Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Martyr Rhipsime of Armenia

Commemorated on September 30

Saint Rhipsime had fled to Armenia, together with her abbess and fellow nuns, to avoid entering into marriage with the emperor Diocletian (284-305), who was charmed by her beauty. Diocletian sent a letter to the Armenian emperor Tiridates asking that he either send Rhipsime back, or wed her himself.

The servants of the emperor found the fugitives and they urged Rhipsime to submit to the will of the emperor. The saint declared that she and the other nuns were betrothed to the Heavenly Bridegroom, and could marry no earthly suitor. Then a Voice was heard from the heavens: "Be brave and fear not, for I am with you." The messengers withdrew in fear. Tiridates gave the maiden over to cruelest torments: they plucked out her tongue, cut open her stomach, blinded and killed her, chopping her body into pieces.

Inspired by Rhipsime's example to endure torments for Christ, the abbess St Gaiana and two other nuns endured similar tortures, after which they were beheaded. The other nuns were run through with swords and their bodies thrown to be devoured by wild beasts.

The wrath of God befell emperor Tiridates, and also his associates and soldiers who had participated in the torture of the saints. Beset by demons, they became like wild boars (as once with Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 4: 30), ranging through the forests, rending their clothes and gnawing at their own bodies.

Troparion - Tone 4

Your holy martyr Rhipsime and Gaiana, O Lord,
Through their sufferings have received their incorruptible crowns from you, our God.
For having your strength they laid low their adversaries,
And shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

St Onuphrius of the St David Gareji Monastery, Georgia

Commemorated on September 29

Saint Onuphrius of Gareji (Otar Machutadze in the world) lived and labored in the 18th century. He was a Kartlian aristocrat famed for his wealth, hospitality, and charity.

Longing for the ascetic life, Otar wore a hair shirt under his distinguished raiment and unceasingly prayed to God for the strength to lead the monastic life. He revealed his will to his wife: “I thirst to turn from this world and draw nearer to Christ,” he said. “Therefore, I beg your forgiveness for all my transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary.”

His faithful wife consented and permitted him to go in peace. Otar traveled with his two eldest sons to Tbilisi, blessed them, and bade them farewell for the last time. Then he set off for the David-Gareji Monastery, which at that time was led by the kindhearted superior Archimandrite Herman.

Archimandrite Herman received Otar with great joy, and after a short time he tonsured him a monk with the name Onuphrius.

Blessed Onuphrius was a peaceful, humble and obedient man and a tireless ascetic. He would keep vigil through the night, and after the morning prayers he would go down to the ravine and continue to chant psalms, shedding tears over his past transgressions. He ate just one meal a day of bread and water, after the hour of Vespers. Once the Dagestanis attacked the David-Gareji Monastery, plundered the church, and took captive several monks including Onuphrius, the priests Maxime and Ioakime, and four deacons. Onuphrius was the oldest among them. The unbelievers planned to stab him to death, but the Lord protected him from their evil scheme.

According to the will of the All-mercifulGod, Onuphrius was freed and returned to the monastery.

The brotherhood was impoverished after the invasion, so Archimandrite Herman sent St. Onuphrius on a mission to solicit alms. It was difficult for St. Onuphrius to depart from the monastery, but he unquestioningly obeyed the will of his superior: the former aristocrat began to walk from door to door, begging for charity. At Tskhinvali in Samachablo St. Onuphrius attracted the attention of a crowd of people leading a young, demon-possessed man. The saint approached them and discovered that they were bringing the young man to a fortuneteller for help.

With love and great boldness St. Onuphrius addressed the crowd, saying, “My children, such behavior is not fitting for Christian believers. Bring the young man to me!”

The young man’s mother fell on her knees before him, begging for help, but St. Onuphrius raised her up and proclaimed: “I have come bearing earth from the grave of St. David of Gareji. This will help your son!” He dissolved a pinch of the earth in water and gave it to the young man to drink, and he was immediately healed.

St. Onuphrius took with him his youngest son, John, and returned to the monastery with a great quantity of provisions.

Once a certain Arab with a wounded eye came to the monastery seeking help. St. Onuphrius washed his eye in water from the holy spring of David-Gareji, and he was immediately healed.

Later St. Onuphrius desired to be tonsured into the great schema. The superior was hesitant, and told Onuphrius to remain for twenty or thirty days at the grave of St. David praying and supplicating God to reveal His will. The saint remained there in prayer, and after thirty days God revealed to the abbot that Fr. Onuphrius was truly worthy of this honor. Then Schemamonk Onuphrius gave a vow of silence and began to sleep on a tattered mat. Under his clothing he wore a heavy chain, and he left his cell only to attend the divine services.

Soon Blessed Onuphrius became so exhausted that he was no longer able to stand. The brothers begged him to lie on a bed and rest his head on a pillow, but the blessed Onuphrius opened his mouth for the first time since taking the vow of silence and said, “I vow to end my days on this mat.”

St. Onuphrius endured his infirmities with thanksgiving and repeated the Jesus Prayer incessantly. When people came to receive his blessing, he would welcome them, saying, “Let me kiss the edge of your garments and wash your feet with my tears!”

Sensing that the end of his days was approaching, St. Onuphrius partook of the Holy Gifts and, eighteen days later, on the Feast of Theophany, fell asleep in the Lord.

St. Onuphrius was buried on the south side of the grave of St. David of Gareji, near the altar window.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008)with 2007's link here also):

Monday, September 28, 2009

Prophet Baruch

Commemorated on September 28

The Holy Prophet Baruch was an inseparable companion, disciple, friend and scribe of the great Prophet Jeremiah (May 1). He wrote an entire scroll of his prophetic sayings and read them to the people in the Temple of Jerusalem. Together with his teacher, St Baruch grievously lamented the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and he taught and censured the Jews, and he suffered spite and vexation from them. He witnessed the stoning of the holy Prophet Jeremiah, and buried his body.

After the martyr's death of the Prophet Jeremiah, St Baruch lived a short while and died in Egypt, in the sixth century before Christ. The holy Prophet Baruch prophesied the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity, and the desolation of Babylon. He clearly prophesied the coming into the world of the Son of God, Who would "dwell with mankind." His prophecy begins with the words, "He is our God, and no other can compare with Him" (Bar 3:36).

The Book of the Prophet Baruch is regarded as uncanonical and is appended to the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. On the eve of the Nativity of Christ it is read as one of the Old Testament readings, listed as a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Troparion - Tone 8

You were worthy of the light of prophecy
Becoming a companion to Jeremiah.
You foretold the self-emptying of God the Word
Which he wrought for the salvation of the world.
Now all heirs of his kingdom honor you, O holy Prophet Baruch!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

My great adventure in search of the Truth.

November 2008
From Sister Matthaia Oswald

This story tells how a Roman Catholic nun discovered the fullness of the Truth in the Orthodox Church...

This is a rather long story so I will not post it in its entirety. I provide the link and ask the reader to read it, however, as I think conversion stories can be very edifying and can present to the view of those who are Orthodox, myself included, who perhaps are prone to forget what the Church looks like to those without who are seeking Her.

I will post the concluding paragraph attached to this story by the original hosting website:

Website Note
This astonishing article with its liveliness that characterizes the personal testimony touches on matters of vital importance to ecclesiastical life. At this point we thought best not to intervene but to just stress the much discussed topic of the inter-Christian dialogues which indeed receives an answer here. We ought to underline the purely traditional Orthodox position of the fathers to whom a thirsty soul turned to Christ. They responded to all her questions without struggling to convince her or to pressure her into anything. At the same time they confessed with conviction their faith that Orthodoxy is the One, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ. This became obvious to the heterodox (woman) and played a decisive role in her spiritual journey. The dialogues should not be characterized by love but by The love and this Love- which is Christ- is at the same time truth and freedom. The Ecumenists have dethroned love and have substituted for her empty expressions of love, politeness, public relations tricks etc. everything from the opposite shore. However what is the consequence? ZERO.... And below zero.... Let us not believe that those who are outside the Church are idiots. They are also children of God and perhaps they long for Him even more sincerely than us, so let us not send them empty away.

The story in its entirety may be read here.

Blooming in the Desert – Episode 3 – Pillars of Piety Series Part 2: Fasting

Go visit Blooming in the Desert to hear our latest podcast. Also see the previous posts and listen to our first two podcasts. Please comment and let us know what you think!

Gluttony makes a man gloomy and fearful, but fasting makes him joyful and courageous.
And, as gluttony calls forth greater and greater gluttony, so fasting stimulates greater and greater endurance.
When a man realizes the grace that comes through fasting, he desires to fast more and more.
And the graces that come through fasting are countless….

~Saint Nikolai of Zicha~

Much of the information on this program has been obtained online and has been provided Blooming in the Desert for the listener to read while listening to this week’s podcast. We will attempt to pinpoint quotes to their proper sources.

I. What is Fasting?

A) We begin with Christ: In Him all the powers of the human being were(and are) in perfect balance. He was and is truly the most human Person in the fullest sense of the word . There was not one aspect of His Person that was out of proportion to any other. He was and is completely “natural”, putting on no airs whatsoever. He simply was and is “I AM”.
We are to acquire by grace what He is by nature. All that the Church gives us in Her Life, which Life is the Life of Christ, is meant for our union to Him and in and through this union we are healed and by the healing “saved”. Now here we must mention that salvation as understood in the Orthodox Catholic Church has a meaning that does not, for the most part, have a counterpart in the Western understanding of the “concept” of salvation. Again, another quick aside to mention that even to speak of salvation as a “concept” is false in that salvation for each and every human being that exists, has existed and will exist is Christ Himself, not a concept or idea. And going further, He is the Center, the Source and the Reason for all the spiritual disciplines we are to undertake. Fasting, when divorced from the sake of more fully putting on Christ, becomes not what it is intended for. When fasting is undertaken for the sake of fasting itself, we begin to enter into dangerous territory.

B) St. Paul speaks of always being after himself and subduing his body to his spirit for the sake of this union with Christ in perfection. In his First Letter to the Corinthians, beginning in verse 24 he writes:

  • 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain [it].
  • 25 And everyone who competes [for the prize] is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a perishable crown, but we [for] an imperishable [crown].
  • 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as [one who] beats the air.
  • 27 But I discipline my body and bring [it] into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

C) Thus for St. Paul the bringing of his body into subjection was his struggle to not allow his body, with its weaknesses, to overrule his spirit and to take him away from Christ.

Go here to finish reading the rest of this outline and to find the link to the actual podcast. A lot of material on this one and we thought it turned out really well.

Previous post on Blooming in the Desert:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

1st Sunday of Luke

Tone of the week: Grave Tone

Fifth Eothinon

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Grave Tone

By means of Your Cross, O Lord, You abolished death. * To the robber You opened Paradise. * The lamentation of the myrrhbearing women You transformed, * and You gave Your Apostles the order to proclaim to all * that You had risen, O Christ our God, * and granted the world Your great mercy.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the Grave Tone

No longer will death's dominion have power to detain mortal men. For Christ went down and smashed and destroyed its powers. Now Hades is bound, and the Prophets in unison exult and declare: The Savior has appeared to those with faith. Come out, you faithful, to the Resurrection.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone

O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

UPDATE 1-VeriChip shares jump after H1N1 patent license win

I saw this article in September of 2007 on my AOL news feed about the Verichip. This is an implantable computer chip being experimented with that would be used for tracking someone.

Now it seems with the Swine Flu Epidemic as a precursor for necessary public protection, the company that designed the chip received two patents further bolstering its work. The chip now, with new technologies, would double as a virus detector as well.

The company's stock jumped about 200 % with the receiving of these patents.

Here is the story with its source here.

Thanks to Constantine for sending me this.


UPDATE 1-VeriChip shares jump after H1N1 patent license win

Sept 21 (Reuters) - Shares of VeriChip Corp (CHIP.O)
tripled after the company said it had been granted an exclusive
license to two patents, which will help it to develop
implantable virus detection systems in humans.
 The patents, held by VeriChip partner Receptors LLC, relate
to biosensors that can detect the H1N1 and other viruses, and
biological threats such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus, VeriChip said in a statement.
 The technology will combine with VeriChip's implantable
radio frequency identification devices to develop virus triage
detection systems.
 The triage system will provide multiple levels of
identification -- the first will identify the agent as virus or
non-virus, the second level will classify the virus and alert
the user to the presence of pandemic threat viruses and the
third level will identify the precise pathogen, VeriChip said
in a white paper published May 7, 2009.
 Shares of VeriChip were up 186 percent at $3.28 Monday late
afternoon trade on Nasdaq. They had touched a year high of
$3.43 earlier in the session.
(Reporting by Mansi Dutta in Bangalore; Editing by Mike Miller
and Anil D'Silva)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Venerable Ephraim the Abbot of Perekop the Wonderworker of Novgorod

Commemorated on September 26

Saint Ephraim of Perekop, Novgorod, was born on September 20, 1412 in the city of Kashin. In Holy Baptism he was named Eustathius. His parents, Stephen and Anna, lived not far from the Kashin women's monastery named in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Drawn to the solitary life, Eustathius left his parental home while still in his early years and settled in the Kalyazin monastery of the Most Holy Trinity. His parents wanted their son to return home, but he persuaded them to leave the world and accept monasticism. Later, they also finished their earthly paths living as hermits.

After three years in the monastery, Eustathius, through a miraculous revelation, transferred to the monastery of St Sava of Vishersk (October 1). It was there in 1437 that he accepted tonsure with the name Ephraim. While in the monastery, St Ephraim received a revelation from the Lord, commanding him to withdraw to a desolate place.

Having received the blessing of St Sava, in 1450 he went to Lake Ilmen, at the mouth of the River Verenda, and on the banks of the River Cherna he built a cell. After a certain while the Elder Thomas and two monks came to St Ephraim, and they settled not far from his cell. From that time, other hermits also began to gather to the new monastery. At their request St Ephraim was ordained a priest at Novgorod by St Euthymius (March 11).

Returning from Novgorod, St Ephraim built a church in honor of the Theophany of the Lord on an island, at the mouth of the River Verenda. To secure a ready supply of water for the monastery, the monk dug a canal to Lake Ilmen, from which the monastery received its name "Perekop" (from "perekopat'" meaning "to dig through"). Later on, St Ephraim built a stone church named for St Nicholas the Wonderworker. Unable to find sufficient skilled builders, he sent several monks to Great Prince Basil with a request for sending stone-workers. The construction of the temple was completed in 1466.

St Ephraim reposed on September 26, 1492 and was buried at the church of St Nicholas. In 1509, because of frequent floodings that threatened the monastery with ruin, it was transferred to another location at the shore of Lake Ilmen. St Ephraim appeared to the igumen Romanus and pointed to the site of Klinkovo for relocating the monastery.

Over the saint's tomb a chapel was built, since all the monastery churches were in ruins. On May 16, 1545 the relics of St Ephraim were transferred to the site of the new monastery. On this day there is an annual celebration of St Ephraim of Perekop at the monastery, confirmed after the glorification of the holy ascetic at the Council of 1549. (The Transfer of the Relics of St Ephraim of Perekop is celebrated May 16).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Friday, September 25, 2009

Venerable Euphrosyne of Suzdal

Commemorated on September 25

Saint Euphrosyne, Princess of Suzdal, was born in the year 1212. In holy Baptism she was given the name Theodoulia and she was the eldest daughter of the holy Martyr Michael, Great-prince of Chernigov (September 20). Prince Michael and his wife Theophania did not have children and they often visited the Kiev Caves monastery, where they prayed the Lord to grant them children. Princess Euphrosyne was their first daughter, sent from God in answer to their prayer. Three times the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to them and said that their prayer had been heard and that the Lord would grant them a daughter.

Theodulia was raised in deep faith and piety. The educated noble Theodore (September 20) had a large influence on her upbringing. The education and uncommon beauty of the princess attracted many.

The princess was betrothed to holy Prince Theodore (June 5), a brother of St Alexander Nevsky, but he died on the very day of his wedding. The princess withdrew to the Suzdal women's monastery named in honor of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God, where she was tonsured with the name Euphrosyne, in honor of St Euphrosyne of Alexandria.

While still a young nun she fulfilled the monastic rule of life with an amazing zeal, and she remarkably surpassed the other residents of the monastery in her firmness of reason, spiritual insight and extreme abstinence. The Lord Himself visited the ascetic, commanding her to be vigilant and positive in her efforts. St Euphrosyne, to the very end of her life, kept the commandments of the Savior, and overcame countless temptations.

The extraordinary ascetic life of St Euphrosyne became known at Suzdal and beyond its borders. A multitude of people visited the monastery, in order to listen to the instructions of the nun Euphrosyne concerning love, prayer, obedience and humility.

Often after such talks, many accepted the monastic schema and began a more zealous service to God. The abbess of the monastery herself had recourse to the counsels of the nun. At the request of the ascetic, the sisters of the monastery were divided into two halves: virgins and widows. This facilitated the spiritual growth and strengthening of the sisters of the monastery in purity. After the death of the abbess, St Euphrosyne became Superior of the monastery.

The Lord foretold to the holy abbess her father's martyrdom, and also the Mongol-Tatar invasion of Rus. In the year 1238, vast Tatar-Mongol hordes did actually descend upon the Russian realm. Destroying everything in their path, they came to Suzdal. The city was completely devastated and burned by them, and only the monastery of St Euphrosyne was spared through her prayers.

St Euphrosyne fell asleep in the Lord on September 25, 1250. At her grave believers were healed of various maladies. On September 18, 1698, with the blessing of Patriarch Adrian, Metropolitan Hilarion of Suzdal glorified the nun Euphrosyne as a saint.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Martyr Peter the Aleut

Commemorated on September 24

Saint Peter the Aleut is mentioned in the Life of St Herman of Alaska (December 13). Simeon Yanovsky (who ended his life as the schemamonk Sergius in the St Tikhon of Kaluga Monastery), has left the following account:

"On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits (actually Franciscans) were forcing all of them to accept the Catholic Faith. But the Aleuts would not agree under any circumstances, saying, 'We are Christians.' The Jesuits argued, 'That's not true, you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you to death.' Then the Aleuts were placed in prisons two to a cell. That evening, the Jesuits came to the prison with lanterns and lighted candles. Again they tried to persuade two Aleuts in the cell to accept the Catholic Faith. 'We are Christians,' the Aleuts replied, 'and we will not change our Faith.' Then the Jesuits began to torture them, at first the one while his companion was a witness. They cut off one of the joints of his feet, and then the other joint. Then they cut the first joint on the fingers of his hands, and then the other joint. Then they cut off his feet, and his hands. The blood flowed, but the martyr endured all and firmly repeated one thing: "I am a Christian.' He died in such suffering, due to a loss of blood. The Jesuit also promised to torture his comrade to death the next day.

But that night an order was received from Monterey stating that the imprisoned Aleuts were to be released immediately, and sent there under escort. Therefore, in the morning all were sent to Monterey with the exception of the dead Aleut. This was related to me by a witness, the same Aleut who had escaped torture, and who was the friend of the martyred Aleut. I reported this incident to the authorities in St Petersburg. When I finished my story, Father Herman asked, 'What was the name of the martyred Aleut?' I answered, 'Peter. I do not remember his family name.' The Elder stood reverently before an icon, made the Sign of the Cross and said, "Holy New Martyr Peter, pray to God for usl"

We know very little about St Peter, except that he was from Kodiak, and was arrested and put to death by the Spaniards in California because he refused to convert to Catholicism. The circumstances of his martyrdom recall the torture of St James the Persian (November 27).

Both in his sufferings and in his steadfast confession of the Faith, St Peter is the equal of the martyrs of old, and also of the New Martyrs who have shone forth in more recent times. Now he rejoices with them in the heavenly Kingdom, glorifying God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, throughout all ages.

Troparion - Tone 4

Today Alaska rejoices and America celebrates
for the New World has been sanctified by martyrdom.
Kodiak echoes with songs of thanksgiving,
Iliámna and Kenái observe the Festival of Faith.
The apostle and martyr Juvenaly is glorified
and Peter the Aleut is exalted by his voluntary sacrifice.
In their devotion and love for the Lord
they willingly endured persecution and death for the Truth.
Now in the Kingdom of Heaven they intercede for our souls.

Kontakion - Tone 4

Today Valaam joins Alaska in celebrating this joyous feast,
as her spiritual son Juvenaly embraces the New Martyr Peter with love.
Together they suffered for the Lord in America
and united the Old World with the New by their voluntary sacrifice.
Now forever they stand before the King of Glory and intercede for our souls.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

The reason for convening the Sixth Ecumenical Synod

From here.


Translated by:

A few days ago, on the 14th of September - the feast day of the Elevation of the Precious Cross - our Church also celebrated the memory of the Holy Fathers of the Holy and Great Sixth Ecumenical Synod.

The Holy Sixth Ecumenical Synod, which was convened in the year 680 A.D. (November) in the Palace of Trullo in Constantinople, was the result of the fifty-year-long theological and ecclesiastic disputes (7th century) on the subject of whether the God-Man Christ - a perfect God and perfect Man, in His one Hypostasis (one person) - has two energies and two wills, or only one.

The Synod of the Holy Fathers condemned the Christology of the Monotheletes - that is, those who maintained that Christ has only one will and one energy - because that Christology was nothing more than a re-emergence "in disguise" of the already rejected and condemned heresy of Monophysitism (during the Holy Fourth Ecumenical Synod, in 451 A.D.).

The Sixth Synod essentially vindicated the theology and the struggles of Saint Sophrony, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Saint Maximus the Confessor against the heresy of Monotheletism, and it dogmatized that since Christ's two natures are perfect - both the divine and the human - He respectively has, by nature, two wills and two energies (divine and human), as also apparent in the Gospel's narrations themselves.

Saint Maximus the Confessor (580-662), initially Hegumen (Abbot) of the Monastery of Chrysoupolis near Constantinople, struggled for many years, without any "top-level" ecclesiastic support, whereas the Patriarchates of the East and Rome had already accepted the heresy, under the influence of the Monothelete Emperor Constans II (641-668 A.D.).

Saint Maximus had spanned earth and sea, from Constantinople to Rome, and had provided his assistance in the Lateran Synod (649 A.D.) against Monotheletism, under the Orthodox Pope Martin (649-655). He was eventually arrested and died in exile, in Laziki of Pontus.

When being interrogated - with the heretic Patriarch of Constantinople Peter telling him to join the Catholic (worldwide) Church which had accepted the heresy - Saint Maximus had replied:

«The God of all
(Christ), when calling Peter "blessed" for what he had said - when he had appropriately confessed Him - was telling him that the correct and salvatory confession of faith in Him is the Catholic Church» - and not the unity within a heresy, within a false faith.
The opponents of Orthodoxy, heretical Patriarchs of Constantinople, Sergios (610-638). Pyrrhos (638-641, 654), Paul II (641-653) and Peter (654-666), the heretical Patriarchs of Antioch, Makarios (650-585) and of Alexandria, Cyrus (630-642), the heretical Pope of Rome, Honorius (625-638) and Stephen, Polychronios and Constantine were all anathematized by the Holy Sixth Synod.

Patriarch Sergios, condemned as a heretic, was the one who at an earlier date had actually saved the City from the Avars and the Persians by carrying the icon of the Holy Mother Theotokos around its walls, when the Emperor Heracletus was away on a campaign in Persia (626). It was during this incident that the Akathist Hymn of thanks (the Salutations) to the Theotokos had been composed.

According to the testimony of historians, Saint Maximus - a single person, against the entire "official Church" - was the greatest of theologians, who had sealed with his fighting spirit and his rich literary offer the theological debunking of the Monothelete heresy; furthermore, that "it is difficult for another such theologian to be found, who has influenced the course of Hellenic Orthodox theology more than he did."

"Monotheletism" and "Monoenergetism" are the ingredients in the christology of today's "moderate" (Sebirian) Monophysites - that is, the monophysite Copts (of Egypt), the Armenians, the Ethiopians, the Syrian Jacobites and the Indians of Malabar. Unfortunately, the contemporary theological dialogue from 1990 onwards has been opining - contrary to the Ecumenical Synods - that the aforementioned Monophysites are Orthodox and that....the Holy Fathers had misjudged them!

The proclamation of the dogma regarding the two wills and two energies of Christ by the Sixth Ecumenical Synod also checks the heretic Latins (the papist- Roman Catholic "church"), who, several centuries later (14th century), and through the mouths of their scholastic, medieval theologians and their anti-Palamas and anti-hesychast philosophers in the East, refused to acknowledge the existence of natural energies in God - contrary to the Holy Fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod and the entirety of ecclesiastic teaching.

The condemnation of Pope Honorius by an Ecumenical Synod is also living proof that the theological myth regarding the "infallibility" of the Pope is an ecclesiological falsity and entirely unacceptable.

The legislative opus (the issuing of sacred Canons) of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod, as well as that of the Fifth (553 A.D.), was completed by the Quinisext Ecumenical Synod (Constantinople, 691 A.D.).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Virginmartyr Irais (Rhais) of Alexandria

Commemorated on September 23

The Holy Martyr Iraida lived at Alexandria. Once, she went to a well to draw water and saw a ship at the shore. On board were a large number of men, women, clergy and monks, all fettered in chains for their confession of the Christian Faith.

Casting aside her water pitcher, the saint voluntarily joined the prisoners for Christ, and fetters were placed on her, too. When the ship arrived in the Egyptian city of Antipolis, St Iraida was the first to undergo fierce torments and was beheaded with the sword. After her, the other martyrs sealed their confession of faith in Christ with their blood.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

St Jonah the Presbyter, father of St Theophanes the Hymnographer and Theodore Graptus

Commemorated on September 22

Saint Jonah the Presbyter, Father of Sts Theophanes the Hymnographer (October 11) and Theodore the Branded (December 27), lived in Palestine in the late eighth to early ninth centuries.

St Jonah lived a virtuous and holy life. He had two sons who were glorified afterwards for their confession of Orthodoxy during the time of the Iconoclast heresy. After the death of his wife, St Jonah withdrew to the Lavra of St Sava the Sanctified (December 5), where both his sons earlier had been tonsured as monks. St Jonah dwelt at the Lavra until his death in the ninth century. The Lord bestowed upon His saint the gift of healing.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Monday, September 21, 2009

Apostle Quadratus of the Seventy

Commemorated on September 21

Saint Quadratus, Apostle of the Seventy preached the Word of God at Athens and at Magnesia (eastern peninsula of Thessaly), and was Bishop of Athens. His biographer called him "a morning star" among the clouds of paganism. He converted many pagans to the true faith in Christ the Savior, and his preaching aroused the hatred of the pagans. Once, an angry mob fell upon the saint to pelt him with stones. Preserved by God, St Quadratus remained alive, and they threw him into prison, where he died of starvation. His holy body was buried in Magnesia.

In the year 126, St Quadratus wrote an Apologia in defence of Christianity. Presented to the emperor Hadrian (117-138), the Apologia affected the persecution of Christians, since the emperor issued a decree saying that no one should be convicted without just cause. This Apologia was known to the historian Eusebius in the fourth century. At the present time, only part of this Apologia survives, quoted by Eusebius: "The deeds of our Savior were always witnessed, because they were true. His healings and raising people from the dead were visible not only when they were healed and raised, but always. They lived not only during the existence of the Savior upon the earth, but they also remained alive long after His departure. Some, indeed, have survived to our own time."

St Quadratus is also commemorated on January 4.

Troparion - Tone 3

O Holy Apostle Quadratus
Pray to our merciful God
That He may grant to our souls
Remission of our transgressions.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

The Elder Paisios on common prayers

From here.

Today unfortunately, the European courtesy has come in and they try to show themselves as being nice. They wish to show superiority and finally they end up worshipping the two horned devil. "One religion, they tell you, should exist" and they level out everything. Some also come to me and tell me "All of us who believe in Christ should create one religion". "Now it is as if you are telling me, I told them, about gold and copper, so many carats gold and that much copper, that was separated, to gather them and make them one again. Is it correct to mix them again? Ask a jeweler. Is it proper to mix trash with gold? So much struggle was waged to distil the dogma". The Holy Fathers must have known something for prohibiting the relationships with the heretics. Today they say: "we should pray together not only with a heretics but also with the Buddhist and with the fire worshipper and the demon worshipper. The Orthodox must also be present in common prayers and in their conferences. It is a presence". What presence? They resolve everything with logic and justify the unjustifiable. The European mind believes that also the spiritual matters can also come into the Common Market. Some of the Orthodox who are shallow and wish to make a promotion, "a mission", they arrange conferences with the heterodox to cause a sensation, believing this way that they promote Orthodoxy, by becoming so to speak "Hungarian goulash" with the false believers. Then the super-zealots take hold of the other end; they also blaspheme against the Mysteries of the New-calendarists etc and deeply scandalize the souls who have piety and Orthodox sensitivity. On the other hand, the heterodox come to conferences, act like teachers, take whatever good spiritual thing they find from the Orthodox, they process it, they give it their own colour and mark and they present it as a prototype. And the strange contemporary world becomes touched by such strange things and is spiritually destroyed. The Lord though at the appropriate time will present the Marks, the Eugenikos and the Gregorys Palamas who will assemble all our deeply scandalized brothers, to confess the Orthodox faith and strengthen the traditions of the Church and give great joy to our Mother, the Church".

From the Book: "With anguish and love for the contemporary man".

Publication: Holy Hysichastirion of "Evangelist John the Theologian by Souroti, Thessaloniki.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday after Holy Cross

Tone of the week: Plagal of the Second Tone

Fourth Eothinon

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Second Tone

When the angelic powers appeared at Your grave, the soldiers guarding it feared and became as dead. And standing by the sepulcher was Mary who was seeking Your immaculate body. You devastated Hades, not afflicted by it. You went to meet the virgin, and granted eternal life. You resurrected from the dead. O Lord, glory to You.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone

When the Life-bestower Christ God had resurrected * with His vivifying hand, from the dismal caverns, * all the dead from eternity, He freely bestowed * resurrection on the substance of our mortal humanity. * For He is the Savior of all, resurrection and life, and the God of all things.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Lifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday after Holy Cross

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Lifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Friday, September 18, 2009

St Eumenius the Bishop of Gortyna

Commemorated on September 18

Saint Eumenius from the time of his youth was noted for his virtuous life. He strove to serve the One God and therefore he shunned worldly temptations. Concerned for the salvation of his soul, he distributed all his substance to the poor.

By the blessing of God St Eumenius was chosen as Bishop of Gortyna on the island of Crete. The saint, like a compassionate father, comforted his flock in their sorrows, and cared for the orphaned and indigent. He prayers were so strong before God that once, during a drought, he called forth abundant rain upon the earth.

St Eumenius wisely and zealously defended the Orthodox Faith against the Monophysite heresy. For his opposition to the heresy the saint was banished to the Thebaid, where he died in the seventh century. His body was then transferred and buried in Gortyna.

Troparion - Tone 4

We have you as a friend and helper,
gracious advocate Eumenes:
for compassion flowed from you
and you pour forth healing on the Church.
Protect those who honor you.

Kontakion - Tone 2

Radiant with divine light, O blessed one,
illumine us who lovingly praise your precious and glorious passing;
hierarch father Eumenes,
unceasingly intercede for us all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Elder Paisios the Agiorite on Ecumenism

From here.


He particularly respected the Ecumenical throne. He recognized its pan-orthodox mission and understood the difficult position it was in. He prayed a lot and publically defended it during many instances. As a mouthpiece we witnessed the Elder to be a strong fighter against the heretics. On matters of faith he was precise and uncompromising. He had a great Orthodox sensitivity and for this he would not accept common prayers and communion with non Orthodox persons. He would stress: "For us to pray together with somebody, we must agree on the faith". He would break his relationship or avoid meeting clerics who participated in common prayers with the heterodox. The "mysteries" of the heterodox he would not recognize and he would advise that those who were coming over to the Orthodox Church be properly catechized before baptism. He fought intensely against ecumenism and would talk about the greatness and uniqueness of Orthodoxy, information which derived from his heart that was full of divine grace. His life indicated the superiority of Orthodoxy. For a period he stopped, together with almost the rest of the Holy Mountain, to commemorate the patriarch Athenagoras for his dangerous openings to the Roman Catholics. But he would do so with anguish. "I pray" he would say to someone, "so that God cut some days off my life and give them to the patriarch Athenagoras to complete his repentance". About the Anti-chalcedonians (monophysites) he would say: "They do not say that they did not understand the Holy Fathers but that the Holy Fathers did not understand them. Namely, as if they are right and were misunderstood". He characterized as blasphemy against the Holy Fathers the proposed cleansing of the Liturical books from the characterizations of the heretics Dioscorus and Sevirus. He said "So many Holy Fathers who had divine illumination and were their contemporaries, did not understand them but misunderstood them, and here we come so many centuries later to correct the Holy Fathers? Why don't they even consider the miracle of Saint Euphimia? Is it possible that even she had misunderstood the book of the heretics?" Without seeking to appear as confessor, with his ways, he would react, talk and write to ecclesiastic people. "The church" he would say "is not a boat of every bishop to do what he pleases". His reactions were followed by a lot of prayer and love for the Church but also for those who deviated and by assumed apathy, distinction and greater elightenment

(+ Hieromonk Isaac, Life of Elder Paisios the Agiorite, Holy Mountain 2004, p. 690-691).

Truth and Punk Rock

I couldn't resist. I ran across this old DRI(Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) footage from 1984 and it just blew me away. That era in music was very political but very real. The bands like this one stood behind their music and lyrics with their whole being. These guys just rip. This is before they went crossover or "metal"(and lost my interest). For all my old punk friends.

Most of my newer friends and many from that era that were into what was readily available musically simply won't get this band or the scores of others who are obscure and unknown by most. In many ways(I used to say and still do)this(I'm not necessarily only speaking about DRI here) era in music was the purest form of rock n' roll ever.

Feel it with this video if you're able.

7 songs in 4 1/2 minutes :

-I don't need society
-Commuter Man
-Balance of Terror
-My fate to hate

I think I need to write quite a bit more on my old punk rock days in the future. The music and the bands were the center of my life and Punk represented Truth for me or the search for Truth.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Afterfeast of the Elevation of the Cross

Commemorated on September 17

From September 15 until the Leavetaking, we sing "O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ. O son of God crucified in the flesh, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia" at weekday Liturgies following the Little Entrance.

Troparion - Tone 1

O Lord, save Your people,
And bless You inheritance.
Grant victories to the Orthodox Christians
Over their adversaries.
And by virtue of Your Cross,
Preserve Your habitation.

Kontakion - Tone 4

As You were voluntarily raised upon the cross for our sake,
Grant mercy to those who are called by Your Name, O Christ God;
Make all Orthodox Christians glad by Your power,
Granting them victories over their adversaries,
By bestowing on them the Invincible trophy, Your weapon of Peace.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Repose of St Cyprian the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia

Commemorated on September 16

Saint Cyprian, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, was a Serb by origin, and struggled on Mt. Athos. By his pious life and education he came to the attention of Patriarch Philotheus of Constantinople (1354-1355, 1364-1376), who in 1375 consecrated Cyprian as Metropolitan of Kiev and Lithuania.

At the Constantinople Council it was decided to avoid a fragmentation of the Russian metropolia, and that "upon the death of St Alexis (February 12), he should become the Metropolitan of All Rus." At Moscow, St Cyprian endured many sorrows from the Great Prince, so at first he lived either in Lithuania or at Constantinople. Only in the year 1390, in the time of Great Prince Basil Dimitrievich, was he accepted as primate at Moscow.

St Cyprian concerned himself with the correction of the service books. There are preserved autographic manuscripts of certain Slavonic translations by the saint, witnessing to his great scientific work. And by his pastoral epistles he encouraged the faith of the Church. His activity in the translation of liturgical literature is widely known.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Uncovering of the relics St Acacius the Bishop of Melitene

Commemorated on September 15

Saint Acacius the Confessor lived during the Decian persecution, and was Bishop of Melitene, Armenia.

Arrested as a Christian, St Acacius was brought before the governor Marcianus, who ordered that he be tortured. He was not put to death, but was set free after a while, bearing the wounds of Christ on his body. He died in peace.

St Acacius the Confessor is also commemorated on March 31. He should not be confused with another St Acacius of Melitene (April 17) who lived in the fifth century.


SAINT OR FEAST POTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Monday, September 14, 2009

Icon of the Mother of God of Lesna

Commemorated on September 14

The Lesna Icon of the Mother of God was discovered on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord in 1683 by a shepherd on the branches of a pear tree, and taken to a nearby Orthodox church of the village of Bukovich, not far from the town of Lesna.

When news of the miraculously appearing icon circulated throughout all the surrounding area, the Catholic priests then decided to use the icon for spreading Catholicism. They took away the icon by force from the inhabitants of Bukovich in 1686 and put it in the Roman church at Lesna.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, monks of a Catholic order founded a large Roman church and monastery at Lesna, in which was the wonderworking icon. In 1863 the monks of the order took part in the Polish revolt, and, by decree of the Russian government, the monastery was closed and converted into an Orthodox women's monastery. Many miracles were worked by the icon. The celebration of the Lesna Icon of the Mother of God is celebrated also on September 8 and on the Day of the Holy Trinity.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion

Commemorated on September 13

The Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion: Soon after the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross and His Ascension into Heaven, a centurion by the name of Cornelius settled at Caesarea in Palestine. He had lived previously in Thracian Italy. Although he was a pagan, he distinguished himself by deep piety and good deeds, as the holy Evangelist Luke says (Acts 10:1). The Lord did not disdain his virtuous life, and so led him to the knowledge of truth and to faith in Christ.

Once, Cornelius was praying in his home. An angel of God appeared to him and said that his prayer had been heard and accepted by God. The angel commanded him to send people to Joppa to find Simon, also called Peter. Cornelius immediately fulfilled the command.

While those people were on their way to Joppa, the Apostle Peter was at prayer, and he had a vision: three times a great sheet was lowered down to him, filled with all kinds of beasts and fowl. He heard a voice from Heaven commanding him to eat everything. When the apostle refused to eat food which Jewish Law regarded as unclean, the voice said: "What God hath cleansed, you must not call common" (Acts 10:15).

Through this vision the Lord commanded the Apostle Peter to preach the Word of God to the pagans. When the Apostle Peter arrived at the house of Cornelius in the company of those sent to meet him, he was received with great joy and respect by the host together with his kinsmen and comrades.

Cornelius fell down at the feet of the apostle and requested to be taught the way of salvation. St Peter talked about the earthly life of Jesus Christ, and spoke of the miracles and signs worked by the Savior, and of His teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven. Then St Peter told him of the Lord's death on the Cross, His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, Cornelius believed in Christ and was baptized with all his family. He was the first pagan to receive Baptism.

He retired from the world and went preaching the Gospel together with the Apostle Peter, who made him a bishop. When the Apostle Peter, together with his helpers Sts Timothy and Cornelius, was in the city of Ephesus, he learned of a particularly vigorous idol-worship in the city of Skepsis. Lots were drawn to see who would go there, and St Cornelius was chosen.

In the city lived a prince by the name of Demetrius, learned in the ancient Greek philosophy, hating Christianity and venerating the pagan gods, in particular Apollo and Zeus. Learning about the arrival of St Cornelius in the city, he immediately summoned him and asked him the reason for his coming. St Cornelius answered that he came to free him from the darkness of ignorance and lead him to knowledge of the True Light.

The prince, not comprehending the meaning of what was said, became angry and demanded that he answer each of his questions. When St Cornelius explained that he served the Lord and that the reason for his coming was to announce the Truth, the prince became enraged and demanded that Cornelius offer sacrifice to the idols.

The saint asked to be shown the gods. When he entered the pagan temple, Cornelius turned towards the east and uttered a prayer to the Lord. There was an earthquake, and the temple of Zeus and the idols situated in it were destroyed. All the populace, seeing what had happened, were terrified.

The prince was even more vexed and began to take counsel together with those approaching him, about how to destroy Cornelius. They bound the saint and took him to prison for the night. At this point, one of his servants informed the prince that his wife and child had perished beneath the rubble of the destroyed temple.

After a certain while, one of the pagan priests, by the name of Barbates, reported that he heard the voice of the wife and son somewhere in the ruins and that they were praising the God of the Christians. The pagan priest asked that the imprisoned one be released, in gratitude for the miracle worked by St Cornelius, and the wife and son of the prince remained alive.

The joyful prince hastened to the prison in the company of those about him, declaring that he believed in Christ and asking him to bring his wife and son out of the ruins of the temple. St Cornelius went to the destroyed temple, and through prayer the suffering were freed.

After this the prince Demetrius, and all his relatives and comrades accepted holy Baptism. St Cornelius lived for a long time in this city, converted all the pagan inhabitants to Christ, and made Eunomios a presbyter in service to the Lord. St Cornelius died in old age and was buried not far from the pagan temple he destroyed.

Troparion - Tone 4

O Blessed Cornelius,
You were distinguished in works of righteousness.
You received the enlightenment of godliness,
And were a fellow-laborer with the Apostles,
For you shared in their work,
Preaching Christ’s incarnation to all.
With them pray that all who honor your memory may be saved!

Kontakion - Tone 4

O Divinely minded Cornelius,
The Church, receiving you as a blessed first-fruit of the Gentiles,
Is enlightened by your holy life,
For you are a perfect seer of the Mysteries!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Translation of the relics of Righteous Simeon of Verkhoturye

Commemorated on September 12

Saint Simeon of Verkhoturye was a nobleman, but he concealed his origin and led the life of a beggar. He walked through the villages and for free sewed half-coats and other clothes, primarily for the poor. While doing this he deliberately failed to sew something, either a glove, or a scarf, for which he endured abuse from his customers.

The ascetic wandered much, but most often he lived at a churchyard of the village of Merkushinsk not far from the city of Verkhoturye (on the outskirts of Perm). St Simeon loved nature in the Urals, and while joyfully contemplated its majestic beauty, he would raise up a thoughtful glance towards the Creator of the world. In his free time, the saint loved to go fishing in the tranquility of solitude. This reminded him of the disciples of Christ, whose work he continued, guiding the local people in the true Faith. His conversations were a seed of grace, from which gradually grew the abundant fruits of the Spirit in the Urals and in Siberia, where the saint is especially revered.

St Simeon of Verkhoturye died in 1642, when he was 35 years of age. He was buried in the Merkushinsk graveyard by the church of the Archangel Michael.

On September 12, 1704, with the blessing of Metropolitan Philotheus of Tobolsk, the holy relics of St Simeon were transferred from the church of the Archangel Michael to the Verkhoturye monastery in the name of St Nicholas.

St Simeon worked many miracles after his death. He frequently appeared to the sick in dreams and healed them, and he brought to their senses those fallen into the disease of drunkenness. A peculiarity of the saint's appearances was that with the healing of bodily infirmities, he also gave instruction and guidance for the soul.

The memory of St Simeon of Verkhoturye is celebrated also on December 18, on the day of his glorification (1694).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Blooming in the Desert – Episode 2 – Pillars of Piety Series Part 1: Prayer

Prayer is what each Orthodox Christian is called to take part in and to make a regulative part of one’s life. Truly, going further, as is discussed in this program, prayer itself is to be our life.

But where do we begin and what is prayer and what are the differences between personal, unceasing, intercessory and liturgical prayer and what binds them all together organically?

In this program we discuss prayer but also understand that a one hour podcast can hardly do this vast, rich and all encompassing subject a thorough justice. As well, we mention how prayer is tied into the other pillars that will be discussed in the following episodes and apart from them and isolated, is not prayer in the fullest sense.

We are blessed to have Father John Dresko, our parish priest with us in this program.

Go here to visit the website, Blooming in the Desert, and to also read the outline that this show used as an aid.

Go here to listen to the new podcast with the title of this post.

Previous post on Blooming in the Desert:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Translation of the relics of the Venerable Sergius the Wonderworker of Valaam

Commemorated on September 11

Saints Sergius and Herman settled on the island of Valaam in 1329. The brethren gathered by them spread the light of Orthodoxy in this frontier land. The Karelian people began to regard Christianity with renewed suspicion, with its authority in the fourteenth century being undermined by the Swedes, who sought to spread Catholicism by means of the sword.

Sts Sergius and Herman died about the year 1353. They are also commemorated on June 28 (Their holy repose).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):

Synergy in Christ According to Saint Maximus the Confessor (V)

Synergy in Christ According to Saint Maximus the Confessor

by Daniel Jones(Photios)

Page 17

What are the implications of viewing free-choice and predestination in a Christological context? I will conclude this essay with investigating one further implication of the Confessor’s doctrine: the apokatastasis. The Patriarch of Constantinople rooting the will in the hypostasis not only was a reductio ad absurdum to two different Triadological heresies,73 but it also

Page 18

implied an apokatastasis reminiscent of Origenism with respect to one’s hypostatic state. A denial of a natural will in Christ was a denial of His full humanity, and Christ’s humanity being consubstantial with all men was moved fully by the divine will:

Pyrrhus: Was not the flesh moved by the decision of the Word Who is united with it?

But doesn’t Maximus’s view of the logoi being naturally in all men at creation74 and being recapitulated in the One divine Logos also imply a determinism75 that is every bit as strong as Origen? Indeed it does. The difference between Origen and Maximus goes back to the robust distinction of nature and person/logos and tropos that the Confessor holds in his doctrine of free-choice. The apokatastasis for Maximus—which is what his doctrine of predestination is—is to all created nature and man having “ever-being.” This is God’s purpose or predestination for his creation to have eternal existence.76 The Incarnation, Life, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord are a process that reversed the effects of Adam’s sin that would’ve introduced corruption or a tendency to go back into non-being in God’s creation. It is a life of our Lord “that healed and restored with a certain compulsion, by the mighty power of God’s omnipotence and invincible grace” in the word of Fr. Georges Florovsky.77 However, one’s hypostatic state, either to “ever-ill being” or “ever-well being,” is up to the personal use of that natural faculty and is not determined by God, but is utterly free:
The Church knoweth three apokatastases. One is the [apokatastasis] of everything according to the principle (logos) of virtue; in this apokatastasis one is restored who fulfills the principle of virtue in himself. The second is that of the whole [human nature] in the Resurrection. This is the apokatastasis to incorruption and immortality. The third, in the oft-cited words of Gregory of Nyssa, is the apokatastasis of the powers of the soul which, having lapsed into sin, are again restored to that condition in which they were created. For it is necessary that just as the entire nature of the flesh hopeth in time to be taken up again into incorruption in the apokatastasis, so

Page 19

also the powers of the soul, having become distorted during the course of the ages had instilled in it a memory of evil, so that at the end of ages, not finding any rest, will come unto God Who hath no limit. And thus the distorted powers of the soul will be taken up into the primeval apokatastasis, into a merely discursive knowledge of, but not into the participation in, the good things [of God], where the Creator is known yet without being the cause of [their] sin.78

God’s glory is for all and will be communicated to all in “ever-being.” Those that have their hypostasis united with the logoi by constantly recapitulating these virtues in this life (by prayer, asceticism, and sacramentally in the Church), God’s glories are “ever-well being.” Likewise, those that choose not to practice these virtues, God’s glories are “ever-ill being.” Because the damned have not integrated or brought back into harmony their hypostasis with their natural virtue, it is God’s presence [as opposed to his absence] that is their misery.

I conclude this paper by noting that in all the debates that have plagued the West in the confrontations between predestination and free-will, the great gem of Saint Maximus the Confessor who wrote the most definitive explications on the will has been absent amongst all the great contenders. One must wonder with Jaroslav Pelikan if Western theologians have been able to successfully implement the results of this Eastern Christian controversy.79

73 Disputation 15, pp. 5-6: “For if one suggests that a “willer” is implied in the notion of the will, then by the exact inversion of this principle of reasoning, a will is implied in the notion of a “willer.” Thus, wilt thou say that because of the one will of the superessential Godhead there is only one hypostasis, as did Sabellius, or that because there are three hypostases there are three hypostases there are also three wills, and because of this, three natures as well, since the canons and definitions of the Fathers say that the distinction of wills implieth a distinction of natures? So said Arius!”
74 Maximus is not a semi-Pelagian, for the uncreated logoi being uncreated have no similarity whatsoever with created essences. This is a strong metaphysical distinction between nature and grace from this perspective. In regards to man’s abilities after the Fall, man’s ignorance of whether or not acts end in good or an evil act becomes much worse, and his ability to actualize the divine energy is only under girded by the Incarnation itself. Maximus calls the logoi and virtues natural only insofar as the type of participation that man has in them, and not the notion of grace AS nature as the Pelagians held.
75 I make this statement when we take the Resurrection of Christ as a reference point.
76 Thunberg, Micrcosm, p. 430
77 Florovsky, Creation and Redemption, p. 147
78 Ad Thalassium, PG 90:796BC. Cited in the Disputations with Pyrrhus trans. by Farrell, Introduction, p. xxxii
79 Jaroslav Pelikan, The Growth of Medieval Theology, p. 116. Pelikan quotes St. Anselm in Cur Deus Homo I:9: “Christ came to do not his own will but that of the Father, because the righteous will that he had did not come from [his] humanity but from [his] divinity.”

Page 20


Saint Athanasius. Third Discourse Against the Arians. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II. Vol. IV. ed. Archibald Robertson. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1975.

The Disputation With Pyrrhus Of Our Father Among the Saints Maximus the Confessor. Translated from the Greek by Joseph P. Farrell. St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press. South Canan, Pennsylvania. 1990.

Farrell, Joseph P. Free Choice in Saint Maximus the Confessor. St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press. South Canan, Pennsylvania. 1989.

Florovsky, Georges. Creation and Redemption. Vol. III. The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky. Blelmont, Massachusetts. 1976.

Florovsky, Georges. Aspects of Church History. Vol. IV. The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky. Belmont, Massachusetts. 1975.

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus. On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius. Translated by Frederick Williams and Lionel Wickham. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. Crestwood, New York. 2002.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Answer to Eunomius’s Second Book. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II. Vol. V. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1975.

Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings. The Classics of Western Spirituality. Translated by George C. Berthold. Paulist Press. Mahwah, New York. 1985.

Meyendorff, John. Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes. Fordham University Press. New York. 1979.

On The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ Selected Writings from Saint Maximus the Confessor. Translated by Paul M. Blowers and Robert Louis Wilken. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. Crestwood, New York. 2003.

Origen. On First Principles. Translated by G. W. Butterworth. Peter Smith Publishing Inc. Gloucester, Massachusetts. 1973.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol. 3. The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300). The University of Chicago Press. 1978.

Sherwood, Polycarp. Translator and Introduction to Saint Maximus the Confessor: The Ascetic Life; The Four Centuries on Charity. Ancient Christian Writers. Vol. 21. Newman Press. New York. 1955.

Thunberg, Lars. Microcosm and Mediator: The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor. Second Edition. Open Court Publishing Company. Chicago and LaSalle, Illinois. 1995.

Page 21

von Balthasar, Hans Urs. Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor. Ignatius Press. San Francisco, California. 2003.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Afterfeast of the Nativity of the Mother of God

Commemorated on September 10

Troparion - Tone 4

Your Nativity, O Virgin,
Has proclaimed joy to the whole universe!
The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God,
Has shone from You, O Theotokos!
By annulling the curse,
He bestowed a blessing.
By destroying death, He has granted us eternal Life.

Kontakion - Tone 4

By Your Nativity, O Most Pure Virgin,
Joachim and Anna are freed from barrenness;
Adam and Eve, from the corruption of death.
And we, your people, freed from the guilt of sin, celebrate and sing to you:
The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2007's link here also):