Many thanks to all those who sponsor and support the Mystagogy Resource Center; your positive feedback and generosity through financial gifts have been encouraging. Without this support, I would not be able to devote the time I need to produce all that you will see moving forward. Since I am now working by the hour and my time is more limited, I need to figure things out how to best use my time for your benefit, and will then give a progress report some time in the spring. Till then, I encourage all those who do not yet financially support this ministry - yet find some benefit from it - to likewise do so in order that it may continue to be helpful to you and countless others. See links at the bottom of this page to submit your contribution.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Breaking News: New Book in the Process of Being Translated Titled "The Spiritual Mirror"

Dear Readers:

I am embarking on the translation of a short book of great spiritual benefit, titled "The Spiritual Mirror". The subtitle is "The Heart of Man: Either a Temple of God or a Habitation of Satan". This book does not have Orthodox origins. What we have now is an English edition published in 1812 in Berlin by the "divine" and philanthropist Johannes Gossner (1773-1858), but he merely repurposed an older Catholic German text from the early 18th century. Gossner, a Protestant, became a controversial figure in Russia because of a book he wrote against the Orthodox Church, but this book, "The Spiritual Mirror", passed the censors and was given enough editing to make it beneficial for Orthdox Christians. Eventually it was translated into Greek and published in 1840, where it was especially popular among the monks of Mount Athos, and it was republished several times.

The purpose of this text is to awaken within us a Christian disposition through the cleansing of the heart, and it does this by reflecting on ten symbolic images. I don't want to reveal too much else about this book, but I will be using Gossner's translation, and include the edits made to make this a more Orthodox text. Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite is most well known for taking popular spiritual texts from the West, like "Unseen Warfare", and making them Orthodox, and something similar was done with "The Spiritual Mirror", except we don't know who wrote it, nor do we know who translated it and made it more Orthodox.

This translation will be progressively posted for the public through my website Salvation of Sinners, where many Orthodox texts will be translated and eventually published. You can read the first page at the link below:
Please continue to financially support the work of the Mystagogy Resource Center, where dozens of Orthodox texts like this will be produced and published in the future.

Thank you,

John Sanidopoulos

Venerable Martyr Maria of Gatchina (+ 1932)

By I. M. Andreyev

In the town of Gatchina, some thirty miles from Petrograd, there lived before the revolution the nun Maria, in the world Lydia Alexandrovna Lilyanova. From her youth, before the revolution of 1917, Matushka Maria had been ill with Parkinson's disease after suffering encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). This left her whole body as it were chained and immovable, her face anemic and like a mask. She could speak, but with a half-closed mouth, through her teeth, pronouncing the words slowly and in a monotone. She was a total invalid and in constant need of help and carefully looking after. The slightest touch caused her pain. Usually this disease proceeds with sharp psychological changes (irritability, a tiresome stubbornness in repeating stereotyped questions, an exaggerated egoism, manifestations of senility, etc.), as a result of which such patients often end up in psychiatric hospitals. But Mother Maria not only did not degenerate psychically, but revealed extraordinary features of personality and character not characteristic of such patients: she became extremely meek, humble, submissive, undemanding, concentrated in herself. She became engrossed in constant prayer, bearing her difficult condition without the least murmuring. As if as a reward for this humility and patience, the Lord sent her a gift: the consolation of the sorrowing. Completely strange and unknown people, finding themselves in sorrows, grief, despondency and depression, began to visit her and converse with her. And everyone who came to her left consoled, feeling an illumination of their grief, a pacifying of sorrow, a calming of fears, a taking away of depression and despondency. The news of this extraordinary nun gradually spread far beyond the boundaries of the city of Gatchina.

Saints Xenophon, Maria, John and Arcadius Resource Page

St. Xenophontos and his family (Feast Day - January 26)
Though the earth is absent of Xenophontos,
It delights in the graceful banquet of his words.
Xenophon and his wife and children died on the 26th.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Alphabet of Virtues (St. Gregory the Theologian)

By St. Gregory the Theologian
Always begin with God and always end with Him.

Beneficial to your life is this: end your day well.

Come to know all the good works of the righteous.

Dreadful it is for one to be hungry, but more terrible is illegal wealth.

Emulation of God is to be learned by a benefactor.

From God ask that you be compassionate, in as much as you also are compassionate.

Governed firmly and restrained must the human flesh be.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Homily on the Healing of the Blind Man of Jericho (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily on the Healing of the Blind Man of Jericho

(14th Sunday of Luke)

Luke 18:35-43

Delivered on January 27, 1952

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

In today's Gospel reading, you heard the story of the miraculous healing of a blind man in Jericho by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Did you pay attention to how persistently, how intensely he asked the Lord for healing? He asked, he cried out, he begged, and the apostles of Christ forbade him to shout so as not to disturb the Lord.

And the Lord called him and restored his sight.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Church of Saint Anastasios the Persian on the Panagiotopoulos Estate of Salamis

The Panagiotopoulos estate occupies an area of over 40 acres at the western end of the Bay of Paloukia in Salaminos on the Greek island of Salamis. It was acquired by Panagiotis (Takis) Panagiotopoulos, a wealthy man of Piraeus, who served as Mayor of Piraeus (1925-31). He had two children, the great choreographer Maria Hors (1921-2015) wife of the architect Michael Hors, and the chemist and hero of the National Resistance Anastasios (Tasos) Panagiotopoulos (1923-2015).

Friday, January 21, 2022

Introduction to the Writings of Saint Maximos the Confessor in the 'Philokalia' (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite)

 Introduction to Saint Maximos the Confessor 
By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

(The Philokalia, vol. 2)

Our Holy Father Maximos the Confessor lived during the reign of Constantine Pogonatos, around the year 670, and was, of all, the chief destroyer of the ill-famed Monothelite heresy.

At first he distinguished himself in the royal palaces and was honored with the office of Chief Secretary, then, leaving worldly endeavors behind, he engaged himself in ascetic combat. His mouth approached the fount of wisdom, and drinking incessantly from the fountains of the divine Scriptures which flow with life, he made to gush forth from his belly rivers of divine doctrines and writings which flooded the ends of the universe.  

Maximos Confessor on the Infinity Of Man (Panagiotis Chrestou)

 By Panagiotis Chrestou

I have chosen my subject for this conference, stimulated by my studies on the writings of Gregory Рalamas, which I have edited with the help of a group of my students in Thessaloniki.

Palamas in his attempt to emphasize the difference between knowledge of a thing and participation in it, pretended in one of his treatises that those who praise God through knowledge of his uncreated energies are merely pious, while those who participated in them become without beginning and without end by grace άναρχοι and ατελεύτητοι. He bases his optimistic perspective mainly on Maximos the Confessor, whose thought rules on a high level over his argumentation during the middle period of his literary activity. Gregory Akindynos, against whom that treatise was addressed, of course rejects this aspect and ironically questions how Palamas succeeded in becoming a man without beginning, since all men have a physical beginning. In the sequel he refers to that heresiarch, who was expelled from the Church on the grounds that he merely had said that the human body of Jesus Christ was without beginning and heavenly. He obviously meant Apollinarius.

Anna Comnena on Reading the Works of Saint Maximus the Confessor

In Book 5 of The Alexiad, Princess Anna Comnena (1083-1153) writes about her mother's love of reading the dogmatic texts of Saint Maximus the Confessor, and her desire to understand his writings. She writes:

And here I will tell a little tale, for the laws of oratory allow that. I remember the Empress, my mother, when breakfast was already on the table, carrying a book in her hands and poring over the writings of the didactic Fathers, especially those of the philosopher and martyr Maximus. For she was not so much interested in the physical disputations as in those about the dogmas, because she wished to gain true wisdom. And I was often seized with wonder at her and one day in my wonder I said to her, "How can you spontaneously rise to such sublime heights? for I tremble and dare not listen to such things even with the tips of my ears? For the purely abstract and intellectual character of the man makes one's head swim, as the saying goes." She smiled and said "I know that kind of quite laudable dread; and I myself do not touch these books without a tremor and yet I cannot tear myself away from them. But you wait a little and after you have dipped into other books, you will taste the sweetness of these." The remembrance of these words pricks my heart and I have plunged into an ocean, so to speak, of other tales. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Saint Peter the Publican as a Model for our Lives

St. Peter the Tax Collector (Feast Day - January 20)
 By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Peter the Publican lived during the reign of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. He was responsible for collecting taxes in Africa, and in various ways he managed to get rich at the expense of others. He was greedy, hard-hearted and ruthless. Once a poor man visited him and asked for mercy and he expelled him abruptly. The poor man, however, would not leave and stood his ground still begging. Then, full of indignation and anger, Peter snatched a hot loaf of bread, which his servant happened to be carrying from the oven at that moment, and threw it with force, like a stone, at the poor man to injure him. He, however, took it, thanked him and left. After a few days, Peter became seriously ill and felt that he was facing a judgment seat, where he was asked to give a defense for what he had done in his life. He saw a scale and on its left side were gathered wild people with a dark face, where they placed his evil deeds. On the right side of the scale he saw white-clad men with bright faces trying to find something good he had done, to place it on the right side of the scale. They did not find anything, however, except that bread which he threw against the poor man. When Peter saw these things, he was moved with compassion, and came to himself, and as soon as he was healed, he distributed all his belongings to the poor, even the clothes he wore, and he dressed himself in the garments of the poor. After this act he saw Christ in his dream wearing the clothes which he gave to the poor. This led him to even sell himself as a slave and the money he received he gave to the poor.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

All the Churches Should Ring Their Bells on the Feast of Saint Mark of Ephesus

 By Dr. Nikolaos Baldimtsis

In Arta I served as an agricultural doctor for about two years, from 1979 to 1981. There I met spiritual people whose words and especially their lives were for me a teaching of faith.

In Arta I had as a spiritual father the archimandrite and preacher Fr. Iakovos Pachys, who was later chosen by God to be the Metropolitan of Argolis. This ascetic man lived in a simple room of the old boarding school in Arta. When I went and met him, we would sit in the yard under the trees, and in a happy mood he would tell me various incidents of his life and discreetly catechize me on serious matters of the spiritual life, as he experienced them.

The Skull of Saint Makarios Kalogeras of Patmos

The sacred skull of Saint Makarios Kalogeras rests in the Patmiada Ecclesiastical School, which he founded, on the island of Patmos.
The Patmiada School is located near the Cave of the Apocalypse in Patmos. The foundation of the Patmiada School, also referred to as the Great General School of the Nation, was the most important event of 18th century Greece. The school was founded by Makarios Kalogeras in 1713, though the initial efforts were made by Metropolitan Gregory.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Interpreting Old Testament Passages That Depict God as "Vengeful"

 By Archimandrite Iakovos Kanakis,
Chancelor of the Metropolis of Gortyna and Megalopolis

The study of the Old Testament for someone who does not have significant introductory knowledge of the holy books requires discernment. In other words, you can read the Book of Leviticus and be surprised by the expressions you will read. You are likely to misunderstand what you are going to read precisely because you need a substantial immersive, documented and subtle interpretive approach. So why does it use expressions that present a vengeful God? Or why are expressions used to indicate violence?

One of the Last Living Spiritual Children of Saint George Karslides, Fr. Haralambos Anastasiades, Has Reposed

St. George Karslides with two spiritual children that would one day become priests; Fr. Haralambos is on the right.
On the feast of Theophany, 6 January 2022, Protopresbyter Fr. Haralambos Anastasiades departed to the Lord, and his funeral took place the next day in the Church of Saint John in Argyroupoli of Drama.

The late Fr. Haralambos Anastasiades was born in Argyroupoli, Drama. He had Saint George Karslides as a spiritual father from the time he was in high school. When he asked Saint George about what he should become in the future, since he couldn't decide, he recommended to him to become a teacher. This is why he studied at the Zarifio Pedagogical Academy of Alexandroupolis. After some years of service in Primary Education, he no longer felt satisfied as a teacher, so he sought the advice of Saint George again, who planted the seed in his head to become a priest, though he told him to wait till the right time until he was fully ready. Meanwhile Saint George reposed, and he approached another charismatic spiritual father about becoming a priest, who also told him that when he is fully decided then he will be ready. When that priest also reposed, he knew he wanted to be a priest and take over for the priest that had reposed. So after ten years as a teacher, he went and studied at the Higher Priestly Center of Tinos and then joined the ranks of the clergy.

A Miracle of Saints Anthony the Great and Athanasios the Great to a Cancer Patient in Athens

On January 17-18 at the Monastery of Saint Andrew in Kefallonia in 1997, we waited for Fr. Gerasimos Fokas to begin the vigil. He came a little late, but to our great joy he came together with our other great Elder, Fr. Hierotheos Sourvanos. He told us that he was coming straight from the airport and that there were traces of pain and suffering on his face for the people he constantly cared about.

"Do not bring me papers of names for those who seek to be healthy tonight if they merely suffer from a cold. Only for those who are seriously ill, for cancer patients, we will pray."

It is better to hear it from himself. Here are excerpts from the sermon of this blessed man about that blessed night. The excerpt is from a recorded sermon of Fr. Gerasimos during the vigil on January 17/18, 1998 in the Monastery of Saint Andrew.

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Chapel of Saint Anthony the Great in Patsos Gorge of Crete

In the fertile green province of Amari, on the island of Crete, about 18 km from Rethymno, is the impressive Patsos Gorge, otherwise known as Saint Anthony's Gorge.

The beautiful gorge, which is 2 km long, crosses a small river. The wild vegetation of the landscape with the giant plane trees and the small waterfalls captivates the visitor.

It takes 2 hours to cross it all the way back, while inside there are landscaped rest areas and a bird observatory.

The Chapel of Saint Anthony stands out.

Holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (St. Justin Popovich)

St. Theodosios the Great (Feast Day - January 17)

This very pious and glorious emperor ruled from the years 379-395. He was born in Spain. He was famous for his family, and famous for his heroism. He was first the military leader of Emperor Gratian, and then he was appointed emperor in 379.

Constantine the Great forbade the persecution of Christians, Theodosius the Great went one step further: he forbade idol sacrifices in his land. He also took care of the Orthodox faith against heretics. He expelled the Arian archbishop Demophilos from Constantinople and brought into the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople Saint Gregory the Theologian.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sermon for the 12th Sunday of Luke - On the Ten Lepers (Monk Agapios Landos)

By Monk Agapios Landos of Crete (1585-1657)

These ten lepers, in the most succinct manner, provide an image of the whole of human nature, which was entirely leprous and rendered useless by sin. It [i.e. human nature] had been justly expelled from the Jerusalem Above, that is Paradise, just as the lepers were exiled from Jerusalem [on earth]. They couldn’t be cured by a Priest, Levite, Prophet or any other person, not even by an Angel, unless the Mighty Counsel of the Most High, the co-eternal Messenger and He who is consubstantial with God, came down from heaven, and humanely became human in order to save us humans. All of us, then, had this leprosy. None of us was free from sin except those whom the all-wise Lord Christ had cleansed.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A Rare Icon of Christ and John the Baptist Playing at the Jordan River as Children

This icon is attributed to Theodoros Poulakis, from the first half of the 17th century, from the Ionian Islands.

It depicts Christ wearing a luminous white chiton and a circular golden halo, represented in a contrapostal posture, his right hand raised in astonishment, his left hand pointing in negation as if trying to prevent John from looking into the bowl he is holding, the latter wrapped in a blue himation, a golden ring floating above his head, a lamb and a cross appearing between the two boys, a genre scene in the foreground with ducks swimming in the river, a deer watering itself and a bucket hanging from the tree-branch behind, in the immediate background the buildings of a settlement, including a church, amidst a variety of trees, in the far background at the right a domed structure depicted in grisaille, above God the Father portrayed as the Ancient of the Days, emerging from the clouds in blessing, accompanied by three cherubs, the subject rendered realistically, painted mostly with pastel colours, the saturated green tones of the foliage naturally dividing the composition in the celestial and earthly worlds.

Friday, January 14, 2022

A Journalists Harrowing Escape from Bombardment With the Help of Saint Tatiana

By Maria Giachnaki,
Journalist-International Correspondent

It was August 2006, it had already been that all summer I was still covering the Israeli–Lebanese war. In that war I completely changed my philosophy in life. I had lost my associates in the bombing of Tyre in southern Lebanon, at the time I left the hospital to bring a colleague to the shelter and they had stayed inside. I had escaped a second bombing in the village of Cana where 54 children were killed inside the shelter for which I could hardly say a word on the air as I was one of the few journalists in the village that was being ruthlessly bombarded (I do not want to say much).

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Theophany With Saint Iakovos Tsalikes

 By Fr. George Authinou,
Pastor of the Church of Saint Eleutherios in Chalandri

From 1982 I lived in Athens and began to have regular relations with the Monastery and Elder Iakovos.

Before Theophany of 1984 I went on a pilgrimage to the Monastery. The day prior to the eve of Theophany in the Monastery we were among the Elder, Fr. Cyril, Fr. Seraphim, a monk from Laconia who had been tonsured in his 80s, Mr. Lazounis who wrote stories for the books of the readers in elementary school and the illustrator. On the eve of Theophany, it snowed so much that all the roads were closed. So we stayed in the Monastery which was closed to six people to celebrate the Holy Theophany.

The Recently Reposed Metropolitan Kosmas of Aetolia and Acarnania (+ January 3, 2022)

By Ioannis Hatzidigenis, Theologian

Metropolitan Kosmas of Aetolia and Acarnania did not in any case remind us of being a Bishop of our day as his spiritual endowment was observed as being in the footsteps of the Holy Hierarchs and his ecclesiastical phronema rested in the consciousness of the Orthodox faith.

As a Liturgist of the sacred Altar he had proverbial reverence. I will never forget the testimony of the same Bishop Kosmas of Aetolia, when as a hieromonk he co-liturgized with Saint Iakovos of Evia: "At one point during the Divine Liturgy with Saint Iakovos, the wings of Angels could be heard participating in the dread Mystery! For Saint Iakovos, of course, such experiences were considered a daily phenomenon."

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Deaf Woman Who Could Only Hear During Confession

The following was narrated by Fr. Arsenios Katerelos, in a radio interview with Fr. Joel Konstantaros.

Elder Parthenios, the current abbot of the Monastery of Saint Paul on the Holy Mountain, once confessed a woman who was completely deaf, and only during the time of the Mystery of Confession was her deafness removed from her.

She had heard everything the Elder told her.

Turning Away From God is Something Frightening

Wherever the Light of Christ is, souls become warm! And when the Light of Christ leaves, souls become frosty. This frost can be seen by every person who approaches them and it causes them to tremble. They themselves freeze. Why? Because turning away from God is something frightening. 

- Metropolitan Meletios of Nikopolis

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Canonizes Two Former Ecumenical Patriarchs: Cyril I Loukaris of Crete and Cyril VI of Thrace

On the 11th of January 2022, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to include in its official list of Saints two former Ecumenical Patriarchs, who suffered and died martyrically under the Ottomans and had their bodies cast into the sea.

Saint Cyril I Loukaris of Crete was born in 1572 and was martyred on the 27th of June 1638. The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria on 6 October 2009 had previously canonized him, and he is commemorated on the 27th of June.

Saint Cyril VI of Thrace was born in 1769 and was martyred on the 18th of April 1821. He was recognized as a Saint in 1993 by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece and he is commemorated on the 18th of April, or it is carried to Thomas Sunday depending if it falls during Great Lent or Holy Week.

For further reading, see:

Saint Cyril Loukaris Resource Page


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

"When I Put Wood In the Fire" (St. Paisios the Athonite)

When I put wood in the fire, I glorify God and say: "Warm up, my God, all those who do not have warmth."

When again I burn my letters that are sent to me - I read them and I burn them, because they have issues and questions and confessions - I say: "May God burn all their shortcomings. May God help them live spiritually and sanctify them."

- St. Paisios the Athonite

Monday, January 10, 2022

Homilies on the Holy Mysteries - The Mystery of Marriage (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Mystery of Marriage

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
The Church, my beloved brethren, is interested in all the moments of human life and blesses all the actions of man and of course also marriage, through which the family develops and life is perpetuated, but also becomes the vestibule of the Kingdom of God.

Marriage, that is, the communion of a man and a woman which results in the birth of children, was blessed twice by God. The first time was immediately after the creation of Eve. The Old Testament says that God blessed them and said: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth" (Gen. 1:28). Of course, according to the interpretation of the Fathers, God blessed the couple at that time, gave the opportunity for children to come from the couple, but this took place after the fall of the couple. The way people are born today is the fruit and result of the fall. The second time God blesses marriage is during the mystery of marriage. Precisely because the fall of Adam and Eve preceded it, for this reason marriage must pass within the Church and be blessed, because the world outside the Church is the world of the fall and decay. After all, Christ performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, where He blessed the water and turned it into wine, and this shows that Christ transforms biological union into a blessed relationship.

Saint Smaragda Onishchenko of Nizhyn (+ 1945)

St. Smaragda of Nizhyn (Feast Day - January 10)

Juliana Avraamovna Onishchenko, later known as Smaragda, was born on January 2, 1858 in the village of Markovtsy, Kozeletsk district, Chernigov province.

Her parents were Abraham and Mary. They came from a Cossack family. The family had seven children. When Juliana was seven years old, her father died of a serious illness, so the family was in a difficult situation. Little Juliana was often ill, her mother did not even have hope that her daughter would survive, so a coffin was already prepared for the girl.

In 1863, at the advice of a local priest, her mother took her to a school for orphan girls at the Vvedensky Monastery in the city of Nizhyn. She had only a coffin for her property. Mother Smaragda recalled her early years:

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Reflection for the Sunday After Theophany (St. Theophan the Recluse)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

Yesterday the Apostle armed the Christian who sets out upon the path of salvation with the whole spiritual armor. Now he shows who the leaders are in this battle procession, and what is the final bright goal of all for our inspiration in times of hardship. The leaders are pastors and teachers, whom the Lord gave to the Church and through whose mouth He Himself utters guiding direction needful for all, as soon as one turns to such leaders with faith and prayerful appeal to the Lord. Those who selflessly walk the Lord’s path know this truth, as do those who lead a struggle with the enemies of salvation without pity for themselves. In their pastors they always find help and are brought to understanding, when, looking from the outside, such help could not be anticipated. For they do not come to men, but to the Lord, who is always prepared to direct and give understanding through such men, to anyone who sincerely and with faith seeks help from Him. The final bright goal is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ—the stature of a perfect man (Eph. 4:13). We all know what a perfect man is in the usual order of things, and we could hardly find a person who would not wish to attain such perfection. But the meaning of a perfect man in the Lord is something not known to anyone other than those who have entered into that stature. This, however, should not cool one’s fervor for the attainment of such a stature, but on the contrary should kindle it even more; for this lack of knowledge is due to the height of that spiritual perfection which is called a manly stature in a life according to God. The Apostle defined this as the taking on of the fullness of perfections revealed in the Lord and Savior. Anyone can see that there is reason for us to apply all diligence (II Pet. 1:5) toward our calling. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

The Cave Church of Saint John the Forerunner of Damialis in Crete

In the west of the island of Crete, passing from Kastelli Kissamos in the direction of the famous beaches of Falassarna and Balos, you will see on the side of the road the Cave Church of Saint John the Forerunner of Damialis, as the locals call it.

The place name Damialis was given because in this area during the Turkish occupation there was the damia, that is, the stable of Ali, an Ottoman cattle breeder who was active in these places.

The place where the church was built, as you can see in the photographs, is a large cave in one part of which the church was formed, and in the second beautiful representations were erected from the Nativity, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of the Lord, in an imposing way, while the middle part of the cavitation is the yard.

Reflection for the Saturday After Theophany (St. Theophan the Recluse)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Apostle clothes Christians in the whole armor of God. It is appropriate that this follows the previous lesson. For, if someone, heeding the call of God, has taken on the beginning of a new life through God’s grace, providing for his own part all diligence (II Pet. 1:5), then he must not expect to rest on his laurels, but rather to struggle. 

When Saint John the Baptist Appeared to Elder Eumenios Saridakis on a Boat and Covered Him

By Monk Simon

One time, Father Sophronios [later known as Father Eumenios Saridakis] fell ill there in the Monastery [the Monastery of Saint Niketas located in Achendria of Archanes Asterousia, in Crete].

As he told us:

"Some skin was coming off of my body. The Abbot told me, 'Go to Athens to be examined.' They gave me the fare, and I got on the boat to go to Athens.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Father John Kalaides and his Patron Saint John the Forerunner and Baptist

By Miltiades Tsesmetzes, Teacher

The holy Father [John Kalaides] honored Saint John the Forerunner very much, whose holy name he worthily bore.

Every year we visited him, on this day [January 7th], to wish him many years and to receive his blessing. I will never forget a year we went to wish him well for his celebration and he miraculously healed in front of our eyes a very special person of ours, touching him on the back, exactly where he had for a long time strong pains! This was done without knowing the slightest thing about his problem!

The Life of Saint John the Baptist (St. Sebastian Dabovich)

By St. Sebastian Dabovich
Saint John the Baptist was the son of the Jewish Priest Zacharia. His mother was Elizabeth, a blood-relation to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. This righteous couple were childless, for Elizabeth was barren. They prayed much and long; as true Israelites they desired the consolation of being blessed with children, aspiring,but in this instance with an humble and holy resignationto the birth of the great Messiah, who was coming to save mankind, and, as they thought, to free and unite Israel. Although Zacharia and Elizabeth sorrowed in their old age to a day which was beyond the natural limit of child-bearing, still they continued hopefully praying. The prayers of faith of this priest and his patient spouse ascended on high, from whence came down an angel with the message telling them that the Creator of nature and the God of wonders had been pleased to fulfill their desire. Accordingly, Elizabeth bore unto her husband Zacharia a male child, who was called John. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

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

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Today the waters are sanctified, and the Jordan is divided in two, and turns back the stream of its waters, beholding the Master being baptized" (Troparion at the Sanctification of the Waters).

In peace, we will now go out, in the name of the Lord, to the river and there we will immerse the Life-giving Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in water. Why will we immerse? For the remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was baptized once in the Jordan River. Is it just a commemoration? No, but also for the sanctification of the waters. "Today the waters are sanctified, and the Jordan is divided in two, and turns back the stream of its waters, beholding the Master being baptized." Yes, at the commemoration of our Lord Jesus Christ, through immersion in the water of His Life-giving Cross, the water is sanctified, it becomes holy, healing souls and bodies and to drive away all resisting forces. Ordinary water, by its very nature, is only healthy for the body, and through sanctification, its nature changes, improves, is elevated, so that it becomes a blessing for the body and the soul.

The Theophany of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ (St. Justin Popovich)

By St. Justin Popovich

Upon his return from Egypt, our Lord Jesus Christ was in Galilee, in his city of Nazareth, where he would be brought up, hiding his power and omniscience from his people until the age of thirty. This was because with the Jews, no one was allowed to have the dignity of a teacher or a priest before the age of thirty. That is why Christ did not start preaching until he was thirty, nor did he announce that he was the Son of God and the Great High Priest who passed through heaven. Until that time, he lived in Nazareth with his Immaculate Mother and with his supposed father Joseph the Carpenter, while he was alive. During this time he occupied himself with the craft of carpentry. And when Joseph died, he labored at that craft himself, earning bread for himself and the pure Mother of God with the labor of his hands, in order to teach us not to be lazy or eat bread for nothing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

On Theophany the Face of the Girl Shined

Theophany Eve of 2000. The first sanctification (Sanctification of the Waters on Theophany eve). In Piliouri, a village in the Himara of Northern Epirus, a priest gets out of the car that transported them there and prepares to sanctify the houses.

In an hour and fifteen minutes they made it by car to arrive. The village is hidden on the beautiful historic Himara mountains. The road is dangerous. The car was struggling to detach from the mud created by the rain in the previous days. He is a young priest, just two months ago he was ordained a Presbyter. He had come from Greece with three students to help with the analogion and to serve the necessary liturgical needs to the villages of the area and anywhere else they would need them.

The Shameful Oath the African Clergy Have Made to the Patriarchate of Moscow

The Russian invasion of the Patriarchate of Alexandria under the pretext that about 100 clergy in Africa want to belong to Moscow, has also produced … oaths!

We quote an "Oath" signed by these clergymen, who declare that they are joining "voluntarily" with Moscow without any "personal financial gain", but with the "sole purpose" of saving their soul which is in "spiritual danger" from the moment the Patriarchate of Alexandria recognized the Autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine, which for Moscow is still a "schism".

"The Voice of the Lord Upon the Waters": Creation and Recreation

In the Cathedral of the Assumption in Monreale, Sicily there are the so-called Genesis Mosaics from around the 12th century.  The first mosaic bears an inscription from Genesis 1:1, "In principio creavit deus celum et terram," ("In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth") but the image also covers verse 2, "And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The mosaicist takes the "face of the waters" literally and shows the "Spirit of God" in the form of a dove with a halo being sent by Jesus above. The "darkness on the waters" is visualized as a dark band transpierced by the dove's path.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Some Appearances and Miracles of Father Nicholas Pettas After His Death

By Dr. Photios Dimitrakopoulos,
Professor of Byzantine Philology at the University of Athens

After his repose, Fr. Nicholas Pettas (+ January 4, 2000) appeared to Fr. Emmanuel L. from Ano Moulia, Crete. The hieromonk, son of Fr. Nicholas, had gone to Crete on a pilgrimage and the priest of Ano Moulia thought that he wasn't a canonical hieromonk, and was thus hesitant to send him on a priestly service. One night Fr. Emmanuel saw a priest telling him who he is and that his son is indeed a hieromonk and that he can assign him the service he wanted without hesitation. Indeed, the priest from Ano Moulia called at the time when he had finished the memorial service for Fr. Nicholas over his grave, and narrated to him the vision.

Encomium on Behalf of Saint Nikephoros the Leper (Elder Eumenios Saridakis)

When Saint Nikephoros the Leper reposed on January 4th 1964, Father Eumenios Saridakis, who was then known as Father Sophronios, wrote a moving encomium that is full of grace, which can be read below, and every year on the same day, he did a memorial service in his honor and served everyone tiropita.

Encomium on Behalf of Saint Nikephoros the Leper

If pain, sorrows and trials are taken away from the life of the people, sanctity would only belong to the Angelic orders. This truth, which is self-evident in our Orthodox faith, was well recognized by the departed to the Lord on the 4th of January 1964 Father Nikephoros Tzanakakis, who was known as Nicholas in the world. He was born in Hania in 1887 to pious parents, and, having been infected with the disease of leprosy, he did not consider it to be a curse, but as a special favor from heaven and a personal calling from the director of the contests Christ. For this reason at the age of 17 he departed from his particular homeland in order to go venerate the Holy Land, especially the Place of the Skull, where pain became sanctified and Golgotha became a symbol to those who have overcome sorrows and the adversities of life. From there, from the inexhaustible ocean of his bravery and endurance, he drew courage and patience to hold up high, very high, his own cross for 52 whole years.

"Saint Nikephoros Came To Comfort Me in My Pain" (Elder Eumenios Saridakis)

There was a certain woman who took care of Elder Eumenios Saridakis the last year of his life. According her testimony, on January 4th that year, which had been the day of the repose of Saint Nikephoros the Leper, the Elder was in a lot of pain. Suddenly, at one point, she heard the Elder say: "And I also love you very much." When she later asked him to tell her who he was speaking with, Father Eumenios replied: "Saint Nikephoros celebrates today, and he came to see me. He told me that he loves me very much and he came to comfort me in my pain."

When Saint Nikephoros the Leper Appeared and Banished Away the Sadness of Elder Eumenios Saridakis

After the repose of Saint Nikephoros the Leper, Elder Eumenios Saridakis was sad, which led to the following miracle, as testified by Elder Eumenios himself:

"Once, when I was very sad, I saw my door open and Father Nikephoros entered. He stood over me and said: 'Come now, blessed one, do not be sad, do not cry,' and he began to caress my head. And, the more he caressed me, the more the air increased. The air of the Holy Spirit increased, till it entirely filled me, filled me with breath, with air that came out of the caress of his hand, and my sadness vanished."

When Saint Nikephoros the Leper Appeared and Saved Elder Eumenios Saridakis from Certain Death

One night, many years after the repose of Saint Nikephoros the Leper, Elder Eumenios Saridakis shut the doors and window in his cell and emptied a large can of strong insecticide, because of the many mosquitos inside, and he fell asleep, not understanding the danger his life was in by inhaling the poison without ventilation.

Elder Eumenios would not have woken up if Saint Nikephoros had not appeared to him and woken him, grabbed him by the hand, and led him outside of his cell.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Saint Ephraim of Nea Makri and the Suicidal Young Woman

Mobilization was declared in Greece on July 20, 1974 due to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. A few days later, in Halkida of Evia, Saint Ephraim of Nea Makri appeared to a Christian he had previously healed of a serious eye disease. As he was sleeping, the Saint appeared and said:

"Get up quickly! Go immediately to the house next door because someone is dying."

The Abuse Suffered by Saint Thomais of Lesvos and Her Subsequent Repose

The following account of the abuse Saint Thomais suffered at the hands of her husband for living a virtuous life and her subsequent blessed repose can be found between Miracle 5 (miracles before her repose) and Miracle 6 (miracles after her repose) of her Life.

15. But let our account pause a little and recount in detail her husband’s treatment of her. Her husband used to lie in wait then, like a violent tyrant with beetled brows, grimly regarding the blessed Thomaıs, and with furrowed brows displaying a wild-looking glance and the coarse nature of his face. She suffered terrible beatings, she bore unmerciful torments, she endured chastisements by virtue of her noble thoughts, maintaining continually a conduct in accordance with God. Although she was restrained by her aforesaid husband, she continued to devote herself constantly to prayers, and continued to abide in the God-pleasing life. She meditated constantly on all the works of God, as was her wont, even though the blessed woman’s pain was renewed, since she was wickedly attacked by her husband, who prevented her from doing such things. Even though she lived with a lame man and was taught by him to limp, she never ceased to walk in a straight path. For her husband viewed her actions in a contrary fashion and reckoned them extravagant, and he condemned her for living in a prodigal fashion and criticized and scorned her for squandering their livelihood. But her actions were rather charity, carrying out mercy in accordance with the divine and holy scriptures, concerning which indeed God Himself said: “I will have mercy and not sacrifice; if you bring incense before me, it is an abomination to me.”

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Homily on the Circumcision of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on January 1, 1953)

On this great feast I have preached to you more than once about the significance of the circumcision of the Lord, more than once I have preached about Saint Basil the Great, whose memory the Church celebrates on this great feast of the Lord. Have you noticed that this is the only case of combining the glorification of Christ with the glorification of a holy man? In no other case does this happen, and by this the Church marks and emphasizes the greatness of this Saint.

Homily on New Years Day in 1951 (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea

(Delivered on January 1, 1951)

We lived through 1950 by the grace of God. It was overshadowed for us by the loss of our beloved father, Archimandrite Tikhon. This is the will of God!

How will we celebrate the new year of 51? Of course, not in the way that worldly people meet: not with champagne, not with feasts and toasts.

Shall we congratulate each other: "Happy New Year"?

No, we will not, because we do not know what awaits us this year, and this year may turn out to be a terrible and difficult year, because international relations have never been so tense, so formidable as now.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Homily on the New Year and the Circumcision of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).

Today we have a New Year; without a doubt you all know this, my listeners. Today we commemorate our holy father Basil the Great; this is also rare to not know. But what other feast is it today? Hardly any of you know this. Yes, many, as I know, do not know that today, the circumcision of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, according to the flesh, is celebrated. You see, listeners, what an important circumstance from the life of Jesus Christ some Christians do not remember. Why? Lack of reason? Lack of intent?

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