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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Saint Theophanes the Myrrhgusher, Bishop of Solea in Cyprus (+ 1550)

St. Theophanes of Solea (Feast Day - May 17)


Blessed Theophanes longed for his Bridegroom,
departing from this world empty of glory.
The Monastery of the Forerunner rejoices and is glad,
having you venerable one as a divine protector.
On the seventeenth Theophanes united with God.

Saint Theophanes lived in Cyprus during the Venetian occupation (1489-1571). We do not have information about his parents, his origins and his education. The information we have is little, but important, because it is handed down by a contemporary of the Saint and an eyewitness of the exhumation of his Holy Relic, Stefano Lusignan (1537–1590), a Dominican monk and vicar of the Latin Archdiocese of Cyprus, in his work "The Chorography of the Island of Cyprus". This work, which is considered an important source of information on the medieval history of Cyprus, was published first in Italian (1573) and then in French (1580). The second edition, which is more elaborate, completes the first.

Third Homily for the Sunday of the Paralytic (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

Our Lord Jesus Christ came to Jerusalem for the feast. At the Sheep Gate of this city stood a pool, called in Hebrew Bethesda, which means "the House of Mercy". This pool was surrounded by five covered passages, in which lay a huge number of sick, blind, lame, withered, waiting for the movement of water, which from time to time was made by an angel descending into the pool. And then every sick person, who was first to descend into the water, was miraculously healed of their illness, whatever it was. Who, if not the Eternal Son of the God of mercy and the Father of bounties, should enter the House of Mercy?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Second Homily for the Sunday of the Paralytic (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on May 20, 1951)

One evening, the Holy Prophet David was on the roof of his house, and from the height of the roof in the neighboring courtyard he saw an extremely beautiful woman bathing. He was inflamed with passion for her, and sent his servants to bring her to his house. The king questioned her and learned that she was the wife of Uriah, a brave warrior who fought against the Ammonites and the Syrians. He took her for himself. He called for the commander under whose authority Uriah was, and ordered to put Uriah in the most dangerous place and move away so that he would be killed. A messenger came from the field and reported what was done according to his word - and Uriah died.

Synaxis of All the Holy Venerable Fathers of Meteora

On the Sunday of the Paralytic, it has been established in Meteora and Kalambaka to commemorate the Synaxis of All the Holy Venerable Fathers of Meteora, whose asceticism for the love of God shine as a bright example for our own sanctification.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

First Homily for the Sunday of the Paralytic (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea 
(Delivered on April 30, 1950) 
"There is a pool in Jerusalem at the sheep gate, called in Hebrew Bethesda, in which there were five covered passages. In them lay a great multitude of the sick, the blind, the lame, the withered, waiting for the movement of the water. For the angel of the Lord went down at times into the pool, and disturbed the waters; and whoever first entered it after the disturbance of the water, recovered, no matter what disease was possessed" (John 5:2-4).

I think that the whole world, that all mankind is like this pool of Bethesda: you need to know that this Hebrew word means "house of mercy." In it, in this house of mercy, lay many sick, crippled, lame, blind.

This is the image of our world. Is there not in it a huge number of sick people who lay at the pool at the Sheep Gate: lame, crippled, blind, withered and paralyzed?

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Saint Leontios, Patriarch of Jerusalem (+ 1190)

St. Leontios of Jerusalem (Feast Day - May 14)


Breathing like a Lion O Leontios,
You overcame Satan like a small gnat.

Saint Leontios came from Tiberiopolis in Phrygia, and was born to wealthy and pious parents around the second half of the 12th century AD. When his father died, after leaving his hometown and studying under a pious priest, he came to the Monastery of Ptelidi, where he became a monk. Later he went to Constantinople and became associated with the Metropolitan of Tiberias, to whom he submitted. After following his elder, who was returning to his Diocese, he sailed with him to Patmos, to worship at the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian. He then started his journey to Cyprus, but the will of God led him back to Patmos. There, with the spiritual guidance of the abbot of the monastery, Theoktestos, a man experienced in spiritual matters, he became a model of brotherly love and humility. When the abbot Theoktestos died, Leontios was elected his successor by a unanimous decision of the monks.

Saint Isidore of Chios Resource Page

St. Isidore of Chios (Feast Day - May 14)

Isidore is gladdened with the hope of the crown,
And he went to be beheaded after the crown. 
On the fourteenth Isidore was beheaded by the sword. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Saint Polybios, Bishop of Rhinocorura (the disciple and biographer of Saint Epiphanios of Salamis)

Saint Polybios probably came from Phoenicia (Lebanon). Information about his life comes from the Life of Saint Epiphanios of Salamis (Constantia), to whom he was a disciple and biographer. He became a monk from a young age, and "he was pious man and perfect in temperance", according to his biography. While Epiphanios was still in Phoenicia, and when he was a simple monk, the bishops of Palestine gathered in a Synod and decided to ordain him a bishop. So they sent to him the monk Polybios, to inform them how Epiphanios was doing in his monastery in the area of Spanhydrion, but was told not to inform him of his election, so that he could have an excuse to escape. But Saint Epiphanios recognized from divine revelation the truth, called on Polybios to remain with his brotherhood, and thus left the bishops to investigate the worthiness of another bishop.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

A Beautiful Chapel Dedicated to Saint Epiphanios of Salamis in Cyprus


A beautiful chapel, located east of the Cypriot village of Anarita, was recently dedicated to Saint Epiphanios of Salamis, who was Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus for 36 years, and was distinguished by his piety and love and spreading Orthodox Christianity in all corners of the island.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Saints Cyril and Methodios of Thessaloniki, Teachers of the Slavs

By Panagiotis K. Chrestou,
Professor of the Theological School 
of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki


By the beginning of the 9th century, more than one thousand one hundred years had passed since the establishment of the city of Thessaloniki (315 BC). During this period, the city had undergone days of great glory and terrible suffering, still, it remained glorious and proud.

As it was the capital of Illyria during the Byzantine period, it came great battles to protect Hellenism and Christianity from the barbarians that continuously arrived from the North: the Goths, Huns, Avars and Slavs.

Protector in those battles was the all-glorious martyr Demetrios, would appear over the city walls in a white mantle and continuously empower the defenders when the raiders narrowed the siege. That's why the Thessalonians never missed a chance to express their gratitude towards their saviour Saint.

Patriarch Irenaios of Jerusalem on the Miracle of the Holy Light of Jerusalem

In 2019, Patriarch Irenaios of Jerusalem, who served as Patriarch from 2000 till his dismissal in 2005, was asked about the authenticity of the miracle of the Holy Light in light of the allegations of some who serve under Patriarch Theophilos III that it is a hoax, to which he replied:

"I do not know what others say, I do not know if they said it or how they said it, what I know is what I experienced as many times as God required me to perform the Service of the Holy Light. I entered the Holy Sepulcher, I prayed on my knees holding the bundles of candles that, like the oil lamp, lit by themselves. I never looked into 'how' or 'why', but I experienced the event and the miracle of the Resurrection of the Lord with fear of God and awe like all the old and contemporary genuine Fathers of the Holy Sepulchre and every faithful Orthodox Christian."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Interview With Patriarch Diodoros I of Jerusalem on the Miracle of the Holy Light

Interview with His Beatitude Patriarch Diodorus I on the
Miracle of the Holy Fire

By Niels Christian Hvidt

His Beatitude Patriarch Diodorus I was born in 1923. He first came to Jerusalem in 1938 and assisted the Miracle of the Holy Fire ever since. In 1981 he was elected Patriarch and was thus the key witness to the Holy Fire 19 times until his death in December 2000, as the Greek-Orthodox patriarchs always enter the little tomb chapel where the flame first occurs. I spoke with him at the Orthodox Easter, 2000.

"Your Beatitude, what actually occurs when you enter the tomb on Holy Saturday during the ceremony of the Holy Fire?"

The Four Gospels Summarized in Four Words


Christos Anesti!
Alithos Anesti!

With only four words the four Gospels of Christ are summarized.

- St. Justin Popovich

Monday, May 9, 2022

Testimony of a Nun Who Knew Saint Hieronymos of Simonopetra

Abbess Taxiarchia writes:

I have known the Elder [Hieronymos of Simonopetra] since 1934 when I was still a child. He always welcomed us with affection. He was tireless to give us the spiritual fruits of his love.

I had never told him that I would become a nun, because I had not yet thought about it on the one hand, and on the other hand I had a big war going on at home. I was not even allowed to go to church.

Many times I went secretly to both the Elder and the church.

"I Kissed the Living Hand of the Lord!" (St. Hieronymos of Simonopetra)

One of Elder Hieronymos of Simonopetra's spiritual children wrote the following in a notebook of his memoirs:

A family, refugees from Russia, condemned by the regime there, fled to Greece and settled in Nea Ionia. One day the father of the family fell ill with a high fever.

Reflecting on his poverty, he asked the Panagia, whose icon he had brought with him from Russia, to help him get well so that he could work and support his family.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate Has Canonically Recognized the Church of Ochrid in Northern Macedonia

The Holy and Sacred Synod, meeting today, Monday, May 9th, 2022, under the chairmanship of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, discussed in detail the ecclesiastical issue of Skopje, and, evaluating in the final phase the submission to the Mother Church from that Church, as well as the other appeals of the State of Northern Macedonia, they have decided the following:

1) It accepts into eucharistic communion the Hierarchy, the clergy and the people under Archbishop Stefan of this Church, healing the wound of the schism, pouring over the wound of our Orthodox brethren "oil and wine". To this end, the relevant Patriarchal and Synodal Act is published.

Homily for the Week of the Myrrhbearing Women (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

Congratulations, congratulations to all of you, good women, all praying with me - congratulations on your great women's feast - the week of Myrrhbearing women. It is necessary that you understand well what this great day obliges you to understand why the significance of the week of the Myrrhbearing women is so great.

Why was it that our Lord Jesus Christ was the first after the resurrection to appear not to His apostles, but to them, the Myrrhbearing women? Why? Because the Lord knew the hearts of women and the hearts of men.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Homily on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women (St. Luke of Simferopol)

St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on May 13, 1951)

The Myrrhbearing women have now been honored with great honor, for the Holy Church honors their memory on the third Sunday of Pascha.

How did they deserve such an honor, why does the Holy Church glorify them? Because they shine for all of you, women, as a holy and unattainable example of what all women should be.

The Holy Church honors the holy Myrrhbearing women with great honor for their unspeakable love for Christ, for they completely gave their hearts to the Lord Jesus.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Shedding Light on a False Historical Rumor Against the Holy Light of Jerusalem from the 18th Century

Patriarch Ephraim II of Jerusalem

Did Patriarch Ephraim II of Jerusalem (1766-1771) 
ever describe the appearance of the Holy Light 
as a "handmade mechanism"?

1. The Reason Behind the Disbelief of Some

It is striking that those who deny the miracle of the Holy Light, while doubting millions of witnesses who have seen and experienced this miracle for so many centuries, have the naiveté to base their disbelief on the completely unproven and arbitrary testimony of Neophytos Kavsokalyvites, who stated that allegedly Patriarch Ephraim II of Jerusalem (1766-1771) described the appearance of the Holy Light as a "handmade mechanism" and, knowing from his personal experience the mechanism behind its appearance, described it as "that handmade light, the dramaturgy of which I detected with my own eyes."

Friday, May 6, 2022

Life of the Holy and Righteous and Much-Suffering Job (St. Justin Popovich)

By St. Justin Popovich

Righteous Job was from the tribe of Abraham, and lived in the land of Uz, in Arabia. Job was a man of truth, blameless, just, and godly, and he shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He also had seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and very many servants; and his works were great in the earth; with nobility and honor he was the greatest of all men in the East. His sons gathered themselves together, and gave feasts at home every day, and called their three sisters to eat and drink with them. The sons of Job lived in such love and harmony with each other that, although they lived in separate houses, they never liked to eat or drink without each other. So, one day they had lunch together with the eldest brother, and the next day with the other brother, and thus having celebrated in seven days, they started again from the eldest. And their feasts were moderate and honorable, neat and quiet, without drunkenness, disorder and noise. This is because their good and righteous father would not allow gatherings, in which the sin of overeating, drunkenness and indecency would have a share, but he would surely forbid them. But he, seeing their good nature and meekness and so much mutual love that is rarely found among siblings, did not forbid them feasts but enjoyed it. And when they had prepared a feast for seven days, Job sent to them, admonishing them and advising them to examine their conscience carefully, whether they had sinned against the Lord in word or thought, because righteous Job feared God very much, fearing not with the fear of a slave but with the fear of a son of love, and he took care of himself and all his house, so that nothing would be done that would anger the Lord God.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Veneration of Photios Kontoglou for Saint Ephraim of Nea Makri

Photios Kontoglou was born in Aivali (Ayvalik), Asia Minor on November 8, 1895 and died in Athens on July 13, 1965.

The following incident refers to his last moments in the hospital and the wonderful information that his wife received from Saint Ephraim the Wonderworker. We read this in the book Visions and Miracles of Saint Ephraim the Great Martyr and Wonderworker.

Holy Martyrs Irenaeus, Pellegrinos and Irene of Thessaloniki

Sts. Irenaeus, Pellegrinos and Irene(Feast Day - May 5)

The Holy Martyrs Irenaeus, Pellegrinos and Irene are an unknown triad of saints from Thessaloniki, who were commemorated in ancient synaxaria and in the West, but for some reason were left out of later lists and manuscripts of saints from Thessaloniki.

During the persecution of Emperor Diocletian, Irenaeus, Pellegrinos and Irene the Virgin were arrested and urged to deny their Christian faith and sacrifice to the idols. They refused to do so, which led to them being condemned to be burned to death. In this way they delivered their souls into the hands of the Lord and gained the crown of martyrdom.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Church of Saint Pelagia in Kato Karouzana, Crete and the Vow That Led To Its Establishment

In Kato Karouzano, Crete in the former province of Pediados, upon entering the village, we encounter the Church of Saint Pelagia, the patron saint of the settlement.

It is a building probably from the beginning of the 20th century, the result of a vow of Irene Katsounakis who really wanted to have a baby girl.

A resident of our village told us that the founder was a rich woman and only daughter who fell in love and married one of her workers and wanted as much as anything else to have a daughter with him, because only sons were born to her. In fact, in order for her wish to come true, she made a vow to build a church and dedicate it to Saint Pelagia.

The Translation of the Sacred Relics of Saint Mary Magdalene from Ephesus to Constantinople in 890 A.D.

According to ecclesiastical tradition, towards the end of her life, Saint Mary Magdalene went to Ephesus, where the Apostle John the Theologian lived. There she became his helper and supporter in his trials and tribulations, in his imprisonment and in all his afflictions. In Ephesus, the Saint led many to the faith and awareness of the truth. The people of Ephesus honored and revered her.

After her death, her revered body was buried by the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John, in a cave near Ephesus, as a precious treasure. During the burial, many miracles were performed, as well as in later times, until today, the Saint does not stop performing miracles.

The Cave Church of Saint Pelagia Near Feloti Bay in Kythera

Slightly hidden along the impressive rocky coastline near beautiful Feloti Bay of southwest Kythera, is the Cave Church of Saint Pelagia.

The path towards the cave starts to the left of the fisherman’s cottage, just before you descend to the bay. After only about 200 metres, the church, with its small bell tower, becomes visible. The door latches are easy to open and inside you walk down the steps into the church that was built in the 17th century or earlier. Bishop Nektarios Beneres mentions this cave church in his list of churches in 1697, and though there is nothing written of it before this time, some believe it is at least a few centuries older than this date. The iconostasis is simply designed, decorated with only a few nautical symbols. Inside the cave you hear water dripping into beautiful old ceramic pots. There is high humidity in the cave because it is close to the sea, so the icons are only brought in for Saint Pelagia’s feast day celebration on May 4th, when locals gather the evening before for a solemn Great Vespers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Resurrection Divine Liturgy in the Stable which Saint John the Russian Lived for 19 Years in Prokopi of Cappadocia

On the Sunday of Thomas, 1 May 2022, a Resurrection Divine Liturgy took place in the stable Saint John the Russian lived in for 19 years in Prokopi of Cappadocia.

Pilgrims from Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey gathered together for worship.

At this location, Saint John the Russian was made to live after he was taken into slavery by the Turkish Aga, and he took care of the animals that he lived with in the same stable. Even after the Turkish Aga set him free, Saint John continued to live in this stable until the day he reposed in the Lord. In all, he was here for 19 years.

The spot where he would sleep, today is occupied by the Holy Altar.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Reflection for Thomas Sunday (St. Theophan the Recluse)


 By St. Theophan the Recluse

"My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28) cried the holy apostle Thomas. Do you feel the strength with which he has grasped the Lord, and how tightly he is holding onto Him? A drowning man grasps the plank on which he hopes to be saved in the same way. We will add that whoever does not have the Lord like this for himself and does not keep himself this way in relation to the Lord, does not yet believe in the Lord as he should. We say: “Savior and Lord,” meaning that He is the Savior of all; but Thomas says: “My Lord and my God.” He who says: “my Savior,” feels his own salvation proceeding from Him. The feeling of salvation lies adjacent to the feeling of perishing, out of which the Savior pulls whomever He saves. The feeling of perishing, for a man who is life-loving by nature and who knows that he cannot save himself, forces him to seek the Savior. When he finds Him and feels the power of salvation proceeding from Him, he grasps Him tightly and does not want to be torn from Him, though he be deprived for this of life itself. Such a nature of events in the spiritual life of a Christian are not only imagined in the mind, but are experienced in deed. Then, both his faith and his union with Christ become firm, like life and death. Only such a person can sincerely cry: "Who shall separate me!" (cf. Rom. 8:35).

On the Resurrection of the Dead: A Homily for Antipascha (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on May 6, 1951)

The universal message of the Holy Apostle Peter begins with the words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who in His great mercy has regenerated us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead into a living hope...” (1 Pet. 1:3).

The apostle says that they, the holy apostles, were dead.

Why are they dead? Because after the terrible crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, their hopes collapsed, and everything was covered with impenetrable darkness - there was no hope, everything collapsed.

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