Tuesday, August 31, 2021

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

Testimony of a Miracle of the Holy Zoni from Monk Hesychios of Konstamonitou

 

When Monk Hesychios of Konstamonitou (+ 1979), who was then named George, first came to the Holy Mountain at the age of 18, he had no spiritual guidance, but was inspired by the life of Saint Anthony the Great to imitate his example as a hermit with extreme ascetic practices in order to attain sanctification. He did not light a stove in his cell despite the humid climate, he would fast austerely and keep vigil. This led to his nervous system being shaken, he lost his strength and as a result he could not speak, eat or sleep. He was on the verge of going mad.

Discourse on the Placement and Veneration of the Honorable Zoni of Theotokos (St. Germanos of Constantinople)


Discourse on the Placement and Veneration of the 
Holy and Honorable Zoni (Girdle) of Our Most Pure Lady 
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

By St. Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople
 
Through the Holy Spirit, David, the Prophet and King, sang, “Glorious things are spoken of you, the City of God”. In this way he revealed, as the City of the Great King, her of whom many wonderful things, praises and hymns have been spoken. But what is this City, in fact? It seems to me that David answers this clearly and beyond doubt when talking about her who was really chosen and is superior to all others. Not because of the excellence of its buildings, nor because it is higher than the highest hills and mountains of the earth. The all-immaculate and all-unblemished Mother of God is higher because of her great, divine virtues and because she excels in purity. The King of royal rulers and Lord of the overlords dwelt in her. Or rather, in accordance with the holy Apostle, we should say that “all the fullness of the deity in bodily form” dwelt in her.

Placement of the Honorable Zoni of the Most Holy Theotokos: Epistle and Gospel Reading


Placement of the Honorable Zoni of the Most Holy Theotokos

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 3.
Luke 1: 46-48
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Verse: For he has regarded the humility of his servant.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 9:1-7

English

Brethren, the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Homily Seven on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "God as the Source of Life and Light" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
God as the Source of Life and Light


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the Doxology that we are interpreting in the sermons of the Summer Sundays we find a summary of the whole teaching of the Church. It is significant that the Holy Fathers tried with prayers and hymns to teach us how to pray to God, but also to show us who God is. This can be seen in the verse that we will analyze today.

Towards the end of the Doxology we sing:

"For You are the source of life; in Your light we shall see light."

This verse is important because it reveals two energies of God, namely life and Light.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Homily Nine on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - The Honorable Forerunner (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


 Homily Nine on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Honorable Forerunner


At the end of the Great Litany, that is, of the "Litany of Peace", after we have mentioned the Panagia and all the Saints, the Priest urges us to dedicate our lives to the God-man Christ. We spoke about the Panagia in a previous sermon. Today we will dwell on the phrase "with all the Saints" and because of the feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Forerunner and Baptist, we will refer to him, who is among the Saints.

Saint John the Forerunner was given the name John, which is interpreted as the "grace of God", and it was given to him by God Himself. He is called the Forerunner, because he preceded Christ and prepared the way for His work. He is called Baptist, because he was found worthy to baptize Christ in the Jordan River. This is a great personality who was praised by Christ Himself, who said: "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist" (Matt. 10:11).

Homily on the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)


 
 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

We now solemnly remember with awe and reverence the beheading of the honorable head of the holy, glorious, prophet, forerunner and baptist of the Lord, John. Why is the beheading of John so venerable, so important and dear to everyone?

Because of the truth, he suffered; because of the truth, his head was cut off; and the truth is dear to all, because in it is the salvation of all.

What would happen on earth if the truth was not observed between people, if the truth was not so kept, respected? Then no one could live on earth. The society of unrighteous and deceitful people cannot exist for a long time: they will be destroyed by themselves or they will destroy each other. Where righteousness is not observed, there is an end near of everything, and unrighteous gain is always dust. Where the truth is not stored, there soon everything perishes, and lawless life is death.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Saint Moses the Ethiopian, the Black Saint With the Pure White Heart


"The sting of sin, has completely blackened my heart, 
therefore with the tears of repentance, 
make it completely white Father, 
through your intercessions." 
 
(Matins Canon to St. Moses the Ethiopian, Ode 1)

The beloved abba of the Gerontikon, Venerable Moses the Ethiopian, is a unique example of deep repentance who is a counterpart to Venerable Mary of Egypt. Today he could be seen as a hero-figure for many, who admire men that are physically strong and are the "bad boys" of society, while at the same time intimidating people with robberies and threats. He was a gang leader that eventually emerged to be one of our greatest Saints. How did this happen? He came into contact with some sanctified ascetics living in the Egyptian desert, which changed his heart and opened his eyes. God gave him a unique opportunity to orient himself where the true light of His presence is. Moses repented!

Friday, August 27, 2021

An Oasis With a Miraculous Chapel Dedicated to Saint Phanourios Off a Busy Highway in Crete

 
Off the busy national road between Rethymnon and Chania there is a chapel in which during the summer months is visited quite often by pilgrims and baptisms are daily performed. This chapel in Crete is dedicated to Saint Phanourios, and it is widely known as a church of miracles, specifically miracles that have helped many children get well by overcoming serious health issues.

According to Father Christos Papoutsakis, who has been the pastor of the chapel for 42 years, one case in point concerns a baby whose parents recently made a vow in the chapel. The baby was standing on the verge of life and death when the parents transported their child to Heraklion for treatment. After much suffering and endless pain the baby was cured, with doctors declaring that they were unable to explain the phenomenon. Naturally, he was baptized in this church and for Father Christos and his parents, it was another miracle.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Homily Six on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "Our Refuge" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


 On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
Our Refuge


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In our analysis of the verses of the Doxology, on a previous Sunday we analyzed what God's mercy means, and how man can taste His mercy and philanthropy. Today we will look at two other verses of the Doxology that refer to God, who is our refuge.

One verse is:

"Lord, you have been our refuge from generation to generation. I said: Lord, have mercy on me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against you."

Elder Justin of the Monastery of Jacob's Well Is In Danger and Is Appealing for Help from Palestinian Authorities


 By Maria Giachnakis, Journalist

Extremist criminals from Samaria (Nablus) are setting fire to the Monastery of Jacob's Well to burn the only monk who has been protecting this holy shrine for many years, Elder Justin.

Elder Justin communicates with me very often even at night and when I hear his voice I always understand that he is in danger.

So now once again his voice on the phone could be heard from the pressure and the agony but also the effort he made to speak to me to say: “Please do something, they are throwing oil on me, setting fire to the monastery and they want to burn me too.”

He was stoned a few days ago and this is not the first time he has been sent to the hospital or been abducted. He still has the marks from the attacks on his head.

Saint Adrian of Ondrusov Protects the Villagers of Obshi During World War 2



During World War 2, Karelia (a region in northwest Russia, bordering Finland) was occupied by the Finns. In 1944, a large offensive of the Soviet troops began on the Karelian Front. In the area of the village of Obzhi, heavy shelling from Katyusha rocket launchers and artillery was conducted. The Finns left the village by the beginning of the offensive. But the Soviet artillerymen did not know this. The shells exploding near the village houses rattled terribly, everything was engulfed in fire and smoke. The villagers, who fled in fear from their homes, lay down with their livestock in a deep ditch by the river. Someone's cow, frightened by the shooting, jumped out of cover and got stuck in a swampy place near the Obzhanka river. But no one, out of fear of dying, dared to help her get out until the shelling stopped and the advanced Soviet units approached. Only then did the villagers come out of their hiding place.

Saint Jeiunio of Gerace (+ c. 1000)

St. Jeiunio of Gerace (Feast Day - August 25)

Gerace is a town in the province of Reggio Calabria in Italy. It is located some 10 km inland from Locri. The town stands on a hill formed of conglomerates of sea fossils from 60 millions years ago. The name of the city derives from the Greek Ierax (Ιέραξ, which means "Sparrowhawk"). According to a legend, the inhabitants of the coast, fleeing from a Saracen attack in 915, were led by a sparrowhawk to the mountains commanding the area of Locri, and here they founded the city. After the Byzantine reconquest of Italy (6th century), the town became an administrative, military and religious capital under the name of Santa Ciriaca. In 986 the Saracens briefly conquered the city, but it returned to Byzantine control until the Norman conquest in 1059.

Four Arguments to Free a Sinner From Despair (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite)


By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

The arguments with which you will be able to free the sinner from despair are these, Spiritual Father.

1) That despair is the greatest and worst of all evils, because it is opposite to and extremely opposed to God. And even though every sin is opposed to God in some way and partially, despair is entirely opposed to God and in every way, because it negates God, and by taking Him out of the picture it makes evil as another God, as well as the cause of evil, the devil. It would make evil stronger than the goodness of God, more infinite than His infinity, and for despair to even be in the place of wherever God is. What can be found that is more impious or more mindless? To believe that powerless sin is more powerful than Power Himself? That the finite is more infinite than the Infinite Himself? And for non-being to be above the Eternal Being? For this reason the Orthodox Confession writes that despair is opposed to the Holy Spirit. Therefore say to the sinner, Spiritual Father, that which Basil the Great says, that is, if it is possible to measure the fullness and the magnitude of the compassion of God, let the sinner then despair, comparing and measuring the amount and magnitude of his sin: “If it is possible to number the multitude of God’s mercies and the greatness of Gods compassion in comparison with the number and greatness of sins, then let us despair” (Lesser Rules 13, PG 31, 1089C). Even if one’s transgressions are measured and counted, the mercy and compassion of God being immeasurable, why should one despair and not know the mercy of God and blame his transgressions: “But if, as is obvious, the latter are subject to measure and can be numbered, but it is impossible to measure the mercy or number the compassions of God, there is no time for despairing, but only for recognizing mercy and condemning sins; the remission of which is set forth in the blood of Christ" (ibid.).

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

How a Miracle of the Mother of God Prevented the Fall of Constantinople on August 24, 1422


John Kananos was a Roman/Byzantine historian who lived during the first half of the 15th century. Kananos wrote a "a vivid eyewitness account" of the failed siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans under Sultan Murad II in 1422, the penultimate of four attempts on the city by the Ottomans. He attributes the survival of Constantinople to the miraculous intervention of the Mother of God on 24 August, when he says even the Ottomans saw her on the ramparts. The defeat was disastrous for the Ottomans.

The Roman Emperor was Manuel II Palaiologos. In July 1422, 10,000 Ottomans began looting the outskirts of Constantinople under the orders of Sultan Murad II. According to John Kananos, they started raping women, killing men and circumcising children. This was the vanguard of a huge army, which came a few days later. An army of 200,000 Ottomans was at the gates.

The Remarkable and Recently Restored Wooden Russian Church With Its 22 Domes


The Church of the Transfiguration, a visionary wooden wonder with an octagonal frame and 22 domes built in 1714 — legend has it without a single nail — has reopened to tourists for the first time in 40 years after an extensive, and at times contentious, restoration.

Located on an island in Lake Onega about 60km north-east of the city of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Karelian republic, the Russian Orthodox church is part of an ensemble of storied wooden buildings known as Kizhi Pogost. A Unesco World Heritage Site since 1990, the complex also features the nine-domed Church of the Intercession and a bell tower.

The 37m-tall Church of the Transfiguration was built by craftsmen drawing on ancient and somewhat mysterious traditions of wooden construction. It was in dire condition for decades, and specialists and bureaucrats sometimes warred over restoration plans because of its unique architecture. The conservation process involved numerous commissions and consultations with international experts.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Holy Spring of Saint Kosmas the Aitolos in Dryovouno of Kozani


An event that was experienced by the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Dryovouno of Kozani that is well known to all in the area is the visit of Saint Kosmas the Aitolos some time between 1775 and 1777 during his Third Missionary Journey.

In this particular Monastery, Saint Kosmas, in addition to preaching the divine word, also took care of the monks who had become seriously ill due to an epidemic of dysentery that prevailed in the area.

According to testimonies, after bringing water from a nearby spring that had little water, he performed a Sanctification of the Waters, gave the monks a drink and they were healed. Since then, the water from this spring has been considered holy water and has been constantly gushing forth, though there was a brief interruption.

The Iron Cross of Saint Kosmas Aitolos in the Village of Agios Kosmas in Grevena

 

In the village of Agios Kosmas of Grevena, an iron cross is kept that belonged to Saint Kosmas the Aitolos, which according to local tradition is one of the four authentic crosses of Saint Kosmas that are preserved.

When Saint Kosmas came to the village of Tsiraki (today known as Agios Kosmas of Grevena) in 1777 during his Third Missionary Journey and preached to the inhabitants, when night time came he asked to stay in the poorest house of the village. A certain beggar informed him that he was the poorest. Saint Kosmas went and stayed with him, and requested that he make for him an iron cross. The next day, when Saint Kosmas left the village, he placed the iron cross on a branch of an oak tree outside the village, and prophesied:

"When this branch falls, a great evil will come, which will come from the place indicated by the branch; and when the tree falls, a greater evil will come."

Maps of the Four Missionary Journeys of Saint Kosmas the Aitolos


In 1996 the publisher Evangelos Spyrou published the book "ΠΑΤΡΟΚΟΣΜΑΣ ο ΑΙΤΩΛΟΣ - έργα και ημέρες" sponsored by INTERAMERICAN, which was sold out. NextDeal presents the four missionary journey maps of Kosmas the Aitolos, from the time he left Mount Athos till his life came to an end as a martyr in Albania. It is noted that the four maps of Kosmas the Aitolos were made for the first time by Spyros publications, and are included in the book and were captured by the sketch artist Zafeiris Iosisfidis. 

Photo of the Relics of Saint Kosmas the Aitolos from the Archdiocese of Tirana


The relics of St. Kosmas the Aitolos rest in a simple wooden coffin in the Archdiocese of Tirana for security reasons. The skull was stolen by Austrian-Hungarians in 1917 and is likely located in a museum in Vienna. Other portions of his relics are in Orthodox shrines throughout the world.
 
 
 

Thirteen Letters of Saint Kosmas Aitolos

 
 LETTERS

I. To Georgios Kladas, the Locum Tenens of the Metropolis of Kephallenia


To the Reverend and Learned Georgios Kladas, Grand Oikonomos and Head Teacher of Kephallenia at Kastron:

Most wise, most sacred, holy Grand Oikonomos (Steward), Lord Georgios, kissing your hand I greet you. 1, my brother, am a sinful, ignorant man, an unworthy servant of our Christ and God. Urged by the patriarchs of the Eastern Church, by bishops, abbots, and especially by the Lord Sophronios to teach the Christians in accordance with my ability, I find myself here on this blessed island. Receiving their permission and that of the governor in Assos, it seemed proper and right for me to report to your sacredness and ask for your permission, because you are the oikonomos and counselor of the hierarch and because you are a brother born and raised in this place, and you know best how matters stand. Advise me, therefore, whatever God inspires you either directly or indirectly by letter so that I may perform my duty.

Be well. I pray for you and all of the Christians.

Your brother in Christ,

Hieromonk Kosmas
13 June 1777

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Monastery of Panagia Tourliani in Mykonos


According to tradition, the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani was built by fugitive monks from Paros who sought asylum on the island of Mykonos in 1542 AD. The monks took refuge in the upper part of the island, in the small church dedicated to the Entrance of the Theotokos, where the nun Tourli served. The place of their settlement thus became known as Ano Mera.

Also according to tradition, the miraculous icon of the Panagia was found floating on the beach of the island, near the bay of Tourlos (hence the name Tourliani) on the west side of the island, a few kilometers north of Chora in Mykonos and is considered the work of the Evangelist Luke. What has been observed with the icon is that woodworms do not attach to it because it is painted on a plate of chewed wax and mastic from Chios, a mixture invulnerable to insects.

The Life and Works of Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (Fr. George Florovsky)


By Fr. George Florovsky
 
St Irenaeus of Lyons was probably born in Asia Minor between 125 and 145, perhaps in Smyrna — in his letter to the Roman presbyter Florinus St. Irenaeus tells us that in his early youth he had listened to the sermons of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna: "When I was still a boy, I knew you, Florinus, in lower Asia, in Polycarp’s house I remember the events of those days more clearly than those, which happened recently so that I can speak even of the place in which the blessed Polycarp sat and disputed, how he came in and went out, the character of his life, the appearance of his body, the discourses, which he made to the people, how he reported his relationship with John and with the others who had seen the Lord, how he remembered their words, and what were the things concerning the Lord, which he had heard from them, and about their miracles, and about their teachings, and how Polycarp had received them from the eye-witnesses of the Logos of Life, and reported all things in agreement with the Scriptures. I listened eagerly even then to these things through the mercy of God, which was given me, and made notes of them, not on paper, but in my heart, and ever by the grace of God do I truly ruminate on them." This text is preserved by Eusebius in his Εκκλησιαστική ιστορία 5, 20. But the fact that St. Irenaeus was in Smyrna as a boy does not necessitate that he was born there.
 

Recapitulation According to Saint Irenaeus of Lyon


 By Archimandrite Michael Stathakis

The work of the Asia Minor born St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, could be considered as an intersection but also as a foundation in patristic and theological thought. St. Irenaeus left as a legacy to the Church and to the generations after him, theological truths, which formed the foundation on which all the later theology of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Synods was based.

An in-depth scholar of Holy Scripture and Tradition, Irenaeus is the first to realize the historical continuity and the inextricable link between the real events of the Old and New Testaments. In his attempt to combat Gnosticism and its influence on Christianity, he interprets the narrated events of the Scriptures realistically and teleologically as a whole, because he is the first to realize their salvific significance. It is worth noting that until then the role of Christ in the salvation of man was considered, even by Christian apologists, to improve, aid and complement the general human weakness.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Homily for the Ninth Sunday of Matthew - Courage in the Midst of Difficulties (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Homily for the Ninth Sunday of Matthew (14:22-34)

Courage in the Midst of Difficulties

Christ, after the miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves, ascended the mountain to pray, and the Disciples boarded the ship to go to the opposite shore of the lake, namely Gennesaret. A great storm broke out, the wind was against them and the ship was tormented by the waves. In the meantime it was getting dark and darkness had prevailed. During the fourth watch of the night, that is, the dawn, Christ went to them, walking on the sea, and said to them, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid" (Matt. 9:27).

What should be noted here is that Christ is walking on the sea. Christ was perfect God and perfect man, in His person the divine and the human nature are united. But when human nature acted, it acted in communion with the divine nature, and when divine nature acted, it acted in communion with human nature. Thus, Christ walking on the sea was not something magical or the result of some technique, but the result of His God-manhood.

Homily for the Epistle Reading on the Ninth Sunday After Pentecost (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Homily on 1 Corinthians 3:16

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

Being a Christian is a great blessing from God, it is a great gift. By Baptism, Chrismation, and Divine Communion, a member of the Church receives the Grace of God, is connected with the Head, Christ, and communes of the Body and Blood of Christ. Every division, every denial of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit, every separation and jealousy and strife is a sign of the absence of the Holy Spirit and therefore shows carnality.

The Apostle Paul saw some sad events that were happening in the Church of Corinth, identified the division that prevailed among some Christians, despite the gifts they had, and asked them: "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

Reflection on the Ninth Sunday of Matthew (St. Theophan the Recluse)


 By St. Theophan the Recluse

9th Sunday of Matthew

(Matt. 14:22-34)

The holy apostle Peter, with the Lord’s permission, gets down from the ship and walks on the water; then he yields to the movement of fear and begins to drown. The fact that he decided upon such an unusual act, hoping in the Lord, is nothing deserving reprimand—otherwise the Lord would not have allowed him to do this. The reprimand comes because he did not sustain the original state of his soul. He was filled with inspired hope in the Lord’s ability to do anything, and this gave him the boldness to entrust himself to the waves. Several steps were already made along this new path—it was necessary only to stand more firmly in hope, gazing at the Lord Who is near, and at the experience of walking in His strength. Instead, he gave himself over to human thoughts: “The wind is strong, the waves are great, the water is not firm;” and this shook loose and weakened his firmness of faith and hope. Because of this he broke away from the Lord’s hands, and, left to the operation of nature’s laws, began to drown. The Lord rebuked him: "O ye of little faith! Why did you doubt?" showing that in this lay the entire reason for the misfortune. 
 
Behold a lesson for all who undertake something, great or small, with the aim of pleasing the Lord! Keep your first state of faith and hope, from which a great virtue is born—patience in doing good, which serves as the basis for a God-pleasing life. As long as these dispositions are maintained, inspiration for laboring on the path begun does not go away; and obstacles, no matter how great they may be, are not noticed. When these dispositions weaken, the soul is filled with human reasoning about human methods of preserving one’s life and conducting the affairs which one has begun. But since this reasoning always turns out to be powerless, fear of how one should be enters the soul; from this comes wavering—wondering whether or not to continue—and in the end comes a complete return. You must do it this way; if you begin, keep it up—chase away troubling thoughts, and be bold in the Lord, Who is nearby.
 
 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Miracles of Saints Reginos and Orestes in Fasoula of Cyprus (Part 2)


...continued from part one.

4. Healing of a Malignant Tumor

The priest of the community of Fasoula, Fr. John Papamarkidis, had a tumor in his side, and the doctor informed him they would watch it because it was cancer. The priest, however, entrusted the treatment to the miraculous Saints of his community. Every day, as he himself told me, he went and begged Saints Reginos and Orestes to heal him. And indeed, in fifteen days that tangle disappeared and he was completely healed.

5. Healing of a Paralytic

Little Christakis Panagiotou from Fasoula was paralyzed in the lower extremities and could not walk. One day his mother took the little Christakis and she stood in the church of the Saints and said to her fellow villager the priest John to do a supplicatory canon for the healing of little Christakis, which he did. Then he went down to his tomb and he took the stones, which the villagers call cheeses, and rubbed his little feet with them, and - O the miracle! -, the young one began to walk. The parents of the child, out of gratitude, renamed the little one from Christakis to Reginos, the name of the Saint.

Stephanos "the Crazy Man With the Small Ball" (+ August 19, 2021)


The "crazy man with the small ball", the beloved Stephanos, the trademark of Piraeus, has left this world. The area of Palia Kokkinia in Attica mourns his loss. We are informed that the unfortunate man was killed under unclear circumstances, as he was hit by a car on the street, where he was staying. Employees of a cafeteria took him to the Asklipieio Voulas Hospital, where his death was announced.

He had three children, one of whom has died. In recent years he lived at the junction of Thebes and Argyrokastro streets, in a dilapidated house, behind a small park, in which he had written various slogans of his own inspiration. He always used chalk so that he could write and erase easily. He usually wrote about God, nature and various sayings in general. Stephanos used to go to the cafe right across the street and while he never asked, when he was offered a treat, his face lit up. With a small radio he listened to folk music and smoked a cigarette.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Miracles of Saints Reginos and Orestes in Fasoula of Cyprus (Part 1)


By Presbyter Haralambos Neophytos

When I was serving the community of Fasoula [a village in the Limassol District of Cyprus] as a regular pastor and I had contacts with the residents of the village, I was told various miracles of Saints Reginos and Orestes, who had been martyred in their village, in the time of the great persecution of the early fourth century.

As I began to find out these miracles they started to be forgotten and it is sad, because they are not recorded somewhere and over time they will be forgotten. So I decided with my poor strength to try and gather the miracles of the Saints of Fasoula to preserve them and in order to be taught.

The miracles of the Saints strengthen and rekindle our faith in God. Miracles are the result of the fervent faith of people, and should exist and be studied by Christians, in order to imitate the Christian life and the piety of our Saints.

A Group of Serbians Who Walk from Serbia to Mount Athos Every Year


Every year for the past six years or so, towards the end of July, a group of around 4 to 12 men walk from their homeland in Serbia all the way to Mount Athos for a pilgrimage, and after their visit to the monasteries they return to Serbia towards the end of August the same way they came. With them they carry a wooden cross and icons. They are followed by a van which carries two large icons, one of them being Saint Paraskeva, as well as the supplies they need for their daily living, like sleeping bags and a change of clothes. When they come upon a chapel or church along the way, they go in and venerate the icons and pray.
 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Two Recent Miracles of Saint Paisios the Athonite in Eastern Congo


Fr. Timothy Ntumba of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Bunia of Eastern Congo has recently informed us of two recent miracles on behalf of two of his parishioners through the intervention of Saint Paisios the Athonite. He writes:

Dear friends, good morning! May Saint Paisios the Athonite help us! I would like to mention two miracles of Saint Paisios in Bunia, in the Parish of Saint Nicholas, as we experienced them these days, which, in fact, have some things in common.

An 11-year-old Orthodox girl named Daniela was poisoned by a classmate, who was jealous of her success and prestige. The girl was very close to death, with vertigo, and she had lost a lot of weight rapidly. She had turned pale in less than a week. Her heart was afflicted. She kept telling her mom that her heart was hurting. The girl had a dream, which she told her mom. This dream was about what I will tell you below. So little Daniela came the same week to find the pastor of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Bunia, following the advice of the Person who had appeared to her in the dream she had seen. On Sunday, with very unbearable pain in her chest, she came to Holy Communion, and on the same day she felt healed and still feels healthy today.

Two Videos of Icons of Saint Paisios the Athonite Streaming Myrrh


The first video was sent to EKKLISIA ONLINE by the Vasiliadis family (owners of a catering business) and specifically Eleni Vasiliadis from Ippokratio Politia near Athens, stating that the icon of Saint Paisios comes from a private chapel located on the borders of the estate they own, which the fire that broke out in the last few days just touched and then changed course and the church and the house were saved, while on August 11, from the morning, the icon streamed myrrh which is being wiped with cotton and kept.

"How the Holy Hierarch Dionisie of Suruceni Healed My Little Boy"


Below is the testimony of a mother from Romania whose little boy was healed of an inability to walk or speak after receiving Holy Communion and venerating the relics of the recently canonized Saint Dionisie Erhan (commemorated on September 17). This miracle took place in October 2020.

Today, I want to let you know about the miracle that happened at the Suruceni Monastery with Mihai, who upon touching the relics of the Holy Hierarch Dionisie, began to speak.

My name is Maria. I'm from Orhei. Mihai was born healthy. At one year and a month he started walking, he spoke well. After receiving the last MMR vaccine at the age of 2, he stopped walking and stopped talking.

I hastened, first, to all kinds of doctors in the country, but to no avail. Then, staying in the United States and studying there, I took my child to good doctors in the states. One treatment after another treatment. At certain periods he was analyzed, etc.

All attempts to save my child proved futile.

Couple Fulfills Vow to Saint Nikephoros the Leper for Saving the Life of Their Child


This past week Metropolitan Joseph of the Princes' Islands, from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, visited the Pilgrimage Church of Saint Nikephoros the Leper, which is located at the place the Saint was born and raised in Sirikari, Kissamos. He went their to fulfill his own personal vow to the Saint and celebrated the Divine Liturgy as a priest. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Amphilochios of Kissamos introduced a young family for whom Saint Nikephoros performed a miracle and they came to the shrine to fulfill their vow to the Saint. He shared the following:

Elder Athanasios Hamakiotis and the Threatening Fire of 1990

Elder Athanasios Hamakiotis (1891-1967)

By Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolis

In 1990 a large fire broke out in the area of Rodochori in Attica.

The fiery flame, burning everything, reached the Holy Hesychasterion of Panagia Phaneromeni in Balas.

The nuns had already abandoned it.

But the monastery was unaffected by the flames. The fire circled the monastery, reached the oil tanks and went out.

It reached the wooden window of the Elder's cell and did not touch it. The trees inside the monastery were not disturbed either.

And a little above, the flames respected the Chapel of the "Master" Saint John, as well as the tall trees that adorned the picturesque chapel.

Hesychasterion of Panagia Phaneromeni

The next day the then Metropolitan Dorotheos came to the monastery, went straight to the tomb of the Elder, knelt down and said:

"Thank you Elder, for not allowing your monastery to burn down."
 
Source: From the book Ιερομόναχος Αθανάσιος Χαμακιώτης [Hieromonk Athanasios Hamakiotis] by Archimandrite Nektarios Antonopoulos (current Metropolitan of Argolis). Translation by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Holy New Martyr George of Kastoria who was formerly a Hagarene (+ 1809 or 1815)

St. George of Kastoria (Feast Day - August 18)

The glorious Neomartyr George, who was formerly a Hagarene, that is, a Muslim, was born in Kastoria in the late 18th century. He went to Ioannina to find work and there he was an eye-witness to the martyric contest of Saint Demetrios of Samarina, who suffered for his faith in Christ at the hands of Muslims. This inspired him to abandon the Islamic faith of his forefathers and embrace the Orthodox Christianity of the Holy New Martyr Demetrios. Upon Holy Baptism he received the name George.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

When a Fresco of the Virgin Mary Suddenly Vanished from the Wall of a Church in Patmos in 1955


On the Greek island of Patmos there is the Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring which was founded in 1607.

In the katholikon of this Monastery is the fresco of the Panagia Eleousa, which was painted in 1763 by the Hierodeacon Athanasios from Crete, as evidenced by the existing signature.

The miracle happened in February (probably on the 25th) of the year 1955. During the Divine Liturgy at the moment of the consecration of the holy gifts, the whole church had knelt down and when the priest recited "Especially for our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary," a cry was heard in the temple: "The Panagia is missing!" This cry came from the most pious ever-memorable Irene Oikonomou, who as soon as she got up from her "kneeling", saw, instead of the image of the Virgin Mary, a white wall.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Intervention of Saint Gerasimos of Kefallonia in One of the Greatest Naval Battles in History - the Naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571

The Battle of Lepanto by Andries van Eertvelt

 By Archimandrite Demetrios Kavvadias

In the year 1571 the Saint lived during the events of the invasion of the Ottoman fleet against Kefallonia during the month of July. This violent act of war was the forerunner of the naval battle of the Echinades (Curzolari) known as the "Naval Battle of Nafpaktos" or "Battle of Lepanto" that broke out on October 7th of the same year.

The sensitive heart of the Saint was eaten by pain as memories awoke in him of the fall of the Queen City (Constantinople), of the martyrdoms of his ancestors, of refugees, of misery. In those years Kefallonia was under Venetian rule which fought the Orthodox Church and caused division among the people with the class difference it imposed (inscription of the "nobles" in the libro d'oro). Thus, after prayer, Saint Gerasimos understood deep inside that he must help his land to face the crisis. And although he was deeply anti-Ottoman as well as anti-Latin, he realized that he had to take a similar stance. That is why he blessed the fleet of the "Holy League" that started from Sicily on September 16, 1571 and arrived in Kefallonia after ten days.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona and the Holy Skull of Saint Joseph the Hesychast


By Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona

When we did the exhumation of the Elder, three years after his repose, we removed him with an amber color - this is a sign of holiness. All his holy relics were like amber.

At the exhumation, all the brothers who were there said, "I will take this," "I will take the other" and I said to myself: "I will not speak at all, whatever they give me."

Father Athanasios took his hand, saying:

"This little hand saved me, with the batteries I was eating!"

And while everyone was taking a piece of his holy relic for a blessing, I was sitting aside. Then Elder Arsenios turns and says:

"Give the head to Papa-Ephraim."

Homily Two on the Dormition of the Mother of God (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

When the Mother of God revealed to her relatives and friends that she would soon die, and when they began to cry, she told them in order to comfort them: "Do not cry, but you should rejoice when I die, for after death I will be closer to the Throne of God and, conversing face to face with God, my Son, it is more convenient to pray to Him for you and to ask His mercy for you."

Christian listeners! Can we, when we die, also console our relatives and friends with the same, with what the Mother of God did? Can any of us say before death: "Do not cry, do not grieve, when I die, you will be well without me; I will pray for you there, it will be more convenient for me to pray for you there."

Saint Joseph the Hesychast Resource Page

St. Joseph the Hesychast (Feast Day - August 16)

Verses

You translocated in haste from earth to the vault of the heavens,
Having previously been there through theoria.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Relationship of the Panagia with Orthodox Ecclesiology

 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Church of Christ, my beloved brethren, is the Body of the God-man Christ. The Church of the Old Testament was spiritual and consisted of the righteous, who did not overcome death, but with the incarnation of Christ the Church became physical, that is, she was received by Christ and became His Body. And the Panagia cooperated in this, because she gave her body to Christ, who deified it and made it a Church. This alone shows the great value of our Panagia, and that this is the joy and the cause of our deification.

Therefore, when we say Church we mean the Bridegroom Christ, the Mother of the Bridegroom Christ and the friends of the Bridegroom Christ, the saints. In this society the deification of man and the sanctification of creation are achieved and of course all the great changes take place in society and the world.

Homily One on the Dormition of the Mother of God (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)


By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

I choose not a cheerful subject for this joyful day: I want to talk with you about death.

And more often we ought to talk about it, pious listeners. We ought not think we can run away from death; it's better to think about it. The more often we think about death, the less we will be afraid of it. It is precisely because we are too afraid of death, that we rarely think about it or think in the wrong way about it.

And truly, what is terrible about death, if you look at it from the best point of view - the way it should seen? Tell me, why are you so afraid of death? Because, you will say, I want to live, life has not bored me yet. Indeed, it is very natural for us to want to live: animals are irrational - and they do not like to die. But judge, will death take your life? After all, you will live after death. For what does it mean to die? To die is the same as going from an old, bad house to a new, good one: death is a means of moving from one place to another. What is so terrible about it?

Reflection on the Dormition of the Theotokos (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 

By St. Theophan the Recluse

"Mary hath chosen that good part" (Luke 10:42). The Dormition of the Mother of God represents a good end to such a choice. The Savior Himself received her soul in His arms at her Dormition. Many saints were made worthy of the same. In various ways and degrees, all those who choose that good part meet with this. At the time this choice was made, the saints foresaw this end through hope, and even felt it to a certain degree; but then come labors, struggle and forcing oneself, shrouding the chosen path. The good end of that good part remains as a guiding star. It is as a faraway shining light for a traveler who is overtaken by darkness. Hope is the stimulator of energy and the maintainer of patience and constancy in what was begun, while hope itself is strong through faith. People make their choice according to faith, and through hope they are firm in their choice; while through patience they attain that good end.
 
 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Snakes of the Panagia Have Made Their Appearance in Kefallonia (2021)

Photo from 8/7/21 in Agrinia
 
Just as every year, from the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ till the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, or from August 6th to the 15th, snakes appear in a wondrous manner in two villages of Kefallonia with chapels dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, in Markopoulo and Arginia, that appear to worship among the pilgrims who flock to these chapels, and venerate of their own accord the icon of the Panagia. Many noted miracles are associated with these snakes.

Holy New Martyr Kassandra of Trebizond (+ 1677)


Trebizond, the capital of Pontus in Asia Minor, was the last bastion of Romiosini after the Fall of Constantinople, when it also fell to the Ottomans in 1461. By the 1600's, while under Ottoman slavery, there existed in Trebizond two powerful Greek families - the Mourouzi family and the Ypsilantis family. These two families had privileges from the Ottomans, which led them to the highest steps of the State administration, and the acquisition of titles, among other things. Yet under Sultan Mehmet IV, the Greeks of Pontus of the 17th century faced incidents of violent persecution with forced Islamization.

At the age of 16, the noblewoman Kassandra Mourouzi married John Ypsilantis. One day John was at the port when he clashed with two Ottoman soldiers who tried to kidnap two six year old Christian girls from their grandfather who was taking them to Constantinople. The old man fought to protect his granddaughters, but he was unable to protect the girls. When John got involved, he killed the two Ottoman soldiers and helped the old man escape with his granddaughters on a ship bound for Constantinople.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Holy Martyr Maxim Rumyantsev the Fool for Christ (+ 1928)

St. Maxim Rumyantsev (Feast Day - August 13)

By Hegumen Damaskin (Orlovsky)

Maxim Ivanovich Rumyantsev was born in the mid-fifties of the 19th century in the village of Vandyshki in the Kineshma District of the Kostroma province to a peasant family. His parents Ivan and Anna died when Maxim was barely ten years old, and he settled in the house of his brother Yegor and his wife Elizabeth, where he lived until he was fifteen, and at fifteen he left to wander. Where and how Maxim wandered is unknown, but after returning home almost thirty years later, he knew the church services by heart, although he remained illiterate; during his wanderings, he accepted the feat of foolishness, which he did not abandon until his death.

Returning to his native village, Maxim Ivanovich lived with his brother, then with the pious Gruzdev family, who revered the blessed one, then with the Kocherin family, or wherever God would lead.

Signs of our Love for God (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk)

 

By St. Tikhon of Zadonsk 
 
But let us see what the signs of love for God are, so that we may not have a false dream of love instead of love itself. In nothing does a man deceive himself so much as in love. The signs of this love are:

 1. God Himself indicates this, saying, "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me" (Jn. 14:21). For the true lover of God will preserve himself from everything that is repugnant to God, and hastens to fulfill everything that is pleasing to God. Wherefore he keeps His holy commandments. From this it follows that those Christians that neglect the commandments have no love for God. Such are the malicious and those that harm others in any way. Such are the profligate, adulterers and all defilers. Such are robbers, bandits, thieves, and all those that unjustly appropriate the goods of others. Such are slanderers and those that curse others. Such are the sly, the crooked, the guileful, deceivers and hypocrites. Such are sorcerers and those that call on them. Such are all evildoers. All such love neither the Law of God nor God himself. They love themselves and their own appetites, but not God or His holy Law.

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