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Saturday, December 31, 2022

A Christmas Message From St. Chrysostomos of Smyrna in 1912

 
The Pole Star of the Hope of the Nations, Christ the Lord, the Savior Born To Us
 
 By Saint Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Smyrna

"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great 
joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day
in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." 
(Lk. 2:10-11)

This great and sweet joy, this joy, which human lips cannot express, and the heart of man cannot understand, I proclaim to you on this day of the birth of Jesus Christ, or rather night, which reminds us of that most bright and great and most memorable night, during which the heavens burst and opened, and revealed to the human race all the infinite love and favor and condescension of God for us, all the ineffable glory and majesty of God, and all the divine and heavenly peace which supasses all understanding.

1955 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

 
1955 Christmas Message

By St. John Maximovitch

“When Jesus the Lord was born of the holy Virgin, the whole world was enlightened. The shepherds watched in the fields, the Magi adored and the angels sang hymns of praise; but Herod was troubled: for God appeared in the flesh, the Savior of our souls.” (Christmas Great Vespers)

The invisible God put on a body and visibly appeared on earth.

The angels rejoice in heaven, seeing their Creator God, whose glory they cannot even look at. The people on earth rejoice too. “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10), the angel proclaims to the shepherds. The shepherds glorify and praise God, seeing the Infant lying in the manger.

Friday, December 30, 2022

1954 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

 
1954 Christmas Message to the West European and East Asian Flock

By St. John Maximovitch

“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and mind of God! Thou hast settled in the cave, Christ God: the manger received Thee, the shepherds and the magi worshiped Thee."

On the earth, full of tribulations and sorrows, the Son of God descended from heaven, where angels praise Him with unceasing hymns.

The King of Heaven appeared on earth to live with people.

The Creator and Maker of the world Himself became a man. The incorporeal God, omnipresent and omnipotent, took on human flesh, took on a human body, which is weak and subject to suffering.

Sixth Homily for the Day of the Nativity of Christ (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"And the angel said to them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy that will be for all people" (Luke 2:10).

This was said by an angel to the shepherds of Bethlehem, who were in the field on the night when our Lord Jesus Christ was born.

The shepherds of Bethlehem were, in appearance, probably no better or a little better than our current shepherds, that is, almost the last of the people in the city. But listeners, what mercy they have been granted! The Lord sent His angel to tell them about the birth of Jesus Christ, and they were the first of the entire human race to worship the newborn Savior of the world. How did they deserve this grace of God? Of course, not because they alone did not sleep that night, although they did not sleep for a necessary, honest matter.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Saint Bessarion of Agathonos Remembers the Christmas of 1941


 By Dr. Haralambos Bousias

It was a few days before Christmas in the year 1988. In the Guesthouse of the Agathonos Monastery which has a hanging fireplace, Elder Bessarion was reading a Christian publication. He was engrossed and seemed moved.

Suddenly the current Abbot, Father Damaskenos, who was sitting near him and writing Christmas cards, realized that the Elder was crying and trying to wipe away his tears.

"Why are you crying, my father?" he asked him.

"I'm fine, my child," he replied, "don't worry!"

1953 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch


 1953 Christmas Message

By St. John Maximovitch

"All the angels in heaven make merry and dance today, all creation leaps for joy." (Christmas Compline)

Heaven and earth are united today: today the Virgin of the Creator of all gives birth. Eden brings a cave and a star shows Christ the Sun existing in a canopy of darkness.

A great and glorious miracle has taken place today: the Word is incarnate and is not separated from the Father.

Angels with shepherds glorify the invisible God, who created heaven and earth, and is clothed with light like a robe, who became a man and is seen in the flesh.

Fifth Homily for the Day of the Nativity of Christ (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)


 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Magnify, O my soul, her who is more honorable and more exalted in glory than the heavenly hosts." (Ninth Ode of Christmas Matins)

To Jesus Christ now, on the day of His Nativity, everyone gives some kind of honor, everyone somehow rejoices in Him.

Some with the shepherds worship Him, others with the angels glorify Him, those with His Most Pure Mother in silence listen to the singing to His glory, some with the Magi bring some gifts to Him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

1952 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

 
 1952 Christmas Message

By St. John Maximovitch

"Your Nativity, Christ our God, has shone to the world the light of knowledge."

“Where is the King of the Jews to be born? For we have seen His star in the east, and we have come to worship Him” (Matt. 2:2) – the magi who came to Jerusalem once asked. And the shepherds, grazing their flocks near Bethlehem, learned about the birth of Christ, for the glory of the Lord shone around them and the angels announced to them about this. A great mystery is now proclaimed to people: what is with them - the Son of God.

Fourth Homily for the Day of the Nativity of Christ (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"It is easier for us to be content with silence out of fear, which is harmless. However, to weave praises and hymns of desire for You, Virgin, harmoniously matched is difficult and dangerous. But, Mother, as much as our intention is, so give us your own strength." (Christmas Canon of St. John of Damascus, Ode 9)

Songs in honor of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ are ready: the holy fathers wrote them, put them together; the Holy Church saved them - for us. But are we, the listeners, ready to sing these divine songs? Are our lips pure? Is the tongue pure? Is the heart pure? Is the soul pure? For six weeks the Holy Church prepared us for the singing of songs in honor of the Nativity of Christ; but even during these six weeks, have we kept our mouths from judging our neighbors? Were our hearts kept from sinful desires? Have our tongues been curbed from obscene words? Were our souls protected from unclean thoughts? At least during these six weeks of holy fasting, did they resort to fasting and prayer, to tears and repentance in order to purify themselves from all kinds of defilements of the flesh and spirit?

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Wondrous Appearance of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr on Mount Athos

The wonderworking icon of Saint Stephen which is in the chapel of the same name in the konaki of the Monastery of Dionysiou in Karyes, on the Holy Mountain.

Saint Stephen, the first martyr and archdeacon, is celebrated on December 27th and is especially honored on Mount Athos at the Sacred Monastery of Konstamonitou, whose katholikon is dedicated to the Saint.

He is also celebrated in Karyes by the representatives of Dionysiou Monastery, where there is a beautifully renovated chapel dedicated to Saint Stephen.

The academic, professor emeritus of the Theological School of Athens, Mr. Antonios Tachiaos, once spoke of the appearance of Saint Stephen to a Russian deacon, when he was called to liturgize in the chapel. This incident took place in the 20th century and was told to the Professor by monks from Mount Athos, during his first visit to the Holy Mountain in the 1950's.

The Reaction of Eldress Galaktia To Her Vision of the Stoning of the Protomartyr Stephen


The following was described by Ririka Chronakis, who was raised by Eldress Galaktia like a daughter:

Every morning with much reverence I had to wait for her to go through all the icons. She would venerate and chat with the Saints. Then she would take a double-folded icon and pass it over the walker she was holding from top to bottom so that the demons would not touch it.

Homily Four on the Nativity of Christ (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

"Strange it was seeing God incarnate, let us therefore shun the vain world and set our mind on things divine; for God came down to earth that He might raise to heaven us who cry to Him: Alleluia!" (Akathist to the Sweetest Jesus, kontakion 8)

Truly strange, unheard of and amazing was the appearance on earth of the Eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

It would seem that standing before the incarnate Son of God, all mankind would have to fall on their faces .... But this was not the case. The attitude of people to this greatest event in the history of the world was very different.

Third Homily for the Day of the Nativity of Christ (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

The story of human affairs, no matter how entertaining, can very soon get boring, but no matter how much you listen to divine things, you will always find something entertaining in them: the more often you hear, the more you want to listen. On this basis, listeners, I now intend to tell the circumstances of the birth of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

When the Virgin Mary returned home from her relative Elizabeth, Joseph, Her betrothed husband, began to look at Her in bewilderment, for he noticed Her not idle, and, finally, when he clearly saw what She had a baby in the womb, he came to the greatest anxiety. In mournful reflections on this, he fell asleep one day. An angel appeared to him in a dream and said: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to keep Mary your wife. She will be the Mother of the Son of God; You will call the baby born of Her Jesus, that is, the Savior, because He will save people from their sins." Waking up, Joseph immediately calmed down and did as the angel told him. After this, Joseph and Mary lived quietly, peacefully and holy in Nazareth.

1951 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch


1951 Christmas Message to the Western European and Sino-Filipino Flock

By St. John Maximovitch

Christ is born, glorify Him! Christ from heaven, respond to Him!

Raise your hands and with your tongues, shout to God with a voice of joy.

Rejoice righteous ones, rejoice heavens, mountains leap with joy, Christ is now born of the Virgin.

Born on earth is He who was born before all ages from the Father and created heaven and earth.

The beginningless accepts a beginning.

The Creator comes to His creation and Himself becomes a creation.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Homily Three on the Nativity of Christ (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

Once again in our lives the Lord vouchsafed us to celebrate the greatest event in the history of the world, which indescribably amazed all the Angels of heaven. They saw the Eternal Son of God descend to earth from heaven, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, in human flesh, which He was pleased to receive. They saw the God-man, which they could never have imagined.

If even the angels of God are astonished to the extreme, then what will we, the people of the earth, say? Of course, we cannot say anything, but only humbly listen to what the Creator of this amazing event Himself says about this. Listen to what He Himself says: “I came as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me should not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).

Second Homily on the Second Day of the Nativity of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"May he who was born and in the manger reclined for the sake of our salvation, Christ our true God, through the prayers of His Most Pure Mother and all the saints will have mercy and save us."

Pious listeners! How will we be saved, how will the Lord have mercy on us? We all sin, we all offend God.

Yesterday, standing in church, we rejoiced with all our hearts and thought that all our lives we would joyfully strive against sins; and no sooner had we left the church than we began to sin, as before, not only in thought and desires, but also in words and deeds. After every sin and transgression, we repent, mourn, lament, but as soon as our conscience is calmed, we are again taken for the same, for the same sins.

2022 Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos) 


Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas

2022


Which Christ Are We Celebrating?

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

We are passing through the days of Christmas and we feel the great joy of the feast of the Birth of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh. This phrase is accurate, according to the doctrinal teaching of our Church, because in Christ we confess two births, the first birth is according to His divine nature from the Father before all ages, and the second birth is according to human nature from the Most Holy Theotokos, when the fullness of time came.

Thus, these days we celebrate the birth of Christ in the flesh, and the name "Christ" is of the hypostasis, and it is not only said of one nature, but it means both natures. Because He Himself anointed Himself, as God, giving the anointing to the body with His divinity, and receiving the anointing as a man, and the anointing of humanity is divinity, according to Saint John of Damascus. It is indeed a great mystery, how the two natures were united in Christ, divine and human in one hypostasis, therefore the name "Christ" is the name of the hypostasis, and not of one of the two natures.

1947 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

 
 By St. John Maximovitch

(Delivered in Shanghai in 1947)

“Thou hast dwelt in a cave, O Christ our God. A manger welcomed Thee. Shepherds and Wise Men worshipped Thee” (Apostichon of Great Vespers for the Nativity).

Seeing the human race perishing from sins, the Son of God descends to earth. “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). For us, for the sake of man and for our salvation He came down from heaven to earth. The Son of God takes on human nature in order to reunite man with God. He comes to earth when humanity has fallen into a complete moral decline, when people have languished, not seeing a way out.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Humble Message of Christmas (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

 
By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

(Delivered in 1986 at Gregoriou Monastery)

In the entire mystery of the incarnate economy of the Lord, which we experienced today and truly enjoyed, as well as with the successful passing of the holy fast and the joyful arrival at this festival, which the sacred Chrysostom calls the Metropolis of Feasts [i.e. Mother of all the feasts of the Church], we admire the love of God the Father towards His creature, man. And we don't just admire. We are astonished when we see that the all-good God, rich in His divinity, entered the poverty and sickness of human flesh, to give us His Grace and union with Him.

Homily Two on the Nativity of Christ (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

"A strange and most glorious mystery do I behold: the cave is heaven; the Virgin - the throne of the cherubim; the manger - the place wherein lay Christ God, Whom nothing can contain, Whom praising, we magnify" (Irmos of the Nativity of Christ, ode 9).

On this great day, the Holy Church remembers a deeply mysterious and incomprehensibly great event, before which all other events in the history of the world are completely insignificant - the Nativity of the Eternal Son of God in human flesh from the Most Holy and Blessed Virgin Mary, for the salvation of the human race perishing in sins.

1935 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch


 By St. John Maximovitch

(Delivered in Shanghai in 1935)

Christ is born, praise Him! Christ from heaven, respond to Him! Christ on earth, exalt Him!

He who sits on a cherub comes to earth!

Born in a sinful world is the eternally begotten of God the Father!

The King of the Universe is coming from heavenly heights to man who has fallen deep into the pit of sin and unbelief!

Second Homily for the Day of the Nativity of Christ (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 
 
 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"What shall I repay the Lord for all His good deeds towards me?" (Ps. 116:3).

We now remember two great blessings of God to us: the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and the deliverance of Russia, our fatherland, from the invasion of the Gauls with twenty nations.

This we do in the church of God, this we do all together. How should each of us individually honor this feast? What, then, outside the church, can we bring to our Savior for His good deeds to us?

What our Lord Jesus Christ loves most in us is that we should bring to Him gratitude. But the Savior Jesus Christ loves our salvation more than anything; He was born for our salvation, lived for salvation, taught for our salvation, suffered for our salvation, died and rose again for our salvation, ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father - everything is for our salvation, everything is concerned about salvation, He intercedes for everything about our salvation.

When Saint Porphyrios Experienced Christmas on the Holy Mountain in Spirit


Elder Porphyrios revealed the following wonderful experience one Christmas:

I’ll tell you another secret now. At night I speak on the telephone to a monk on the Holy Mountain. He studies the Fathers a lot and explains many things to me. We talk about spiritual matters. A crazy thing happened, what can I say? … This happened again early this morning, that’s to say three o’clock at night. The bells were ringing at the time we were talking. For half an hour we spoke about really wonderful things. Honestly, I felt great joy; greater than I can express. Glory to God. While we were speaking about these spiritual matters, he said to me:

"The bells are ringing for church. I have to go."

I said to him: "Elder, don’t leave me."

"Gladly," he replied.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Theology of the Feast of Christmas


By Metropolitan Jeremiah of Gortynos and Megalopolis

The Feast of Christmas is today, my Christian brothers and sisters. We celebrate the dogma of our faith, that God became human, a real human being, with flesh, bones, blood and a heart. A person like us in every way, except, of course, in regards to sin. This is a very great feast, the mother of feasts, since all the other feasts follow it: the baptism, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is why it’s been called the mother of feasts.

At this feast, we see the Son of God, Who formerly, in heaven, had only a divine nature, take on human nature at His incarnation. He is now God and human. Perfect God and perfect human. So, with Christmas, we have two natures united, the divine and human. This was precisely the purpose of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, my beloved friends: to unite our nature with that of God. We call this ‘deification’. From the beginning this was the purpose for which God made us: to be deified.

Venerable Elder Symeon Vroulos of Psara (+ 1944)


The Venerable Elder Symeon Vroulos was born in 1853 in the village of Agios Ioannis on the island of Chios, and from an early age left for the Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos on the neighboring island of Psara, where he served as Abbot for a number of years.

Fr. Andreas Daphnos, in an interview with the magazine Apostoli (no. 55, 2003-4), was asked by the journalist about what made himself feel blessed. He answered: "I was found worthy to meet and receive the blessing, even while they were alive, of two holy persons who became saints. One was Saint Anthimos of Chios.... The other holy person I had the blessing to meet was another Saint of Chios, Saint Symeon the Abbot of Psara. From the age of eight he went to the Monastery and there he learned letters from the Psalter of David! He was, I remember, a very strong man and he cultivated the Monastery's estates with great love. At night they heard him go to a ravine next to the Monastery and break stones, in order to tame himself with work, as he said, and not allow the devil to fight him. In the morning he was regularly at his services. I was lucky enough to meet him when I was five years old. He took me into his arms and gave me his blessing."

Friday, December 23, 2022

A Few Major Changes Coming for the Mystagogy Resource Center

 
Dear Readers:
 
With another Christmas and New Year approaching, I wanted to make everyone aware of some major changes coming to this ministry within the next few weeks.
 
The first major change is that johnsanidopoulos.com is shutting down and will serve as an archive of its current material. I am currently at over 16,000 posts on this website alone, and it is not designed for so many pages. My new website where we will have a fresh new start will be announced within a few weeks.
 
The second major change is that I am starting a YouTube channel to supplement this ministry. Initially I will just be creating and uploading some videos of interest, and eventually I was considering doing a weekly show of some sorts, if I see there is an interest in me doing so.
 
The third major change is that I will be focusing more in 2023 on publishing books. I have about a dozen either completed or nearly completed books I've been sitting on, with dozens of more waiting, but my schedule hasn't allowed me to move forward with them to complete them and publish them.
 
Of course, these changes are more dependent on you than me. I'm always happy to make my contribution, but my contribution is dependent on your contribution.
 
My greatest challenge in 2022 regarding the ministry of the Mystagogy Resource Center is considering whether it was worth my time continuing with it, since the devotion of my time to it has become more of a stranglehold on me than an opportunity to produce some good Orthodox material. It is hardly financially feasible for me to even devote an hour to it a day at this point unless I get some help to allow me to devote the time I need to really offer what I can. I've always said that this free ministry only exists because of your financial assistance to allow me to at least have the time to do some work on it on a daily basis. And if this ministry grows, it is only because you have allowed me to help it grow. With this being the case, your present financial contribution, which is the only factor I have in determining if there is any interest in what I do, will determine what happens when 2023 rolls in. My dream is to at least devote half my time each day to this ministry, so I am hoping my dream will come true soon, but for now, please give what you can.
 
This being said, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
 
John Sanidopoulos 
 
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What Does the Christmas Message "Peace on Earth" of the Angelic Hymn of Bethlehem Really Mean?


By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

Few passages of Holy Scripture have been so bitterly misinterpreted as Luke 2:14.

It is about the Hymn that was sung by the Angels during the most divine night of the birth in the flesh of the Eternal Word of God, the Lord Jesus.

This misinterpretation by many Orthodox is certainly not willful and intentional (only heretics misinterpret willfully), but is due to the all around ignorance of the meaning of Holy Scripture. As a result of this ignorance, every year on Christmas day we hear sermons or read publications of many teachers of the Gospel of our Church, clergy and laity, being rejected because the wars have not yet ended and the weapons have not been abolished and the peace of the Angelic Hymn has not yet prevailed on earth.

Saint Porphyrios and the Visit of Divine Grace Before Christmas: A True Testimony Similar to "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens

 
It was the days leading up to the Christmas of 1993. I was in a very difficult situation: physical sicknesses and horrible pains, revolts of the passions, warfare with the devil and through men.

I said: "My Christ, what kind of Christmas am I going to have this year?" Then I called upon the Elder [Porphyrios].

(Just before he reposed he said to me: "Call on me.")

On the night of December 22, as soon as I was able to fall asleep, he came.

A Gift for Saint Nicholas: A True Story


Saint Nicholas is primarily known in the West as the inspiration behind the gift-giving Santa Claus, who on Christmas Eve brings presents to good boys and girls, and in return an offering of cookies and milk is given to him as a gift for himself and his reindeer. This gift exchange is likewise inspired by the real life miracles of Saint Nicholas, which the faithful in return offer to him in thanksgiving for the gift of the particular miracle performed. Below is one real life example from the life of Saint George Karslides, a holy priest from Drama of Northern Greece who passed away in 1959. It concerns the true story of a young girl who promised Saint Nicholas a gift, but forgot her secret promise until another Saint years later reminded her.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Church of the Holy Martyr Anastasia in Novgorod, Built in One Day To Protect the People From the Deadly Plague of 1417


A.D. 1417. A.M. 6925. The same summer and winter there was a fearful plague among the people in Novgorod, and in Ladoga, in Russa, Porkhov, Pskov, Tver, Dmitrov, and in Torzhok, and throughout their districts and villages. And how can I relate the fearful and terrible misery that there was during the whole plague? What grief the living had for the dead, for the deaths increased so in towns and villages that the living had barely time to make the dead tidy for burial; so many died every day, that they had not time to bury them; and many houses were closed unoccupied. First of all it would hit one as if with a lance, choking, and then a swelling would appear, or spitting of blood with shivering, and fire would burn one in all the joints of the body; and then the illness would overwhelm one; and many after lying in that illness died. But to many Christians God was merciful: they left this life entering the angelic order after receiving holy unction from the Vladyka. And two Posadniks died in the same order: Ivan Olexandrovich and Boris Vasilievich.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The "Secret" of Hagia Sophia That Can Only Be Seen on December 21st

 
December 22, 2020

A pilgrimage to Hagia Sophia on the morning of December 21 gives us the opportunity to witness the architectural secret that has protected the purpose of the Temple of God's Wisdom for centuries.

Guided by the painter Olga Alexopoulou, she explains that Hagia Sophia was designed in such a way that once a year, the first light of the dawn after the longest night of winter enters the monument, symbolizing the birth of Christ. We started at 8:00 in the morning. The goal was 8:25 to be in our place, inside the monument, to see the sun's rays piercing through the small window above the entrance of Hagia Sophia.

"We will be the first witnesses for the first time after so many years, maybe even centuries if we manage to do it," whispered Olga.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

How Saint John of Kronstadt Explained To a Group of Priests His Miraculous Power


At a meeting with priests in Nizhny Novgorod in 1901 and Sarapul in 1904, [Saint John of Kronstadt] opened his soul about this gift of God and told how the healing of the sick began. On that occasion he said:

In your souls, fellow ministers, the question undoubtedly arises, how dare I travel all over Russia, to pray for so many people who beg for my prayers. Maybe someone will call it impudence... But I, brothers, would not have decided on such a great work, if I had not been called to it from above... This is how it started.

Homily Before Christmas (St. John of Kronstadt)



 By St. John of Kronstadt

Behold, beloved, the feast of the Nativity of Christ is near. Let us take care how to meet Him in a Christian, spiritual way. I know in advance how you intend to meet him: you will soon go to the markets and will bake there and talk about a lot, about the many different dishes of the feast, or you will only care about how to decorate your body with festive clothes, but one thing is needed (Luke 10:41): the thought of how to delight your soul with a spiritual blessing on the upcoming feast, how to decorate it with bright thoughts, or in a few words, how to be more worthy to meet and spend the feast - this rarely comes to anyone's mind. The flour, beloved, is always with us, and our clothes are also always with us, but the feast of the Lord is not always; therefore, we will not care much about the flour and clothes, but we will take care to be ready to meet the Most Pure Heavenly King. Let us all take care that we have a worthy, spiritual meeting of the upcoming feast. We have been singing for a long time: "Christ is born..." about why the Son of God came down to earth; why He was incarnated of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became a man, without ceasing to be God.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Genealogy of Christ - Both So Beautiful and So Comforting

 
By Placide Deseille

This reading (on the genealogy of Christ) which seems strange to us, is actually so beautiful and at the same time so comforting for us, to the extent that it shows us that already this people of the Old Testament consisted of both saints and sinners. Among the persons listed, among the women mentioned in this genealogy there is no lack of sinners. And yet this whole chain led to Christ. There is, however, in this chain also a significant number of true saints, whom we honor in the same way as the saints of today's Church, because in their way - a still enigmatic but real way - they believed in Christ, were saved by their faith in the word of God and to the promise of the coming Messiah.

Sunday of the Holy Fathers Before the Nativity of Christ


By St. Justin Popovich
 
In the days before the feast of the Nativity of Christ our God and Savior, on the Sunday that falls between December 18 and 24, the Old Testament Holy Ancestors of Christ according to the flesh are commemorated, that is, those Fathers from whose tribe and lineage our Lord Jesus Christ came physically, through the Holy Mother of God. These are the Forefathers and Ancestors of Christ, from Abraham through David to Joseph the Betrothed and the Holy Mother of God, whose names are mentioned in the Genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew the Evangelist. That is why the Gospel of Matthew about the Genealogy of Christ is read this week (Matthew 1:1-17).

But, this week as well as the previous one, that is, on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers, all those Old Testament Righteous are mentioned who previously lived by faith in the coming Messiah, the Lord Christ our Savior, and who are therefore mentioned in the Epistle that is read this Sunday at the Liturgy (Hebrews 11:9-40).

Friday, December 16, 2022

The Unsleeping Eye of God


The unsleeping eye of God is testified by prophets, saints, hymns and prayers, tradition and Holy Scripture. The triangular shape with an eye in the center found in Orthodox Churches refers to the Holy Trinity and is an Orthodox depiction of the unsleeping eye of God.

"The eye of God, seeing all things and understanding all things." (Hesiod)

"I will guide you, my eye is over you." (Psalm 31:8)

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” (Psalm 33:18)

The Mother of God Saves a Man From Drowning


In the Monastery of Saint Savvas in Palestine there is an icon of the Mother of God, in which she is painted in a black garment, as nuns wear. Once someone asked the fathers of this monastery:

"Isn't it a sin to paint the Mother of God as a nun?"

Then they answered him:

"We do not paint the Mother of God as a nun, but this is how the Lady of the world appeared in the depths of the sea to the one who she saved from drowning."

"From drowning?" he asked. "Please tell me this incident, because having been here for many days looking at this icon, I sinfully judged that she should not be painted like this."

Thursday, December 15, 2022

There is No Christianity Without the Church (St. Hilarion Troitsky)


Christianity or the Church?
(Original Title: There is No Christianity Without the Church)
 
By St. Hilarion (Troitsky), Holy New Martyr of Russia
 

Introduction

 

Usually, people prefer to remain silent concerning a matter which they know nothing about and do not understand. This, of course, is completely sensible. Let us imagine, for example, a person who knows nothing about chemistry but who, nevertheless, constantly insists upon interfering in the affairs of chemists. He corrects their scientific formulae which have been obtained with great difficulty, changing their order or replacing one with another. We would agree that such a person is acting with the highest degree of imprudence and that we can only have pity for him.

There is one field, however, in which too many people consider themselves to be complete masters, in fact, almost legislators; that is the area concerning the Christian faith and the Church. In this field also, clear and definite formulae have been established with a great effort of theological thought, spiritual guidance, faith, and piety. These formulae are established and must be accepted on faith. Regardless of this fact, a great many people enter into the questions of faith and the Church solely as bold and decisive reformers who want to remake everything according to their own personal desires. In cases where such people have insufficient knowledge or understanding, they are especially averse to remaining silent. To the contrary they begin not only to speak, but to shout. Such shouting on the questions of faith and the Church usually finds the columns of newspapers and the ordinary conversations of people who, in general, very seldom think of faith and the Church at all. If they do think of such things, they prefer to voice themselves exclusively in an authoritative and accusatory tone.

An Icon of Saint Eleutherios That Belonged to Eleutherios Venizelos


This is a portable icon of Saint Eleutherios, measuring 43.5 x 34 cm., bearing the inscription "The Holy Martyr Eleutherios" (Ο ΑΓΙΟΣ ΙΕΡΟΜΑΡΤΥΣ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟΣ).

This unique personal heirloom of Eleutherios Venizelos, which the great Greek politician revered as an icon of his patron saint, is located in the Eleutherios Venizelos Museum in Chania on the island of Crete.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

St. Porphyrios: The Joy of Being with Christ in His Church

 
 By Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis

Saint Porphyrios, a Greek Orthodox monk who died in 1991, was formally glorified as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in November 2013. He stands in the long tradition of charismatic spiritual guides in the Orthodox Church. His book Wounded by Love narrates his life and teachings, expressing the richness of the ascetic, mystical Orthodox tradition. His theology reflects Orthodoxy’s authentic, charismatic aspects, a fruit of prayer, ascesis, and love for God and others. St. Porphyrios, based on his ascetic and mystical experience of living with Christ in the Church, shares his understanding of how the faithful should understand their relationship with Christ in the Church and what that entails.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Appearance of Five Holy Martyrs To A Girl Who Wanted to Have a Certainty of Eternity


Apart from the appearance of Saints Eustratios, Auxentios, Eugenios, Mardarios and Orestes in the metochion of the Nea Moni of Chios, they can be here and there both then and now and even always and everywhere.

These five Saints also gave witness to a girl from our company here in Argostoli. A young boy with a fine character had passed away in an accident and through dreams and some messages found in his books he was talking about the beauty of eternal life. That girl, when she heard about all this, was moved and that night, before going to sleep, she too asked to see that young man in her sleep and to feel the desired certainty of eternity. The dream came: five Saints appeared and said their names were Eustratios, Auxentios, Eugenios, Mardarios and Orestes. She had a feeling that she did not know them, but in their brightness and those heavenly melodies, she saw just as brightly that dear youth singing with the Saints.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Saint Spyridon and the Proud Deacon


On the island of Cyprus there was a village called Erytra. This village was not far from the Metropolis of Constantia. Saint Spyridon went there one time to see to some affairs and, while there, went into the church. It was the season of the harvest, the weather was extremely hot and the bishop was very tired from the journey. During the service which was taking place, he told one of the serving deacons to abbreviate one of the prayers. The deacon not only ignored what he had been told to do, but instead he prolonged the prayer, chanting and singing with pride, full of vain glory because he knew he had a good voice.

Saint Spyridon is known for being kind and gentle when dealing with people, but disobedience and pride in oneself were simply not to be tolerated. The bishop became very angry with the deacon and reprimanded him for his disobedience, saying sternly, "Be quiet!"

Sunday, December 11, 2022

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

 
 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 30, 1951)

Hear the words of the holy apostle and evangelist John the Theologian, written by him in his great Apocalypse: “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a numerous people, as the sound of many waters, as the voice of mighty thunders, saying: 'Alleluia! for the Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has prepared herself.' And it was given to her to put on fine linen, clean and bright; the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And the angel said to me: 'Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me: 'These are the true words of God'” (Apoc. 19:6-9).

Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The Lord spoke about this wedding supper in his great parable about those who were invited to the supper, which you heard in the current Gospel reading.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

What Vasiliki Rallis Revealed About the Soul of Her Departed Husband


 By Alexios the Reader

Vasiliki Rallis told us what took place as soon as the soul of her husband Angelos left his body. Angelos Rallis was the vessel of the Lord's election who took the lead in the holy cause on behalf of the Newly-Revealed Neomartyrs Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, in Karyes of Thermi on the island of Lesvos.

So she told us that her late husband fell asleep on the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, after chanting and taking communion of the Immaculate Mysteries, and in the following hours in his sleep, his blessed soul flew silently to the Heavenly Father!

50 Questions-Answers about the Asia Minor Campaign and Catastrophe (26 - 50)


 ...continued from part one.

Question 26: Did the Soviets help Kemal?

Answer: The Soviets helped Kemal because, as they claimed, they were against the imperialists (France, Italy, Britain, Greece) and they made agreements with Kemal by sending him gold rubles in gold bars and armaments.

Question 27: What was Britain's attitude towards the Asia Minor campaign after the November 1920 elections?

Answer: The British believed that in order for the Treaty of Sèvres to be implemented, Kemal had to be defeated, and the only power that was called upon to impose the terms of peace was Greece. Britain supported the Greek side, without providing substantial financial and military aid. He believed that security and stability in Europe came first and favored the solution of a peace settlement with the Turks at the expense of the Treaty of Sèvres and at the expense of Greek interests.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Miracles of Saint Anna at her Shrine in Vori of Prokonisos (1 - 5)


1. In 1900, Aglaia Augerino Voutsa, of the family of Alexios Skamnas, from Artaki in Asia Minor.

She became seriously ill and the doctors could not find what was wrong with her. Then her mother took her to Vori, to Saint Anna, where they shut themselves in the Monastery for forty days, fasting and praying. Morning and evening the Priest performed the sanctification of holy water service and read the exorcisms.

At the last sanctification service, Saint Anna took her out and brought her to the sea, where Saint Anna dipped the sick woman three times in the water, then took her out. After she vomited, she got well.

She lived with good health from then on and died at the age of 95 in Aigion.

50 Questions-Answers about the Asia Minor Campaign and Catastrophe (1-25)

Venizelos and Constantine

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

I carefully read the book by the University students Angelos Syrigos and Evanthi Hatzivasiliou titled The Asia Minor Catastrophe, 50 Questions and Answers, published by Pataki. Then I wrote my impressions in a short text titled "The Asia Minor Catastrophe", which was published in the "Ecclesiastiki Paremvasi" newspaper and posted on various websites.

However, I also made a brief summary of the authors' answers to the 50 questions concerning the Asia Minor Catastrophe.

As can be seen, the summary of the 50 answers, which extend over 255 pages of the book, is a difficult task and perhaps even dangerous. It is, however, indicative and perhaps selective, which should give the reader a reason to read the book itself in order to gain knowledge of the entire problem of the Asia Minor Catastrophe.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

"I Expect the Resurrection of the Dead" Were the Last Words of Saint Parthenios of Chios


The time came when Saint Parthenios of Chios (+ 1883) received the heavenly message of his departure... since he longed for heaven all his life. A day of joy was the day he realized that the time had come for the heavenly journey. He lived for this hour. "When will I face the unspeakable beauty face to face? When shall I come and behold the face of God?' he wondered.

45 years of rigorous asceticism had passed. He had been an ascetic since he was 23 years old and was now 68 years old.

One night, as he slept peacefully in his wet and wild cave, a dream filled him with joy. He saw our Lady the Theotokos!

"Parthenios," she said to him, "in three days your resting place will be ready. The saints are waiting for you!"

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