Many many thanks to all those who contributed to match a generous $3000 donation from an anonymous donor. The goal was attained this past weekend. It is because of people like you that the Mystagogy Resource Center can continue to offer unique material to all for free on a daily basis that I hope people find beneficial. For those who still wish to contribute, please do so, with much gratitude in return. God bless you all!

November 30, 2022

Greek Customs and the Feast of Saint Andrew

Well of Saint Andrew in Patras, 1819

Saint Andrew the First-Called Apostle was martyred in the Greek city of Patras, where the largest cathedral in Greece honors his name over the place he was martyred. He is celebrated annually on November 30, which coincides with the last day of autumn. For this reason, his celebration includes beliefs, fears, hopes and perceptions, customs and habits, with a magical, superstitious character. Saint Andrew is considered the patron saint of Nafplio as well, since the liberation of the city of Nafplio from the Turks took place on November 30, 1822.

The villagers of the mountains and plains fear the month of November, which is why they give it the name of Saint Andrew. The people in the Peloponnese and Epirus called the month of November "Aindria". In Kozani, Thessaly, Thrace and Sinope in Pontus, November is called "Andrias". In traditional Greek culture, it is customary for months to be named after a saint, as for example October is also called "Aidemitriatis".

November 29, 2022

A Wondrous Appearance of the Holy New Hieromartyr Philoumenos

By Archimandrite Photios Ioakeim

George Raounas from Lefkara, a graduate of the School of Physical Education in Greece (a gymnast), was about 25 years old when he got to know Christ and the Church more deeply, and began to live an intense spiritual life. He especially loved the practice of prayer, frequently attending Services, Vigils and Divine Liturgies and participating regularly in the Immaculate Mysteries.

He married Stella Kakouridis, daughter of the priest Konstantinos Kakouridis from Akaki, a village in our Metropolitan region, with whom he had four children, and now they strive together to experience the life in Christ in their "home church".

Saint Philoumenos Visits an Ailing Woman in the Hospital

In the spring of 2006, Mrs. Maria L. visited the Monastery of Saint Nicholas in Orounta, Cyprus. She entered the temple and began to reverently venerate the icons of the iconostasis.

But when she arrived in front of the icon of Saint Philoumenos, she stopped, looked at it with emotion and began to sob. After a while she told one of the sisters who was in the temple at that time the following:

"Not long ago I had a great adventure with my health. I entered the hospital for some treatments, but the doctors didn't give us any hope for me to live. While I was in this very difficult situation, I saw in a vision a priest, who was wearing an epanokalimavkion, as seen here in the icon.

Saint Philoumenos Intervenes in the Rehabilitation of a Drug Addict

Helen N., who comes from Rhodes, was a drug user for seven years. Even though she had made some attempts at rehab, she kept going back to the same things.

She could not work and her relationship with her family had become very difficult.

In a last ditch effort by her mother to help her, they moved to Athens, where she was admitted to a rehab center. But there she did not cooperate with the experts at all; she shouted, got angry, hit them.

Her mother desperately prayed to Saint Philoumenos, about whom she had heard a lot, and begged him to help her.

November 28, 2022

Elder Isidoros the Blind of Philotheou Has Reposed

Elder Isidoros the Blind of Philotheou reposed on Sunday November 27, 2022 at the Athonite Monastery of Philotheou at the age of 87.

Thousands of souls found comfort and benefit both with his words and prayers throughout the years when he would come out of Mount Athos twice a year.

The late Elder Isidoros was born in Patras with impaired vision.

At the age of 15, he underwent eye surgery, leaving him completely blind.

Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 20, 1953)

Listen again to the Gospel reading that was read today, let us delve into it, for I want to explain it to you.

Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Lk. 18:18–27).

November 27, 2022

Homily for the Epistle Reading on the Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on November 23, 1952)

Today you heard in the apostolic reading part of the epistle to the Ephesians of the holy Apostle Paul. This is extremely important, you need to understand this. You didn’t quite understand the reading in Slavonic, so I’ll read it first in Russian, but don’t blame me if I read and preach while sitting, because I don’t feel very well.

Addressing the pagans who were inhabitants of Ephesus and now believe in Christ, Saint Paul says to them thus:

“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:11-18).

November 25, 2022

Homily on the Holy Great Martyr Katherine (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

This year, the Holy Church celebrates the memory of the Holy Great Martyr Katherine on the twenty-seventh week after Pentecost. Therefore, I consider it appropriate to draw your attention to the great life of this Saint.

Why is she called the Great Martyr? Is it because, as many people think, that the Holy Church rewards with this name those holy martyrs who have endured especially grave and terrible tortures and torments and the most cruel death for our Lord Jesus Christ? No, not because of this.

November 24, 2022

Homily on Giving Thanks to God For All Things (St. Basil the Great)


 Homily on Thanksgiving and Mourning

By St. Basil the Great
You have heard the words of the Apostle, in which he addresses the Thessalonians, prescribing rules of conduct for every kind of person. His teaching, to be sure, was directed towards particular audiences; but the benefit to be derived therefrom is relevant to every generation of mankind. "Rejoice evermore," he says; "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks" (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). Now, we shall explain a little later on, as far as we are able, what it means to rejoice, what benefit we receive from it, and how it is possible to achieve unceasing prayer and give thanks to God in all things.
However, it is necessary to anticipate the objections that we encounter from our adversaries, who criticize the Apostles injunctions as unattainable. For what is the virtue, they say, in passing ones life in gladness of soul, in joy and good cheer night and day? And how is it possible to achieve this, when we are beset by countless unexpected evils, which create unavoidable dejection in the soul, on account of which it is no more feasible for us to rejoice and be of good cheer than for one who is being roasted on a gridiron not to feel agony or for one who is being goaded not to suffer pain?

November 23, 2022

On Giving Thanks to God For All Things (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite)

 By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Job's imitator, divine Chrysostom, always used to say this memorable quote, on every occasion: "Glory be to God for all things. I will not stop repeating it always, for everything that happens to me." The great Gregory Palamas of Thessaloniki used to say the same in every matter, imitating the divine Chrysostom, who added with his eloquent tongue: "So let us give thanks for everything, for whatever happens, this is thanksgiving. For to do this when all is going well is no great thing, because the very nature of things prompts it. But if we give thanks while we are in the depths of misfortune, this is admirable. Indeed, when we give thanks for those things which others blaspheme and are discouraged by, see how much philosophy there is! First, you make God glad. Second, you have shamed the devil. Third, you have proven that what happened was nothing. That is, at the same time that you give thanks, God removes the sorrow and the devil retreats.

How Saint Amphilochios of Iconium Cleansed the Church of Arian Heretics

 By St. Justin Popovich

Saint Amphilochios shepherded the flock of Christ for many years, because his life extended until the reign of Theodosius the Great and his sons. As a teacher of the Orthodox faith, he fought against the heresy of Arius, he suffered many persecutions and tortures from heretics, he was a co-struggler of the Holy Fathers in the fight against the blasphemy of Eunomius, and at the Second Ecumenical Synod he fought a lot against the pneumatomachian Macedonius and supporter of the heresy of Arius. Because of such zeal for the faith and because of his highly virtuous life, Saint Amphilochios was celebrated everywhere and was loved by the Holy Fathers, especially by Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian, who considered him a close friend and corresponded with him.

November 22, 2022

The Archangel Michael Visits Saint Iakovos Tsalikes

 By Dr. Haralambos M. Bousias

The Holy Elder Iakovos was not only privileged to see Angels and Archangels at the Holy Altar.

He also saw Michael the Commander of the Heavenly Army giving him instructions for the construction of his church outside the Liturgy.

In 1961 Father Iakovos together with the then abbot decided to build a chapel in honor of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel.

The abbot chose the place and demarcated the area. At night, however, an officer with a golden sword, tall, blond and handsome, appeared to Father Iakovos and said to him:

"I am the Archangel Michael. I do not wish my temple to be built where you marked, but here where I will show you."

How Saint Iakovos of Evia Saved a Professor from a Dangerous Situation

Mr. D.M., a Professor of Literature in Greek Education, told us on 2 February 1997 at the Theological School where we were with Holy Skull of Venerable David the Elder the following:

"One night, a few days ago, I saw very vividly in my dream Elder Iakovos [Tsalikis] and he said to me:

'My child D., open the hood of your car, because you are in danger.'

What the Spirit of His Dead Aunt Told Saint Iakovos of Evia

Saint Iakovos Tsalikes said:

"Since I was a child, I go to the cemetery every day and think about death. All my relatives have died. Anyway, I commemorate an aunt of mine. I saw the aunt also and she told me:

'Ah, my nephew Iakovos, thank you for what you are sending me. You send me a lot, but you know there are other people who are unfortunate and hungry and have no one in the world to think of them, to care for them.'

On Judgment and Forgiveness (St. Iakovos Tsalikes)

Saint Iakovos Tsalikes said:

"I also want to be judged with mercy for my sins.

If God judged us severely for our mistakes, He would not be a God of love and peace, but of war and terror.

People have a duty to return to God.

Years of experience dealing with people who have serious problems has taught me that when people are judged harshly for their mistakes, they panic and run away.

When they encounter forgiveness, they understand their errors and are ready to try to change their lives."

Source: From the book by Τάσου Μιχαλά, Ένας σύγχρονος ερημίτης, Αρχιμανδρίτης Ιάκωβος Τσαλίκης, Ηγούμενος Ι. Μ. Οσίου Δαβίδ. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.

Holy New Confessor Anthimos, Metropolitan of Athens and Euripus and President of Crete (+ 1371)

The Frankish Occupation (1204–1489) was a dark and at the same time tragic time for the Church of Greece. After defeating Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, the Latins went on to occupy other former remnants of the Roman Empire, where they tried to impose papal authority on Orthodox Christians. One of then was the Duchy of Athens (1205–1458), with its two capitals Thebes and Athens, and encompassing Attica, Boeotia, and parts of southern Thessaly. In 1311, the Duchy was conquered by the Catalan Company, and in 1388, it passed into the hands of the Florentine Acciaiuoli family, which kept it until the Ottoman conquest in 1456. One of the great confessors of the Orthodox faith during this time was a virtually unknown saint, Metropolitan Anthimos of Athens and Euripus.

November 21, 2022

Homily Four on the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

From statistical data on people who have reached a very advanced age, we learn that they are especially numerous among those living on the high mountains of the Caucasus and Azerbaijan and on other high mountains. And in our time, somewhere in Azerbaijan, there lives an extraordinary old man who has reached one hundred and fifty years, and there are many centenarians there.

How can we explain this extraordinary influence of high mountains on the longevity of people's lives?

Undoubtedly, to a very large extent because the highlanders breathe the purest air all their lives and eat mainly dairy products and the meat of healthy sheep.

Homily Three on the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

The life of the Most Holy and Most Pure and Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, who was the Most Pure Temple of the Savior, who was above all Cherubim and Seraphim, could not begin life the way every ordinary person begins: the glorious beginning of Her life should have been marked. Thus the Lord God placed in the hearts of Her holy parents Joachim and Anna a presentiment that the Most Pure Maiden, their only daughter, was prepared by God for some extraordinary path, a path much higher than the usual path of people. And guided by this presentiment, even before the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they dedicated Her to God: they made a vow to God that She would serve Him.

November 20, 2022

Homily for the Ninth Sunday of Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 11, 1949)

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ (Luke 12:16–20).

Reflection on the Ninth Sunday of Luke (St. Theophan the Recluse)


 Reflection on the Ninth Sunday of Luke

Luke 12:16-21
By St. Theophan the Recluse

Having spoken the parable about the man who became rich and planned to just eat, drink and be merry, and for this was struck with death, not remaining alive for the supposed pleasures, the Lord concluded: "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." 
“So”—that is, such occurs, or such a lot befalls both these and others. Those who become rich and forget about God only think about pleasures of the flesh. Let those who desire to avoid this bitter lot “lay up” not “unto themselves, but be rich only toward God.” Since riches come from God, then devote them to God when they flow, and holy riches will come of it. 
Divide all surplus with the needy: this will be the same as returning to God what was given by God. He who gives to a poor person gives to God. Seemingly exhausting his riches, such a person becomes truly rich—rich through good deeds, rich for God. In pleasing Him he becomes rich in God, and by attracting His good will, he becomes rich from God, Who makes one who is faithful over a few things, ruler over many things. He becomes rich toward God, and not toward himself, for he does not consider himself to be master of the house, but only a steward and accountant, whose entire concern consists of satisfying all who come to him in need. But he fears spending anything in particular on himself, considering it to be an improper usage of property entrusted to him. 

November 19, 2022

Holy Martyr Barlaam of Antioch: Summaries of the Encomiums of Basil the Great and John Chrysostom

Encomium on the Martyr Barlaam By Basil the Great

Once the deaths of holy men were adorned with lamentations and tears: Joseph wept bitterly for Jacob when he died; the Jews greatly lamented Moses’ death; they honoured Samuel with many tears. But now we rejoice in the deaths of the hallowed ones. The nature of distressing things has been transformed after the cross. We no more accompany the deaths of the saints with lamentations, but dance at their tombs in godly companies. For death is just sleep for the righteous. It is rather departure for a better life. For that reason, the martyrs rejoice when they are slain. The desire for a happier life mortifies the distress of slaughter. The martyr does not look at the perils, but at the crowns of victory. He is not distressed by the beatings, but counts the prizes. He does not see the torturers flogging him down here, but envisions the angels acclaiming from above. He does not consider the temporary state of danger, but the eternal natue of his reward. Even among us, he already enjoys a splendid repayment, as he is applauded by everyone’s pious acclamations, and captivates from his tomb myriads of crowds. This is then what was done today by the brave Barlaam....

November 17, 2022

Miracles of Saints Sergius and Nikon of Radonezh

 By St. Justin Popovich

During their life on earth, the venerable fathers Sergius and Nikon were very close to each other. That mutual closeness does not leave them even in eternal life, because the love of the saints, like the love of the Divine, is not subject to the law of time. Both of them appeared together many times and performed miracles together.

A resident of Moscow, named Symeon, who was born according to the Saint's prediction, became so terribly ill that he could neither move, nor sleep, nor receive food. Simply, he was lying on his bed like a dead man. Tormented like that, he once at night began calling for help from Saint Sergius: "Help me, Venerable Sergius! Deliver me from this disease! Even during your life on earth you were so kind to my parents and you predicted my birth to them; don't forget me, who is struggling with such a serious illness!" And behold, two old men stood in front of him one after the other: one of them was Nikon. The sick man recognized him immediately, because he knew this Saint personally during his life on earth. Then it would be clear to the sick person that the second of the Saints who appeared was Venerable Sergius himself. The wonderful old man made the sign of the cross over the sick man, after which he ordered Nikon to take the icon that was near the bed. That icon was once given to Symeon by Venerable Nikon himself. Then, the sick man was made to remove all his skin from his body. After that, the Saints became invisible. And at that moment, Symeon felt that he was completely healed: he got up on his bed, and no one was holding him anymore. Then he understood that his skin had not fallen off, but that the disease had left him. His joy was great: standing up, he began to fervently thank Saint Sergius and Venerable Nikon for his unexpected and wonderful healing.

Oration on Saint Gregory the Wonderworker (St. Gregory of Nyssa)


Oration on Saint Gregory the Wonderworker

By St. Gregory of Nyssa

(Delivered on November 17, 380)

Both our essay and the congregation assembled here have one aspiration, namely, to reflect upon the great Gregory. For my part, it seems best to consider the fortitude of his virtue and wonderful achievements and by invoking his help, such an outstanding example may assist us in how we should conduct our lives. Indeed, this is a gift from the Spirit who provides a living example and testimony, thereby affirming each person with unflagging dedication. Since the Spirit's power is the foundation which enables such a radiant and admired life to flourish, prayer upholds us when we must speak of it. We should not scorn this praise because this man's memory demonstrates in the present his witness which had been manifested through his deeds.

How To Properly Prepare for Christmas (Metr. Athanasios of Limassol)

 By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol

The period leading up to Christmas is especially blessed by God, because it leads us liturgically and festively to the main day, where the Orthodox Church celebrates the event of Christ's birth. Like all the feasts of our Church, Christmas does not only have a commemorative character, but the main purpose is for man to share in this grace, which God gives through the feasts of our Church.

It has been observed through the experience of the Saints and Fathers of our Church that these days are distinguished for the overflowing grace that is diffused by God and the Holy Spirit to the faithful and are stations in our lives from which we can draw this grace and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

November 15, 2022

Panagia of the Stable in Nichori of the Bosphorus

Churches, chapels and holy springs are scattered throughout the length and breadth of Constantinople and its suburbs. Many of them with a great historical background, some in full connection with the rise and fall of Roman civilization and other modest ones that await the pilgrim to visit them.

Nichori (or Neochori, known today as Yeniköy) is located on the European shores of the Bosphorus strait, between the neighborhoods of İstinye and Tarabya. Nichori was until the 1955 Istanbul pogrom a neighborhood with a considerable Greek (Roman) population as well as Armenian and Jewish communities. It was here behind the yali of Ahmed Afif Pasha, where Agatha Christie stayed as a guest in 1933 while writing Murder on the Orient Express. There are several Christian churches in the neighborhood. The Greek Orthodox Church of Dormition of the Theotokos (Panayia Kumariotisa Rum Ortodoks Kilisesi) was built in 1837 at the request of Sultan Mahmud II′s personal physician Stephanos Karatheodoris.

Synaxis of the Kupyatich Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Kupyatich Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - November 15)

The Kupyatich Icon of the Mother of God appeared in the year 1182 near the village of Kupyatich in the area of the former Pinsk district of the Minsk governance. The icon was found in the forest on a tree by the peasant girl Anna, a cattle herder.

While guarding the flock, Anna saw a light in the forest. When she got close to that light, she saw on a tree a medium cross with the image of the Theotokos. Anna took that cross and brought it home, then she returned to her flock. Again she saw the same cross on the same tree. She took it, put the image in her bosom, and once again brought it home. When she wanted to show the cross to her father, she put her hand into her bosom, but the cross was not there. She told her father everything; so she left with her father, saw the cross in the forest and carried it home. The next day the cross was not in the house again. They alarmed the whole village, and all the villagers went and saw the cross and venerated it.

November 13, 2022

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

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 9, 1951)

The parable of Christ about the merciful Samaritan, which you have now heard, is infinitely deep and important for us, and therefore I want you to remember it well.

You heard it in the Slavic reading, now listen to it in Russian translation. (The Gospel of Luke chapter 10, 25-37 is read.)

Why do I consider this parable of Christ one of the most important and profound of His parables? Because in this parable the Lord gave us a genuine revelation, a revelation about who we should consider as our neighbors.

November 12, 2022

Elder Cornelius Marmarinos of Chios (+ 1975)

Chios is an island of many churches, chapels and monasteries. There are 22 native born saints from Chios, the most famous of which are Isidore, Markella and Matrona. This list is soon to include Elder Cornelius Marmarinos, who is in the process of being canonized.  

Cornelius Marmarinos was born in Halkios on the island of Chios in 1885. His birth name was Constantine and his parents were the notary Demetrios Marmarinos and Evanthia Flatsousis. His parents were thrifty and managed to ensure him a good future through education. He attended the Zografio High school of Constantinople.

Holy Hieromartyr Alexander Adrianov (+ 1918)

St. Alexander Adrianov (Feast Day - November 12)

Father Alexander Adrianov was born in 1858 in the district of Nizhneturinsky (now the city of Nizhnyaya Tura) to the family of a priest, and from childhood he wanted to become a priest. Graduating from seminary, after a while he was ordained a priest, and for the rest of his life, for 24 years, he served the Ekaterinburg Diocese in the Three Hierarchs Church of Nizhneturinsky.

He was a very zealous, self-sacrificing pastor. Father Alexander built several churches, taught the Law of God, and was a member of various church societies. He was married to the young woman Alexandra, daughter of Vasily Lyubomudrov, priest of the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsk Church in the village of Merkushino. Moreover, the wedding of Father Alexander and Alexandra took place in the village of Merkushino.

November 11, 2022

Saints Nektarios and Amphilochios and the Establishment of the Monastery of Saint Menas in Aegina

Saint Nektarios and the Monastery of Saint Menas in Aegina

When Saint Nektarios went to Aegina, while he was researching to find the place where he would build a monastery, he was received in a vision by Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos, who had formerly been Metropolitan of Aegina, and said to him:

"Come, Nektarios, I have been waiting for you for years, to hand over the island to you."

As Saint Nektarios was talking with Saint Dionysios, he saw a soldier further on and asked Saint Dionysios:

"Who is he?"

"This," he said, "is Saint Menas; he lives here and has a monastery in Aegina!"

November 10, 2022

The Wise and Courageous Metropolitan Paisios II of Caesarea (1776-1871), the Spiritual Predecessor of Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia

Paisios was born in Farasa of Cappadocia in 1776 or 1777. In 1804 he became abbot of the Honorable Forerunner Monastery in Flaviana (Zincidere) and a teacher of the School for Priests (Seminary). He helped the Ecumenical Patriarchate in very bad times. He fought zealously to prevent proselytizing actions against the Romans, saw to the construction or repair of temples, founded schools, orphanages and girls' schools.

The head village of Cappadocia was the saint-bearing Varasos, better known as Farasa, which was the birthplace of two great Saints of the Church, Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia and his spiritual successor Saint Paisios the Athonite. And, as Mr. Lazaros M. Kelekidis writes in his book "Farasa of Cappadocia", it was Saint Paisios who made Farasa known and thanks to him the whole world learned that there in the depths of the East, there was a spring of inexhaustible Roman Orthodox spirituality, a beacon that shone with the unfading light of Orthodoxy.

Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia as a Model for our Lives

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia was born in 1840 in Farasa of Cappadocia, to pious and virtuous parents, Eleutherios, who was a teacher, and Barbara. He was orphaned at a young age and an aunt, who loved Christ and the Church, undertook to raise him and his brother Vlasios.

Theodore, that was his baptismal name, was sent to study in Nigde and Smyrna. He became a monk at the age of 26, in the Sacred Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner in Flaviana (Zincidere). After about four years, because there was a shortage of priests, Metropolitan Paisios of Caesarea ordained him Deacon and Presbyter, elevated him to an Archimadrite and placed him in Farasa. He also entrusted him with the function of spiritual fatherhood.

November 9, 2022

On Divine Eros (St. Nektarios of Aegina)

 By St. Nektarios of Aegina

Divine eros is perfect love of the Divine, manifested as an unceasing desire of the Divine. Divine eros is born in the pure heart, because in it divine grace descends. The eros for the Divine is a divine gift, which is bestowed upon the pure soul by the divine grace that descends and reveals itself to the soul. Divine eros without divine revelation is not born in any man. Because a soul that has not received revelation, has not received the influence of grace and remains apathetic towards divine eros. It is therefore impossible for eros to be born without a force acting upon the heart, whether divinea force or human.

The lovers of the Divine were drawn to divine eros by the divine grace which acted upon their hearts, revealed itself to their souls, and drew them to God. The lover of the Divine first was loved by the Divine, and then he fell in love with the Divine. The lover of the Divine first became a son of love, and then he loved the heavenly Father.

The Main Cause for the Schism Between Western and Eastern Christianity According to Saint Nektarios (St. Justin Popovich)

 By St. Justin Popovich

From the rich spiritual treasury of Saint Nektarios of Aegina, we have many precious pearls to present to pious readers. His Orthodox theology, his spiritual experience, soul-beneficial teachings and ascetic instructions, all this is abundantly present in his wonderful works, which he wrote following the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church in everything. But there is something new in his works, which today's Orthodox reader will find useful and necessary to know, so we will only mention it here. This is the opinion and assessment of Saint Nektarios, as a contemporary Father of the Church and as a Church historian (because he was also a learned theologian), about what were the causes of the split in the Church, that is, in fact, the causes of the separation of the Western Latin Church from the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Legacy of Saint Nektarios of Aegina (St. Justin Popovich)

By St. Justin Popovich
Indeed, it is a great miracle that in our century of unbelief and lack of faith, this Metropolitan Nektarios, despised by many and humiliated to the point of death, becomes the cause of so many spiritual events and movements.

No matter where the faithful call upon him and invoke him in prayers with faith, he arrived and always arrives. He heals the demon possessed, strengthens the weak spiritually and physically, straightens and heals the lame, and saves those at sea in a storm.

In a very short time, his holy name became known everywhere: on the land, on the sea, and on the islands; in Europe and America and Africa; wherever there are Orthodox souls, his gracious presence is felt.

November 8, 2022

On the Invisible Angelic World (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

About the Invisible World 
"I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisible ..."
In addition to this visible world in which we live, there is another world - invisible, in which rational beings also live. That is why God is called the Creator of everything visible and invisible. He created everything that is in heaven and that is on earth, visible and invisible (Col. 1:16). "Invisible" - this is the invisible world, which we will talk about.

We cannot see the invisible world; how do we know that this invisible world really exists? We know that God revealed to us about Himself and there were various manifestations from Him. There are many examples of this in Holy Scripture and in the writings of the Holy Fathers. And the mind itself does not reject the existence of the invisible world, and our heart would be hurt if this invisible world did not exist: whoever has nothing left on earth has only consolation in the invisible world. So, there is an invisible, spiritual world. After all, it is only impossible to reject the existence of the invisible world because we do not see it. The invisible world is invisible only to us, and those who live there see everything in it clearly, just as we now see each other, and even much more clearly.

November 7, 2022

History, Politics and the Church (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

History is closely connected with the Church, since Christ with His incarnation did His work in time and space and the Church lives in historical reality. The written revelation of God is the history of the world, as Fr. George Florovsky said,  "One can suggest that Revelation is the path of God in history - we see how God walks among the ranks of men." That is why "indifference for history always leads to a sectarian dryness, to a doctrinaire attitude." Let us pay attention to the phrase that God "walks among the ranks of men" which is obviously the so-called "sacred history", which is clearly different from common history. Of course, real Church history does not fully identify with historical events, but it is the lives of the saints and the feasts of the Church. Thus, a historian sees the issues in a different way and a Father of the Church in a different way. However, the Church cannot detach itself from historical reality, but neither can it identify with it.

November 6, 2022

Homily on the Healing of the Woman With the Issue of Blood and the Raising of Jairus' Daughter (St. John Chrysostom)

By St. John Chrysostom

(Homily 31 on Matthew)

"While He spoke these things unto them, behold, there came in a ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, 'My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay Your hand upon her, and she shall live'" (Matt. 9:18).

The deed overtook the words; so that the mouths of the Pharisees were the more stopped. For both he that came was a ruler of the synagogue, and his affliction terrible. For the young damsel was both his only child, and twelve years old, the very flower of her age; on which account especially He raised her up again, and that immediately.

Homily on the Seventh Sunday of Luke (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 Homily on the Seventh Sunday of Luke

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Do not be afraid, only believe, and she will be healed" (Luke 8:50).

Many of you, listeners, noticeably care about pleasing God and saving your souls: you pray at home, go to the church of God, keep the fasts established by the Church, confess and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ - in a word, you try to live according to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Meanwhile, you are often afraid, worried, tormented, agitated that you are not doing anything pleasing to God, that you will not be saved in any way - you are so afraid that you reach despondency, to the point that you are ready to abandon the whole work of salvation.

November 4, 2022

The Chapel of Saint Ioannikios on the Island of Hydra

Every year, on November 4, our Church celebrates the memory of our Venerable Father Ioannikios the Great of Olympus.

He was born in Bithynia in the year 740 AD, excelled in the Byzantine army, was led into the error of iconoclasm, but repented and returned to the Orthodox faith, climbed Mount Olympus in Bithynia and lived as an ascetic there, as well as in other areas.

He learned and memorized thirty of the Psalms of David and together he sang a prayer of his own, which the Church still preserves, slightly modified: "God is my hope, Christ is my refuge, the Holy Spirit is my shelter."

November 2, 2022

An Abbess Recalls Her Experiences With Saint Gabriel of Georgia

Abbess Theodora (Makhvilandze) recalled the following about her experiences with Saint Gabriel the Confessor and Fool for Christ of Georgia:

The first time I met Elder Gabriel in 1986, it was in the Sioni Cathedral. His strange behavior caught my attention. During the Divine Liturgy, he shouted continuously and loudly. Leaving the temple, I saw the Elder falling at the feet of the Patriarch, asking for forgiveness. From then on, his form was imprinted on my memory. We often noticed his strange behavior. The Elder could call a taxi and not pay the driver, while giving the other driver more than he was entitled to. Furthermore, he could expel from the church any government employee or even a simple citizen, with shouts and without any apparent reason. His attitude towards people was tailored towards the individual.

When Elder Theophylaktos of New Skete Was Visited by the Holy Unmercenary Saints

Elder Theophylaktos with an icon of the Holy Unmercenaries

Once again I had the same war [as Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi reports, his war was: "a kind of sadness, almost like melancholy"] and despair plagued me terribly.

Of course I knew it was a war, but I couldn't get rid of it.

Because of my inexperience I did not fight it from the beginning, when this passion first appeared to me, and it became a permanent cross for me.

After I sat down to rest I saw a group of people of different ages coming up from the street of Kyriakos [of New Skete] upwards, towards my Hut, and they were talking among themselves.

I watched who they were and where they were going.

"The Holy Unmercenary Saints Gave Me Holy Communion"

A Priest named Stylianos gave the following testimony:

On 9/27/2001 I suffered a severe stroke (thrombotic) and my left arm and leg were completely immobilized. My speech was slow and unsteady. I stayed in the hospital for ten days and then I went home. At the end of December of the same year, I started to get up and walk around with a cane.

On 1/9/2002, even while I was on blood thinners, I suffered a second stroke and at the same time a pulmonary embolism. Again the left arm and leg remained motionless. The doctors said there is no salvation for me. This treatment does not justify the blood clot that caused the cerebral and pulmonary embolism. I am again at AHEPA [a hospital in Thessaloniki] on a bed of pain.

November 1, 2022

Venerable David of Evia and the Unbelieving Pilgrim

Hermitage of Venerable David

Someone from our village had a son who was an officer and one summer we had gone to the Monastery of Venerable David, for the feast of Saint Kosmas Aitolos [August 24]. We had stayed, as a group, there in the Monastery and he and his son were in another group who had gone on foot to the hermitage of Venerable David.

This fellow villager of ours was old.

They explained to him, when they went to the hermitage, that Elder Iakovos [Tsalikis] stayed here in the evenings where he read the Supplicatory Canon, and he hung his cassock there on a nail. There was still a nail from the old nails in the stones of the cave.