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 6: $2350)

June 30, 2022

Kali Limenes (Fair Havens): The First Greek Port Where the Apostle Paul Stopped on His Way to Rome

During the reign of Roman emperor Claudius (AD 41-54) the survival of the city of Rome depended on fleets bringing grain from Alexandria. In Acts 27, Paul was being transported to Rome under the charge of a centurion named Julius. They transferred to an Alexandrian grain ship that was attempting a winter run. "When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone. Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea" (Acts 27:7-8).

The Theological School of the Apostles

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the beginning the Apostles were called "Disciples", then they were called "Apostles" because they were sent throughout the world, then they were called "Ecumenical Teachers".

This successive series of characteristics - Disciples, Apostles, Teachers - shows that the Apostles went through a "spiritual school", a "spiritual Theological School", where they learned the spiritual knowledge that comes from faith and love.

June 29, 2022

Homily Two on the Holy Foremost Apostles Peter and Paul (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on June 29/July 12, 1952)

The Holy Church honors the memory of the holy foremost apostles Peter and Paul as highly as any other of the holy apostles, although they are all great before God.

What does this mean? This means that God Himself placed them above the other apostles. The Lord Himself glorified the Holy Apostle Peter so much as no other apostle, for you heard in the current Gospel reading that our Lord Jesus Christ once asked His disciples who His people thought He was. And the disciples answered Him: “Some call you John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matt. 16:14). “And who do you think I am?” our Lord Jesus Christ asked. And then the Apostle Peter answered Him on behalf of everyone: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” Then Jesus answered and said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonas, because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” God Himself revealed to him that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Homily Two for the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

 By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

We celebrated with spiritual joy the memory of the two foremost Apostles of our Christ, the holy glorious and all-praised Peter and Paul. Their contribution to the Church of Christ, to humanity, is so great that one must have a Chrysostomic mouth in order to be able to praise them worthily.

You are aware, after all, that Saint Chrysostom also wrote famous discourses praising Saint Paul the Apostle, for whom he had and nurtured the greatest admiration, and whose disciple and follower and perfect imitator was this holy Father of our Church.

Homily on the Feast of the Holy Foremost Apostles Peter and Paul (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Pray to God for us, holy and foremost apostles Peter and Paul, as we diligently resort to you, quick helpers and intercessors for our souls."

We all have a habit on our name day to mainly pray to the Saint whose name we bear: the one named with the name of the Apostle Peter prays to him, with the name of Saint Nicholas prays to Saint Nicholas. Why such a habit? Because this Saint, whose name we bear, is our special helper, our special intercessor. After all, the fathers give the name of a famous Saint precisely so that this Saint would especially help us, so that they would especially pray for us, so that they would be our guardian angel in life. That is why we call him our Angel, and his day is called the day of our Angel.

June 28, 2022

René-Nicolas Ehni, Well-Known and Controversial French Author and Playright Who Converted to Greek Orthodoxy, Has Reposed

René-Nicolas Ehni was born on 29 April 1935, in Rixheim of the Alsace region of France, into a Jewish working class family. He lived as a child and teenager in Eschentzwiller, his schooling taking him to Colmar (in Saint-André) and Mulhouse (at the Lycée Lambert). The languages he spoke were Alsatian and he later learned French, German, and Greek.

His first vocation was to become an actor. He went to Paris, passed the entrance examination for the conservatory on rue Blanche in 1953, and started a small career acting in Paris theater before spending nearly three years in war in Algeria for his military service.

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - The Sacred Temple (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

The Sacred Church

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

During the Great Litany, as the prayer to God is called at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, after the petition for peace, we also pray for the Sacred Temple in which the Divine Eucharist is celebrated. "For this holy house and those who enter it with faith, reverence and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord", that is, let us pray for this Holy Temple and for those who entered it with faith, reverence and fear of God.

The Sacred Temple is the place where the members of the Church gather to pray to God and to perform the Sacred Mysteries, especially the great Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. It is called a Temple because God dwells there, in the sense that in this space the energy of God is manifested.

June 27, 2022

Why Saint Cyril Loukaris Established the First Greek Printing Press in Constantinople

When Cyril Loukaris became Patriarch of Constantinople, Jesuit and Protestant propaganda with its theological innovations was strong and penetrated the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. To counter this influence, he knew how greatly a printing press was needed in which Orthodox writings could be presented in the vernacular, since it was this tactic that was being used by the Jesuits and Protestants. He talks about western propaganda tactics in a letter to Michael, the ruler of Moscow:

"The Papists and the Protestants have printing presses and print all forms of theological books of the Holy Fathers, but in these books they insert their impious heresies, twisting the Holy and God-bearing Fathers, writing things that are in agreement with what they say; but that is not enough for them to achieve their ends, for in the monasteries of Athos and other places, there are old books in manuscripts, which prove their cunning. By printing and composing these books in accordance with their habits and thoughts, they compete in countries where these old books are absent; thus surrounding them with their weapons they appear to be mighty, casting upon us our own arrows."

Homily for the Second Sunday of Matthew - The Meaning of Obedience (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homily for the Second Sunday of Matthew

The Meaning of Obedience

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"...and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him" (Matt. 4:23)

Beloved brethren,

One of the most difficult but necessary truths of the Church for modern man is the teaching of obedience. Christ sets it as a necessary condition of salvation and perfection. That is why when He called His disciples, they left everything and followed Him.

Modern man, however, cannot understand the value of obedience. He considers it destructive to his person. This is because he has deified his reasoning faculty that he thinks is of great value. When one lives with the rule of reason, then one is completely incapable of understanding the great value of obedience.

June 26, 2022

Homily on the Second Sunday After Pentecost - On Ambition (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Second Sunday After Pentecost - On Ambition
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

About one of our severe spiritual wounds - about ambition - I now intend to tell you.

In the Evangelist Luke we read something amazing about what happened at the Secret Supper, when our Lord Jesus Christ told the apostles that one of them would betray Him. Of course, this terrible news shocked the apostles, and they asked each other who could do this. But immediately, not finding an answer, they began to argue with each other about which of them should be considered greater.

How could this ambitious dispute arise among them, who had just heard the terrible prophecy of their Teacher about His betrayal by one of them and about His coming sufferings and death on the Cross?

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

Second Sunday of Matthew
Matthew 4:18-23
By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Lord called Peter and Andrew, and immediately, leaving all, they followed Him. He called James and John, and they also immediately left all and followed the Lord. Why did they follow Him so quickly and willingly? Because they saw something better. Such is the law that we have in our soul, that once it has tasted and known what is better, it is repulsed by what is worse and abandons it. Here is accomplished the same thing that later the Lord described in His parable about the treasure hid in a field, and about the pearl of great price. The treasure and the pearl are faith in the Lord and communion with Him according to the strength of faith. We have already been declared possessors of this in baptism. Why do we value this treasure so little, and so exchange it for barren insignificance? Because we were not brought up to cultivate a taste for this treasure, and it becomes foreign to our heart. Our heart does not know this better thing. It only knows that there is the bad, the very bad, and the not so bad, and bases its outlook upon this assessment. Here is the entire reason why the Lord calls some and they come; but we, the chosen ones, run from Him.

The Relics of Saint David the Dendrite of Thessaloniki

During the period of the Latin rule of the house of Montferrat in Thessaloniki (1204-1222), the sacred relic of Saint David the Dendrite was transferred to Italy and in 1236 it was in Pavia, from where it was transferred to Milan in 1967. By the actions of the late Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Panteleimon II, it was returned to Thessaloniki and was placed in the Basilica of Saint Demetrios on September 16, 1978, while today it is kept in the Monastery of Saint Theodora in the center of Thessaloniki. His memory is celebrated on June 26.

June 25, 2022

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - The Peace of God (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

The Peace of God

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Divine Liturgy, beloved brethren, is the great Mystery of the Church, since in it the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ and we commune Christ, who is the source of life and immortality. Thus, you cannot be a Christian who does not go to church, does not attend liturgy without having a serious reason.

The Divine Liturgy begins with the proclamation: "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages." It is a doxology of the Triune God, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Immediately after the remembrance of the Triune God, the Priest asks the Christians present to pray to the Triune God and to mention their petitions to Him and to ask Him for their needs.

June 24, 2022

Homily One on the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on June 24/July 7, 1951)

Prophet and Forerunner of the coming of Christ, worthy of praise, we are perplexed, who honor you with love.

Well, how can we not be perplexed, how can we offer praise worthy of that about which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said, that among those born of women, no one greater than John the Baptist has appeared.

How can we praise the one who is higher than all the saints after the Most Holy Theotokos?

This is the first of the saints in the kingdom of heaven.

The merits of the saints are so great that we cannot count them. What can be said about him, about the one who appeared to the world in the spirit and strength of Elijah?!

What was the spirit of Elijah the Prophet? You know that it was a fiery spirit, burning with love for God. And the power of the Prophet Elijah is also indescribable, for by the power of his prayer he stopped the rain in the land of Canaan for three and a half years, and in a contest with pagan priests about faith, he called fire from heaven on a sacrifice on which water was poured.

It was in such a spirit and in such power that John the Forerunner of the Lord came.

The Holy Prophet Isaiah says that he is the one who should be called “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” (Is. 40:3) .

And he completed this task. What was this task?

The great venerable Makarios of Egypt likens the nation inhabited by sinners to a dense forest, overgrown with thorny bushes, likens it to dense thickets of reeds and says that it is extremely difficult to get through in such a thicket, you need to push the branches apart with your hands, push away the thickets of reeds.

Namely, such was the nation inhabited by Jews before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was an extremely sinful nation, which had departed from faith in the True God and gone into idolatry.

These were people who sacrificed their children to Baal and Astarte, shedding their blood.

And so the task before John the Forerunner was to prepare the way for the Lord in this dense forest. Such a task has never been entrusted to a person, and the greatest spiritual powers were needed in order to fulfill it.

Let us remember that the holy Forerunner of the Lord prepared for the fulfillment of this task, having lived for more than twenty years in the wild Judaean desert. He lived alone and away from people, with animals; he wore thorny felt clothes and slept on the rocks of the desert.

Why was it necessary? So that, in unceasing prayer to God, in the most difficult fasting, abstinence and vigil, to acquire strength similar to the power and spirit of Elijah. And the holy Forerunner of the Lord acquired such strength.

He shook the hearts of the Jews with his sermon on the banks of the Jordan. He prepared the way for the Lord with this preaching of his, with this fiery call to repentance.

His sermon was so powerful, so influencing to human hearts, that crowds of people came from all over Judea to listen to the denunciations of the Forerunner, to repent and be baptized with the baptism of repentance.

This baptism was necessary in order to prepare for the true baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, which was established by our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Forerunner was completely fearless: he never thought about his own safety, he stood up for the truth so strictly that he was not afraid to expose even King Herod in ugly adultery and iniquities. And for this he was executed.

Didn't God Himself testify to the world about his immeasurable greatness when he sent the archangel Gabriel to announce to the priest Zechariah that this greatest of people would be born from him!

Didn't the archangel say that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb?

This is why I will praise John the Baptist with my weak lips.

And I will draw your attention to another one.

When the archangel Gabriel announced to the priest Zechariah that a Forerunner would be born from him, Zechariah did not believe, although he was full of faith in God. Although he and his wife Elizabeth were righteous, nevertheless this righteous man did not believe.

And did God forgive him this wavering in faith? No, He punished him with a heavy punishment, through the mouth of the archangel he commanded him to be dumb for nine months, until the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy.

This was the punishment of the righteous for unbelief.

And if the Lord so punished the righteous for his wavering in faith, then what will happen to us sinners if our faith is not firm?

We read from the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews: “But without faith it is impossible to please God; for it is necessary that he who comes to God believe that He exists, and rewards those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

Well, how can you believe in the One Whom you do not imagine? How can you love someone in whom you don't believe? Without faith and without love, there is no way to please God. Remember this.

What is required of us is unshakable faith, faith undisturbed by anything.

If you ever waver in faith, then do not remain in your wavering, but be careful so as not to suffer a heavy punishment for it.

The priest Zechariah, punished by God, was pardoned by Him, and not only pardoned, but received a great gift of prophecy, for you heard what he said when his son John the Baptist was born. He said:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, that he visited his people, and created deliverance for them, and raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David, his servant, as he proclaimed through the mouth of his holy prophets who were from time immemorial, that he would save us from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us ... " (Luke 1:68-71).

What's this? Isn't it a prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it not a prophecy about the Savior of the world, the Messiah?

Of course, yes, of course, a very clear prophecy of the coming of the Savior.

You see, the Lord does not leave without punishment those who hesitate in faith, but the Lord, having punished Zechariah, forgave, and not only forgave, but also gave the forgiven the great gift of His grace - the gift of prophecy.

Therefore, if you ever happen to waver in your faith, do not lose heart. Falls are inevitable in our Christian life.

Remember how the priest Zechariah, the father of the Forerunner, was forgiven by God, and hope that if you repent, He will raise you up in your Christian dignity and give you the gifts of His grace so that you can follow Him further.

The Lord will help.

And if you believe this, you know that the Lord will not leave you even after your fall.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

An Image of the Greatness of John the Forerunner (St. Theodore the Studite)

 By St. Theodore the Studite

Therefore, it seems to me appropriate to represent the greatness of the Forerunner in the following image. Just as an ordinary king, leaving the royal chambers, has as his predecessors lictors and mace-bearers, and then hypats, iparchs and brigadiers, and then some high dignitary, behind whom the king himself immediately appears, shining with gold and precious stones: so should one think about the true and the only universal King, Christ our Lord. For He, who was to enter into the universe with flesh, was preceded by the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - then the God-seer Moses, Aaron and Samuel, and the whole chorus of the prophets; finally, John appeared, and immediately after him the Lord Christ, about whom John says: "This was he of whom I spoke: He that comes after me is preferred before me, for he was before me" (John 1:15), - and the last in order is the highest in dignity, according to comparison. Thus, the great Forerunner is higher than the prophets, and the apostles, and all others, according to the word of the true Word Christ: he is higher than the prophets, as succeeding them, and the apostles, as preceding them.

From the Homily on the Nativity of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist.


June 23, 2022

An Icon of the Virgin Mary That Has Been Continuously Weeping and Flowing With Myrrh for Nearly Two Years

The parish priest, Archimanrite Christodoulos Katsifis, explains what has been taking place at the Church of Saint Demetrios in Nea Elvetia of Vyronas, a suburb of Athens, for nearly two years regarding the weeping and myrrhgushing icon of the Panagia.
Ceaseless Weeping

"From September 8, 2020, during the Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of the Theotokos, the sexton Mrs. Eleni discovered that while cleaning the icon, it started to weep. She came to the Sanctuary in awe and told us that tears were flowing from the eyes of the Panagia. I went with the other priests present together with the Metropolitan in front of the icon and we confirmed that tears were flowing from the eyes of the Panagia of Consolation. Indeed! For 17 months, our Panagia continues to make her presence felt, with the myrrh, with her tears, with the miracles performed for so many pilgrims, who turn to her Grace."

June 22, 2022

What Proved to Me the Gospel of Christ Was True (Metr. Athanasios of Limassol)

By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol
When I first met Elder Paisios, within me - although I was a young child 18-18.5 years old - I said that indeed, what Christ said is true!

Since this man exists and since this man lives and I saw him with my own eyes and I experienced life with him afterwards - I lived with him for 16 whole years - then everything that the Gospel says is true!

Holy New Martyrs Ambrosios, Neophytos and Makarios of Vatopaidi (+ 1821)

Sts. Ambrosios, Neophytos and Makarios of Vatopaidi (Feast Day - June 22)

In 1820 the Hieromonks Neophytos and Ambrosios, the Hierodeacon Parthenios and the monks Dionysios and Dorotheos and later Makarios were sent to Crete, by invitation, with sacred relics, in order to expel the terrible disease of the plague, which infected the locals there. These relics were a portion of the Holy Zoni of the Panagia which was a gift to the monastery of the emperor John Kantakouzinos, a piece of Holy Wood from the True Cross, and the skull of Saint Andrew of Crete.

June 21, 2022

The Skull of a 15 Year Old Neomartyr, Saint Niketas of Nisyros

The memory of the Holy New Martyr Niketas of Nisyros (+ 1732) is celebrated by the Church June 21st.

He was beheaded by the Turks at the age of 15 for becoming a Christian after being raised a Muslim.

Today his sacred skull is kept in Iveron Monastery at Mount Athos.

When the Saints Sinned They Did Not Suffer Melancholy and Depression (Metr. Athanasios of Limassol)

By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol
You see, the Saints, even when they sinned, had the strength to rise again with a certain simplicity and with a healthy attitude.  
If they sinned, they repented from the bottom of their hearts and to the point of death, but they did not suffer from melancholy and depression.  

We Cannot Comprehend the Prayers and Supplications the Saints Make on our Behalf (Elder Eusebius Yiannakakis)

Our thoughts cannot comprehend what the Saints do for us who live here, in the valley of lamentation. What prayers and supplications the Saints make for us who are here. This is because they walked here where we walk and encountered difficulties, temptations and obstacles, which we also encounter. We ought to always flee to the Saints and ask for their mercy, prayers and supplications.

- Elder Eusebius Yiannakakis (+ June 19, 1995)
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos. 

June 20, 2022

Synaxarion of Saint Nicholas Cabasilas

 By Monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis

On the 20th of this month [June] we commemorate Venerable Nicholas Cabasilas.


You clearly became a joint-partaker with the Saints,
Having lived a holy life Nicholas.
We celebrate the divine Nicholas with glorious praises.

Homily Four for the Sunday of All Saints (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

The Sunday of All Saints gives us occasion to reflect on the many different ways that the holy people of God walked along the thorny road to the Kingdom of God.

Their conditions of life, their aspirations and inclinations, and their characters were very different; their lives were very different, and, accordingly, their minds and hearts were inclined most of all towards the fulfillment of one of the commandments of God.

Among them were people who were not at all interested in issues of state and public life, in secular, worldly affairs and wholly embraced only one desire - to be in constant communion with God.

June 19, 2022

Homily for the Sunday of all Saints - The Confession of the Saints (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Homily for the Sunday of all Saints

The Confession of the Saints

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32).

Beloved brethren,

The Feast of All Saints is today and our Church with the Gospel reading reminds us of the confession of the saints, which must take place in the whole perspective of the Orthodox life. That is, we must confess Christ, but within Orthodox ecclesiastical contexts.

June 18, 2022

Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol on the Execution of Frank Atwood - Monk Ephraim

Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol was the first Orthodox Christian Frank Atwood got in contact with in the mid-1990's while he was prison, and the Metropolitan was at that time not a Metropolitan but an abbot of a monastery in Cyprus and former monk of Mount Athos. It was during his prison studies of the blending of Christianity and Oriental religions that Frank came upon and read the book The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality by Kyriacos Markides. In this book, Metropolitan Athanasios (under the pseudonym Father Maximos) gives a profound account of the true nature of Orthodox spirituality from an Athonite perspective, and this moved Frank to get in contact with him. A few years later, in 2000, Frank was baptized with the name Anthony.

Below is a translation of a transcript from a recent audio recording in which Metropolitan Athanasios was asked about the recent execution of Frank Atwood, and he replied as follows:

Divine Grace Drove the Apostles Crazy, in a Good Way, and Excited Them (St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva)

Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva, speaking about Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, said:
On Pentecost, the grace of God was poured out not only on the apostles, but on all the people around them. It affected the believers and the unbelievers. What does Acts say? While the Apostle Peter was speaking his own language, his language was being processed in the minds of the listeners at that time.

In a secret way the Holy Spirit made them understand his words in their language, secretly, without being noticed. These miracles are done by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Alena of Belgium (+ 640)

St. Alena of Belgium (Feast Day - June 18)

Saint Alena was born in Dilbeek, just outside Brussels, Belgium, in the seventh century. She was baptized without the knowledge of her pagan parents, the nobleman Levold and his wife Hildegaart.

Alena secretly attended the Christian liturgy, giving varying excuses to her parents. One night her father told his guards to follow her and, after tracking her for quite some time, they witnessed Alena entering a chapel in Vorst. Her father came to the conclusion that Christians had bewitched her into conversion, and ordered that she be arrested. When her father’s guards attempted to arrest her she resisted. During the struggle, her arm was severed, and she offered her soul up to God. It is said the arm was taken by an angel and placed before the altar in the chapel where she regularly worshiped.

June 16, 2022

The Terrible Process of Execution and Its Peaceful Confrontation by Anthony (Frank Atwood - Monk Ephraim)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In previous posts I referred to the issue of Anthony's death sentence and asked for a prayer for Anthony, so that he could deal peacefully with the fact of his execution. His execution took place on June 8th in Arizona.

The well-known story of Frank Atwood, who was sentenced to death for a murder which he himself claimed until the last moment that he did not commit, who while in prison under the highest security was baptized Orthodox with the name Anthony, the patron of the Sacred Monastery of Saint Anthony in Arizona, and shortly before his execution was tonsured a monk with the name Ephraim, after the founder of the Sacred Monastery, Archimandrite Ephraim the Hagiorite and Arizonite.

Parable of the Most Humble Monk

In one monastery, the abbot was noted for his righteousness and zeal in serving the Lord. God noticed his efforts and sent an angel to him in order to reward him for his diligent service.

But the abbot refused the reward, and instead asked:

"Show me the most humble of the monks of my monastery, so that I can offer prayers for his soul."

The angel pointed to one of the brothers. The astonished abbot exclaimed:

“But this is the most intemperate of the brothers!"

To which the Angel answered him:

"If this man had not fought with himself every second, he would have killed you all a long time ago!"

June 15, 2022

The Persecution of Christians Under Emperor Diocletian

By St. Justin Popovich

During the reign of Diocletian (284 to 305), four decrees were issued against Christians. 
The first was promulgated in February 303. This decree ordered the destruction of churches and the burning of sacred books; at the same time, Christians were deprived of civil rights, protection of the law and their services; Christian slaves lost the right to freedom if they got it for some reason but still remained in Christianity. 

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Bessarion of Agathonos

 By Metropolitan Joel of Edessa

On this day [January 22] we commemorate our Venerable Father Bessarion the New, the merciful and discerning, who lived in asceticism and completed his life at the Monastery of Agathonos in Phthia, where his holy relic was uncovered from the grave, and was found to be incorrupt.


Sacrificer of the Master Christ Bessarion,
Cover those who sing your hymns in their prayers.

June 14, 2022

Holy New Hieromartyr Ananias Lampardes, Metropolitan of Lacedaemon, Has Been Canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Today, June 14, 2022, together with Elder Bessarion of Agathonos, the Ecumenical Patriarchate approved the canonization of the Holy New Hieromartyr Ananias Lampardes, Metropolitan of Lacedaemon (+ 1764). He had been locally canonized in 2017 by Metropolitan Eustathios of Sparta, and at that time he submitted his name for approval from the Ecumenical Patriarchate for universal recognition. News of his official canonization was met with great joy in the Holy Metropolises of Monemvasia, Sparta, Gortynos and Megalopolis.

You can read about the newly-canonized Saint Ananias at the following link:

Elder Bessarion of Agathonos Has Been Canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Today, June 14, 2022, the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeded with the canonization of the beloved Elder Bessarion of Agathonos, who reposed on January 22, 1991.

Metropolitan Symeon of Fthiotida offered the following urgent local announcement upon the numbering of our Venerable and God-bearing Father Bessarion of Agathonos, who is also known as the Merciful and as the Spiritual Father, among the Saints of the Orthodox Church.

June 13, 2022

Homily for Pentecost Sunday: Christ and the Holy Spirit (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink" (John 7:37).

Beloved brethren, this is the word of Christ that He spoke during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. On this feast the Jews glorified God for their miraculous salvation. Every morning in the Temple there was a procession in remembrance of the miraculous gushing of water from the stone through the staff of Moses. Also, every afternoon, two lamps were lit in the portico in memory of the cloud of light that illuminated their fathers during the night journey. On the last day of this feast, Christ, standing in Jerusalem and referring to these two miraculous events that these two worshipful acts reminded us of, cried out: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink ... I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 7:37; 8:12). Then we will be preoccupied with the first proclamation of Christ: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink" (John 7:37).

Second Homily for the Monday of the Holy Spirit (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

We recognize the powers of material nature by their manifestations with greater or lesser power.

A light breeze caressing our cheeks, and a terrible hurricane destroying entire cities - this is only the movement of air with the weakest and strongest power. The barely noticeable twinkling of the smallest star and the dazzling light of the midday sun are only manifestations of the same light energy in the weakest and strongest degree.

On this great feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, we see that the spiritual energy, which reveals to us the power of God, can manifest itself not only quietly and hardly noticeably, but also with tremendous power and glory.

Monday of the Holy Spirit: Epistle and Gospel Reading

Monday of the Holy Spirit
Monday After Pentecost

 Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 2.
Psalm 27:9,1
O Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance.
Verse: To you, O Lord, I have cried, O my God.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 5:8-19


Brethren, walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.

Reflection for the Monday of the Holy Spirit (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 By St. Theophan the Recluse

Comforting His disciples, the Lord said that it will be better for them if He rises to heaven, for upon rising, in place of Himself He will send the Comforter — the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has descended and abides in the Church, accomplishing in each believer the work of Christ. Each Christian is a communicant of the Spirit. This is something so necessary, that in fact whoever does not have the Spirit is not of Christ. Look closely at yourself — is the Spirit of grace within you? For it does not remain in everyone; it can depart. Here are the signs of His presence: first He finds a spirit of repentance and teaches a Christian to turn to God and correct his life; the spirit of repentance, accomplishing its work, passes the Christian on to a spirit of holiness and purity, which is succeeded, at last, by a spirit of adoption. The characteristic of the first is a work-loving zeal; the characteristic of the second is warmth and a sweet burning of the heart; the characteristic of the third is a feeling of adoption whereby the heart sighs to God: "Abba, Father!" (Mk. 14:36). Examine which of these levels you are on. If you are not on any of them, take care for yourself. 

June 12, 2022

Homily Three for the Feast of Pentecost (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

The deeply important and mysterious dogma of the Trinity in the Persons of the One God distinguishes our Christian religion from all other religions.

For thousands of years the God-chosen Jewish people lived by faith in the One God, who revealed His omnipotence and incomprehensible wisdom in the creation of the universe; His truth in the global flood, His mercy and love for His people in the miraculous liberation of the Jewish people from the long Egyptian captivity, in the passage through the Red Sea, in conversations on Mount Sinai with the great prophet Moses and in the giving of His ten commandments through Him, and in many, many other great events, about which the Apostle Paul speaks with great power in his epistle to the Romans: “... because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse ...” (Rom. 1:19-20).

June 10, 2022

An Annual Appeal and a New Booklet Available of an Unpublished Lecture of Father John Romanides

Dear Readers:

I am making a new booklet available of an unpublished lecture by Father John Romanides he gave to Lutherans in 1989 titled "The Canon and the Inspiration of the Holy Scripture." It is an excellent introduction to the study of the Bible from an Orthodox Christian perspective of biblical inspiration. This will only be distributed to those who make a donation towards the ministry of the Mystagogy Resource Center of no less than $25 and make a request for it when making their donation (you must put it in the notes upon checkout).

Though I annually make an appeal for financial assistance before Pentecost, I understand it is a difficult time financially for many, which is why I am offering this booklet exclusively to donors as an incentive to support this ministry. Please consider making your annual contribution of any amount with a monthly subscription (Paypal or Patreon) at the links or address below so that the work of the Mystagogy Resource Center can continue.

Below is an excerpt from the booklet:

"According to the common faith of the Church, God's revelation in the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament points to the incarnation of the Son, Jesus Christ, who was crucified and who rose from the dead for our salvation. The Church teaches that the Son of God was the revealer to the prophets even before his incarnation (1 Cor. 10:4; John 8:58). The saving work of the Triune God (oikonomia) is completed in the outpouring  of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and in the gathering of the Church (Acts 2:1,17) which awaits the consummation. The traditions regarding the incarnate Lord himself and the message of the apostles were joined to the Holy Scriptures of Israel as their fulfillment and completion (Heb. 10:11; 2 Cor. 3:3-18). These new writings, a deposit of the apostolic oral tradition, became the New Testament."

Thank you in advance for showing your appreciation of this ministry by your generous contributions.

With love in Christ,

John Sanidopoulos

Click on the DONATE button to make a one-time donation (a Paypal account is not needed to make a one-time donation):

To make a monthly contribution, choose from the options below to set your amount and click on the SUBSCRIBE button (please use a browser other than Mozilla Firefox to change the amount of the monthly donation).

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To send in your donation, please do so to the following address:

John Sanidopoulos
PO Box 320284
West Roxbury, MA 02132

Photos and Videos from the Funeral of the Recently Executed Frank Atwood at Saint Anthony's Monastery in Arizona

Father Paisios, Sarah and Monk Ephraim

The funeral of Frank Atwood, who had been baptized an Orthodox Christian with the name Anthony in 2000 and was made a monk the day before his execution on June 7th with the name Ephraim, took place yesterday, June 10th, at Saint Anthony's Monastery in Arizona. Eternal be his memory!

June 9, 2022

Holy Five Virgin Martyrs Thekla, Mariamna, Martha, Maria and Ennatha as Models for our Lives

Holy Five Canonical Virgins (Feast Day - September 26 & June 9)

 By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Holy Virgin Martyrs Thekla, Mariamna, Martha, Maria and Ennatha came from Persia and lived in the 4th century AD, during the years of King Shapur. They lived near a village called Ἀza and were dedicated to God. There they lived in asceticism and prayer and were guided by a priest named Paul, who, unfortunately, was greedy and kept for himself the money given by the faithful for the needs of the hungry. And this passion of his, because he did not strive to defeat it, led him, unfortunately, to eternal loss.

In the area where the nuns and their spiritual father Paul lived, there lived also a magician, who understood that Paul had money and he wanted in every way to get it. That is why he presented himself before the king and told him that these women and Paul were Christians. The king called for them and ordered them to deny Christ. Then the nuns openly confessed their faith in Christ, but Paul did not do the same. Instead, he asked the king not to take his money away from him, and when he told him that you could keep your money if you deny Christ, then he said that he would deny Him. Later, however, the king set a condition for him to keep his money, which was for he himself to behead the nuns, who in the meantime had been severely tortured. At first he hesitated to carry out this heinous act, but then, defeated by the passion of greed, he took the sword from the hands of the executioner and beheaded them. Before beheading them, they tried with warm words of faith and love for Christ to awaken his conscience and lead him to repentance, but, unfortunately, he remained unrepentant. The money, however, which he loved so much, he did not enjoy, since at the end the magician took it, and then in his despair he committed suicide, like Judas, that is, he put a noose around his neck and hung himself.

June 8, 2022

The Divine Visitation to Elder Kyrillos of Evia on the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Theodore the General

St. Iakovos Tsalikes with his successor Elder Kyrillos

Elder Gabriel, abbot of the Monastery of the Venerable David in Evia, told the following story in a sermon on February 8, 2021 concerning a divine vision of his predecessor, Elder Kyrillos, which took place one June 8th, which is the feast of the Translation of the Sacred Relics of Saint Theodore the General.

One time because of the temptations he was facing he was in great sorrow. He went to his small cell very sad. When he arrived, on his bed was a book of the Lives of the Saints for the month of June and it was opened to the 8th of the month, on which date we commemorate the translation of the relics of Saint Theodore. At that moment he heard a voice from heaven that said to him:

And the Two Shall Become One: The Frank J. Atwood & Rachel L. Atwood Story (About Frank Atwood's Autobiography)

For those interested, Frank Atwood, who was executed today as a Great Schema Monk named Ephraim, wrote an autobiography at the recommendation of Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, who has known Frank since 1995. It took him and his wife Rachel, who was baptized with the name Sarah, ten years to write about their journey before and after they met each other. You can purchase the book here.

Frank Atwood, Who Was Tonsured a Monk With the Name Ephraim, Has Been Executed

It was confirmed not long ago that Frank Atwood was executed this morning by the State of Arizona through lethal injection. Atwood was sedated at 10:10 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m., media witnesses said. He was 66 years old, having been sentenced in 1987 for the kidnapping and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Pima County, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson. Frank maintained his innocence till the end.

“Today marks final justice for our daughter Vicki Lynne. Our family has waited 37 years, eight months and 22 days for this day to come,” Debbie Carlson, Vicki Lynne's mother, said while choking back tears during the media briefing following the execution. “Vicki was a vibrant little girl with an infectious laugh and a smile that would melt your heart."

June 7, 2022

A Final Correspondence Between Anthony (Frank) Atwood and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos Before His Execution

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In a previous text I announced that Anthony, Frank Atwood, had been scheduled to be executed in Arizona in the United States in early June. His lawyers did some work to turn the death sentence into a life sentence, to postpone the execution, due to a problem with the poisons, but in the end everything was rejected.

For so many years he has been declaring that even though he made many mistakes in his life, he did not commit the murder for which he was sentenced to death. And I personally believe in his innocence.

Thus, Anthony will be executed on Wednesday, June 8, at 10 a.m. in Arizona of America, that is at 8 p.m. in Greece.

"Because God Loves You, He Kept You From Seeing What You Just Saw" (A Miracle of Saint Panagis Basias)

A Testimony of Gerasimos Drakopoulos 
Regarding a Miracle of Saint Panagis Basias

When I was 12 years old, one night when I was sitting outside my father's goldsmith shop in the central square of Lixouri, some of his friends gathered - as every night - to chat. These were all the literate people of the city and most of the elderly.

That night the discussion revolved around the holiness and miracles of Papa-Basias [1801-1888] and each of them had a miracle to tell. Then, my late father told me an amazing miracle of Papa-Basias, which was experienced by my grandfather Vasilios Drakopoulos, lead chanter and composer of many church songs. The miracle is as follows.

Saint Meriadoc, Bishop of Vannes (+ 688)

St. Meriadoc, Bishop of Vannes (Feast Day - June 7)

Saint Meriadoc (Meriadec, Meriasek), though venerated especially in Cornwall and Brittany, was probably a Welshman who lived in the 5th or 6th century. He came to Cornwall and founded several churches, one of which at Camborne was once dedicated to him. He became renowned in these parts and a miracle play in Cornish still survives, called Beunans Meriasek, recounting his legendary exploits.

He then crossed over into Brittany, where his memory is still strong. In the 16th-century church at Plougasnou is a reliquary containing what may well be part of Meriadoc's skull. At Stival is preserved what is believed to be his bell. Placed on the heads of the deaf and those suffering migraine, it is said to heal them. Some documents state that Meriadoc even became bishop of Vannes at a time when it was one of the most important cities of Brittany.