Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day

Please be sure to scroll down past the Saint or Feast of the day.

After the Saint or Feast of the day I post my "Main Posts". These may be anything including original articles, book reviews, adding new blogs to my web page and just about anything new I may wish the reader to read.

Please note I do not always have "Main Posts" posted.

I tend to leave "Main Posts" up for several days.

Sophocles

Righteous Joseph the Patriarch

Commemorated on March 31













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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Are There Virtuous Lay People in Contemporary World?




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What is the difference between Orthodox and heretic?

Protopresbyter John S. Romanides, University Professor 

What is the difference between Orthodox and heretic?

From the book "Patristic Theology"

I think we can comprehend the basic difference between them, if we take Medical Science as an example. There, we have doctors who belong to the Medical Association; if a doctor is not a member of the Medical Association, he cannot exercise the medical profession.  For a doctor to be legal, he must not only be a graduate of a recognized Medical School, but also a member of the Medical Association.  The same prerequisites apply to lawyers. These sciences undergo continuous monitoring, because, if one were to deviate from the proper exercising of his profession, he is tried by the pertinent authority of the professional Association he belongs to, and is expelled from the Body of that profession.

The same however occurs in the Church.  The respective procedure within the Body of the Church - that is, the excision of a member - is called "excommunication"; if it relates to a member of an ecclesiastic rank, then it is called "unfrocking". It is how heretics are excommunicated from the Body of the church.  Just as within the Medical realm a "quack" (fake doctor) cannot possibly be permitted to heal, thus also in the Church it is not possible for a heretic to heal the souls of people; because, being a heretic, he does not know how - nor is he able - to heal.  Therefore, in the same manner that a union between a "quack" Association and the Medical Association is never possible, it is likewise never possible for a union to take place between the Orthodox and heretics.  An actual doctor is not one who merely reads many medical books, but rather, the one who has graduated from the Medical School of a University, and at the same has apprenticed over a significant period of time near an experienced professor of proven ability to heal the sick.

Protopresbyter John S. Romanides, University Professor - from the book "Patristic Theology"
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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Meeting of the Mother of God and Saint Elizabeth

Commemorated on March 30

The establishment of this Feast and the composition of the Service are the work of Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin (+ 1894), head of the Russian Orthodox Mission in Jerusalem.

The Gorneye Convent in Jerusalem, built on the site of the Meeting of the Theotokos and St Elizabeth, celebrates this Feast on March 30. If March 30 should fall between Lazarus Saturday and Pascha, however, the Feast is transferred to Bright Friday.



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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mark, Bishop of Arethusa

March 29


Reading:
 
Saint Mark was Bishop of Arethusa in Syria. In the days of Saint Constantine the Great, Saint Mark, moved with divine zeal, destroyed a temple of the idols and raised up a church in its stead. When Julian the Apostate reigned, in 361, as the pagans were now able to avenge the destruction of their temple, Saint Mark, giving way to wrath, hid himself; but when he saw that others were being taken on his account, he gave himself up. Having no regard to his old age, they stripped him and beat his whole body, cast him into filthy sewers, and pulling him out, had children prick him with their iron writing-pens. Then they put him into a basket, smeared him with honey and a kind of relish of pickled fish, and hung him up under the burning sun to be devoured by bees and wasps. But because he bore this so nobly, his enemies repented, and unloosed him.

Apolytikion of Hierormartyr Mark of Arethusa in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
 
Since they had slain through their abstinence and struggles the fiery ragings and fierce motions of the passions, the staunch Martyrs of Christ God laid hold on the graces to drive off the pains and illnesses of the sick and work wonders both while living and after death. Strange indeed is the miracle! That these bare bones should pour forth such overflowing streams of cures. Glory be to our only God.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Martyr Enravota - Boyan, the Prince of Bulgaria



The Holy Martyr Boyan, Prince of Bulgaria, suffered for Christ around the year 830. When his pagan brother Malomir [Vladimir] ascended the Bulgarian throne, Prince Boyan asked him to free the learned Christian Kinamon, who had been in prison for a long time for refusing to participate in pagan sacrifices under Prince Obrit (Krutogon), Prince Malomir’s predecessor.

Malomir consented and gave Kinamon to Prince Boyan as a slave. Boyan spoke to Kinamon about Christianity, telling him of the errors of paganism and that belief in Christ is necessary for salvation. At the end of their conversation he told the prince, “Without Jesus Christ there is no light for the mind, no life for the soul. He alone is the Teacher of mankind and our Savior. By His death, He has reconciled fallen mankind with God. If you do not wish to perish, believe in the Lord Jesus.” Prince Boyan recognized the truth of his words, and was inspired to ask for Baptism.

The newly-converted prince was filled with a love of prayer, fasting and contemplation of God. Malomir, learning about the conversion of his brother to Christianity, demanded that he renounce the Christian Faith and return to paganism. Instead, the holy Prince Boyan answered, “I despise the pagan idols and I revere Christ, the true God. No one shall separate me from the love of Christ.” Malomir, hearing his brother’s reply, sentenced him to death.

Before his martyric death, the holy martyr-prince declared: “The faith for which I now die will spread throughout the Bulgarian land. You vainly imagine that you will stop it by killing me. Temples to the true God will be built, and priests will offer Him true worship. The idols and their foul sacrifices, however, will vanish.” Then he said to his brother Malomir, “You will gain nothing from your cruelty, and death will soon overtake you.”

The holy martyr was killed by the sword, and his predictions to his brother were the first to be fulfilled. Malomir soon died, and since he had no heir, his elder brother Presian (836-852) succeeded to the throne. Prince Presian’s son, the holy Prince Boris, in holy Baptism Michael (May 2) later Christianized the Bulgarian nation. Thus the prophecy of the holy Martyr Prince Boyan was fulfilled.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Friday, March 27, 2015

Venerable John the Clairvoyant, Anchorite, of Egypt



Saint John the Clairvoyant of Egypt was born at the beginning of the fourth century. He lived in the city of Likopolis (Middle Egypt) and was a carpenter. At the age of twenty-five he went to a monastery, where he received monastic tonsure.

For five years St John lived in various monasteries, and then wanting complete solitude, he went to the Thebaid and lived on Mount Bolcha. St John then spent many years in solitude, never leaving the spot. He conversed with visitors through a small window, through which he also received food and other necessities.

After thirty years of seclusion,St John received the gift of clairvoyance from God. He predicted to the emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395) victory over his adversaries Maximus and Eugenius, and a military victory over the Gauls. He also foretold future events in the lives of his visitors, and gave them guidance. The ascetic gave holy oil to the sick who visited him, and anointed them with it, healing them of various maladies.

St John predicted that the historian Palladius, who wrote his Life, would become a bishop. The prediction of the seer was fulfilled, and Palladius was made Bishop of Bithynia (Asia Minor).

St John in his instructions commanded first of all to have humility: “Imitate the virtuous life of the holy Fathers according to the measure of your strength and if you fulfill everything, do not become overconfident or praise yourself. For there are many people who reached perfection in virtue and became puffed up with pride, plunging from the heights into the abyss.

“Examine yourselves carefully to see if your conscience is pure, so that purity may not be driven from your mind. Do not allow your thoughts to wander during prayer. Do you, out of vanity, wish to gain a reputation for asceticism? Or do you wish to have only the appearance of asceticism? Take heed lest any passion overcome you. Take heed that thoughts of worldly things do not enter your mind during prayer, since there is nothing more foolish than to pray to God with your lips, while your thoughts are far from Him. This often happens with those who do not absolutely renounce the world, but rather seek approval from men. A man whose mind is given over to worldly and perishable things, cannot behold God with his spiritual eyes. It is fitting that one who seeks after God will remove his mind from every earthly thing, and direct the gaze of his understanding towards God. He who has attained a little knowledge of God (for no one can receive the whole of it), is able to acquire knowledge of many things, and will see the mysteries which the knowledge of God will show him. He sees future events before they happen, and like a saint he will receive glorious revelations. He will work miracles, and will receive everything that he asks from God.”

“Love silence, child, live always in divine contemplation and pray that God will grant you a pure mind, free from sinful thoughts. Worthy of praise is the ascetic who lives in the world, practices the virtues, renders kindness to strangers or distributes alms, or who helps others in their work, or lives without anger. Such a man is praiseworthy, since he dwells in virtue, fulfilling the commands of God, while not neglecting earthly affairs.”

“He who leaves the transitory things of this world to others is better and more worthy of praise, for he denies himself, takes up his cross, and cleaves to Christ. He constantly embraces the things of heaven, and escapes earthly things. He will not allow himself to be turned aside by any other cares. Such a man, through his good deeds and the praises which he offers to God, is free and unfettered by any ties whatsoever. He stands before God in security, and his mind is not distracted by any other cares. He who is in this condition continually converses with God.”

St John brought much spiritual benefit to people with these and similar salvific teachings, through his instructive discourses, and by his personal example in the angelic life.

St John of Egypt survived into old age and fell asleep in the Lord in 395, at the age of ninety.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Martyrs Bathusius, Bercus the Presbyter, Arpilus the Monk, as well as Abibus, Agnus, Reasus, Igathrax, Iscoius(Iskous), Silias, Signicus, Sonirilus, Suimbalus, Thermus, as well as Philus(Philgas) the Layman, as well as Anna, Alla, Monco(Manca), Uirko(Virko), Animais(Animaida), Larissa the Laywomen as well as Gaath the Queen and Dulcida the Princess in the Crimea

Commemorated on March 26

These twenty-six martyrs were killed by the Goths around the year 375 under Jungerich, a persecutor of Christians. Ancient synaxaria of the Gothic Church recount the martyrdom of twenty-six Christians in the time of the emperors Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian. The historian Sozomen says that King Athanaric was enraged to see his subjects embracing Christianity because of the preaching of the Arian bishop Ulfilas. So, he ordered many of them to be tortured and executed, often without a trial.

King Athanaric’s ministers placed a statue in a chariot and paraded it before the tents which Christians used for church services. Those who worshiped the idol and offered sacrifice were spared, the rest were burned alive in the tent. Jungerich gave orders to burn down a church during divine services. In the fiery inferno 308 people perished, of whom only twenty-one are known by name. There was also an anonymous man who came to the tent and confessed Christ. He was martyred with the others. Different manuscripts give variants of their names.

In the reign of Valentinian and Theodosius (383-392), the Gothic king’s widow Gaatha (who was an Orthodox Christian) and her daughter Duclida gathered up the relics of the holy martyrs and brought them to Syria with the help of some priests and a layman named Thyellas. Gaatha later returned to her native land, where she was stoned and died as a martyr, along with her son Agathon.

The relics of the holy martyrs were left to Duclida, who went to Cyzicus in Asia Minor and gave some of the relics for the founding of a church. St Duclida died in peace.

The holy martyrs were commemorated on October 23 on the Gothic calendars.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Commemorated on March 25

The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the earliest Christian feasts, and was already being celebrated in the fourth century. There is a painting of the Annunciation in the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome dating from the second century. The Council of Toledo in 656 mentions the Feast, and the Council in Trullo in 692 says that the Annunciation was celebrated during Great Lent.

The Greek and Slavonic names for the Feast may be translated as “good tidings.” This, of course, refers to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation He brings. The background of the Annunciation is found in the Gospel of St Luke (1:26-38). The troparion describes this as the “beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” for on this day the Son of God became the Son of Man.

There are two main components to the Annunciation: the message itself, and the response of the Virgin. The message fulfills God’s promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” The Fathers of the Church understand “her seed” to refer to Christ. The prophets hinted at His coming, which they saw dimly, but the Archangel Gabriel now proclaims that the promise is about to be fulfilled.

We see this echoed in the Liturgy of St Basil, as well: “When man disobeyed Thee, the only true God who had created him, and was deceived by the guile of the serpent, becoming subject to death by his own transgressions, Thou, O God, in Thy righteous judgment, didst send him forth from Paradise into this world, returning him to the earth from which he was taken, yet providing for him the salvation of regeneration in Thy Christ Himself.”

The Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth in Galilee. There he spoke to the undefiled Virgin who was betrothed to St Joseph: “Hail, thou who art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

In contrast to Eve, who was readily deceived by the serpent, the Virgin did not immediately accept the Angel’s message. In her humility, she did not think she was deserving of such words, but was actually troubled by them. The fact that she asked for an explanation reveals her sobriety and prudence. She did not disbelieve the words of the angel, but could not understand how they would be fulfilled, for they spoke of something which was beyond nature.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1: 35-38).”


In his Sermon 23 on the day of the Annunciation, St Philaret of Moscow boldly stated that “the word of the creature brought the Creator down into the world.” He explains that salvation is not merely an act of God’s will, but also involves the Virgin’s free will. She could have refused, but she accepted God’s will and chose to cooperate without complaint or further questions.

The icon of the Feast shows the Archangel with a staff in his left hand, indicating his role as a messenger. Sometimes one wing is upraised, as if to show his swift descent from heaven. His right hand is stretched toward the holy Virgin as he delivers his message.

The Virgin is depicted either standing or sitting, usually holding yarn in her left hand. Sometimes she is shown holding a scroll. Her right hand may be raised to indicate her surprise at the message she is hearing. Her head is bowed, showing her consent and obedience. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon her is depicted by a ray of light issuing from a small sphere at the top of the icon, which symbolizes heaven. In a famous icon from Sinai, a white dove is shown in the ray of light.

There are several famous icons of the Annunciation. One is in the Moscow Kremlin in the church of the Annunciation. This icon appeared in connection with the rescue of a prisoner by the Mother of God during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Another is to be found in the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow (July 8). It was originally located in Ustiug, and was the icon before which St Procopius the fool (July 8) prayed to save the city from destruction in 1290. One of the most highly revered icons in Greece is the Tinos icon of the Annunciation (January 30).

The Annunciation falls during Lent, but it is always celebrated with great joy. The Liturgy of St Basil or St John Chrysostom is served, even on the weekdays of Lent. It is one of the two days of Great Lent on which the fast is relaxed and fish is permitted (Palm Sunday is the other).

TROPARION - TONE 4

Today is the beginning of our salvation, / The revelation of the eternal mystery! / The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin / As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. / Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: / Rejoice, O Full of Grace, / The Lord is with You!

KONTAKION - TONE 8

O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts! / We, your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos! / As you possess invincible might, set us free from every calamity / So that we may sing: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):