Saturday, September 24, 2022

Empirical Theology in the Orthodox Monasteries of Mount Athos According to Saint Silouan the Athonite

 
 By Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov

In 1932 a Roman Catholic doctor of theology, Father Chr. B., came on a visit [to Mount Athos at the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon]. He and Father V. had many a discussion about life on the Holy Mountain, and one day he asked,

"What books do your monks read?"

"St. John Climacus, St. Abba Dorotheos, Theodore the Studite, St. John Cassian, Ephraim the Syrian, Barsanuphius and John, Makarios the Great, Isaac the Syrian, Simeon the New Theologian, Nicetas Stethatos, Gregory of Sinai, Gregory Palamas, Maximus the Confessor, Hesychius, Diadochus, Nilus and other Fathers from the Philokalia," replied Father V.

Friday, September 23, 2022

On the Conception of Saint John the Baptist (St. Justin Popovich)


 The Conception of Saint John the Baptist

September 23

By St. Justin Popovich

This day celebrates the mercy, miraculousness and wisdom of God; the mercy towards the pious and righteous parents of Saint John, the old man Zechariah and the old woman Elizabeth, who wanted and begged God for a child all their lives; the miracle of John's conception in the over-aged womb of Elizabeth; and the wisdom in the design of human salvation. This is because God had particularly great intentions with John, namely, that he would be a Prophet and Forerunner of Christ the Lord, the Savior of the world. Through His angels, God announced the birth of Isaac from the childless Sarah, and Sampson from the childless Manoah and his wife, and John the Forerunner from the childless Zechariah and Elizabeth. Through His angels, God announced the birth of those with whom He had special intentions. How could children be born from old parents? If anyone is curious to find out, let him not ask people about it, because people do not know of it, nor do natural laws, because it is above the laws of nature, but let him turn his gaze to the power of the almighty God, who created the whole world from nothing, and who did not need any parents, old or young, to create the first man, Adam. Instead of curiosity, let's give praise to God, who often reveals His power, mercy and wisdom to us beyond the laws of nature, in which, without God's special miracles, we would fall into despair and God-forgetfulness.

From The Lives of the Saints: September. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Cave of Saint Kosmas of Zographou in Mount Athos

 
The cave of Saint Kosmas of Zographou is located in the location of Gerakofilia, about half an hour away from the Holy Monastery of Zographou in Mount Athos.

The Saint is considered the greatest ascetic to emerge from Zographou. His cavernous cell became the place of struggle with demons. There he was buried and from there he departed for the joy of his Lord. The admirable thing is that forty days after his burial the monks looked for his relic, but did not find it.

Gerasimos Smyrnakis (1903) mentions that the cave was also used as an observation post for forest rangers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Comparison of the Prophet Jonah and Hercules

Hercules wrestles Triton

In the second troparion of the sixth ode of the iambic canon that was composed by Saint John of Damascus for the feast of Theophany, we chant:

Ἐκ ποντίου λέοντος ὁ τριέσπερος,
ξένως Προφήτης ἐγκάτοις φλοιδούμενος,
αὖθις προῆλθε, τῆς παλιγγενεσίας,
σωτηρίαν δράκοντος ἐκ βροτοκτόνου,
πᾶσι προφαίνων,
τῶν χρόνων ἐπ' ἐσχάτων.

The triple-night Prophet
strangely made the belly of the lion of the sea swell,
and came forth, making manifest beforehand to all
our regeneration in the last days
and our salvation from the dragon that slays mankind.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - Prayer for the Environment (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

Prayer for the Environment 

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
 
 Man is not an autonomous being, a solitary person, a being who lives in an infinite solitude, but is born and lives in an environment, material, social and familial. This environment is a universal home in which there is a whole world, with all its elements, that is, air, land and sea. After all, God first created the material world and then man, so that he could enter as a king in his kingdom.

This is the reason why in the Great Petitions we address to God, the so-called "Great Litany", at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, we also pray for the world that surrounds us. "For favorable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord." That is, let us pray to the Lord for good conditions - mildness in the air, for the fruitfulness of the earth and for peaceful times.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Homily for the Sunday After the Elevation of the Honorable Cross - Salvation and the Death of the Soul (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


Homily for the Sunday After the Elevation of the Honorable Cross

Salvation and the Death of the Soul

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)

Beloved brethren,

In Holy Scripture, there are two meanings of the word "soul". Sometimes with the word "soul" it is characterized as "the spiritual element of our existence" and sometimes it is used with the biblical meaning of "life". This double meaning of the soul is seen in the following text: "Whoever would save his soul will lose it; and whoever loses his soul for my sake and the gospel's will save it. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:35-36). This double meaning of the word "soul" indicates an inner connection between soul and life.

According to the Holy Fathers, the image of God in man refers to the soul, which is "rational and intelligent" or it also refers to the powers of the soul, especially the mind and speech, which are more related to the image of God in man. However, the soul is closely connected with the body. As God is omnipresent in all creation, so the soul with its energies is present in the whole body. And just as God through His energy sustains and animates the world, so the soul of man sustains and animates the attached body. Saint Gregory Palamas teaches that the image of God in man is stronger than the image of God in angels, because it animates the attached body.

Reflection on the Sunday After the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (St. Theophan the Recluse)


Sunday After the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Mark 8:34-38; 9:1

By St. Theophan the Recluse  

“Whoever wants to follow Me, deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34) .

It is impossible to follow the Crucified Lord without a cross; and all who follow Him certainly follow with the cross.

What is this cross? All sorts of inconveniences, hardships and sorrows, both from the outside and from within, on the path of conscientious fulfillment of the commandments of the Lord in life in the spirit of His precepts and requirements. Such a cross is so fused with a Christian that where there is a Christian, there is this cross, and where there is no such cross, there is no Christian.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Wisdom, Faith, Hope and Love ...

 
 By Fr. Elias Makos

Wisdom, faith, hope and love are the great provisions of a good and true Christian.

The name of these virtues is shared by four martyrs (the mother and her three young daughters) of our Church, whose memory is honored on September 17.

And in fact the widowed mother, Sophia, did not prevent, but pushed her three young daughters, twelve-year-old Faith, ten-year-old Hope and nine-year-old Agapi, to martyrdom.

Her speech to her daughters was shocking and touching, after the judge's call for her and her children to deny Christ, otherwise terrible torture and death awaited them.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Homily Three on the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on September 14/27, 1954)
 
The Cross of Christ is the great banner of our salvation, and the everlasting memory of it is most important for us. But the worries of life overwhelm us, and we easily forget about this most important thing. The Lord Jesus Christ perfectly knew the human heart, knew that it needed frequent reminders of the most important things, and He wisely took care that the instrument of our salvation, the Cross on which He gave His life for the sins of the world, was not forgotten amidst worldly fuss. His enemies, the Jewish high priests and scribes, who wanted to blot out the memory of Him, took down three crosses on Golgotha and buried them deep in the ground, covering them with a lot of earth. They did not know that it was inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Homily One for the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross (Archim. George Kapsanis)

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

(Homily Delivered in 1981)
 
We celebrate the Universal Exaltation of the Honorable and Life-giving Cross of our Lord. And while today is a day of remembrance for the Church of the crucifixion Passion of the Redeemer, we nevertheless have a certain joy. And this joy is due to the fact that the Crucifixion of the Lord and the Cross, the instrument on which the horrible but simultaneous life-giving death of our Redeemer took place, is at the same time the glory of the Lord.

You will remember, when the Lord was walking towards the crucifixion Passion, He said the words: "Now the Son of man is glorified" (Jn. 13:31). From a human point of view, death on the cross was a disgrace, it was the ultimate humiliation and contempt of man.

Homily Two on the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on September 14/27, 1953)

The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord is so great that the Holy Church established, as before Christmas and Theophany, special Gospel and Apostolic readings on Sundays before and after the Exaltation.

You came last night in great numbers to this holy temple. What attracted you? Why were your hearts filled with such deep reverence when you saw how I carried out and lifted up before you the cross of Christ? Why do we love the cross of Christ so much? Why do we bow down to it so much?

Of course, we do not only venerate the tree, although the tree of the cross of Christ became the greatest relic after it was drenched in the Blood of Christ. We venerate the crucifixion of Christ, we worship Christ God crucified on the cross, for the greatest mystery took place on the cross. What is this mystery? Why did our Lord Jesus Christ make such an amazing sacrifice for the salvation of the world?

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Homily One on the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on September 14/27, 1952)

Yesterday at Vespers you contemplated with deep reverence the ceremony of the exaltation of the cross of the Lord.

God bless you for this reverence, but is it enough? Is it enough to see the carrying out of the cross only three times a year, arousing your awe? Oh no, not at all! Much more is needed. It is necessary that the cross of Christ be imprinted on your hearts, and not just hung on your chest.

In the Middle Ages, there was a Teutonic Order of knights. A large cross was sewn on their cloaks, but with this sign of Christ they shed the blood of dark Lithuanian and Estonian pagans in streams, forcing them to be baptized with fire and sword.

Reflection on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 
By St. Theophan the Recluse

The honourable cross is brought out for veneration in the middle of Great Lent in order to inspire those who toil in fasting to patiently bear the yoke they have taken to the end. Why is this done in September? Is it accidental? But there are no accidents for the Providential Wisdom that arranges all things.

This is why: in September the harvest is taken from the field, at least with us. And so that some of the Christians might not feel too satisfied and say: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!” and so that others might not fall in spirit because of scarcity, the elevated cross is brought before all. It reminds the former that the support of well being is not possessions, but their bearing of the cross in a Christian, inner way, should God’s goodness bring external plenitude; it inspires the latter to acquire patience in their souls, through the certainty that they will go from the cross directly to paradise. Therefore, may some endure, knowing, that they are travelling a smooth path to the heavenly kingdom; and may the others enjoy external comforts with fear, not sealing the entrance to paradise against themselves.
 
 

Venerable Mary of Tarsus, Who Was Once a Harlot

Venerable Mary of Tarsus (Feast Day - September 14)
 
By St. John Moschos

Two elders were traveling from Aegaion to Tarsus in Cilicia when, by the Providence of God, they stopped for rest at a small inn, for the heat was intense. There they found three young men who had with them a harlot. The elders settled themselves down apart and one of them got out his holy Gospel and began to read aloud. When the harlot who was with the young men saw the elder begin to read, she came and sat down near him, forsaking the young men. The elder, however, drove her off, saying to her:

Homily Two for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)


By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"God so loved the world..." (John 3:16).

Why, listeners, is the Cross of the Lord elevated, that is, it rises, ascends, and, as it were, is shown?

On September 14 it is solemnly erected, especially in our cathedral during Vespers, in memory of the well-known ancient event, when the Cross of the Lord was found in the ground, taken out and elevated, to be shown to the crowds.

This happens once a year, or even every day after prayers and church services, an exaltation happens. So what is it for? The priest raises, elevates, lifts up the Cross of the Lord, so that you see it, venerate it, then he overshadows you with the Cross, so that you adore it and accept the blessing of the Crucified One on the Cross.

Homily One for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"We venerate Your Cross, Lord!"

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross of the Lord; I will tell you, listeners, what this feast means and on what occasion it is established.

Once, the Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine the Great, going to battle against Maxentius, saw in the daytime in the air a cross made up of stars, and at the bottom of the cross were the words: “In this sign thou shalt conquer.” Encouraged by such a wonderful appearance, Constantine the Great boldly entered the battle and happily defeated his enemy. The mother of Constantine, the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Empress Helen, attributing this victory to Jesus Christ, from this incident took the intention to find the Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. And so she goes to Jerusalem, searches, visits, asks the inhabitants of Jerusalem about the Cross of the Lord, but no one knew anything about it. Finally, from some elderly Jew named Judas, she learns where the Cross of the Lord is: it was buried in the ground, under a pagan temple. Saint Helen immediately ordered the building to be demolished; and the building was demolished, they began to dig and found three crosses in the ground.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

On the Consecration of the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem (St. Justin Popovich)


 Consecration of the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem

September 13

By St. Justin Popovich

On this day we celebrate the consecration of the most glorious and majestic temple in Jerusalem, not the one that King Solomon built on Mount Moriah, but the one that the blessed Emperor Constantine with his glorious mother Helen wonderfully built, cleaning and restoring the holy place defiled by heathen godlessness. After the voluntary suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His resurrection and ascension to heaven, that holy place, where our salvation was accomplished, was envied and defiled by the enemies of Christ. But the impious Roman emperor Hadrian[1] especially defiled all the holy places by means of demonic idols and sacrifices. For when he on the site of the city of Jerusalem, destroyed by Titus,[2] razed the city, then he ordered that the grave of the Lord be buried with earth and many stones. On the hill where the Lord was crucified, he built a temple to the heathen goddess Aphrodite and placed there her statue, and placed a statue of the god Zeus over the Lord's grave. So there, where the Lamb of God offered himself as a sacrifice to God the Father for our sins, the heathen offered sacrifices to the gods and committed various abominations. Likewise, in Bethlehem, where the Pure One was born from the womb of the Pure One, he set up an idol of Adonis,[3] and that holy place was defiled with shameful acts. And in the place where Solomon's temple was, he erected an idolatrous idol. He named the city itself Aelia Capitolina, because his name was Aelius Hadrianus, and ordered that no one should call it Jerusalem.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Saints Demetrios, Evanthia and Demetrian as Models for our Lives

Sts Demetrios, Evanthia and Demetrian (Feast Day - September 11)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saints Demetrios and Evanthia were husband and wife and Demetrian was their son. Their life is recorded in a concise way in the Synaxarion of Saint Cornelius the Centurion, because it is connected with two miracles that were performed in this family through Saint Cornelius. The first miracle is the resurrection of Evanthia and Demetrian, and the second and greatest miracle is the complete change of Demetrios.

Demetrios was a philosopher and ruler in the city of Skipsi in Asia Minor, but also a fanatical idolater, who furiously persecuted all those who believed in Christ. His wife and son became Christians without him knowing it.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Homily for the Sunday Before the Elevation of the Honorable Cross - The Thrice-Blessed Cross (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
Homily for the Sunday Before the Elevation of the Honorable Cross

The Thrice-Blessed Cross

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up..." (Jn. 3:14)


Beloved brethren,

The story of the bronze serpent is well known, to which today's Gospel reading refers. Because of the indignation of the ungrateful Jewish people, God sent snakes that spread death. However, God again took pity on the people and ordered Moses to make a bronze serpent, which when the Jews saw it, they were cured of the snake bites (Num. 8-9). This historical event is adapted in two ways to the case of Christ, according to two ecclesiastical interpretations.

According to the first established interpretation, the bronze serpent is a type of the Crucified Christ. Just as the bronze serpent had the form of a snake but had no poison, so Christ had a human body but had no sin. The Jews saw the brazen serpent and were afflicted by the bites of real snakes. Christians see the Crucified Christ, receive His Grace and are healed from the bites of invisible snakes, evil spirits. The Crucified One gives us spiritual health, purification of the soul, eternal life, unspeakable peace.

Homily for the Sunday Before the Elevation of the Honorable Cross (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1949)

There are many, many texts in Holy Scripture that amaze the mind and heart of every pious and reverent person. But today, on the Sunday preceding the Exaltation of the Cross of Christ, I will stop your thoughts on the most amazing words - the words of the Apostle Paul and the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

I want these words to amaze you and shock you, so that you imprint them forever in your hearts:

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:19-20).

Friday, September 9, 2022

Homily Two on the Nativity of the Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

"Your birth, O Theotokos, brought joy to the whole world,..."

Will not these opening words of the troparion of this great feast seem like an exaggeration to some of you? Would you say that not only Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, but even Lutherans who have departed from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, Protestants, and all sectarians do not feel any joy on the birthday of the Most Holy Theotokos, whom they consider only a simple pious woman, of which are very many?

If you think so, then I will in no way agree with you, because the troparion of the feast speaks precisely of the joy of the entire universe, and not just our little land. And the universe is immensely large, and in the night sky we see countless star worlds.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Homily One on the Nativity of the Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1952)

1969 years ago, a young maiden, Mary, was born to the elderly and hitherto childless Joachim and Anna. This became known only to the neighbors, because the birth of a child is the most ordinary phenomenon. In silence and obscurity, this great event in the history of the world took place, for she was born who became blessed of all women, the More Honorable Than The Cherubim and the Beyond Compare More Glorious Than The Seraphim, the Mother of Christ the Messiah, our Savior.

In silence, without any widespread glory, the life and preaching of Her Divine Son began.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

A Letter of Saint Daniel of Katounakia to a Student of Theology on How to be a True Theologian


To my beloved Mr. George [Papageorgiades, a student of Halki Theological School],

Blessings from my soul.

Having perused with lively interest and abundant spiritual revelry the general contents of your last letter, which is in my hands, and having ascertained your good thoughts and meditations, full of prudence and reverence, I greatly approve your prudence, by thoroughly wetting your letter with paternal tears.

I praise, as it deserves, your Christian and evangelical zeal and the vigilance you have for your future life, for which I hope and will always hope, even if unworthy, that it turns out fruitful and salvific.

Saint Daniel of Katounakia in the Life of Saint Joseph the Hescyhast

Elders Daniel, Arsenios and Joseph
 
When he went into Athens, he chanced to meet an elder, an Athonite monk  from a cell in Karyes, and asked if he might go with him when he went back. So it was that he moved to the Holy Mountain and came to know it. In the meantime, he  disposed of all his savings in alms, wherever he thought best, and left other things to his family. He had made a firm decision to stay on the Holy Mountain, in the  most remote and ascetic parts.

His first stop was Katounakia, at the blessed community of the Danielaioi. The founder of that community, the ever-memorable Elder Daniel, was living there at that time. He was a man of great piety, learned, wise, well experienced in ascetic life, and very gentle and comforting to those who came to him. Our Elder’s favorable impressions of that community and particularly of the holy elder remained fresh in his mind throughout his life, as he often told us. But he had set out with an ardent desire to live a life of the utmost strictness and in a more peaceful spot, and this was why he did not stay long with the Elder Daniel. Instead, he left to find the stillness that he longed for.  

Homily for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew - Eternal Life (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 

 Homily for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew

Eternal Life

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
 

A young man, as today's Gospel reading told us, approached Christ and asked him what he must do to obtain eternal life. Christ initially pointed out to him the observance of the commandments, which He Himself gave to Moses, and then urged him to sell his existing possessions and give the money he will collect to the poor and thus acquire treasures in heaven. This is because, as He said, it is very difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Homily for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew - Three Shocking Questions (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
Homily for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew

Three Shocking Questions

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? ... What do I still lack? ... Who then can be saved?" (Matt. 19:16-25)
 
Beloved brethren,

A young man, as today's Gospel reading told us, approached Christ and talked with Him. People's dialogues with Christ are always revelatory, because His energy penetrates into their existence, reveals the depths of their inner world, creates great surprise. In reality, Christ with love and tenderness enters the heart of man and creates surprises and questions.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Homily on the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26).

One rich young man asked Jesus Christ: “Good teacher! What good must I do to receive eternal life?" Jesus Christ told him what he should do, and in conclusion he added that he should seel his property and distribute it to the poor.

Hearing this, the young man departed with sadness, because he had a large estate. And he wanted to inherit eternal life, and it was a pity for him to part with the estate.

On this occasion, Jesus Christ said to His disciples: "Truly, I say to you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

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


 Twelfth Sunday of Matthew

Matthew 19:16-26

By St. Theophan the Recluse 

"It is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 19:26). Here is meant a rich man who sees in his own self many methods and many powers unto his own prosperity. But as soon as one who has many possessions cuts off all attachment to them, extinguishes within himself all reliance on them, and ceases to see them as his substantial support, then in his heart he is the same as one who possesses nothing — for in this way is the road to the kingdom open. Riches are then not only a hindrance, but a help, for they provide the means for charitable works. Riches are not the misfortune, but rather reliance upon them and attachment to them. This thought can be generalized in this way: whoever relies on something and is attached to something is rich in that thing. Whoever relies on God alone and cleaves to Him with all his heart is rich in God. Whoever relies on something else turns his heart to it instead of God — such a person is rich in this other thing, but not in God. From this it follows that he who is not rich in God has no entrance into the kingdom of God. Here are meant such things as birth, connections, mind, rank, circle of activities and so forth. 
 
 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Synaxarion of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nektarios the Wonderworker


 Synaxarion

By Monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis

On the 3rd of this month [September], we celebrate the translation of the honorable relics of our Holy Father Nektarios the Bishop of Pentapolis and Wonderworker, which took place in the year of our salvation 1953.

Verses

Your relics appeared from the earth Father,
Showing its hidden grace to all.
On the third the bones of Nektarios appeared out of the earth.


Friday, September 2, 2022

Homily on the Holy Martyr Mamas (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on September 2/15, 1957)

I have preached to you many times on the epistles of the holy Apostle Paul, which are extremely important for us, and I have urged you to delve into every word of them as you read these epistles. Listen now to my explanation of the words of Paul in the second epistle to the Corinthians: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The ultimate goal of our life is communion with Christ, His Eternal Father and the Holy Spirit in life eternal and infinity.

Reflection on the Ecclesiastical New Year (St. Theophan the Recluse)


 By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Lord did not only come to preach the acceptable year, but He brought it as well. Where is it? In the souls of believers. The earth will never become paradise under the current state of affairs; but it is and will be an arena of preparation for the heavenly life. The rudiments of heavenly life are placed in the soul, the possibility for it lies in God’s grace, while grace was brought by our Lord Jesus Christ — who brought, consequently, the acceptable year for souls. He who listens to the Lord and fulfils all that is commanded by Him, receives grace, and with its power enjoys the acceptable year within himself. This truly occurs in all who sincerely believe and act according to faith. You will not fill your soul with this acceptableness by thinking; you must act, and it will enter in on its own. There might not be any outer peace, just inner, and yet it cannot be separated from Christ. But it always happens that as soon as inner peace is established, outer disturbances are neither bitter nor heavy. Thus, this aspect is also acceptable — it only seem like a cold winter on the outside.
 
 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Holy Zoni of the Mother of God in Medieval Constantinople


By Syngelis Em. Konstantinos, Philologist

On 31 August, the Church celebrates the Placement of the Honorable Zoni of our Most Holy Lady in the Church of the Theotokos in Chalkoprateia of Constantinople. This church was in a neighborhood close to a place called Milion, and it was here that the workshops were which belonged to the craftsmen who made and sold copperware, hence the name of the area.

There is no clear evidence concerning this feast of the Mother of God before the 7th century. In the 6th and 7th centuries, six new feasts were added to the liturgical life of the Church, all of them related to our Panagia: her Conception by Saint Anna, her Nativity, her Entry into the Temple, the Annunciation, Christ’s Reception in the Temple by Symeon, and her Dormition. It was the Empress Saint Pulcheria who established the practice of holding a vigil every Wednesday in the Church of the Theotokos in Chalkoprateia. The practice was formalized by the Emperor Saint Maurice (582-602).

Three Miracles of the Holy Zoni of the Mother of God


1. Nikolaos Yiannopoulos, a resident of Patras, was nineteen when he was involved in an accident:

On 10/14/2000, I was involved in a serious traffic accident and taken to a hospital in Rio [a town close to Patras]. I had a burst small intestine - peritonitis - a broken lower jaw and left shin, and peroneal nerve palsy. Six months after I had operations done, there was relative improvement in all areas, apart from the peroneal nerve palsy. I couldn’t move the sole of my foot or lock the knee on my left leg properly. All the doctors said that there was no way I would ever walk again, because it’s the only affliction that doesn’t allow for any restoration of movement in the leg.

Monday, August 29, 2022

On the Beheading of John the Baptist and on Herodias (St. John Chrysostom)


On the Beheading of John the Baptist and on Herodias

By St. John Chrysostom

Again Herodias is raving, again she is making a disturbance, again she is dancing and again she is trying to have John the Baptist beheaded by Herod. Again Jezabel is going around trying to seize the vineyard of Naboth and chase Elijah ito the hills. I think that I am not only one to have fallen into a trance, but all of you listening to the voice of the Gospel are as astonished as I am at John's frankness of speech and Herod's empty-headedness and the animal frenzy of the godless women. What do we hear ? Herod has John arrested and thrown him into prison. Why? Because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.

The empty-headedness of Herod induced by the wretched women is contemptible. What is one to say? How is one to describe the wickedness of those unchastised women? It seems to me that there is no wild beast in the world to match an evil woman. I mean, of course, the evil woman and not the good and reasonable woman. I know modest and good women, whose lives I must recount for the edification and love of the good.

Why Confessions Should Be Made Before Priests and Not Icons


Near Delphi in the village of Kirra, the renowned Orthodox preacher Demetrios Panagopoulos was preaching in a church while the parish priest was hearing confessions. That December night, the priest told the preacher how a grandmother in her 80's or 90's came to him for confession earlier for the first time in her life.

She told the priest that for the past 55 years or so, before she communed, she would walk down a path from her house to the church, where nearby there was a secluded little chapel dedicated to the Honorable Forerunner John the Baptist, and there should would light the oil lamps.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Homily for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew - The Mystery of the Divine Eucharist (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
 Homily for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew

The Mystery of the Divine Eucharist

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?" (Matt. 18:33)


The parable of the ungrateful and cruel servant shows us the great philanthropy of God and the great inhumanity of man. That is, while God with His love forgives all our big sins, we cannot forgive the small sins of our brothers.

Some aspects of this truth will be highlighted below.

Saint Gregory Palamas, comparing the passage of the Second Coming of Christ with the parable of the ungrateful servant with the debt of the ten thousand talents, says that the passage of the Second Coming refers to the future judgment, while the events narrated in the parable of the debt of the ten thousand talents, "the present is eternity". In fact, the forgiveness of the servant's debt, his cruelty to his servant, his re-punishment, etc. cannot be referred to the terrible, impartial and final judgment, but to the present life.

Homily for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew - On Hard-Heartedness (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

What man will not be angry and protest when he hears the parable of the wicked servant for whom the Lord forgave a great debt while he did not want to forgive his neighbor a small one? Our hearts are troubled when we see the worst manifestations of human passions and sinfulness. The Prophet David rightly said: "He has delivered my soul from the midst of lions' whelps: I lay down to sleep, though troubled. As for the sons of men, their teeth are weapons and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword" (Ps. 56:5). And he doesn't say it about murderers and criminals but about us ordinary people. He calls us lions and says that our teeth are weapons and arrows and our tongue is a sharpened sword. The sword is an instrument of murder.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

The Appearance of Saint Kosmas Aitolos to a Woman in Arnaia on July 23, 1943


Saint Kosmas Aitolos visited Arnaia and Halkidiki in 1775. The memory of this visit is still alive today in the consciousness of the local Christians. Monuments to the passage of the Saint are the shrine under the Mathitiki Estia and the icon which records the prophecy of the Saint for the liberation of Arnaia. Since then, the Saint placed the area of ​​Holomontos under his blessing. 
 
"The aprons of Holomontos will be without blood. They will go to sleep as slaves and in the morning they will wake up free." 
 
The prophecy was fulfilled, and in 1912 Arnaia was freed "without blood", according to the prophecy of the Saint.
 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Gennadios Scholarios, First Patriarch of Constantinople After Its Fall


Gennadios was the first Patriarch of Constantinople after its fall. He was a prominent figure of the 15th century, who sealed the course and evolution of Hellenism and the Eastern Orthodox Church in various ways.

The scion of a merchant family from Thessaly, he was born, educated and worked in Constantinople in an era deeply marked by intense ecclesiastical and political change. The time of his birth is placed between the years 1398 and 1400. His secular name was George. The name Scholarios is considered a family name and probably derives from the position of a member of his family in the army or in the palace.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Saint Kosmas the Aitolos and the New Martyrs


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

(Homily Delivered in Thermo on August 24, 2018)
 
Your Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic,

Reverend Hierarchs,

Beloved brethren,

Historic Thermo, and Aitoloakarnania in general, boasts that it is the place where Saint Kosmas the Aitolos was born, grew up and worked. This place was seen with his own eyes, here he saw the creation of God, he came to know traditional piety and from these places he began his missionary journeys. Since then, many places claim him, and people brag about where he passed, where there is evidence or information that he taught, where temples were rebuilt in his name, where he was martyred.

Thus, today he has become an ecumenical man, an apostle, who made a great revolution in his time, a man with the zeal of God, in difficult circumstances. Because the revolution cannot be interpreted and defined only with weapons and bombs, but with ideas, mainly, however, with the words that come from an inner rebirth and fullfillment of people.

Saint Kosmas Aitolos, the Secret to His Success


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

(Excerpt from his Homily Delivered in Mega Dendron on August 24, 2022)

Of all the points of the life and activity of Saint Kosmas, one characteristic point must be emphasized which is the secret of his success, of the effect his word had on the people, apart from the energy of Divine Grace.

Wherever he spoke he set up a Cross and at the same time placed a stool so that he could be seen, because he was of small stature. The combination between the Cross, the stool and his completely sincere words and the simplicity of his life, that he had no "bag", as he said, were among the secrets of his success.

The Monastery of Panagia Agrilion in Sami of Kefallonia, Which Hosted Saint Kosmas Aitolos in 1777 and Lord Byron in 1823


The Monastery of Panagia Agrilion is just 3 km east of Sami, on a green hill with an altitude of 180 m and in a magnificent location with a wonderful view.

The Monastery was founded by two shepherds who encountered a miraculous icon of the Panagia, known today as Panagia Agriliotissa, at this location in 1722. Iakovos and Symeon then decided to lead a monastic life and were the first residents of the Monastery they established. The primary feast of the Monastery is celebrated on August 15th, in honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos.

The Visit of Saint Kosmas Aitolos to the Village of Rapsani


In the year 1765, Saint Kosmas Aitolos arrived in Rapsani of Thessaly because Rapsani was one of the most famous villages of Larissa during the Turkish occupation. 
 
High up, at the edge of today's village, there still stands the old plane tree where the Saint stood and taught in the year 1765 when he passed through the village. 
 
The people of Rapsani honored Saint Kosmas for his teaching and they still do. 
 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Most Holy Theotokos in the Iconography of the Byzantine Temple

 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the "Symbol of Faith", or what we call "The Creed", we confess that the Church is "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic", because it is connected to Christ. The Church is "One", because one is its head, Christ, and one is His Body; it is "Holy" because its head is holy; it is "Catholic", because Christ assumed from the Panagia the entirety of human nature and came to save all people; and it is "Apostolic", because Christ sent the Apostles to the whole world, to spread the message of the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

The Church, while it is "One", at the same time has two "aspects", the earthly and the heavenly. To the earthly aspect of the Church belong all of us Orthodox Christians who strive to be living members of the Church, and to the heavenly aspect of the Church belong all the saints who have left this world, and the holy angels, as the Book of Revelation of Saint John the Theologian wonderfully describes.

How the Panagia Eikonistria Saved Skiathos and Her Church From the Destruction of the Nazis

The Icon of Panagia Eikonistria

The following excerpt is from a homily delivered by the Theologian, Iconographer and Professor of Byzantine Music, Konstantinos Koutoumbas, on August 23, 2009, on the anniversary of the saving of the city of Skiathos from being destroyed by the Nazi German army.
 
But even in the difficult years of the occupation, when the Italians were succeeded by the German conquerors, who victoriously marched into the Greek lands, the Most Holy Theotokos, the helper and protector of those who call upon her, did not abandon her faithful people, just as she did not abandon her humble island. The olive oil was abundant, the fruit trees were choked with their fruits with their branches leaning to the ground, the harvests were rich in those years. What the evil conqueror deprived the people of God, was abundantly provided by the nourisher of life, the Panagia Eikonistria.

However, on the morning of August 23, 1944, Skiathos was about to experience a nightmare. It was preceded, a few days before, by the arrest of the German commander of the Northern Sporades, Adler, from the 54th regiment of ELAS Pelion, following the order of the EAM Volos, which confirmed the fears of the local EAM Skiathos committee of retaliation by the Germans.

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons Resource Page

 
Verses

Irenaeus speedily flees the earth by the sword,
With eros going towards the heavens he longs for.
 

Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (St. Justin Popovich)

 
By St. Justin Popovich
 
Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, is one of the most famous fathers and teachers of the Church. He lived and practiced asceticism in the second century, devoting his whole life to the struggle with Gnosticism [1]. His importance for the Christian Church of the second century can be compared with the importance of Saint Athanasius the Great [2] for the Christian Church of the fourth century. Both of them appear in their life and work primarily as protectors of pure, unaltered Church teachings against the false heretical teachings of their time: Saint Irenaeus - against Gnosticism, Saint Athanasius - against Arianism. [3]

Saint Irenaeus was born in the city of Smyrna, in Asia Minor; from an early age he dedicated himself to the thorough study of Hellenic wisdom, and became an excellent connoisseur of Greek poetry, philosophy and other Hellenic sciences. However, worldly knowledge did not impress young Irenaeus. Hearing about spiritual wisdom, Christian wisdom, and starting to get acquainted with it, he was delighted with it and wanted to adopt it wholeheartedly, because he felt its salutary and immeasurable importance.

Panagia Prousiotissa Resource Page


 
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Remembering When the Head of Saint Symeon the Barefoot Was Stolen During the Greek Civil War and How It Was Miraculously Found


By Fr. Elias Makos

Saint Symeon, who was also the abbot of the Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos, is an ascetic figure of Orthodoxy, whose soul escaped from the finite world, was connected with God and remains immortal.

On August 22nd, the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of the finding of his head, which was stolen during the Civil War from the Monastery of Flamouriou in Pelion, of which the Saint was its founder, and then it was miraculously found.

As the crisis in our world grows, such events, not too long ago, show that faith saves and inspires.

Panagia Prousiotissa and the Woman Who Fell Down a Steep Cliff With Her Baby


On the right side of the church of the Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa there is a frightening cliff with a very deep chasm. If someone falls it is considered certain that they will be killed. Even to approach it and look down, it is difficult to bear and you step back.

Once, during the celebration of the Monastery on August 23rd in honor of the Apodosis of the Dormition of the Theotokos, the wife of a Priest happened to be standing in this dangerous spot, holding her baby in her arms.

However, due to the overcrowding she was pushed and tumbled into this "deadly abyss" along with her child, falling into this steep cliff and pit.

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