Friday, August 12, 2022

The Theological August: Pastoral Encyclical for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


The Theological August
 
Pastoral Encyclical for the Feast of the 
Dormition of the Theotokos (2022)

In the middle of Summer, and in fact in the middle of the month of August, we celebrate the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, from whom Christ took on human nature and entered history as the God-man Christ.

In the first days of August until the eve of August 15th, we chant in the sacred churches the Supplicatory Canons to the Most Holy Theotokos, the Small and the Great Parakleseis, which are full of theological and spiritual meanings. With theological words and wonderful images, the entire universal work of Christ and His Mother is presented.

Homily Six on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in Alushta in 1957)

The glorious feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord gives us reason to ponder the words of our Lord Jesus Christ addressed to the people and the Apostles: “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come in power” (Mk. 9:1).

We could not understand these extraordinary prophetic words of the Son of God if we related them to the manifestation of the Kingdom of God at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, for more than 1900 years have already passed; and all the contemporaries of the Lord Jesus have died, and we are still waiting for the Second Coming.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Homily Four on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1953)

In the great first chapter of the Gospel of John we read about God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

What life? There is a life that can only be called existence, vegetative life, and a huge number of people live such a life. There is no light in it, true light, but only a faint twilight sort of light.

There is a life completely devoid of light, a life full of darkness. In such darkness live all whoremongers, lechers, drunkards, who serve passions and lusts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Homily Three on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)


By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on August 6/19, 1952)

One of our greatest feasts has come - the Transfiguration of the Lord, and already yesterday at the Vespers you heard the troparion of this festival, and in it such words: “May Thy everlasting light shine on us sinners through the prayers of the Theotokos, Giver of Light, glory to Thee.”

Have you thought about what a great blessing we ask of God in these words, what joy - eternal, unceasing joy we ask - we ask that that divine light shine in us forever, which illuminated on Mount Tabor the whole body, all the clothes of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Homily Two on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1951)

With deep reverence, we are now celebrating one of the greatest events in the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ - His Transfiguration.

Why do I call this feast so great?

Because the Lord was pleased to reveal to the whole world through His chosen apostles, witnesses of the Transfiguration, His heavenly glory.

Has He revealed all the glory? Oh no, far, far from all. It is impossible to see the glory of God with impunity: it is impossible for a person to see the glory of God and stay alive.

Homily for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew - The Blessing of Christ (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
Homily for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew

The Blessing of Christ

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves of bread, which Christ blessed and distributed, is well known, with the result that five thousand people were fed, not including the women and children. The Evangelist Matthew writes: "Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed them" (Matthew 14:18). The result of God's blessing is the multiplication of loaves and fishes.

The blessing of Christ is His energy with which He benefits the world. During His Ascension, Christ ascended to heaven and blessed His Disciples present, as the Evangelist Luke writes: "Through His hands He blessed them, and when he had blessed him, he separated from them and was taken up to heaven" (Luk. 24:50-51). He left us His blessing, that is, His grace and energy, for this reason the Apostle Paul writes to the Christians of Ephesus: "Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

Homily for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew - The Basic Needs of our Lives (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
 Homily for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew

The Basic Needs of our Lives

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves is one of the most well-known and beloved events of the life of Christ, because it shows that Christ is interested in the material problems of people, in their hunger, but also because it shows the mystery of the divine Eucharist, as the holy Fathers of the Church interpreted this passage. But today, in this short sermon, we will see another side of this subject that is important. That is, we will examine the issue, not from the side of Christ, but from the side of people.

Homily Two for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on July 21/August 3, 1952)

Today you heard in the Gospel reading about one of the greatest miracles created by our Lord and God Jesus Christ - concerning the feeding of a multitude, a multitude of people with five loaves of bread and two fish: five thousand men alone, not counting women and children.

You know about the countless miracles that our Lord Jesus Christ did: you know about walking on the waters of Lake Gennesaret, about the calming of a storm by His word on this lake, you know about the resurrection of the dead, about the return of sight to the unfortunate blind and about many other miracles.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Saint Kallinikos of Edessa, a Balanced and Transfigured Man


Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, in his sermon today in honor of the feast of his spiritual father who was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate two years ago, Saint Kallinikos of Edessa, referred to the glorious repose of this Saint of our days, which came after the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ and after he said a prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos, in view of the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos.

This is important, because he loved both of these feasts. He spoke every day during this period about the Panagia, about her faith, her purity, her patience, her silence, but also about the Transfiguration of Christ.

Saint Kallinikos himself was a balanced man, a transfigured man.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Homily Two for the Epistle Reading on the Eighth Sunday After Pentecost (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


 Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

Homily on 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The early Church, despite its rich gifts of the Holy Spirit, was troubled by various problems. Among these problems were divisions and schisms among Christians. The Apostle Paul refers to this fact in the reading we read today.

The Christians of Corinth were divided into groups and factions. Some claimed to belong to Paul, others to Apollos, others to the Apostle Peter and there was also a portion of some people who said they belonged to Christ, as if the previous ones did not belong to Christ and were not His disciples. The Apostle Paul rebukes this mentality of divisions and schisms, and he emphasizes to them that they must be trained in the same mind and the same opinion and stand immovable in their unity with Christ, since He was crucified and rose again for men. But Christians were also baptized in the name of Christ and not in the name of the Apostles. The Apostles are Disciples and Apostles of Christ (1 Cor. 1:10-17).

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

 
Homily for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew

The Mystery of the Divine Eucharist

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"And they all ate and were satisfied" (Matt. 14:20).

Beloved brethren,

The ancient ecclesiastical hermenutical tradition gave an ecclesiastical and eucharistic meaning to the miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves, which we heard today in the Gospel reading. This miracle is a prototype of the mystery of the Divine Eucharist, according to which the spiritually dead person receives Christ and is revived. Therefore, we are given the opportunity to formulate some thoughts about this supernatural and great mystery which is the center of ecclesiastical and spiritual life.

Homily One for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on July 23, 1950)

You have heard in the current Gospel reading about one of the greatest miracles of Christ - about the feeding of five loaves and two fishes to more than five thousand people.

Why did the Lord create this miracle? What is its significance for us? Why did the Lord perform His miracles at all?

We find the answer to this question in the Evangelist Matthew, who says this: “Jesus departed from there in a boat to a deserted place alone; and the people, when they heard about it, followed Him out of the city on foot.”

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

 
Eighth Sunday of Matthew

Matthew 14:14-22

By St. Theophan the Recluse
 
Before the miraculous feeding of the five thousand people, the disciples of the Lord wanted the people to be sent away; but the Lord said to them: "They need not depart; you give them something to eat." 
 
Let us learn this word, and each time the enemy suggests to us to refuse someone who asks for something, let us say from the person of the Lord: "They need not depart; you give them something to eat"—and let us give whatever we find at hand. 
 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Homily on the Transfiguration of the Lord (Archim. George Kapsanis)


By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

We were mentally transported to Mount Tabor, where the Transfiguration of the Lord took place. We mentally saw our God-man Savior transfigured, shining like the sun, and His garments white as light. We saw the representatives of the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah and the prophet Moses, conversing with Jesus. We saw the holy Apostles in awe and marvel. And as those who visit Mount Tabor of the Transfiguration say, on this day of the feast the whole Mount is fragrant. With this sign, this heavenly fragrance, which the pious pilgrims of the Mount of Transfiguration sense today, the Lord gives one more proof of His presence and His Grace on this blessed Taborian Mount.

Homily Two on the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Chrysostomos of Smyrna)


By St. Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Smyrna

(Delivered on August 4, 1912)

From the event of the Lord's Transfiguration begins the second period of the Lord's public life, which was his final journey to Jerusalem, where the passion, the cross, and death awaited Him, which were also the main purpose of His life on earth, and the object of the preaching and the preparation of the first part of His early ministry.

But when the first period of the Lord's public life on earth began by a sign from heaven in Jordan, then the heavens were opened, and a voice came from there: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). Similarly, this second period begins with a sign from the sky: "Suddenly, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice came from the cloud, saying: This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased."

Homily One on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on August 19, 1950)

On this great day, we remember the glorious Transfiguration of our Lord and our God Jesus Christ, when He revealed to us the Divine light of His Person, His entire Nature.

We must understand what spiritual light is. My sermon will be about spiritual light.

You all know how every living creature quiveringly reaches out to the sun, to the light of the sun, to the material light, shining from the sky. You know how every insect, every grass, every leaf and flower always reaches for the light. The light of the sun, the material light is known to all of you, and you all love it.

Friday, August 5, 2022

When the Mother of God Sent Aid to Saint Paisios the Athonite


Saint Paisios narrated the following story of a personal intervention of the Mother of God in his life:
 
I had been fasting and keeping vigil. In those days I split the fast of the Fifteenth of August into two: until the Transfiguration I did not eat anything, on the day of the Transfiguration I ate, and then until the Panagias again I did not eat anything. So I left immediately after the vigil and didn't even think to take a little dried bread with me.

I arrived at the Monastery of Iveron, gave the letter and went down to the dock to wait for the boat. It was supposed to come at four in the afternoon, but it was late. In the meantime I started to get dizzy. Beyond was a stack of tree trunks, like telegraph poles, and I said with my thoughts:

Holy New Martyr Christos from Preveza, A Once Forgotten Saint

 
By Spyros Symeon

Saint Christos is one of the holy new martyrs of our Church that bears the name of the Savior and Risen Christ. This name is only found among martyrs since unfortunately it is not given to monks and clergy because it is customary there to give "monastic" names, and unfortunately although many lay people receive it they do not honor it in memory of a Saint but on the feast of the One who on that day is celebrated by all of Christianity.

When I was young I had heard an elder in a small monastery who told us that those who have names that celebrate them on some Despotic Feast should be catechized and urged to move their name day feast to a day in memory of a Saint who bore their name.

Saint Eugenios the Aitolos, A Supporter of the Greek Nation in Difficult Times


By Fr. Elias Makos

Saint Eugenios Yiannoulis the Aitolos, from Megalo Dendro in Thermo, who celebrates on August 5 (he reposed on August 6, 1680, but the celebration of his memory was moved a day earlier, due to the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior), may not be particularly well known nowadays, however, his contribution to the enslaved Greek nation, through education, was very great.

Indeed, he paid the heavy price of being removed from the priesthood for his contribution to the Fatherland, but in 1639 he was restored with honors by Patriarch Parthenios, while in 1982 he was canonized.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - Clergy and Laity (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


 Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

Clergy and Laity

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

We are interpreting in these eucharistic sermons, during the Summer Sundays, the petitions we address to God at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, every Mystery and Sacred Service. Today we will look at the petition we are called to address to God for all the members of the Church. The Priest exhorts us: "For our Archbishop, the Honorable Presbyters and those who minister in Christ, all the Clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord", that is, let us pray for the Archbishop, namely, the Metropolitan of this region - and mention his name - for the Presbyters and Deacons, for all the Clergy and the laity of the Sacred Metropolis.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Matthew - Slandering and Blaspheming the Church (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Matthew

Slandering and Blaspheming the Church

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

But the Pharisees said, "He casts out demons through the prince of the demons." (Matt. 9:34)

With the healing of the two blind men and the deaf man who was demon possessed, the crowds "marvelled, saying, 'It was never so seen in Israel'" (Matthew 9:33). However, the immediate reaction of the Pharisees to the cures and to the opinion of the people was not to deny the miracles, but to distort them and attribute them to the power of demons, saying: "He casts out demons through the prince of the demons" (Matt. 9:34). This is a serious form of slander that ends up in blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The interpretation that the Pharisees gave of the miracles showed the illness of their soul, it revealed the existence of the evil spirit in their hearts.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Holy Seven Maccabees, their Mother Solomone and their Teacher Eleazar as Models for our Lives

(Feast Day - August 1)
 
By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The holy seven Maccabean martyrs lived and were martyred before the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, but the holy hymn writer calls them, apart from "guardians of the doctrines of the law", also "martyrs of Christ", that is, of the Incarnate Word. And he calls them so, because these martyrs also had communion with the Son and Word of God, since all the appearances of God in the Old Testament, namely to the Patriarchs, the Prophets and the Righteous, are appearances of the Pre-Incarnate Word.

These, then, the seven martyrs lived in the years of the Syrian king Antiochus, who was a cruel, barbaric and deadly persecutor of all those who worshiped the true God. Therefore, this ungodly king, after first arresting, torturing and killing their ninety-year-old teacher Eleazar, who remained steadfast in his faith and teaching on the exact observance of God's law, then arrested them as well. At first he treated them with feigned kindness, offering them honors and positions, if they would deny their faith in the God of their Fathers. In fact, he offered them delicious food, which, however, was forbidden by the law given by God to His people, through the Prophet Moses, and insisted that they try it. They refused and then Antiochus showed his true face, the cruel and inhuman one. He had each of them, one by one, endure wheels, javelins and fire. Their mother Solomone was constantly near them and strengthened them, and then followed them in martyrdom. She was also thrown into the fire and thus everyone received the unfading wreath of martyrdom.

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