.

Reflection for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod (St. Theophan the Recluse)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

Arius began to deny the divinity of the Son of God and His oneness in essence with God the Father. The entire Church rose up against him; all believers, from all ends of the earth, unanimously confessed that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Only-Begotten Son of God, true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father. One would think that this unanimity was purely coincidental, but this faith was then tried by fire when the authorities and powerful of this world began to side with the Arians. Neither fire, nor sword, nor persecution could extinguish this faith, and it was immediately found everywhere among everyone, as soon as the pressure from external powers ceased. This means that it makes up the heart of the Church and the essence of her confession. Glory be to the Lord, Who preserves this faith within us! For, as long as it exists, we are still Christians, though we may not live as such. If it ceases to exist, Christianity will end.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

How Saint Onouphrios Became the Patron Saint of Munich

According to historical sources (Anton Mayer, Münchner Sonntagsblatt, 1863), the founder of the city of Munich, Heinrich der Löwe, Duke of Bavaria, traveled to Jerusalem in 1172 where he visited a monastery containing the relics of Saint Onouphrios. When the monks told him about the life and holiness of the great hermit of the desert, the Duke begged to be given a portion of his sacred relics. As soon as he received the holy relic, he immediately proclaimed Saint Onouphrios the patron saint of his army for their safe return to Munich. When he arrived in Munich, he proclaimed Saint Onouphrios the patron saint of Munich and placed his relic in a special reliquary in the chapel of Munich Palace.

In the year 1416 Heinrich Primat, a native of Munich, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. For a safe return to Munich he vowed to donate a large iconographic representation of Saint Onouphrios to the main gate of the wall that led to the center of Munich. He made his vow by placing a large statue of Saint Onouphrios next to the gate, in front of his house, in the central square of Munich, which was also the commercial center of Bavaria.

Saint Onouphrios Saves a Child Who Had Fallen Down a Cliff

Mr. Anastasios Soukoulis from Corinth told us the following:

I was a small child, in the early grades of Elementary School, and one day I stayed at home with my grandfather. My parents lived on our estates, far from the village, since it was summer and they were harvesting.

When I woke up in the morning, my grandfather had left to carry the bundles from the fields with the animals, and he had locked the door of our house. Since I had no other way out of the house I tried to get out through the window without thinking that there was a cliff below.

Friday, June 11, 2021

How the Meryem of a Troubled Turk in Chios Became a Source of Great Veneration in Ierapetra, Crete

In 1821 Turkish troops were ordered to suppress the Revolution in Greece by any means. Among the hunted were two Greeks from Reisdere, a coastal village in Asia Minor not far from Smyrna (Izmir). They were seeking to escape Chios at the time, which had been hell on earth for the Greeks there, with a large amount of them slaughtered and the island burning with a consuming fire from one end to the other. After this, with men hard to find, despairing women wept and lamented as they too were slaughtered, abused, dragged through the streets and sold into slavery.

In such an atmosphere, the two Greeks from Reisdere took every precaution to not be noticed by a Turk and find a means by which they could cross the sea and get back home. Suddenly, a certain Turk approached them, guided somehow by the Mother of God, holding in his hands an icon of the Virgin Mary. With trembling hands he extended the icon to them and begged them to take it, saying:

"Take this Meryem." (Meryem is the Turkish pronunciation of Mariam or Mary.)

The Life and Trials of Saint Luke of Crimea

By Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of Vatopaidi Monastery

(Beroea, 6 June, 2016)

Most people, even Christians, are frustrated, discouraged and wearied by the sorrows of life, which are unavoidable: ‘We must suffer many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God’.[1] We shouldn’t see the sorrows of this life through the prism of transitory reasoning, but through that of eternity. This is when life acquires meaning and the meaning of sorrow in our lives is revealed to us: in the end they form the way of the Cross which we must follow in order to reach salvation and sanctification.

Saint Luke, Archbishop of Crimea and a doctor, is one of the saints who really did experience the way of the Cross and, with this experience and the gift of divine Grace which he had in abundance, he talked, taught, and was an example to all the faithful, with the sorrows and persecutions he endured without complaint.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

First Homily on the Ascension of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ (St. Gregory Palamas)


On the Ascension of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ

Also Describing How the Sabbath As Laid Down in the Law is Fulfilled

By St. Gregory Palamas

1. The Jews kept the Feast of the Passover, the crossing from Egypt to the land of Palestine, as laid down in their law, and we have celebrated the gospel Pascha, the passage of our human nature in Christ from death to life (cf. JN. 5:24; I JN. 3:14), from corruption to incorruption (cf. I COR. 15:42, 50). What words can express the superiority of this celebration over the solemnities of the old law and the events commemorated on its holy days? No one can adequately state how much more excellent it is. The enhypostatic Wisdom of the most high Father, God's pre-eternal Word who is beyond all being, who was united with us in His love for mankind and lived among us (JN. 1:14), has now revealed through His actions a cause for celebration even more distinctly superior than Pascha's excellence. For we now celebrate the transition of our nature in Him, not just from the subterranean regions up on to the earth, but from the earth to the heaven of heavens, and to the throne above the heavens of Him who rules over all.

Homily on the Day of the Ascension of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin (1807-1869)  

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven ..." (Mark 16:19).

You, Christian listeners, after your death, do you want to go to Heaven, to the Kingdom of Heaven, where our Lord Jesus Christ is now? Of course, you say: We want this. What shows that you want this? Whoever wants something, thinks about it; but do we often think of Heaven? Whoever wants something, talks about it; but how often do we talk about Heaven? Whoever desires something, works for that, labors; but are we working for Heaven, are we laboring? Whoever desires something, asks God most of all for it; but do we ask God most of all for the Kingdom of Heaven when we pray? And now, have we come to the temple of prayer for the Kingdom of Heaven? Ah, listeners, in our life it is almost impossible to see that we want to be in Heaven.

Reflection on the Ascension of the Lord (St. Theophan the Recluse)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

Saint Paul expresses the power of the Lord’s Ascension in this manner: "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men" (Eph. 4:8). Having satisfied God’s righteousness, the Lord opened for us all the treasures of God’s goodness. This is indeed a capturing or taking of spoils after victory. The beginning of the distribution of these spoils to people is the descent of the Holy Spirit, Who, having descended, always abides in the Church and gives everyone that which he needs, receiving all from that captive captivity (cf. Eph 4:8). Come everyone and take. But prepare for yourself to be a guardian of that treasure, which is a pure heart; have hands to take it, which is unreflecting faith. Then approach with hopeful trust, and praying relentlessly.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Forty Days After the Resurrection of Christ (St. John Chrysostom)

By St. John Chrysostom

"Being seen of them during forty days" (Acts 1:3). He was not always with them now, as He was before the Resurrection. For the writer does not say "forty days," but, "during forty days." He came, and again disappeared; by this leading them on to higher conceptions, and no longer permitting them to stand affected towards Him in the same way as before, but taking effectual measures to secure both these objects, that the fact of His Resurrection should be believed, and that He Himself should be ever after apprehended to be greater than man. At the same time, these were two opposite things; for in order to the belief in His Resurrection, much was to be done of a human character, and for the other object, just the reverse. Nevertheless, both results have been effected, each when the fitting time arrived.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Holy Venerable Martyrs Theophanes the Elder and Paisios of Messolonghi (+ 1773) - Two Kollyvades Fathers from the Skete of Saint Anna on Mount Athos

Sts. Theophanes and Paisos the Kollyvades (Feast Day - June 8)

Saint Paisios was born in Messolonghi in the early 18th century. We do not have much information about his early years, but at some point he left the world and went to Mount Athos to become a monk, settling at the Skete of Saint Anna. There he lived in asceticism in the Hut of the Prophet Elias under the guidance of Saint Theophanes the Elder. Elder Theophanes was illiterate, but he had a calm and sweet character with a virtuous soul, whereas Paisios was educated and worked as a calligrapher in his hut, copying the works of the Holy Fathers, and having the entire Psalter memorized.

In the year 1754 the main church of the Skete of Saint Anna was demolished and a new one was going to be built that was much larger. The monks of the Skete went throughout the Ottoman Empire in search of donations to accomplish their task, to which they promised their donors in return to memorialize their names and their deceased loved ones at their vigils. The number of names reached over 12,000, and memorials at vigils at that time was traditionally done on Saturdays. However, on Saturdays some monks were occupied with building the church, while others were at Karyes selling their handiwork which was usually done on Saturday by all the monks of Mount Athos. For these reasons, it was the request of the monks to hold these memorial vigils on Sunday instead of Saturday, breaking ecclesiastical tradition. Many monks protested such a move, since Sunday as a day of Resurrection and joy is unfit for memorials, while Saturday is designated as a day of mourning and praying for the dead. Thus in 1755 the Kollyvades controversy began.

5 Beautiful Chapels on the Greek Islands Dedicated to Saint Kalliopi the Martyr

It is unknown where the Holy Martyr Kalliopi was from, who suffered during persecution of the reign of Emperor Decius (249-251). She was known for her physical and spiritual beauty, produced through her virtue and deep piety. For her faith in Christ she was arrested and led before the pagan eparch for judgment. He immediately observed Kalliopi's beauty, and desired to have her as his own, seeking with promises and flattery to convince her to be with him. But Kalliopi remained indifferent to these and was unshakable in her faith. This enraged the eparch, who saw that his hopes were crushed, and he ordered that she be immediately tortured to death. Thus, having been whipped mercilessly, and having had her breasts cut off, they burned her with lit torches, and poured vinegar and salt on her wounds. In the end, they beheaded her, and thus Saint Kalliopi received the unfading crown of glory, and entered into the joy of her Bridegroom Christ.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Sunday of the Blind Man - The Miracle of Creation (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay." (Jn. 9:6)

The blind man of today's Gospel reading not only had an eye ailment that deprived him of the ability to see, but he was congenitally blind. That means he was eyeless. That is, not only did he not have the sense of sight, but he had no eyes at all. So the Lord did both. On the one hand, He created eyes and on the other hand, He gave him the power of sight.

However, the way of Christ's creative energy in this case, shows some truths that we want to emphasize with today's short sermon.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sunday of the Blind Man - The Manifestation of the Works of God

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin (1807-1869)  

"Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (Jn. 9:3)

Jesus Christ, passing through the city of Jerusalem, saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him: "Rabbi! Who sinned, he or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus Christ answered: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

Christian listeners! And nowadays there are many people who are in poverty, apparently without any guilt, and when we see these unfortunate people, we often ask: why are they, the poor, suffering? The answer to this question is the same as that which Jesus Christ gave to the apostles: these unfortunate ones suffer so that the works of God may manifest in them; it is they who suffer in order to get rid of great suffering; who live in poverty in order to get rid of great troubles. Yes, listeners, they suffer in body - but they will not suffer in soul; they suffer for some time - but eternally they will be blissful; they do not see the light of the sun - but they will see the unapproachable Light; they do not walk on the earth - but will fly to Heaven; they do not hear the worldly - but they will hear the heavenly; they are silent among people - but they will converse with the Angels.

Reflection for the Sunday of the Blind Man (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 By St. Theophan the Recluse

Simplicity of faith argues with crafty unbelief. Faith, coming to the blind man who received sight, enlightened his mind’s eyes, and he clearly saw the truth. See how everything was logical for him. They ask him: "What do you say of Him who gave you sight?" "He is a prophet," he answered, that is, the messenger of God, clothed in miracle-working power. An indisputably true conclusion! But learned erudition does not want to see this trueness and seeks to evade its consequences. However, this being impossible, it approaches unlearned simplicity with the suggestion: Give God the praise, we know that this man is a sinner. Simplicity of faith does not know how to connect these concepts — sinfulness and miracle-working - and expresses this openly: "Whether he be a sinner or not, I don't know; one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." What can one say against such deduction? But the logic of the unbelievers is obstinate, and even in the face of obviousness it is not ashamed to affirm that it does not know where he who opened the blind man’s eyes is from. "Herein is a marvellous thing," the sensible logic of faith says to them, "that ye know not from whence He is, and yet He hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God hears not sinners, but if any man be a worshipper of God, and does His will, him he hears. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, He could do nothing" (John 9:17–33). It would seem as though after this nothing remained other than to bow down before the power of such a conclusion. But learned erudition could not stand the sensible logic of faith, and drove it away... Go now, prove the truth of the faith to those whose mind has been corrupted with obstinate unbelief. The unbelievers of all times are cut from the same cloth.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

A Guardian of the Holy Sepulchre Testifies Against the Enemies of the Miracle of the Holy Light

In 2018, when there were many media reports out of Jerusalem and Greece with accusations that the annual miracle of the Holy Light of Jerusalem is a hoax, Monk Theodoulos, a former monk of Saint Katherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai, who then became the morning guardian of the Tomb of Christ in the Holy Sepulchre, gave the following interview. Here he responds to the accusations of Bishop Samuel, Abbot of the Armenian brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, who called the miracle a hoax, and started the media storm. Monk Theodoulos reveals the hoax behind the accusations of the Armenian abbot.

According to Monk Theodoulos, Bishop Samuel was trying to film an interview for television on the Holy Sepulchre, but Monk Theodoulos informed him that filming is prohibited unless he has permission from the three Patriarchates of Jerusalem - the Greek, the Armenian and the Coptic. Bishop Samuel assured him he had the permission, when in fact he did not, but Monk Theodoulos believed him and allowed the filming. Therefore, to get the permission to film the interview, the Armenian Bishop lied and deceived.

The Tradition of the Open Beautiful Gate During the Resurrection Period

By George Zaravelas, Theologian

The Resurrection period of the Pentecostarion, which lasts for forty days, from the night of the Resurrection of Christ until the Wednesday of the week of the Blind Man - on the eve of the Ascension - is distinguished for its ritual idiosyncrasies, especially during Renewal Week. Among the special liturgical elements is the opening of the Beautiful Gate of the sacred bema.

This act is an informal tradition, which does not seem to be officially testified to anywhere. The priest, after opening the Beautiful Gate and leaving it to solemnly transmit the Holy Light before the Resurrection ceremony, now leaves the door of the Gate open for the period of the Pentecostarion.

Friday, June 4, 2021

"The Little Lily" - A Poem of Eldress Galaktia

The Little Lily

A little all-white lily
has sprouted in this yard of mine
how much I would like to resemble it
this wretched soul of mine.

Its petals have opened
it looks at the sky
and He who sent it to earth
it sings hymns to Him and glorifies.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

A Testimony of the Spiritual Gifts of Eldress Galaktia

The following testimony was written by a young man from Glyfada, Attica. He visited Eldress Galaktia in Crete and wrote about his experiences, and this testimony was published on the official website of the Metropolis of Morphou.

I did not know Eldress Galaktia. But I happened to find out about her. I made a trip from Athens and visited her in the summer of 2019. At that time I was in a relationship with a girl who was pushing me to complete it. My spiritual father encouraged me to do it, telling me that since we love each other and there is the prospect of a serious development of the relationship, it is not wrong.

However, I did not find rest, because what he was telling me was completely contrary to my beliefs. After much thought, and being confused within myself, I found a Metropolitan and told him my thoughts. He referred me to Eldress Galaktia in Crete. I made the trip and they welcomed me with joy. The sweet grandmother was shining and was fragrant! A mystical but powerful light was coming out of her that you could hardly look at. Peace reigned there.

Loukas Notaras, Known as the "Pillar of the Romans", Was Executed By the Sultan Five Days After the Fall of Constantinople

Loukas Notaras was the last Megas Doux of the Roman Empire. This position (literally Grand Duke, but more appropriately Lord High Admiral) had been expanded under the late Palaiologoi emperors and functioned as an unofficial Prime Minister, overseeing the Imperial Bureaucracy in place of the Megas Logothetes who had previously exercised this function.

Because of his famous phrase "I would rather see a Muslim turban in the midst of the City than the Latin mitre," he is often thought to have been in league with the Synaxis and the Orthodox resistance to the Union of Churches established by the Synod of Ferrara-Florence. This is in fact not the case, as he worked with Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos to secure Western aid by whatever avenues they could find while simultaneously attempting to avoid riots by the Orthodox faithful. You could say he was against the Union, but he was not fanatical and looked for pragmatic solutions. Unfortunately for his memory, this pragmatic middle course led to his vilification by both sides of the debate, attacks which were not lessened by the intense politicking going on among the late Imperial hierarchy. Constantine's close friend and personal secretary, George Frantzis, for instance, seldom has a charitable word for Notaras and his antipathy was adopted by Edward Gibbon in turn.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Eldress Galaktia, in the world known as Galatia Kanakakis (+ 2021)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

On 20 May 2021, a blessed nun reposed, Eldress Galaktia, who lived in the village of Pompia Moires, Heraklion, Crete. Her repose moved me deeply, because I knew her, through Father Antonios Fraggakis, Preacher of the Holy Metropolis of Gortyna, for over a decade and I had constant contact with her.

I consider it a special gift of God that I met her and, mainly, because she considered me as her child and of course I considered her as my mother. Until now I have never spoken publicly about her and the communication I had with her, except to a few people I know, but now I will do it after her repose.

The first time we met was in Heraklion, Crete, when she came to meet me in April of 2013, and the second time I visited her at her house, which was like a monastic cell, and we walked to the Holy Monastery of Koudouma and discussed theological and spiritual matters.

Saint Nikephoros the Confessor Resource Page

St. Nikephoros the Confessor (Feast Days - March 13, June 2)

As Patriarch you stand next to the Patriarch,
The divine elder Abraham O Nikephoros.
On the second Nikephoros found a share in heaven.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Saint Justin Popovich and the Sweet Watermelon

One day a certain nun visited Saint Justin Popovich in his cell to offer him some watermelon, which he received with gratitude. 
The nun left, but curiosity overtook her and she looked through his keyhole to see if he would eat it. 
All of a sudden she saw him drop ashes on the watermelon before eating it.

For days she was troubled by this action of the Saint, to the point where she was unable to bear it anymore and approached him to ask why he did that.

He replied: "My child, I did not want the taste of the fruit to become sweeter than my sweet Jesus."

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