Dear Readers: A long time supporter of the Mystagogy Resource Center has informed me that they would like to donate $3000 to help me continue the work of this ministry, but they will only do it as a matching donation, which means that this generous donation will only be made after you help me raise a total of $3000. If you can help make this happen, it will be greatly appreciated and it would be greatly helpful to me, as I have not done a fundraiser this year. If you enjoy the work done here and want to see more of it, please make whatever contribution you can through the DONATE link below. Thank you!
(Total So Far - Day 4: $1750)

November 30, 2023

Back in 2009, I started the Mystagogy weblog in order to post various things of my own personal interests for Orthodox Christians, not realizing that by the end of 2022 and more than 14,000 posts later, it would become an international ministry with the expanded title of the Mystagogy Resource Center consisting of, as of right now, twelve different websites.

Never did I realize I would be doing this as long as I have and produce so much material, to the point where I had to shut down this webpage now titled Orthodox Christianity Then and Now (, which was my primary focus, and continue what I've been doing here on my other main webpage (

For this reason, I will no longer be posting anything new on this webpage, which will now just serve as an archive.

My hope soon is to gather these more than 14,000 posts and put them in some sort of order in order to have them be more accessible and easier to locate.

Till then, enjoy this archive and make sure to follow all my other websites, but especially follow for my daily posts. 

January 16, 2023



January 9, 2023

This Website Is Now Closed

Dear Readers:

As I announced a few weeks ago, this website is now closed.

This website currently has over 16,200 posts from 2009, and it is not designed to contain that much information. For this reason, nothing new will be added to this website. It will only serve as an archive of what I have already posted.

From now on, the primary website of the Mystagogy Resource Center with daily updates will be:
Please go there and subscribe and bookmark this site for your daily visitations. I have provided a LinkTree on that site with all the links you need for social media subscriptions.

The new website is a work in progress I will be working on all this week, adding some new features.

Besides the new website and the LinkTree account, I have also added a new YouTube channel. There are two videos there now, one I just upladed a few days ago. It is a fascinating 1987 documentary starring Sir Steven Runciman called "Bridge to the East". Please go take a look, and subscribe to be notified about new upcoming content.

There are many new and exciting things in store for the Mystagogy Resource Center in 2023.

Please support this ministry and thank you for keeping it going and thriving since 2009.

With love in Christ,

John Sanidopoulos

January 8, 2023

Homily on the Sunday After Theophany (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

At Vespers of Great Feasts, the so-called narratives (paremoias) are read, which are usually excerpts from the books of the Old Testament. They set out the events of former times, reminiscent and even explaining what the Holy Church celebrates on a given day. On the greatest feasts, the number of narratives, usually not exceeding three, greatly increases, and on the day of the Resurrection of Christ it reaches fifteen, and on the day of Theophany - thirteen.

When considering the narratives of Theophany, it is immediately evident that they deal with miraculous changes in the properties of water under the direct influence of the commands of God Himself or the actions of the great Saints inspired by Him.

January 7, 2023

Homily Two on the Feast of the Lord’s Theophany (St. John Maximovitch)

By St. John Maximovitch

"Today You appeared to the world, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us."

The feast of the Baptism of the Lord was called in ancient times "the Day of Lights".

The Baptism of Christ is the beginning of our enlightenment - the appearance of Christ to the world, the revelation of the Holy Trinity to people.

“Why,” the Golden-mouthed Teacher asks, “not the day on which He was born, but the day on which He was baptized, is it called the Theophany? Because now He has manifested to the world.”

January 6, 2023

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

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1954)

All of you know that the people of Israel were the chosen people of God, but not everyone knows that this people in Holy Scripture is called the people with necks unbending as iron and foreheads as hard as bronze.

The brass-foreheaded people took the ardent calls of the great prophets for the correction of their ways and the great predictions about their Savior and the Messiah very hard and did not listen to them. They held their proud head high and did not bend their iron neck in repentance and humility.

The Son of God Himself descended to earth and incarnated in humble human nature. From His mouth the stiff-necked people of Israel heard the Divine message and the revelation of the mysteries of God; they saw many of His miracles.

Homily on the Day of the Theophany Before the Blessing of the Waters (St. John Maximovitch)

By St. John Maximovitch

(Delivered in Shanghai in 1947)

“The heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended physically like a dove” on the Son of God standing in the Jordan. The voice from heaven of God the Father is heard: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21-22; Mark 1:11; Matt. 3:17).

The sky is open now, again the Holy Spirit descends on the waters, and God testifies of His Son.

Oh, that our spiritual eyes would be opened! Oh, that our ears could perceive celestial expressions! We would see the heavens open above us. We would have seen the Son of God standing among us and the Holy Spirit hovering over us, and we would have heard the voice of God proclaiming the divinity of the Savior of the world.

January 5, 2023

Christ Is Born, Glorify Him! (St. John Maximovitch)

By St. John Maximovitch
Christ is born, glorify Him!

“You were secretly born in a cave, but the heavens proclaimed You to all, O Savior, using the star as its mouth.”

Quietly, silently, the Son of God descended to earth and incarnated. Like a drop of dew falls on the ground, so the Power of the Most High overshadowed the Most Pure Virgin, and the Savior of the world was born from Her.

But the world did not notice the great work done by God. People were each busy with their own concerns, their attention was directed to the affairs of life and to high-profile worldly events.

January 4, 2023

1963 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

1963 Christmas Message

By St. John Maximovitch

“Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace among those whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14).

The angels sang in heaven when the Son of God was born in Bethlehem. “Glory to God in the highest” is heard in heaven to this day, in all ages it has not calmed down and never stopped for a moment. The angels are constantly praising Him. “Holy, Holy, Holy,” cry the six-winged seraphim and the many-eyed cherubim, countless hosts of angels worship Him. Soulless creation listens to Him: the sun shines, warming the earth with its rays, the moon dispels the darkness of the night, the stars shine, the material sky, imitating the spiritual Heaven, glorifies the Creator of the universe in its strength in the highest.

Homily on the Coming New Year (St. Kallinikos of Edessa)

By the Grace of the Lord, we are at the beginning of the New Year. Behind us is the past and before us is the future. We were thinking a lot. We learn many lessons. It would be incomprehensible and completely unjustified, for reasonable people to arrive at stations in life, without conclusions.

Being at the beginning of the new year of the Lord's Goodness, we must carry out a double duty in the most serious way, the duty of Gratitude to God and Trust in Him.

Gratitude to our God and Father for the past year. During this year, the goodness of God bestowed upon us many good things. Let's not forget the apostolic words: "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). In His divine presence and goodness we live and move and exist. All good things are from the gift-giving God.

January 3, 2023

1960 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

1960 Christmas Message

By St. John Maximovitch

"Your Kingdom, O Christ our God, is a Kingdom of all the ages, and Your rule is from generation to generation." (Christmas Great Vespers)

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matt. 2:2), said the wise men who came to Jerusalem from the East. Herod the King was confused when he heard this. “Who is the king?” he thought. Will a child who is born, grow up and overthrow me from the throne and reign in my place? He thus ordered all babies in and around Bethlehem to be massacred. But in vain was the shedding of innocent blood. That Child hid Himself and escaped his hands.

January 2, 2023

2023 Pastoral Encyclical for the New Year (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


by the grace of God, Bishop and Metropolitan
of the Holy Metropolis of Nafpaktos and Agios Vlasios

the Clergy, monks and laity
of our Sacred Metropolis

Beloved children in the Lord,

A new year has dawned and we are given the opportunity to exchange wishes, to meet and celebrate solemnly, to renew our love, our hope for life, for health and freedom from what oppresses us.

This new year's holiday gives me the opportunity to communicate with you and to wish this new year that the noble desires will be fulfilled in your life, in your professional field, in your family and in your path according to God.

Homily Three on the New Year and the Circumcision of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another" (John 13:34).

For us, listeners, the commandment of mutual love is the newest commandment, because we do not know it, we forget it, we do not fulfill it, we leave it off. And therefore, for the New Year, listen to this new commandment: love one another, love one another.

We are the closest people to each other, the most similar to each other: we are all created in the same image and likeness, the image and likeness of God; we are all redeemed by one blood, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; we are all members of one body, children of one Father and one Mother.

1956 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

1956 Christmas Message to the Western European and Eastern Flock

By St. John Maximovitch

“Let heaven be glad and earth rejoice. Our God is born from the Virgin Maiden."

The Son of God came down to earth. The Creator came to His creation and settled in a miserable cave.

He does not seek wealth and fame, but lay down in a manger in the midst of two animals. He brought to earth not material wealth, but grants heavenly eternal treasures.

January 1, 2023

On the Spiritual Circumcision of the Heart (St. Gregory Palamas)

By St. Gregory Palamas

Even when your body does nothing, sin can be active in your mind.

When your soul inwardly repulses the evil one’s attack by means of prayer, attention, remembrance of death, godly sorrow and mourning, the body, too, takes its share of holiness, having acquired freedom from evil actions.

This is what the Lord meant by saying that someone who cleans the outside of a cup has not cleansed it inside, but clean the inside, and the whole cup will be clean (Matthew 23:25-26).

“Strive as hard as you can to ensure that your inner labour is according to God’s will, and you will conquer the outward passions” (Abba Arsenios, Apophthegmata Pateron 9).

Homily Two on the New Year and the Circumcision of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

We now have a New Year, and we have come to the temple of God to pray; what should we pray for now, what should we ask God for ourselves in the New Year? When we came to the temple of God, listeners, did you think about it? And you should definitely think about it. So, at least, let's talk now: what should we ask God for ourselves in the New Year, what should we pray to Him for now?

Here's what: so that the Lord God would help us start a new life from the New Year, live virtuously and not sin. It is necessary, listeners, we must take care of this. For many of us, the coming year may be the last year on earth, and perhaps none of us who are now in this temple will live to see the next New Year. So, many of our relatives, friends, acquaintances also thought, wished, tried to live until this year, but where are they now? However, let it be so that we will live on earth for a long time; what will we lose when we live virtuously? Not only will we not lose anything, but we will gain everything, save it, multiply it.

The Death-Bed Wager Between Saint Basil the Great and a Jewish Physician

A Jew named Joseph lived in Caesarea. He was such an experienced doctor that he knew for three or five days by the veins that someone was going to die, and told the patient the hour of their death. And our God-bearing father Basil, foreseeing by the Spirit that Joseph would turn to Christ, loved him very much. He often invited him to his place to talk, and advised him to leave the Jewish law and receive holy baptism. But Joseph refused, saying: "In what faith I was born, in that I will also die." And the Saint said to him: "Believe me, neither I nor you will die, until you are born of water and the Spirit. Because without this grace it is impossible to enter the kingdom of God. Were not your fathers also baptized in the cloud and the sea, and it is written drank from the rock that was the prototype of the spiritual rock, Christ (1 Cor. 10:2-4), who was born of the Virgin for our salvation, whom your fathers crucified, and who, being buried, rose again on the third day and, ascending into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father, whence shall He come to judge the living and the dead?" And many other useful words were spoken to him by the Saint, but the Jew remained in his unbelief.