Dear Readers: A long time supporter of the Mystagogy Resource Center has informed me that they would like to donate $3000 to help me continue the work of this ministry, but they will only do it as a matching donation, which means that this generous donation will only be made after you help me raise a total of $3000. If you can help make this happen, it will be greatly appreciated and it would be greatly helpful to me, as I have not done a fundraiser this year. If you enjoy the work done here and want to see more of it, please make whatever contribution you can through the DONATE link below. Thank you!
(Total So Far - Day 11: $2740)

February 28, 2022

The 800 Year Anniversary Since the Repose of Saint Michael Choniates, Metropolitan of Athens

Today marks exactly eight hundred years since the death of Saint Michael Choniates, Metropolitan of Athens, who is commemorated in the Orthodox Church on July 4th. 
In a Synodal Letter of the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos John Apokaukos written in Arta, the capital of the Despotate of Epirus during Theodoros Doukas, we read in his handwritten note, as a reminder of the exact day of the repose "of the body and soul of the most-holy one of Athens; the 28th of February, Monday, in the tenth indiction of the year 1222."

Ferdinand Gregorovius, in his work History of the City of Athens in the Middle Ages, notes: "He was translocated from here to the ageless bliss, the ray that illuminated the darkness of Athens in the Middle Ages, the last great citizen and the last glory of this city of the wise."

The Oldest Surviving Depiction of the Holy Neomartyr Kyranna of Thessaloniki

The oldest surviving depiction of the Holy Neomartyr Kyranna is found in a fresco of the second half of the 18th century (1765-circa 1800), in the kyriakon church of the Skete of Kavsokalyva of Mount Athos.

The depiction is particularly important, since its painting is placed in the first decades after the martyrdom of the Saint, which took place in 1751. Saint Kyranna is depicted as a bust at the north window, together with Saint Michael Mavroudis from Granitsa, Agrafa.

Second Homily on Meatfare Sunday and the Last Judgment (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"I was sick and you visited Me" (Matthew 25:36).

At the Last Judgment, our Lord Jesus Christ will say to those standing at His right hand: "Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Who are these fortunate ones whom Jesus Christ will invite with such love to the Kingdom of Heaven? There will be many of them, and among them there will be those who visit the sick. Yes, listeners, because we visit the sick, Jesus Christ will receive us into the Kingdom of Heaven.

February 27, 2022

Homily Three for the Sunday of the Last Judgement (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on February 24, 1952)

Like two wings, our two deepest aspirations lift us above all creation: the desire for immortality and the desire for truth. From time immemorial, ever since the thinking human race has existed, people have been tormented by the oppressive question: What is happening on earth? Why do evil people prosper, while kind, meek, quiet people are persecuted and suffer? There was no answer to this question, but there will be - it will be when the Lord and God will begin His terrible and righteous judgment.

First Homily on Meatfare Sunday and the Last Judgment (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Then he will also say to those on the left side: Depart from Me, you cursed, into eternal fire" (Matt. 25:41).

This is what Jesus Christ at His Last Judgment will say to the people standing on the left hand: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into eternal fire. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and you did not receive Me; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me." Then they will answer Him: "Lord! When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and not serve you?" Then He will say to them in answer: "Truly I say to you, because you did not do this to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." This is what Jesus Christ will say, and they will go into eternal torment (see Matt. 25:41-46).

February 26, 2022

The Historical Relationship of Russia and Ukraine

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou 

Almost three years ago, in the year 2019, I read an interesting book that referred to the relations between Russia and Ukraine in history and I wrote an article to present it.

This article titled "Russia and Ukraine" was then posted on the website of our Sacred Metropolis, from where other websites took it.

Because this issue is very relevant nowadays, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I bring it up again to show the negative relations between Russia and Ukraine over time to our days.

However, the resistance of the Ukrainian people to the Russian invasion confirms the research carried out by the author of this book, as well as its conclusions.

February 25, 2022

A Letter to the Rulers of Nations Who Love War (Elder Philotheos Zervakos)

Listen oh Kings and Rulers of the nations and take into consideration oh ye lovers of war!

The Almighty God and Creator of all things has made you Kings, Lords and Rulers of nations and peoples, and the people have entrusted you with their rule, to rule your subjects with justice and truth and, as affectionate fathers and excellent rulers to provide and take care for the prosperity, happiness and salvation of your peoples.

Why do you forget your destiny? Listen and take into consideration! You killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, handing them over to slaughter, fire and the depths of the sea! Hundreds of thousands of people have become very unfortunate, miserable, poor, hungry, naked and homeless!

February 24, 2022

Sin: An Existential, Not a Legal Issue

By Fr. Kyrillos Kostopoulos

 "Herein lies the essence of sin: in our lack of trust in and the absolute love for God the Creator; and in our total attachment to the ego."

In society today, in particular, the notion of sin has been deliberately distorted. This is because we dwell on the superficial meaning of the word ("failure", "missing the mark") and miss the more profound meaning.

For the Orthodox Church and its theology, sin is not a legal issue. It is not merely a transgression, but is rather disobedience to the eternal will of God.

Three Miracles of Saint John the Baptist to Monks of Dionysiou Monastery

The late Monk Lazarus Dionysiatis (+ 1974) is well-known for his book Dionysian Narrations in which he records the valuable memories of those Dionysian Fathers of Dionysiou Monastery at Mount Athos. Among these are various tales of miracles and visions of Saint John the Baptist, who is the patron saint of the Monastery. Below are three examples:

1. I will now tell you a true story that happened to a young monk, who, taking courage in me, confided it to me, very confidentially:

"The Honorable Forerunner, who is depicted in a strict form in the shrine located inside the Katholikon of the Monastery of Dionysiou, in front of the right column, you obviously know him! Every time I talk to him and look him in the face, it seems to me that he is alive. Inside me, I feel like a child talking to his father. When, for the first time, on Monday night, I was reading Compline and the Salutations of the Saint, as I was a sexton and I was standing in front of this Icon of the Honorable Forerunner, with much reverence and love, when I arrived at the words of the Salutations: 'I am sweetened in praising your virtues, O Forerunner, but I hesitate since I cannot find the words. Grant to me the ability to do this.' Then - O your wonders, my protector, Honorable Forerunner! - I felt supernatural grace within my heart, and it seemed like the Honorable Forerunner lifted up my entire body, high above the earth, filling my entire being with unspeakable joy and rejoicing."

February 23, 2022

Saint Gorgonia, Sister of Saint Gregory the Theologian (St. Justin Popovich)

St. Gorgonia of Nazianzus (Feast Day - February 23)

By St. Justin Popovich
Among the chosen Christian families, in which all or almost all of their members have dedicated themselves to the Lord, is the holy family of our Holy Father Gregory the Theologian. In this holy family, holy parents were also celebrated with holiness: the father Gregory and the mother Nonna, and their holy children: Gregory the Theologian, his brother Caesarius and his blessed sister Gorgonia.

Blessed Gorgonia would have been born in the small town of Nazianzus, near Caesarea of Cappadocia, but according to her brother Gregory, her true homeland was the Jerusalem Above, a city in heaven to which all true Christians aspire and in which Christ is king and all the saints of the heavenly Church are citizens. firstborn. As for her nobility, adds Saint Gregory, it consisted in preserving the image of God in the soul and in reaching the likeness of God through virtue (η της εικονος τηρησις και η προς το αρχετυπον εξ). Her parents were a new Abraham and Sarah, that is, Saint Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, and his holy wife Nonna. Saint Nonna was born and raised in the house of Christian parents, while Gregory was initially a pagan and an idolater. Saint Nonna converted him to the faith of Christ with her faith, virtue and wisdom, because he was a man of good and gentle nature. Converted to Christianity by Saint Nonna, he was so famous after his holy baptism in faith and virtuous living that he was elected bishop of the Church in Nazianzus, where he served as a bishop wisely and reverently until his blessed death in 374. Blessed Nonna was a model of Christian virtues and piety, an excellent wife and godly mother, an ornament and praise to the female race. She nurtured so much piety towards the temple of God that, according to her son Saint Gregory, she never turned her back on the east where the Sanctuary and the Holy Altar are, nor did she ever talk in the temple during the holy services. With such virtues and her unceasing prayers to God, she raised such holy and virtuous children and dedicated them to God.

February 22, 2022

Meditation on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite)

 Spiritual Exercises

Meditation 15

On the Parable of the Prodigal Son
By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

A. He Departed From the House of His Father.

B. What Life He Lived After His Departure.

C. What His Return Consisted Of

A. Think, brother, of the departure of that prodigal son from his father's house, as narrated by sacred Luke (15:11), with which the departure really seemed like a young man without a mind and intellect, because what was he missing when he was at his paternal home and under the protection of his sweetest father? He was in his paternal arms every day, he had everything he needed, he was served by all the slaves, he had the caresses and honors as the heir of the paternal property and he was almost recognized as the master and ruler of everything, so he could have every reason to say that psalm: "We shall be filled with the good things of thy house" (Psalm 64:5). But the desire for delusional freedom, from being a child and an heir, made him desire to become a slave and a servant. So he began to be disturbed by the royal and free life he had under his father's obedience; and desire to live according to his own will and utilize his disposition, as it is utilized by others, and this disturbance and desire urged him to seek the consent of his father, to leave the paternal house, and they advised him to ask for the share of that inheritance which belonged entirely to him: "Father, give me the share of property that falls to me" (Luke 15:12). The father did not want to stop him from this move, but let him go, to find out through trial and deprivation, what goods he enjoyed when he was in his father's house and despised them, as sacred Chrysostom explains: "That is why the father left him and did not prevent him from going to a foreign country, in order to learn with experience, how many benefits he had by staying in his paternal home" (Discourse 1 On Repentance). And because his father could not persuade him with words to stay in his house, he let him be persuaded by these things and sufferings: "Many times God, when words cannot persuade, allows experience of situations to be a teacher", says he who had golden speech (ibid.), as it is written: "Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee" (Jer. 2:19), because even Adam, when he was in paradise, did not know the blessedness he had, but from the time he was exiled by Him, then he knew it. ”So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living" (Luke 15:12-13).

Homilies on the Divine Liturgy - Catechumens and the Faithful (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homilies on the Divine Liturgy

Catechumens and the Faithful

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
The Divine Liturgy, which we are interpreting in these sermons, my beloved brethren, is divided into two basic parts. The first is the Liturgy of the Catechumens and the second is the Liturgy of the Faithful. From the beginning of the Divine Liturgy until the Gospel and the prayers that follow, the catechumens could also be present, that is, those who are preparing to be baptized, but when the deacon says, "As many of you as are catechumens depart; catechumens depart. As many of you as are catechumens depart: let there be no catechumen. As many as are faithful, again and again, in peace let us entreat the Lord," then the catechumens leave and there remains until the end in the Divine Liturgy those who were baptized and therefore are Orthodox Christians.

February 21, 2022

Homily Two for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Sunday of the Prodigal Son
Flesh and Spirit
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on February 25, 1951)

You heard in the Gospel reading the parable of Christ about the prodigal son. This is one of the most precious, most important parables of Christ for us, and I must explain it to you.

Why did I call this parable precious and extremely important? Because in it our Lord and God Jesus Christ teaches us the most important thing: how we should build our life, He teaches us what we should consider necessary in our life.

Why did the prodigal son leave home?

Saint Eustathios of Antioch as a Model for our Lives

St. Eustathios of Antioch (Feast Day - February 21)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Eustathios, Archbishop of Antioch, was born in Sidon of Pamphylia in 260 AD. In 320 he was elected Bishop of Beroea (Aleppo) in Syria, and after three years the Archbishop of Antioch. He took part in the proceedings of the First Ecumenical Synod, which convened in 325 at Nicaea in Bithynia and condemned the heresy of Arius.

He was in the front lines for the battle for Orthodoxy and a fellow-struggler of Athanasios the Great, who called him "a man who is a confessor". That is why he was envied by the leading followers of Arius, namely the Bishops Eusebius of Nicomedia, Theognis of Nicaea and Eusebius of Caesarea, and was slandered as an underminer of secular authority, and as unethical, therefore he was exiled. In other words, they claimed that he was attacking the mother of the Emperor Constantine, namely Saint Helen, but also that he had an illegitimate child with a woman of loose morals, whom they bribed to accuse him. Thus they managed to exile him, but God protected him and finally glorified him. A result of his flawless life and his painful struggles for the Orthodox faith, was that his flock was not seduced by heresy.

Holy Seventy-Nine Martyrs of Sicily

79 Holy Martyrs of Sicily (Feast Day - February 21)

In Sicily, during the reign of Diocletian, seventy-nine holy martyrs received an immortal crown for the confession of their faith after enduring various torments.

The Appearance of the Panagia to Saint Paisios the Athonite on February 21, 1985

By Hieromonk Isaac
"The previous Lent [on February 21, 1985] the Panagia appeared dressed in white. She told me that a lot of things will happen in the world, and for that reason I should take care to bring … [something which was personal].”

She had appeared near the northeast corner of his hut. When the Elder saw her, he said humbly, “My Panagia, this place is filthy [he used to throw at the spot where she appeared peels from fruit], as am I filthy.” From that time on, however, he treated the place with great reverence “where stood the feet” of the immaculate Mother of God. He wanted to plant flowers in that area so that no one may walk on it.

February 20, 2022

The Canonization of Elder Eumenios Saridakis by the Ecumenical Patriarchate Will Reportedly Take Place in March

As it was reported on the 31st of May 2021, the Holy Synod of the Church of Crete which gathered in Heraklion, unanimously agreed to the proposal of Metropolitan Makarios of Gortynos and Arcadia which he proposed on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Honorable Cross in 2020, which was to submit for official canonization the name of Archimandrite Eumenios Saridakis to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

It is now being reported in Greek news sources that the canonization of Elder Eumenios will take place by the Ecumenical Patriarchate some time in March.

Elder Eumenios Saridakis (+ 1999) was a holy and charismatic elder and a spiritual child of Saint Nikephoros the Leper, who was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2012.

Homily Three for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 Sunday of the Prodigal Son

On Shame
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

The devil has laid many nets on the paths of our life, and with many passions and lusts he traps us under his power. But our Lord Jesus Christ delivers us by many grace-filled means from these devilish snares.

A very prominent place among these saving means of God's help to us, who are weak, belongs to the grace-filled and blessed parable of our Savior about the prodigal son.

You have already heard it many times shortly before the start of the fast. But everything precious and blessed must be preserved with great care and remembered more often. So, let us once again recall the precious Parable of the Prodigal Son and delve deeper into it.

February 18, 2022

Homilies on the Divine Liturgy - The Readings (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

  Homilies on the Divine Liturgy

The Readings

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
After the Small Entrance, during the Divine Liturgy, the Trisagion Hymn and the two readings are read, namely the Apostolic and the Gospel readings. The Apostle is read by the Reader, who has the special blessing from the Bishop to do this work, because in the Church everything is done in the appropriate and blessed way, and the Gospel reading is read by the Deacon from a special place, which is called the Pulpit, or by the Priest from the Beautiful Gate.

The Righteousness of the Pharisee and the Sigh of the Publican

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today is the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and the blessed period of the Triodion begins, in order to strive to reach Pascha with the health of body and soul.

It is a period of intense prayer and the atmosphere of prayer is more suitable for revealing the inner disposition of people. In prayer the spiritual condition of the people is presented, so it is no coincidence that Christ, in order to express the opposition between the Pharisee and the Publican, presented them at the time of prayer.

February 17, 2022

Kyriaki Kioskeridou, a Revered Spiritual Daughter of Saint Sophia of Kleisoura, Has Reposed

On Tuesday 15 February 2022, Kyriaki Kioskeridou (maiden name Athanasiadou), popularly called Kitsa, reposed in the Lord at the age of 96. She was from Ptolemaida and had been a spiritual daughter of Saint Sophia of Kleisoura. Much of what we know about Saint Sophia comes from her testimony and experience.

In 1941, she was one of the founding members and the Vice President of the Christian Philanthropic Association "The Good Samaritan". She never claimed the presidency of the association but pioneered its charitable work. She gave lectures in various catechisms, cooked for the needy, while her house was a place of consolation and love for those who sought it.

Homilies on the Divine Liturgy - The Small and Great Entrance (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Homilies on the Divine Liturgy

The Small and Great Entrance

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
The Divine Liturgy, my beloved brethren, is a great festival. We do not have the senses to understand this, but when we acquire other noetic senses then we will be enchanted by what is taking place, by what is said and chanted in the Divine Liturgy.

The way in which the Divine Liturgy is performed today is not exactly the same as it was done in the ancient Church, because over time new sections entered and it became all this greatness that we enjoy today.

With today's sermon we will briefly look at the two entrances, or as they are called in the liturgical language, the Small and the Great Entrance.

On Covid 19 (Archimandrite Alexios of Xenophontos)

 On Covid 19

January 2022
By Archimandrite Alexios,
Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Xenophontos, Mount Athos

I consider the Covid 19 pandemic, regardless of its origins, an ordeal God has allowed to visit the human race. To allow does not mean to wish, but to tolerate.

We have all, therefore, come face to face with the tragic reality of counting numerous deaths on a daily basis, including friends and loved ones.

In an effort to interpret the phenomenon, many voices have been heard, resulting in confusion and division among the people.

The health authorities promptly informed us as to how the virus is transmitted and how it should be confronted.

February 16, 2022

Holy New Hieromartyr Deacon Who Is Anonymous

Holy New Hieromartyr Deacon Who Is Anonymous (Feast Day - February 16)

You mocked the Immaculate Mysteries, Deacon of Vitsa,
As a Martyr you entered the heavens.

The glorious, new hieromartyr of Christ, and anonymous Deacon, was a teacher of sacred letters, who came from Vitsa of Zagori. He served as a Deacon in the Church of Saint Marina in Ioannina, in the neighborhood of Kalou Cesme (Kaloutsiani). Having been deceived by the devil, he apostatized from the Orthodox faith and embraced Islam.

A Rare Recording of Saint Anthimos of Chios

This rare recording of Saint Anthimos of Chios was made by the late Metropolitan Panteleimon Fostinis of Chios. In it we hear the Metropolitan asking Saint Anthimos to give his blessing to those who are listening, particularly students in Chios and Athens who would be hearing it, and for visitors to his monastery after his passing who would hear this recording. After giving his blessing and some spiritual counsel, he chants two hymns, the second being the Apolytikion of the Panagia Voithia.

February 15, 2022

The Life and Passion of the Holy Apostle Onesimus, One of the Seventy (St. Justin Popovich)

St. Onesimus the Apostle (Feast Day - February 15)

 By St. Justin Popovich

In the Phrygian city of Colossae was a distinguished nobleman named Philemon. He believed in Christ, and later was honored with the episcopal rank. He would also be included among the Holy Seventy Apostles. Before his apostleship, Philemon had a slave named Onesimus. He sinned against his master and, fearing punishment, fled from him and traveled to Rome. In Rome he found the Holy Apostle Paul in chains, and heard a holy sermon from him. And having learned the holy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, he was baptized by the apostle, and served him in Rome with Saint Tychicus. His service to the apostle was also of great benefit.

Third Homily on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

Why, listeners, was the prayer of the Pharisee not pleasing to God, despite the fact that he was, it seems, a righteous man? And why, on the contrary, was the publican's prayer pleasing to God, although he was a well-known sinner?

God does not listen to sinners, He only listens to the righteous. Why, then, did the Pharisee, good in his prayer, deserve condemnation, while the sinful publican received justification?

The Pharisee deserved condemnation by his prayer because, while praying, he recognized himself as righteous, and the publican was justified by his prayer because he recognized himself as a sinner.

February 14, 2022

Saint Auxentios of Mount Katirli (+ 1757)

St. Auxentios of Katirli (Feast Day - February 14)

Venerable Auxentios was born in Andros at the beginning of the 18th century. He first served as a sexton in the Church of the Savior Christ in Galata of Constantinople, and was later ordained a deacon. As a deacon he settled in the coastal town of Katirli of Nicomedia and lived as an ascetic on Mount Katirli of Propontis. The holiness of his life and the gift of miracles that the Lord gave him, made many come to him to receive his blessing and healing. Patriarch Cyril V of Constantinople (1748-1751, 1752-1757) had him as a spiritual father.

Holy New Martyr Damian the Monk (+ 1568)

St. Damian the New (Feast Day - February 14)
 By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Having received the fruit of the Gospel, blessed one,
You received your end through hanging O Damian.

This new athlete of Christ, Damian, came from a village called Myriochovos located north of Agrafa (northern Greece). He was born of pious parents and when still young he longed for the monastic life. Leaving behind the world and worldly things, he made his way to Mount Athos, to the Sacred Monastery of Philotheou. There he became a monk. Having stayed a little while in the monastery, he then set off to become an hesychast, so that he could strive even more for the virtues. He went to a wonderworking ascetic named Dometios, who had retreated off to a quiet place. He stayed with him for almost three years and practiced all the virtues with such great willingness and accuracy that he was found worthy to hear a divine voice tell him: “Damian, you must not seek your own interest only, but that of others as well.” Afterward, he immediately left Mount Athos and went to Mount Olympus, where he preached God's word to the villages there in a brilliant voice, teaching and inciting Christians to repent and abstain from all injustices and all other evils and to keep God's commandments, doing works that are good and pleasing to God.

The Parable of the Hound and the Hare (St. Paisios the Athonite)

By St. Paisios the Athonite
Man runs as long as he lives to find Christ, and never stops. Running he does not feel fatigue, but joy.

To make it clear, I will give you one example: a good hound, smelling a hare, does not stand near the hunter, but takes off, runs and looks for the hare. It runs, then stops for a while, sniffs the air, runs again. It cannot stand still. Its mind is busy with how to find the hare. It doesn't look around. For the hound, there is more joy in running than in standing still. Life for the hound is about running and searching.

Second Homily on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Open unto me the doors of repentance, Giver of Life."

From this Week, the Week of the Publican and the Pharisee, the Holy Church begins to sing: "Open unto me the doors of repentance, Giver of Life!"

This means that Great Lent will soon come and, therefore, soon we will need to confess our sins. Let's take a look at these lyrics.

The Historical Reason There Is No Fasting Allowed the First Week of the Triodion

In the Orthodox Church, there is no fasting allowed in the first week of the Triodion, that is, during the week following the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, and this includes Wednesday and Friday. There is a historical reason why this week of no fasting came to exist.

Aṙaǰaworac' is a period of strict fasting practiced in the Armenian Apostolic Church, which according to legend was established by Saint Gregory the Illuminator. It is a fast that only exists in the Armenian Church. It happens three weeks before Great Lent, or ten weeks before Easter, coinciding with the first week of the Triodion in the Orthodox Church. In ancient times it was allowed to eat only salt and bread, though today it is not as strict. On those days it is not allowed to hold a Liturgy. It lasts from Monday to Friday.

February 13, 2022

Homily Two on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on February 18, 1951)

"The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading ship and every stately vessel. The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Is. 2:11–17).

Oh, how contrary to God is everything that is arrogant, everything that is proud!

In the amazingly powerful speech of the Prophet Isaiah, even the mountains are high, even the cedars of Lebanon and the oaks of Bashan, high, exalted, lofty, although they have no soul and cannot be exalted, nevertheless they are hated by God, as a symbol of everything high and exalted.

“For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite'" (Is. 57:15).

Oh Lord, Lord! You live at the height of heaven and at the same time in the hearts of the humble and contrite. They are dear to You, You love them, You consider them Your children. You send Your grace to them in immeasurable abundance, for thus You say: “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word” (Is. 66:2).

He looks only at them, but God opposes the proud, and only gives grace to the humble. He opposes those, says the Prophet, who have not humbled themselves before His immeasurable greatness, who reject His protection, His Providence, who say: we are not children, we ourselves will find the ways of life. Let us not bow before anyone, for we are not slaves.

Not slaves? Oh no! These are slaves, miserable slaves: slaves of pride and vanity, slaves of the lusts of the flesh, slaves of the passions.

There is no God with them, for He lives only with the contrite and humble, and only to them gives His grace.

But the proud, arrogant, the Lord never hears, never, no matter how much they pray to Him; He does not hear, just as He did not hear the proud Pharisee, whose whole prayer consisted only in listing his virtues and merits before God. Do you yourself boast before God, are you proud of your merits, your righteousness? O you are unfortunate!

Learn from the great apostle Paul, who says about himself: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

All his labors, all his immeasurable and greatest merits, he attributes not to himself, but only to God's grace.

O ye unfortunate ones who boast of themselves before God, don’t you remember the words of our Savior Himself: “Even so, when you have done everything commanded to you, say: 'We are worthless servants, because we have done what was our duty” (Lk. 17:10).

How many people say this? How many are so humble? Oh no, there are more proud people than humble ones.

What are they proud of? They are proud of their mind, strength and power, forgetting about their sins, considering them as nothing. Let them remember the words of the righteous Job: "No one is righteous and no one is clean for one day of his life."

All are impure, all are guilty, all must be humble in the consciousness of their impurity.

Let them also remember other words of the righteous Job: “Behold, He does not trust His servants, and He sees shortcomings in His angels.”

In angels, in angels He sees shortcomings, but what about us, accursed ones, who are full of sinful impurity, full of arrogance and pride.

After all, all the saints, the great saints, considered themselves sinners and unworthy before God - they sincerely, truly considered themselves to be such. For they constantly examined their hearts and saw in it with their keen eyes every, even the smallest impurity, and were horrified if they found such impurity. They searched and humbled themselves before God sincerely and considered themselves sinners and unworthy.

Who was more holy, more exalted by God, who was the greatest saint, if not our blessed father John Chrysostom? And every evening we read in his amazing prayer these words: “Remember me, Thy sinful servant, cold and unclean, in Thy Kingdom.”

He called himself cold and unclean, who for us is a model of all holiness, a model for the fulfillment of the entire law of Christ - he calls himself cold and unclean.

Why does the Lord require humility above all from us?

Why did he command humility: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”?

Why is this holy commandment placed first in a series of nine beatitudes? Because without the fulfillment of this commandment, the fulfillment of the rest of the law is worth nothing. All our good deeds are little pleasing to God if they are not imbued with holy humility.

Why is it necessary to be humble, why does our great God require this in the first place? Because He requires us to tremble with contrite and humble hearts at His word.

We must be imbued with such immeasurable respect and admiration for the majesty of God that we must think of Him with trembling—with trembling, and not with pride, with humility, with a contrite heart.

And only then will He hear our prayers, as He heard the humble prayer of the unfortunate, despised publican, who stood at the entrance to the temple, beat his chest and kept repeating the words: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

He was sinful, he was hated by all the people because he collected taxes wrongly, for the sake of his own benefit he collected too much.

But even this sinner, who with trembling, with the fear of God, beating his chest, repeated the same words: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” the Lord justified much more than the self-righteous Pharisee, who only exalted himself by his dignity, his virtues.

Therefore let us all be humble and tremble at the word of God. May there never be in our prayers a trace of any exaltation before God, any praise of our virtues.

May we always, always, at every prayer, in our hearts, in our thoughts, not only once, but always, remember our sins, of which everyone has countless, which are so vile before God.

If at every prayer we always remember our sins, and if, saying the great Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” we will immediately, right away remember and steadily keep in mind all our sins, and especially the most grave, the most vile sins, if we steadily remember our sins, then little by little tears of repentance will begin to drip from our eyes. And when the Lord gives these tears, then holy humility will come, the queen of all virtues.

If only we don’t forget, don’t leave thoughts about our sins, if only we don’t think that it’s enough to go to confession and reveal sins to the confessor, and then immediately forget them, as very many do. If only they would not forget, if only they would always remember, if only they would know the words of God proclaimed through the Prophet Isaiah and another great prophet, Jeremiah. Here is what the Prophet Isaiah says: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Is. 43:25).

He will not remember, He has forgiven, but you should remember, always remember, always ask for forgiveness. Remember this: "You remember."

Remember also the words of the great Jeremiah: “Turn to me, daughter of Israel... and I will not turn away my face forever, nor be aware of your iniquity either” (Jer. 3:12-13).

Know, always know your iniquities, remember your iniquities, even though the Lord does not turn away His face, even though He has mercy on you.

That is why our Lord Jesus Christ, in the short and amazingly powerful Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, teaches us that our prayers should be prayers of humbleness and repentance. Never forget this holy parable. Do not forget those words of the Psalm of David that you hear every day at the Six Psalms: “A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit. A contrite and humble heart God will not despise."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

First Homily on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:14).

To some people who were sure of themselves that they were righteous, while others were humbled, Jesus Christ spoke the following parable. Two people entered the temple to pray: one was a Pharisee and the other was a publican. The Pharisee, standing up, prayed to himself like this: "God! I thank You that I am not like other people, robbers, abusers, adulterers, or like this publican. I fast twice a week, I give a tenth of everything I get." The publican, standing far away, did not even dare to raise his eyes to heaven, but, striking his chest, he said: "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" And further Jesus Christ adds that this one went to his house justified more than that previous one, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted (see Luke 18:10-14).

February 12, 2022

Miracles of Saint Meletios of Ypseni

The living presence of Saint Meletios is displayed in various ways on the island of Rhodes as well as being a permanent intercessor throughout the universe. Many believers come for the first time as pilgrims to the Holy Monastery of Panagia Ypseni to narrate their personal experience and the miraculous intervention of the Saint. The once unknown "Papa Meletios" is becoming well known. With simplicity and humility he "invades" the lives of the faithful by revealing his name, saying "I am Meletios" and invites them to come to his monastery to heal them spiritually and physically, to give them a small stone of hope, faith and love.

Saint Meletios of Antioch Resource Page

St. Meletios of Antioch (Feast Day - February 12)
As the Lord grasped the hands of Meletios,
"I surrender my soul into Your hands" he said.
On the twelfth Meletios entered the all-nourishing earth.

February 11, 2022

Homilies on the Divine Liturgy - The Antiphons and the Trisagion Hymn (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homilies on the Divine Liturgy

The Antiphons and the Trisagion Hymn

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
We will continue today with some comments on the Divine Liturgy, which is the greatest good that God has given us, because in it we can feel His love, pray to Him, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ and we taste of Paradise. Because by participating in the Divine Liturgy and by trying to concentrate our mind and live out everything that happens in it, we are in a certain sense preparing to participate in the great festival of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Custom of the Distribution of a Piece of Watermelon in Kerkyra Every February 11th

Although watermelon today is known to Greeks as the king of the summer fruits, it is traditionally known as a winter fruit (heimoniko), due to the fact that it has a thick rind and can be preserved until Christmas, or even until Great Lent. On the island of Kerkyra, it is a custom to distribute a piece of watermelon on the feast of Saint Blaise, which is February 11th, at the Metropolitan Church of the island after the Divine Liturgy.

On February 11th in Kerkyra, the Empress Theodora is primarily celebrated, whose relic came to Kerkyra from Constantinople, shortly after the fall of Constantinople, together with the relic of Saint Spyridon. The litany of the relic of Saint Theodora, who ratified the decisions of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod in 787 and restored the Holy Icons in 843, is kept in the Metropolitan Church of Kerkyra which is dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos Spilaiotissa and Saint Theodora.

February 10, 2022

Saint Haralambos and the Twelve Year Plague of Crete in the 19th Century

In Crete the plague is likened to an ugly old woman. The folklorist Nikolaos Politis describes her as follows: "She is a blind woman, running through the cities from house to house and killing those she touches, but because as a blind woman she touches the walls of the houses, she is unable to touch those in the middle of the rooms."

In 1817 an endemic took place in Crete that lasted for 12 years. It is believed the plague was brought by 22 Egyptian soldiers. Many families took refuge in the countryside (caves and elsewhere) to avoid being infected. Other times the sick resorted to the caves to prevent the transmission of the disease.

The Story Behind the Church of Saint Haralambos in Ilision

Church of Saint George in Kochylos

In the village of Kochylos on the island of Andros stands the Church of Saint George, where for many years they celebrate a miracle of Saint Haralambos.

Years ago, sometime in the 1960s, on the eve of the feast of Saint Haralambos, a poor old man appeared to a woman on a rainy evening and asked for hospitality. She put him in her kitchenette, sat him in a chair, served him food to eat and kept him overnight. In the morning the old man was gone. The incident was repeated one or two more times.

February 9, 2022

Translation of the Sacred Relics of our Venerable Father George Karslides

 On the 9th of this month [February], we commemorate the translation of the relics of Venerable George Karslides.


The fragrance of your relics George,
Proves that grace dwells within you.

Below is the testimony of a nun who witnessed the translation of the relics of Saint George take place on February 9, 2006:

"It was nine o'clock in the morning. We had been standing on our feet since nightime. As much as they could they alternated between diggers. We were chanting, said the prayer, the Salutations to the Panagia, in the icy landscape that reminded us of Russia where he came from. There was silence, in order to hear the shovels and the pickaxes and the murmuring of the prayer and the supplications to the Lady Theotokos and the name. The weather was hazy, cloudy, frosty, and the whole surrounding atmosphere had the semblance of the resurrection. Within the ice one could smell the spring, our thoughts had been purified, our inner man had become unburdened, the passions had become hidden.

Introduction to the Writings of Saint Peter of Damascus in the 'Philokalia' (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Our Venerable Father Peter, who served as Bishop of Damascus, lived during the reign of Constantine Copronymus in the year 775. Having first lived ascetically as a monk and anchorite, he lived with such non-possessiveness that he did not even have a book of his own, as he testifies of himself. However, taking books from others, I mean the Old and New Testaments, the great teachers of the Church and all the other Neptic and God-bearing Fathers in general, he showed such diligence that, studying day and night the law of the Lord and drinking from their life-giving waters, he showed himself truly to be like a tree that is tall and heavenly, according to the Psalmist (Psalm 1:3), planted by these springs of waters of the Spirit. With one difference: the tree bears its fruit in a single season; the other tree, however, namely the Venerable Peter, does not do the same, but remaining continuously and relentlessly sturdy, in every season it bears spiritual fruit that is beautiful to the sense of sight, sweet to the sense of taste, fragrant to the sense of smell, which satiates every sense of body and soul with the immortal and fragrant sweetness they emit.

February 8, 2022

2022 Pastoral Encyclical for the New Year (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

A New Year Message of 
Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Happy and blessed new year! May we have peace and love between us, but mainly in the new year to bring us that which is "desired", as Saint Kosmas the Aitolos would say about the liberation of this country, saying that may God grant us that which is "desired". And that which is "desired" now for all of us is to get rid of the coronavirus, in the new year to get rid of this scourge that has taken over not only our country, but all of humanity.

Outrage Over Blasphemous Use of the Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Trebizond

Outrage has spread throughout the Orthodox Christian world over the blasphemous use of the Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Matsouka of Pontus, after a video clip has emerged showing the filming of an advertisement with foreign actors and a dj depicting a disco party on its sacred grounds, at the very spot the Divine Liturgy takes places on August 15th, even making use of the bell of the monastery in an inappropriate manner.

The images are an insult to Orthodox Christians everywhere, but also to believers of any religion in general, since no one would want such a sacred space used in this way, especially a sacred space that was forced to be abandoned by the local government in the 1920's due to racial and religious discrimination and has only recently been allowed to function again at certain times and with permission as it was meant to be.

The Story of the Church of Saint Theodore the General in the Cypriot Village That Bears His Name

Agios Theodoros is a village in the Limassol District of Cyprus, in the region of Pitsilia, which is why it is usually referred to as Agios Theodoros Pitsilias. There we find a church dedicated to Saint Theodore that was built in 1977 on the spot where an older church dedicated to Saint Theodore once existed. The interior of the church is decorated with frescoes painted by Romanian iconographers.

Miracle of Saint Theodore the General for the Widow Whose Only Son Was Taken by Pirates

In Herakleion of Pontus, the place where Saint Theodore the General was martyred, near his hometown of Euchaita, there was an attack of Ishmaelite pirates and many people were taken prisoner. Among the prisoners was the only child of a widow.

The widow cried inconsolably and went every day to the Church of the Great Martyr Theodore and begged him:

"I, my Saint Theodore, have entrusted my child to you from the beginning. And every year I celebrated your memory and did a liturgy to protect him. Now I am destitute and I have nowhere to bow my head. That is why I ask you, my Saint Theodore, to free him. I, the unfortunate one, would like to have some consolation too. You can do it for me, because you were martyred for the Master Christ and whatever you ask of Him, He gives it to you."

February 7, 2022

The "Ignorant and Boorish Saint" Luke of Steirion (Photios Kontoglou)

 By Photios Kontoglou

On February 7, the memory of Saint Luke of Steirion is celebrated. The monastery that honors his name is located near the village of Steiri and hence he is called Saint Luke of Steirion or the New, to set him apart from Luke the Evangelist, who lived 890 years earlier. This monastery is famous and its church is the largest of those that have survived from that time, decorated with mosaics and colored marbles. One goes to the monastery from Distomo. It is built in a beautiful place, near the mountain that was called in ancient times Elikonas and today is called Paliovouna.

An Account of Saint Parthenios Healing a Woman With Severe Pneumonia

By Maria Meletiou-Makris, Philologist

The God-bearing Saint Parthenios not only casts out demons, but as "the glorious benefactor of miracles", "bestowing miracles on all", he extends his miraculous action to all diseases and emerges as a "fervent protector of the suffering and afflicted".

Mrs. Kyriaki Vertopoulos, a resident of Zografou, told us about a miracle that Saint Parthenios performed for her at the time when his chapel was being built at the Lyreion Foundation.

Prayer Regarding Cancer (Approved by the Sacred Synod of the Church of Greece)

Since today is the feast of Saint Parthenios, the patron saint of those with cancer due to the numerous healings performed by him, I thought it appropriate to translate a prayer regarding cancer approved by the Sacred Synod of the Church of Greece. Of course, there are other Saints who are known to heal cancer, such as Saint Nektarios who is especially known as a patron of those suffering with prostrate cancer, and their names can be added at the end, as well as the specific names of those who you may know that have both passed away from cancer or are currently suffering with cancer, but this is the officially approved version for general use.

February 6, 2022

Homily on the Sunday of the Canaanite Woman (Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes)

By Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

In today's Holy Gospel our beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ meets with a Gentile woman near the region of Tyre and Sidon. The woman was a Greek living in Canaan.  She had a daughter which was "severely demon-possessed".  In her distress of finding a way to heal her daughter, she took the path and climbed the mountains of that region just with the thought that she might meet with the great Teacher of Israel, whose fame traveled around the country.  This great Rabbi can heal all the infirmities of men!  He is the solution, the woman said, of my family's problems.