Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Holy Zoni of the Mother of God in Medieval Constantinople


By Syngelis Em. Konstantinos, Philologist

On 31 August, the Church celebrates the Placement of the Honorable Zoni of our Most Holy Lady in the Church of the Theotokos in Chalkoprateia of Constantinople. This church was in a neighborhood close to a place called Milion, and it was here that the workshops were which belonged to the craftsmen who made and sold copperware, hence the name of the area.

There is no clear evidence concerning this feast of the Mother of God before the 7th century. In the 6th and 7th centuries, six new feasts were added to the liturgical life of the Church, all of them related to our Panagia: her Conception by Saint Anna, her Nativity, her Entry into the Temple, the Annunciation, Christ’s Reception in the Temple by Symeon, and her Dormition. It was the Empress Saint Pulcheria who established the practice of holding a vigil every Wednesday in the Church of the Theotokos in Chalkoprateia. The practice was formalized by the Emperor Saint Maurice (582-602).

Three Miracles of the Holy Zoni of the Mother of God


1. Nikolaos Yiannopoulos, a resident of Patras, was nineteen when he was involved in an accident:

On 10/14/2000, I was involved in a serious traffic accident and taken to a hospital in Rio [a town close to Patras]. I had a burst small intestine - peritonitis - a broken lower jaw and left shin, and peroneal nerve palsy. Six months after I had operations done, there was relative improvement in all areas, apart from the peroneal nerve palsy. I couldn’t move the sole of my foot or lock the knee on my left leg properly. All the doctors said that there was no way I would ever walk again, because it’s the only affliction that doesn’t allow for any restoration of movement in the leg.

Monday, August 29, 2022

On the Beheading of John the Baptist and on Herodias (St. John Chrysostom)


On the Beheading of John the Baptist and on Herodias

By St. John Chrysostom

Again Herodias is raving, again she is making a disturbance, again she is dancing and again she is trying to have John the Baptist beheaded by Herod. Again Jezabel is going around trying to seize the vineyard of Naboth and chase Elijah ito the hills. I think that I am not only one to have fallen into a trance, but all of you listening to the voice of the Gospel are as astonished as I am at John's frankness of speech and Herod's empty-headedness and the animal frenzy of the godless women. What do we hear ? Herod has John arrested and thrown him into prison. Why? Because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.

The empty-headedness of Herod induced by the wretched women is contemptible. What is one to say? How is one to describe the wickedness of those unchastised women? It seems to me that there is no wild beast in the world to match an evil woman. I mean, of course, the evil woman and not the good and reasonable woman. I know modest and good women, whose lives I must recount for the edification and love of the good.

Why Confessions Should Be Made Before Priests and Not Icons


Near Delphi in the village of Kirra, the renowned Orthodox preacher Demetrios Panagopoulos was preaching in a church while the parish priest was hearing confessions. That December night, the priest told the preacher how a grandmother in her 80's or 90's came to him for confession earlier for the first time in her life.

She told the priest that for the past 55 years or so, before she communed, she would walk down a path from her house to the church, where nearby there was a secluded little chapel dedicated to the Honorable Forerunner John the Baptist, and there should would light the oil lamps.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

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

 
 Homily for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew

The Mystery of the Divine Eucharist

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?" (Matt. 18:33)


The parable of the ungrateful and cruel servant shows us the great philanthropy of God and the great inhumanity of man. That is, while God with His love forgives all our big sins, we cannot forgive the small sins of our brothers.

Some aspects of this truth will be highlighted below.

Saint Gregory Palamas, comparing the passage of the Second Coming of Christ with the parable of the ungrateful servant with the debt of the ten thousand talents, says that the passage of the Second Coming refers to the future judgment, while the events narrated in the parable of the debt of the ten thousand talents, "the present is eternity". In fact, the forgiveness of the servant's debt, his cruelty to his servant, his re-punishment, etc. cannot be referred to the terrible, impartial and final judgment, but to the present life.

Homily for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew - On Hard-Heartedness (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

What man will not be angry and protest when he hears the parable of the wicked servant for whom the Lord forgave a great debt while he did not want to forgive his neighbor a small one? Our hearts are troubled when we see the worst manifestations of human passions and sinfulness. The Prophet David rightly said: "He has delivered my soul from the midst of lions' whelps: I lay down to sleep, though troubled. As for the sons of men, their teeth are weapons and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword" (Ps. 56:5). And he doesn't say it about murderers and criminals but about us ordinary people. He calls us lions and says that our teeth are weapons and arrows and our tongue is a sharpened sword. The sword is an instrument of murder.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

The Appearance of Saint Kosmas Aitolos to a Woman in Arnaia on July 23, 1943


Saint Kosmas Aitolos visited Arnaia and Halkidiki in 1775. The memory of this visit is still alive today in the consciousness of the local Christians. Monuments to the passage of the Saint are the shrine under the Mathitiki Estia and the icon which records the prophecy of the Saint for the liberation of Arnaia. Since then, the Saint placed the area of ​​Holomontos under his blessing. 
 
"The aprons of Holomontos will be without blood. They will go to sleep as slaves and in the morning they will wake up free." 
 
The prophecy was fulfilled, and in 1912 Arnaia was freed "without blood", according to the prophecy of the Saint.
 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Gennadios Scholarios, First Patriarch of Constantinople After Its Fall


Gennadios was the first Patriarch of Constantinople after its fall. He was a prominent figure of the 15th century, who sealed the course and evolution of Hellenism and the Eastern Orthodox Church in various ways.

The scion of a merchant family from Thessaly, he was born, educated and worked in Constantinople in an era deeply marked by intense ecclesiastical and political change. The time of his birth is placed between the years 1398 and 1400. His secular name was George. The name Scholarios is considered a family name and probably derives from the position of a member of his family in the army or in the palace.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Saint Kosmas the Aitolos and the New Martyrs


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

(Homily Delivered in Thermo on August 24, 2018)
 
Your Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic,

Reverend Hierarchs,

Beloved brethren,

Historic Thermo, and Aitoloakarnania in general, boasts that it is the place where Saint Kosmas the Aitolos was born, grew up and worked. This place was seen with his own eyes, here he saw the creation of God, he came to know traditional piety and from these places he began his missionary journeys. Since then, many places claim him, and people brag about where he passed, where there is evidence or information that he taught, where temples were rebuilt in his name, where he was martyred.

Thus, today he has become an ecumenical man, an apostle, who made a great revolution in his time, a man with the zeal of God, in difficult circumstances. Because the revolution cannot be interpreted and defined only with weapons and bombs, but with ideas, mainly, however, with the words that come from an inner rebirth and fullfillment of people.

Saint Kosmas Aitolos, the Secret to His Success


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

(Excerpt from his Homily Delivered in Mega Dendron on August 24, 2022)

Of all the points of the life and activity of Saint Kosmas, one characteristic point must be emphasized which is the secret of his success, of the effect his word had on the people, apart from the energy of Divine Grace.

Wherever he spoke he set up a Cross and at the same time placed a stool so that he could be seen, because he was of small stature. The combination between the Cross, the stool and his completely sincere words and the simplicity of his life, that he had no "bag", as he said, were among the secrets of his success.

The Monastery of Panagia Agrilion in Sami of Kefallonia, Which Hosted Saint Kosmas Aitolos in 1777 and Lord Byron in 1823


The Monastery of Panagia Agrilion is just 3 km east of Sami, on a green hill with an altitude of 180 m and in a magnificent location with a wonderful view.

The Monastery was founded by two shepherds who encountered a miraculous icon of the Panagia, known today as Panagia Agriliotissa, at this location in 1722. Iakovos and Symeon then decided to lead a monastic life and were the first residents of the Monastery they established. The primary feast of the Monastery is celebrated on August 15th, in honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos.

The Visit of Saint Kosmas Aitolos to the Village of Rapsani


In the year 1765, Saint Kosmas Aitolos arrived in Rapsani of Thessaly because Rapsani was one of the most famous villages of Larissa during the Turkish occupation. 
 
High up, at the edge of today's village, there still stands the old plane tree where the Saint stood and taught in the year 1765 when he passed through the village. 
 
The people of Rapsani honored Saint Kosmas for his teaching and they still do. 
 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Most Holy Theotokos in the Iconography of the Byzantine Temple

 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the "Symbol of Faith", or what we call "The Creed", we confess that the Church is "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic", because it is connected to Christ. The Church is "One", because one is its head, Christ, and one is His Body; it is "Holy" because its head is holy; it is "Catholic", because Christ assumed from the Panagia the entirety of human nature and came to save all people; and it is "Apostolic", because Christ sent the Apostles to the whole world, to spread the message of the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

The Church, while it is "One", at the same time has two "aspects", the earthly and the heavenly. To the earthly aspect of the Church belong all of us Orthodox Christians who strive to be living members of the Church, and to the heavenly aspect of the Church belong all the saints who have left this world, and the holy angels, as the Book of Revelation of Saint John the Theologian wonderfully describes.

How the Panagia Eikonistria Saved Skiathos and Her Church From the Destruction of the Nazis

The Icon of Panagia Eikonistria

The following excerpt is from a homily delivered by the Theologian, Iconographer and Professor of Byzantine Music, Konstantinos Koutoumbas, on August 23, 2009, on the anniversary of the saving of the city of Skiathos from being destroyed by the Nazi German army.
 
But even in the difficult years of the occupation, when the Italians were succeeded by the German conquerors, who victoriously marched into the Greek lands, the Most Holy Theotokos, the helper and protector of those who call upon her, did not abandon her faithful people, just as she did not abandon her humble island. The olive oil was abundant, the fruit trees were choked with their fruits with their branches leaning to the ground, the harvests were rich in those years. What the evil conqueror deprived the people of God, was abundantly provided by the nourisher of life, the Panagia Eikonistria.

However, on the morning of August 23, 1944, Skiathos was about to experience a nightmare. It was preceded, a few days before, by the arrest of the German commander of the Northern Sporades, Adler, from the 54th regiment of ELAS Pelion, following the order of the EAM Volos, which confirmed the fears of the local EAM Skiathos committee of retaliation by the Germans.

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons Resource Page

 
Verses

Irenaeus speedily flees the earth by the sword,
With eros going towards the heavens he longs for.
 

Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (St. Justin Popovich)

 
By St. Justin Popovich
 
Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, is one of the most famous fathers and teachers of the Church. He lived and practiced asceticism in the second century, devoting his whole life to the struggle with Gnosticism [1]. His importance for the Christian Church of the second century can be compared with the importance of Saint Athanasius the Great [2] for the Christian Church of the fourth century. Both of them appear in their life and work primarily as protectors of pure, unaltered Church teachings against the false heretical teachings of their time: Saint Irenaeus - against Gnosticism, Saint Athanasius - against Arianism. [3]

Saint Irenaeus was born in the city of Smyrna, in Asia Minor; from an early age he dedicated himself to the thorough study of Hellenic wisdom, and became an excellent connoisseur of Greek poetry, philosophy and other Hellenic sciences. However, worldly knowledge did not impress young Irenaeus. Hearing about spiritual wisdom, Christian wisdom, and starting to get acquainted with it, he was delighted with it and wanted to adopt it wholeheartedly, because he felt its salutary and immeasurable importance.

Panagia Prousiotissa Resource Page


 
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Remembering When the Head of Saint Symeon the Barefoot Was Stolen During the Greek Civil War and How It Was Miraculously Found


By Fr. Elias Makos

Saint Symeon, who was also the abbot of the Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos, is an ascetic figure of Orthodoxy, whose soul escaped from the finite world, was connected with God and remains immortal.

On August 22nd, the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of the finding of his head, which was stolen during the Civil War from the Monastery of Flamouriou in Pelion, of which the Saint was its founder, and then it was miraculously found.

As the crisis in our world grows, such events, not too long ago, show that faith saves and inspires.

Panagia Prousiotissa and the Woman Who Fell Down a Steep Cliff With Her Baby


On the right side of the church of the Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa there is a frightening cliff with a very deep chasm. If someone falls it is considered certain that they will be killed. Even to approach it and look down, it is difficult to bear and you step back.

Once, during the celebration of the Monastery on August 23rd in honor of the Apodosis of the Dormition of the Theotokos, the wife of a Priest happened to be standing in this dangerous spot, holding her baby in her arms.

However, due to the overcrowding she was pushed and tumbled into this "deadly abyss" along with her child, falling into this steep cliff and pit.

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

 
 Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

City and Citizens  

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Divine Liturgy is held at a certain place and time, but it is held for the inhabited world, for the people who are traveling, who are sick, in general for the whole world. Thus, the liturgist exhorts the people: "For this City, every City, Country and the faithful who live in them, let us pray to the Lord." In other words, let us pray for this City or County, in which the Divine Liturgy is held, for every City and for every Country, but also for those who live in them with faith - that is to say, with Orthodox Christian faith - that is, the Orthodox Christians.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Homily for the Tenth Sunday of Matthew - A Faithless and Perverse Generation (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
 Homily for the Tenth Sunday of Matthew

A Faithless and Perverse Generation


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"O faithless and perverse generation!" (Matt. 17:17)

Today's Gospel reading refers to the healing of the moonstruck young man by Christ. To the words of this young man's father that His disciples could not heal him, Christ replied: "O faithless and perverse generation!" (Matthew 17:17). With this word, Christ connects unbelief with perversion, and by extension faith with the correctness of morals and life.

Homily for the Tenth Sunday of Matthew - Prayer and Fasting (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
 Homily for the Tenth Sunday of Matthew

Prayer and Fasting

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The miracle we heard today refers to the healing of a demon possessed young man, who when possessed by demons fell into fire and water, had tendencies of self-destruction. Christ cast out the demons and the young man became well. To a related question from the disciples, Christ answered: "This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21). Christ cast out the demon with the power of His divinity, the disciples could cast it out with the power of Christ, however, after they pray and fast.

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


Tenth Sunday of Matthew

Matthew 17:14-23

By St. Theophan the Recluse 
 
"This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." If this kind goes out by the prayer and fasting of another person, then it is even less able to enter one who fasts and prays. What protection! Although there are a slew of demons and all the air is packed with them, they cannot do anything to one who is protected by prayer and fasting. 
 

Homily on the Epistle Reading for the Tenth Sunday After Pentecost (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
 Tenth Sunday After Pentecost

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Being blasphemed against, we entreat" (1 Corinthians 4:13).

Christian Listeners! What should we do when someone offends or insults us? To be angry in such a case is harmful - harmful to the soul, harmful to health; to repay an insult for an insult is even more harmful; to forget the insult suddenly, although it is best of all, yet it is very difficult. So what should be done? Since the cases in which we may be offended are very frequent, it is of no use to us to know the means to which we must resort in such cases.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Why Elder Athanasios Hamakiotis Didn't Allow His Altar Servers in the Sanctuary During Communion


Testimony of Metropolitan Ignatios of Arta:

"Such was his piety and his devotion to the Divine Liturgy, that even if snakes bit him, he would not notice."

"When he said 'thine own of thine own' there was a thump and everyone fell to their knees. No one could stand up. Who can describe the tone and color of his voice when he uttered the words of consecration."

"The time for Divine Communion was coming. The Divine Liturgy at its peak. The children brought him the boiling hot water, known as zeon, at the appropriate moment; that's how he wanted it:
 
'Let it boil, my child, the zeon must be burning hot.'"


Testimony of One of His Altar Boys:

"When we brought him the zeon, the vessel burned. You could not touch it. He wasn't bothered at all. He would touch it with his hand and pour it crosswise into the Holy Chalice. All the kids were wondering how it didn't burn him. Every time we went to touch it, we got burned. Then he would take us out of the sanctuary. He wanted to be alone in this sacred moment."


Testimony of Father A.P.:

"He had special pedagogical concepts. He took special care of the education of the children who ministered to him at the Sacred Bema. He loved them fatherly. He taught them and kept things authentic. When it came to the point in time when he was going to 'divide the holy Bread' and to receive communion, he had to be alone, which to him was a unique and timeless moment.

'And now, Lord, it is You and I,' he would say.

Perhaps the children could not receive with due respect his 'expressions' to his Lord. The presence of others, at such moments, negatively affects devotion. The Elder would not, or could not, commune without tears. He spoke to his Lord warmly and simply, 'village-like'.

As his tears flowed - sometimes like a faucet - his faint cry sounded solemn and pleading, persistent and repetitive:

'Forgive me, forgive me...'

And then, a divine earthquake pierced through him, visibly and perceptibly!

After every Divine Liturgy, he was soaked, and was obliged to change."


Testimony of Metropolitan Iakovos of Argolidos:

"During the time of communion, he strictly forbade the presence of another person in the Sacred Bema. The children would go out. When he communed, his form changed. As a deacon I had witnessed an extraordinary sight.

He was crying like a little child. If you were to see a little child crying or Father Athanasios, it was the same.

And at the same time his form shone with a strange light when he was receiving communion of the Immaculate Mysteries. Then I understood why he wouldn't allow the children or anyone else to stay inside."
 
Source: From the book by Metropolitan Nektarios (Antonopoulos) of Argolidos Ιερομόναχος Αθανάσιος Χαμακιώτης. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 

Saint Gabriel the Fool for Christ and the Two Cigarettes

 

One day two women came to Elder Gabriel from Tbilisi. They talked for a long time and Father Gabriel called them to his cell. After he had sat for a while, the women asked him for permission to smoke. He, without hesitation, allowed them to smoke. The women calmly began to light cigarettes, when suddenly a nun came up to the cell, read a prayer and asked for permission to enter. The women were startled, felt ashamed, and immediately the lit cigarettes fell into the hands of Elder Gabriel. This left Elder Gabriel sitting with two lit cigarettes in his hands in his cell, with two women.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Homily Two on the Dormition of the Theotokos (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)


By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

(Delivered in 1981)

We all have joy because today is the real Mother's Day. Only the Lady Theotokos is our true mother, because she transmits to us our true Life, which is our Christ. And today all mothers should celebrate Mother's Day in an Orthodox manner, because every mother is recognized as a mother only if she aspires to be like and if she receives the blessing and grace of the Mother of God, the Most Holy Theotokos.

But the world with the worldly spirit, with secularization, which advances and erodes the soul and the heart and the mind of our people, has begun to artificially replace the feasts of Orthodoxy with secular holidays, such as the Mother's Day, Children's Day and others like it, such as birthdays, which people celebrate, while we should celebrate the memories of the Saints, whose names we bear. And all this is an attempt to alter the God-anthropocentric mindset of our people, and for our people to become anthropocentric and not have Christ as the center of their lives. Not to live an ecclesiastical life, but to live a life far from the Church and from our God-man Christ.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Saint Christopher of Trebizond, Founder of the Monastery of Panagia Soumela



Our Venerable Father Christopher was born in the village Gazaree of Trebizond (today Trabzon) in the region of Pontus. He was a farmer. Once while Christopher was cultivating his land with a pair of oxen, the Panagia appeared to him. She said to him, "O child, Christopher, rise speedily and stand on your feet." Christopher fell to the ground upon hearing the voice. The Panagia then took him by the hand and helped him up. She continued by saying, "Understand what I shall tell you O Christopher. You are a Christian who confesses Christ and His Mother."

Christopher replied to her by saying, "Yes, my Lady, I confess and adore Christ and you O Lady Theotokos." The Panagia then said to Christopher, "I desire that you leave the farm life and become mine. You are to go to Mount Mela. Once there, you will renew and revive my imperial home. Therefore leave the oxen and plow in the field. Show yourself before the bishop and reveal to him all that I have told you and say to him that he is to ordain you to the priesthood." When Christopher heard this he said to the Panagia, "How can this be. Not only am I unworthy to become a priest but I also am illiterate?" The Theotokos replied, "Obey and do not contradict my will. Do as I command you to do, and as to being illiterate, I shall provide." Immediately then the Panagia vanished.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The Miracle with the Lilies of the Panagia Gravalliotissa in Pastra, Kefallonia


Near the southeastern villages of Demoutsanata and Pastra on the island of Kefallonia, there is a strange phenomenon in the village church that takes place annually.

In the courtyard of the Church of the Dormition, there are various flower beds, where the women of the village plant parthenocrine bulbs (Virgin's Lily). This is done on March 25th, which is the Feast of the Annunciation.

When the Feast of the Ascension comes around in May or June, the lilies begin to bloom, so they are cut and placed in bouquets in front of the holy and miraculous icon of the Panagia Gravalliotissa. In a few days the lilies dry up, according to the laws of nature.

Homily Three on the Dormition of the Theotokos (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

 
 
By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

(Delivered in 1985 at Gregoriou Monastery on Mount Athos)

My fathers and brothers, throughout the holy vigil, and with the discourses of praise and with the sacred encomiums, our holy Church extols and praises and glorifies the Ever-Virgin Theotokos, and indeed today on her revered Dormition.

She ascended very high, higher than all men and Angels.

So it was said in the discourse of Saint Gregory Palamas that we read.

Of all the rational beings of God, the Panagia ascended higher and closer to God.

Why did she rise so high? Because she stooped so low.

If she had not descended in blessed humility and perfect obedience to the holy will of God, lower than all men on earth, she would not have risen higher than all.

This is the secret of the ascent of our Panagia, which presupposes her descent.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Saint Gerasimos of Kefallonia and the Biker

 
Metropolitan Gerasimos Fokas of Kefallonia narrated the following incident:

I was up at the monastery in the old church of Saint Gerasimos.

The coffin was open and among the pilgrims I noticed a young modern-type, with long hair, biker clothes and an investigative look. He stood serious, concentrated in front of the Saint and looked at him motionless for some minutes. Then, without offering veneration, he left.

Holy New Venerable Martyrs Nikodemos of Meteora (+ 1551) and Daniel of Meteora


 Verses

"What of you Nikodemos?" He said during his passion,
"I am being put to death for the love of the Lord."


We are told by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, who wrote the verses above, that the "Holy New Venerable Martyr Nikodemos from Meteora was martyred for his piety in the year 1551." Besides this, we have no other information about this Saint or what led to his martyrdom, other than the fact that he lived at the Great Meteoron Monastery and was martyred on August 16th.

The Theotokos On Her Deathbed (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
 
The last page of the holy book has been read, the content of which from cover to cover exudes holy innocence and piety. This is the book at the sight of which even the most cruel critics, bearing the burden of biases and prejudices, silently stopped and, having read it from beginning to end, left with a softened heart and rejuvenated spirit. That book is closed, the first words of which are - "In the Jewish town of Nazareth lived the childless pious old man Joachim and his wife Anna ...".

How bright are the first pages of this story - as if illuminated by that evening's soft and quiet blush of the sunset, seeing off the sun, so that after the night it would shine with light from the east. Who would not rejoice at the happiness of these elderly people, who were visited only at their parting with the world, to add a drop of honey to their life poisoned by sorrow!

Homily Three on the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)


By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

Our Lord Jesus Christ was pleased to mark the death of His Most Pure Mother in human flesh as a great event in the history of the Church and even in the history of the world.

The Holy Church honors the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos with a two-week fast, equal in severity to Great Lent.

Do you remember the deeply disturbing words of our Lord Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, spoken shortly before the terrible words “It is finished”: “Woman! Behold, thy son” (John 19:26), and turning his gaze to his beloved disciple John: “Behold, thy mother” (John 19:27).

Monday, August 15, 2022

The Snakes of the Panagia Have Made Their Appearance in Kefallonia (2022)


Just as every year, from the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ till the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, or from August 6th to the 15th, snakes appear in a wondrous manner in two villages of Kefallonia with chapels dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, in Markopoulo and Arginia, that appear to worship among the pilgrims who flock to these chapels, and venerate of their own accord the icon of the Panagia. Many noted miracles are associated with these snakes.

Homily One on the Dormition of the Theotokos (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)


 By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

With the Feasts of our Panagia, the Feasts of the Mother of God, among them the greatest is the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, a small Easter, an Easter in the summer, giving us the opportunity to express our deep gratitude to the Mother of our Redeemer and our Mother for what she has done for the human race and for each one of us. Because, without her own synergy and offering to the Holy Triune God, the Word of God would not be incarnated. God was waiting for such a holy soul to be found, all-immaculate and all-pure, who would offer all their freedom to God, so that God would also offer Himself entirely to them.

And this was the blessed Mary, the humble maiden of Nazareth. We thank her. She gave us the most precious thing we have in our lives. Our Savior. What would we be without Christ the Savior? Despairing prisoners of death. The eternal prisoners of the devil. No hope. The fact we have a Savior and a Redeemer and a God, the Lord Jesus Christ our God incarnate, we owe it to the Mother of God.

On the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

After the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, His Most Pure Mother lived for about fifteen years in Jerusalem, in the house of the holy Apostle John the Theologian, to whom the Lord Himself entrusted her from the Cross. The time came for her to move on to the heavenly abode of her Son. When the Mother of God was praying on the Mount of Olives, the legend tells, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her, bringing a date branch, and announced her death would take place in three days.

The Most Pure One was overjoyed to hear such news, and began to prepare. By the day of her repose, by the command of God, there appeared miraculously in Jerusalem, except for the Apostle Thomas, all the apostles who had been scattered for preaching throughout the world. They were witnesses of Her peaceful, quiet, holy and blessed death. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in heavenly glory, surrounded by an innumerable multitude of angels and righteous spirits, appeared to receive the soul of His Most Pure Mother and with glory ascended her to heaven.

Homily One on the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)


By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on August 15/28, 1951)

Who among earthly people died like the Most Holy Theotokos? Whose deathbed was surrounded by the apostles? At the head of whose deathbed the heavenly branch shone with heavenly light, brought by the archangel Gabriel three days before the death of the Most Holy Theotokos?

Whose soul did the Lord Himself and our God Jesus Christ come to accept?

Oh no one, no one, of course, no one!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Homily for the Ninth Sunday of Matthew - The Internal Problem of Mankind (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


Homily for the Ninth Sunday of Matthew

The Internal Problem of Mankind

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Take courage, it is I; be not afraid" (Matt. 14:27)

Sacred Chrysostom, interpreting the event according to which the Apostle Peter, while walking on the waves, then sank, says that Christ at that moment did not stop the wind, but stretched out His hand and caught him, saying "O you of little faith, why did you hesitate?" (Matt. 14:31). In this way, Christ showed that the change in Peter was not caused by the force of the wind, but by his lack of faith. If his faith did not weaken, then he could easily face the wind. That is why Christ took him by the hand and let the wind blow, showing that the wind cannot do any harm when the faith is firm.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

The Theotokos as an Embodiment of "Living Dogma"

 
 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

In the Theotokos there were united the divine and the human nature in the hypostasis of the Word, and her womb became the workshop of this union, that is why she is also the "living dogma". The glory she has is the glory of her Son and God; her boldness before God is a consequence of her synergy in the incarnation of Christ; her intercessions are due to her being the Mother of Christ; the term "Theotokos" constitutes the mystery of the divine economy. The Third Ecumenical Synod, which decided that she should be called Theotokos and not Christotokos, shows that the Panagia is indeed a "living dogma". All the heresies about Christ culminate in the Theotokos, and all the heresies about the Theotokos also refer to Christ. Her appearances to the deified saints in the Light, and the Grace that the saints receive from her show that the Orthodox dogmas are alive and not dead, they are theology and experience and not philosophical reflection.

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

 
 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

I have already preached to you many times about the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor, but this feast is so great that any new thought about it deserves a separate sermon.

In the troparion of the Transfiguration of the Lord, you hear the words: “May Your everlasting Light shine on us, sinners, through the prayers of the Theotokos, Giver of Light, glory to You."

Is it necessary to understand these words in such a way that we ask the Lord Jesus Christ that His Divine Light shines on us, so that we only see this Light, be His spectators?

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).

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