Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Apostle Timon the Deacon of the Seventy

Commemorated on December 30

The Holy Apostle Timon was one of the seven deacons appointed by the Apostles (Acts 6:5) to minister to destitute Christian widows. Later, he was chosen bishop of the city of Bosra in Syria, where he led many to Christianity. He was thrown into a red-hot furnace and received the crown of martyrdom. He is also commemorated on July 28).


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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Venerable Marcellus the Abbot of the Monastery of the "Unsleeping Ones"

Commemorated on December 29

Saint Marcellus, igumen of the Monastery called "the Unsleeping Ones," was a native of the city of Apamea in Syria. His parents were wealthy, but died when he was young. He received his education first at Antioch, and then at Ephesus. All his possessions left him by his parents he distributed to the poor, thereby sundering his ties to the world.

Under the guidance of an experienced elder at Ephesus, Marcellus entered upon the path of asceticism. He later went on to Byzantium to St Alexander, igumen of the monastery named "the Unsleeping." The monastery received its name because in it psalmody was done constantly, both day and night, by alternating groups of monks. St Alexander accepted Marcellus and tonsured him into the monastic schema. Zealous in the works of watchfulness, fasting and prayer, the saint received great spiritual talents and the gift of clairvoyance. Marcellus foresaw the day of Abba Alexander's death and his own election as igumen. However, since he was still young, he did not want to rule others. So he slipped out of the monastery to visit other provinces and other monasteries, where he received edification from the monks who lived there.

After the death of St Alexander, when Abba John had already been chosen as igumen, Marcellus returned to the great joy of the brethren. Abba John made Marcellus his own closest assistant. After John's death, St Marcellus was chosen igumen of the monastery in spite of his own wishes, and in this position he remained for sixty years.

News of his saintly life spread far. People came to Marcellus from afar, both the illustrious and the common, rich and the poor. Many times they saw angels encircling the saint, attending and guarding him. With the help of God, the monastery of "the Unsleeping Ones" flourished. So many monks came to place themselves under the direction of St Marcellus that it became necessary to enlarge the monastery and the church.

St Marcellus received donations from believers for expansion, and built a beautiful large church, a hospital, and a hostel for the homeless. By his prayers the monk treated the sick, cast out devils and worked miracles. For example, one of the monks was sent to Ankara and fell ill. Being near death, he called out mentally to his abba. At that very hour St Marcellus heard his disciple in the monastery, and he began to pray for him. He who was sick recovered at once.

When a ship with his monks came into danger on the Black Sea, the saint calmed the tempest by his prayers. Another time, when they told him that a fire was raging at Constantinople, he prayed tearfully for the city, and the fire subsided as if extinguished by the tears of the monk.

John, the servant of a certain Arian nobleman named Ardaburios, was unjustly accused of something, and he hid out at the monastery to escape his master's wrath. Ardaburios twice demanded that St Marcellus hand John over to him, but he refused. Ardaburios then sent out a detachment of soldiers, who surrounded the monastery, threatening to slay anyone who interfered with their mission. The brethren went to the abba, asking him to surrender John and save the monastery. St Marcellus signed himself with the Sign of the Cross, then boldly went out alone through the monastery gate towards the soldiers. Lightning flashed in the sky, thunder rumbled, and the Cross appeared shining brighter than the sun. The soldiers threw down their weapons and took to flight. Ardaburios, learning from the soldiers what had happened, was frightened, and because of St Marcellus he pardoned the servant.

St Marcellus peacefully departed to the Lord in the year 485. His faithful disciple Lukian grieved terribly over him, but on the fifth day after the death St Marcellus appeared to him and comforted him, foretelling his own impending end.


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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Virginmartyr Agape of the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia

Commemorated on December 28

The Holy 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia: At the beginning of the fourth century the emperor Maximian (284-305) gave orders to destroy Christian churches, to burn service books, and to deprive all Christians of rights and privileges of citizenship. At this time the bishop of the city of Nicomedia was St Cyril, who by his preaching and life contributed to the spread of Christianity, so that many members of the emperor's court were also secret Christians.

The pagan priestess Domna was living in the palace at that time. Providentially, she obtained a copy of the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St Paul. Her heart burned with the desire to learn more about the Christian teaching. With the help of a young Christian girl, Domna went secretly to Bishop Anthimus with her faithful servant, the eunuch Indes. St Anthimus catechized them, and both received holy Baptism.

Domna began to help the poor: she gave away her valuables with the assistance of Indes, and she also distributed food from the imperial kitchen. The chief eunuch, who was in charge of provisions for the imperial household, found out that Domna and Indes were not eating the food sent them from the emperor's table. He had them beaten in order to find out why they did not partake of the food, but they remained silent. Another eunuch informed him that the saints were distributing all the emperor's gifts to the poor. He locked them up in prison to exhaust them with hunger, but they received support from an angel and did not suffer. St Domna feigned insanity so she wouldn't have to live among the pagans. Then she and Indes managed to leave the court, and she went to a women's monastery. Abbess Agatha quickly dressed her in men's clothing, cut her hair and sent her off from the monastery.

During this time the emperor returned from battle and ordered that a search be made for the former pagan priestess Domna. The soldiers sent for this purpose found the monastery and destroyed it. The sisters were thrown into prison, subjected to torture and abuse, but not one of them suffered defilement. Sent to a house of iniquity, St Theophila was able to preserve her virginity with the help of an angel of the Lord. The angel led her from the brothel and brought her to the cathedral.

At this time the emperor cleared the city square to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. When they began sprinkling the crowd with the blood of the sacrificial animals, Christians started to leave the square. Seeing this, the emperor became enraged, but in the middle of his rantings a great thunderstorm sprang up. People fled in panic, and the emperor had to retreat to the palace for his own safety.

Later Maximian went to the church with soldiers and told them they could escape punishment if they renounced Christ. Otherwise, he promised to burn the church and those in it. The Christian presbyter Glycerius told him that Christians would never renounce their faith, even under the threat of torture. Hiding his anger, the emperor exited the church, and a short time later commanded the presbyter Glycerius be arrested for trial. The executioners tortured the martyr, who did not cease to pray and to call on the Name of the Lord. Unable to force St Glycerius stop confessing Christ, Maximian ordered him to be burned to death.

On the Feast of the Nativity of Christ in the year 302, when about 20,000 Christians had assembled at the cathedral in Nicomedia, the emperor sent a herald into the church. He told the Christians that soldiers were surrounding the building, and that anyone who wished to leave had to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Anyone who defied the emperor would perish when the soldiers set fire to the church. All those present refused to worship the idols.

As the pagans prepared to set fire to the church, Bishop Anthimus, baptized all the catechumens and communed everyone with the Holy Mysteries. All 20,000 of those praying died in the fire. Among them were the abbess Agatha and St Theophila who had been saved from the den of iniquity by a miracle. Bishop Anthimus, however, managed to escape the fire.

Maximian thought that he had exterminated all the Christians of Nicomedia. He soon learned that there were many more, and that they would confess their faith and were prepared to die for Christ. The emperor wondered how to deal with them. At his command they arrested the regimental commander Zeno, who was openly criticizing the emperor for his impiety and cruelty. Zeno was fiercely beaten and finally beheaded. They jailed the eunuch Indes, formerly a priest of the idols, for refusing to participate in a pagan festival.

The persecution against Christians continued. Dorotheus, Mardonius, Migdonius the deacon and others were thrown into prison. Bishop Anthimus encouraged them by sending letters to them. One of the messengers, the Deacon Theophilus, was captured. They subjected him to torture, trying to learn where the bishop was hiding. The holy martyr endured everything, while revealing nothing. Then they executed him and also those whom the bishop had addressed in his letter. Though they were executed in different ways, they all showed the same courage and received their crowns from God.

For weeks, St Domna concealed herself within a cave and sustained herself by eating plants. When she returned to the city, she wept for a long time at the ruins of the church, regretting that she was not found worthy to die with the others. That night she went the sea shore. At that moment fishermen pulled the bodies of the martyrs Indes, Gorgonius and Peter from the water in their nets.

St Domna was still dressed in men's clothing, and she helped the fishermen to draw in their nets. They left her the bodies of the martyrs. With reverence she looked after the holy relics and wept over them, especially over the body of her spiritual friend, the Martyr Indes.

After giving them an honorable burial, she did not depart from these graves so dear to her heart. Each day she burned incense before them, sprinkling them with fragrant oils. When the emperor was told of an unknown youth who offered incense at the graves of executed Christians, he gave orders to behead the youth. The Martyr Euthymius was also executed along with Domna.

Troparion - Tone 2

Blessed is the earth that received your blood, Agape, passion-bearer of the Lord,
and holy is the dwelling place which received your spirits.
You triumphed over the enemy in the stadium
and you preached Christ with boldness.
Since He is good, we pray that you beseech Him to save our souls.

Kontakion - Tone 1

Their souls strengthened by faith, the twenty thousand martyrs accepted their suffering by fire,
and cried out to You, the One born of the Virgin:
"Like gold, myrrh, and frankincense, the gifts of the Persian kings,
receive our whole burnt offering, O Eternal God."


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

"Behold, the time of our salvation is near!"

From here.

"Behold, the time of our salvation is near!

Dear brethren,

"Behold, the time of our salvation is near! Prepare yourself, o cave, for the Virgin is approaching to give birth."

With this hymn, the sacred hymn-writer is inducting us into the supreme feast-day of the Nativity of our Saviour Jesus Christ. On hearing these beautiful words, we instinctively bring to mind a similar hymnological phrase of the Great Lent:

"Behold, a welcome time; behold, a time for repentance".

The connection between the two is a profound one, given that there would be no sense in the material cave of Bethlehem preparing itself. The inference here is for us to prepare the cave of our hearts, and this can only be achieved through repentance.

It is not our desire that our wishes for these holy days be the conventional ones, as they are a given fact, and from within our soul. Our wish, and our exhortation to all, is that "we make a beginning", as we say in monastic terminology. In other words, may this Christmas be a new spiritual beginning, with even more zeal for struggles, so that the Nativity of our sweetest Jesus may continuously take place within the caves of our hearts.

With heartfelt wishes and love in the new-born Christ,
The Abbot
† Archmandrite Cyril

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Righteous James the Brother of the Lord, along with Joseph the Betrothed, and David the King

Commemorated on December 27

The Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord, was the eldest son of Joseph the Betrothed from his first marriage with Solomonia. The Apostle James is remembered after the Feast of the Nativity of Christ together with his father Joseph and the Prophet-King David, since he accompanied his family on the Flight into Egypt and lived there with the Infant Jesus, the Mother of God and Joseph. Later, he returned to Israel with them.

After the Ascension of the Lord, St James was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, gaining the great esteem not only of Christians, but also of Jews. He was thrown from the roof of the Jerusalem Temple because he had publicly preached to the people about the God-manhood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Apostle James is also commemorated on October 23.

Troparion - Tone 2

Proclaim the wonder, O Joseph,
to David, the ancestor of God:
you saw a Virgin great with Child,
you gave glory with the shepherds,
you worshipped with the Magi,
you received the news from the angel.
Pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Kontakion - Tone 3

Today godly David is filled with joy;
Joseph and James offer praise.
The glorious crown of their kinship with Christ fills them with great joy.
They sing praises to the One ineffably born on earth,
and they cry out: "O Compassionate One, save those who honor You!"


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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Venerable Constantine of Synnada

Commemorated on December 26

Saint Constantine of Synada, a native of the city of Synada and of Jewish descent. From his youth he was drawn to the Christian Faith. Careful study of the teachings of Christ set his heart aflame, and he left his parents to become a monk. He was baptized with the name Constantine and received monastic tonsure.

When they brought him the Holy Cross, he kissed it with love and touched it to his head. The image of the Holy Cross impressed itself upon him throughout all his life. Having spent his God-pleasing life in strict asceticism, St Constantine departed peacefully to the Lord.


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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Saints Melchior,Gaspar and Balthasar of the Magi

Commemorated on December 25

The names of the three Wise Men (Magi) do not appear in the Gospels. The tradition that there were three visitors from the east is very ancient, but their names are only mentioned in the Middle Ages. The tradition that one of them was a Negro dates from the fifteenth century.

Bones reputed to be the relics of the three kings have been in the cathedral at Cologne, Germany since 1164.


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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Venerable Nicholas the Monk of Bulgaria

Commemorated on December 24

Saint Nicholas the Former General was a military commander under the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I (802-811). He was ordered to lead his troops against the Bulgars. On the eve of battle he was approached by the innkeeper's daughter, but he resisted her shameless attempts to seduce him.

All his comrades perished in the battle, but Nicholas remained alive. It was revealed to him in a vision that his life was spared because he had overcome temptation. After this St Nicholas left the world, settled into a cave. He became a schemamonk, and prayed unceasingly for his fallen soldiers. By his great ascetic efforts he so pleased the Lord, that he was granted the gift of clairvoyance.


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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

St Nahum of Ochrid, the Disciple of St Cyril and Methodius, Equal of the Apostles

Commemorated on December 23

Saint Nahum was a disciple of Sts Cyril and Methodius (May 11), one of their coworkers known as the Five Followers.

St Nahum was a man of great learning, and he spoke several languages. After a visit to Rome, he settled on the shores of Lake Ochrid. There he built a monastery at the time when St Clement of Ochrid (July 27) was serving as a bishop.

Many monks gathered around St Nahum, who was known as a great wonderworker and a man of prayer. He also labored to translate the Holy Scriptures from Greek into Slavonic.

St Nahum fell asleep in the Lord in 910, and his holy relics continue to work miracles of healing for those who venerate them in faith.


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

Mischievous designs and problematic personalities

From here.

Mischievous designs and problematic personalities.

By: Mr. Athanasios Rakovalis

Around 1992 rumours circulated that a great war will start, in which Greece would be embroiled, because during that time two paschal feasts would coincide, as prophesied by Saint Cosmas the Etolian. Two important feasts, namely Easter and the Annunciation, did in fact coincide then, and this was considered by some as the interpretation of the Saint's prophecy. The rumours were also embellished with other details.... On the Holy Mountain (monks and laity) would pass on the rumours with some hesitation and reservation, while others found themselves in a state of alarm and would then spread the rumours as a certain fact, while others would refuse to listen to any of this and considered all these to be simply foolishness. The facts justified the latter.

Just before 2004 the rumour circulated that the Olympic Games in Athens would not take place because war would break out. Once again, these three categories of people reappeared. Some in fact began to hoard groceries.... Once again, rumours proved to be false. These are two of several other rumours of a smaller extent that reached my ears.

What is happening?... There are certain problematic and complex-ridden Christians (monks, priests and lay people) who have "a combination of piety and paranoia)", as Saint Paisios would quip; who would pretend to be charismatic while they are not; who move along the boundaries of mental illness and deception; who seek the admiration and respect of the crowds, which is why they spread those rumours, even if subconsciously they know that this game has an expiry date. Are they being mocked by vainglory? Can they not perceive the immense damage they are causing to the Church and to the weak in faith?

Alongside them is also a category of people who delight in listening and believing such rumours, without examining the validity of the source that spreads them, without screening the information, without putting simple logic to work. Obviously such rumours create a spiritual arousal that pleases them, renders their life more exciting and even fills certain psychological voids. Where else could such immature behaviour originate from? This was how I used to explain matters for several years.

Before Christmas of 2008 another rumour had circulated, of an exceptionally urgent nature. It said that war would break out in less than a month, during January 2009. They advised the people to hoard food and some money, in order to confront the difficult situation that would be created and would last between three to six months. They attributed the rumours to certain lay people but also to clergy. This time they even named the source. It was the Elder Ephraim from America. Because the Elder was well known and respected and had significant authority, the rumours spread greatly, throughout Greece. They even reached the point of circulating on the internet. Many people conformed to the instructions. Luckily there were also those who were not carried away by the prevailing atmosphere. The days passed and nothing happened. Two or three months later, the Elder Ephraim greatly surprised, issued a communiqué from the States and declared that he had never said such things. Had someone (we wonder who?) over-inflated and misinterpreted his words, or, even worse, begun this without cause? The name of Father Ephraim had been slurred on a broad scale.

What had happened? All those people who had attached importance to the name of Elder Ephraim now felt deceived and ridiculed. The merchants had profited from the naivete of the Christians, the authority of the Elder had received a severe blow, and the faith of the weak in the Church and the Saints was shaken. And the enemies of the Church had rejoiced, for - according to them - the naivete and the complex of Christians who believe in Saints and charismatic elders and their prophecies, had been triumphantly proven. The enemies of the Church and the devil were the ones who had clearly profited.

Father Ephraim had founded 17 monasteries in the United States, which are inhabited by people of every race in the world. He is the one who had brought the Orthodox, Hagiorite monastic spirit to the American continent. He enjoys immense respect among the Orthodox of America. The devil and certain people hate him and are opposed to his work. Couldn't all this be an orchestrated, underhanded war against him, but also against the charismatic Saints and in the final analysis against the Church of Christ?

During the exact same period, yet another scenario was being playing out, which concerned the Elder Paisios and was correlated to the scenario that they were trying to attribute to Fr. Ephraim.

It is a fact that the Elder Paisios had said that God will bring about the interests of the powers that be, in such a way that at the end the City (Constantinople) will be returned to us. They will fight among themselves and in the end they will agree to a compromise: "The City, neither we nor you will take it; we shall give it to the Greeks". These words I have also heard with my own ears and I know he had also said them to many others. In fact he had told a certain young man who visited him for the first time, "You will enter the City as a standard-bearer". It turned out that the young man was an officer of the Greek army. This story we have known about for many years and is absolutely true.

Fifteen years after the repose of the elder I heard this same story embellished with certain details which I had heard for the first time, and none of the Elder's closer students whom I had asked were aware of them either. This fact puzzled me greatly. "How is it that those close to Father Paisios did not know about them but others did?"

The details that remained closer to the true core of the story are the following: a) The name of the officer and b) that he was to retire in the spring of 2009. This immediately provided a dramatic specification, inasmuch as this prophecy had to be fulfilled during the Spring that had just passed. During the same period a ridiculous story had begun to circulate, about three letters which were supposedly written by Fr. Paisios and were entrusted to an unknown person with the instruction to deliver them so many years after his repose, to the President of Russia, the Greek Prime Minister and to the head of the Greek army. This too was extemely puzzling: for such an important topic, how was it that none of the acquaintances of the elder knew anything? Who are those unknowns who had circulated this ridiculous and provocative story about the letters? What role were they playing? What was their objective? This had been combined with the alleged Fr. Ephraim scenario and both were circulated widely on the internet, causing many pious but na¨ve people who had faith in the two elders to get sidetracked. Unfortunately, there were a number of Christians who had plenty of piety mixed with a small dose of faultiness, who reproduced these suspicious stories with an excess of levity, naivety and zeal.

Spring came and went, the officer retired from active duty, war did not break out, nor was the City handed over to us. Thus, with the help of those details that held true to the core of Saint Paisios' prophecies, they succeeded in presenting him as a liar and untrustworthy in the eyes of the people who do not know the situation up close. They seem to be purposely trying to damage the authority and the influence that the Elder Paisios has with Orthodox Christians.

From the method and manner of their propagation, and from the fact that they succeeded in spreading lies so widely, could we perhaps conclude that we are dealing here with something planned and well organized? If we consider how all these things are taking place at a time when the Church is systematically being attacked, and that there is a constantly evolving political de-Christianization of Greek society, one can surmise that all these are a part of a broader plan processed by mercenary psychologists, professional slanderers, mercenary manipulators of public opinion, agents who exploit the foolishness and the problematic personalities of certain Christians, to damage the authority of the Saints and of the Church.

Let us stand with fear and attention. Let us not allow ourselves naivety and foolishness. Let us become "prudent like serpents" and "pure like doves", because, as the blessed saint Elder Paisios used to say- "we are living in the time of the Antichrist, and we sleep with our shoes on".

Source: Parakatathiki (heritage), Issue: Aug-July 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Martyr Chrysogonus the Teacher of the Greatmartyr Anastasia

Commemorated on December 22

Saint Chrysogonus was the teacher of the Great Martyr St Anastasia. When Diocletian learned that the prisons of Rome were overcrowed with Christians who resisted torture, he ordered them all to be killed in a single night, and for Chrysogonus to be sent to him at Aquileia. St Anastasia followed her teacher at a distance.

The emperor interrogated Chrysogonus personally, but could not make him renounce his faith. Therefore, he had him beheaded and thrown into the sea. The body and severed head of the holy martyr were carried to shore by the waves. There by divine Providence, the relics were found by a presbyter named Zoilus who placed them in a coffer, and concealed them at his home.

St Chrysogonus appeared to Zoilus and informed him that Sts Agape, Chione and Irene (April 16), three sisters who lived nearby, would soon endure martyrdom. He told him to send St Anastasia to them to encourage them. St Chrysogonus foretold that Zoilus would also die on the same day. Nine days later, the words of St Chrysogonus were fulfilled. Zoilus fell asleep in the Lord, and St Anastasia visited the three maidens before their torture. When these three martyrs gave up their souls to the Lord, she buried their bodies.


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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Martyr Themistocles of Myra in Lycia

Commemorated on December 21

The Holy Martyr Themistocles lived in the city of Myra of Lycia during the reign of the persecutor of Christians, Decius (249-251). Themistocles was a shepherd. During the persecution he concealed within his home a certain Christian named Dioskorides, while he himself went out to the pursuers. They tortured him cruelly, and he received a martyr's crown for Christ in the year 251.

SOURCE(and Icon on left):


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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday before the Nativity

Commemorated on December 20

The Sunday before the Nativity of the Lord (December 18-24) is known as the Sunday of the Holy Fathers. On this day the Church commemorates all those who were well-pleasing to God from all ages, from Adam to St Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, those who are mentioned in the geneology of Luke 3:23-38. The holy prophets and prophetesses are also remembered today, especially the Prophet Daniel and the three holy youths (December 17).

The Troparion to the Prophet Daniel and the three holy youths ("Great are the accomplishments of faith…) is quite similar to the Troparion for St Theodore the Recruit (February 17, and the first Saturday of Great Lent). The Kontakion to St Theodore, who suffered martyrdom by fire, reminds us that he also had faith as his breastplate (see I Thessalonians 5:8).

Troparion - Tone 2

Great are the accomplishments of faith,
for the Three Holy Youths rejoiced in the flames as though at the waters of rest,
and the prophet Daniel appeared,
a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep.
So by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!

Kontakion - Tone 1

(For when the Sunday before the Nativity falls on December 20-24) Rejoice, Bethlehem! Prepare yourself, O Ephratha!
The Lamb is on her way to give birth to the Chief Shepherd she carries in her womb.
The God-bearing forefathers will rejoice, beholding Him,
and with the shepherds, they will glorify the Virgin nursing Him.

Kontakion - Tone 6

(For when the Sunday before the Nativity falls on December 18-19) You did not worship the graven image,
O thrice-blessed ones,
but armed with the immaterial Essence of God,
you were glorified in a trial by fire.
From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying:
Hasten, O compassionate One!
Speedily come to our aid,
for You are merciful and able to do as You will.

SOURCE(and icon on left):


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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Venerable George the Scribe, of Khakhuli and Venerable Sava of Khakhuli

Commemorated on December 19

Saints George and Sava of Khakhuli were brothers of Jacob, the father of St. George of the Holy Mountain. George and Sava labored as monks at Khakhuli Monastery in southern Georgia.

The holy fathers were filled with divine grace. The elder brother, George, was a spiritual adviser in the court of King Bagrat III Kuropalates and, along with the king, he became an active participant in the production of ecclesiastical literature. (This period is known as the Golden Age of Georgian Letters, when many translations and copies of ecclesiastical writings were made.) The younger brother, Sava, is remembered as a righteous and blameless man by the renowned Church figure George the Lesser. According to George the Lesser, the brothers were generously endowed with both spiritual blessings and material wealth.

When the holy fathers heard about the piety of their nephew, the young George (later of the Holy Mountain), they suggested that Jacob bring him to them in Khakhuli in Klarjeti. With exceeding gladness Jacob brought his son to the God-fearing brothers.

At that time a certain Peris Jojikisdze, a nobleman married to the daughter of King Bagrat III, governed the village of Tvartsatapi. Peris thought it wise to invite an intelligent and experienced monk to his palace to serve as an instructor and spiritual guide, and he selected St. George to fill this role. With great reluctance the venerable father consented, and he was entrusted with responsibility for all the spiritual and earthly affairs at the palace.

George of Khakhuli took the young George with him to the palace of Peris Jojikisdze. A year later, the Byzantine Emperor Basil II brought false accusations against Peris and ordered his execution. His wife and those in his court, among whom were St. George and the young George of the Holy Mountain, were captured and escorted to Constantinople.

After twelve years in Byzantium, the captives were finally permitted to return home. Upon his return to Georgia, George of Khakhuli sent his nephew to Khakhuli Monastery, entrusting him to the care of his brother Sava.

The holy fathers reposed peacefully in the mid-11th century.


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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Righteous Simeon the Wonderworker of Verkhoturye

Commemorated on December 18

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):

Unity and Uniqueness of the Church

From here.

Unity and Uniqueness of the Church.

By: Abba Justin Popovic

Just as the hypostasis of the Godman Christ is one and unique, so too is the Church, through Him, in Him and founded upon Him, one and unique. The unity of the Church is necessarily the outcome of the unity of the Person of the Godman Christ. The Church, being an overall and a uniquely God-human organism in all the worlds, cannot possibly be divided. Every division would have spelled her death. Being wholly founded on the Godman, the Church is primarily a God-human organism and then a God-human organization. Because of this, whatever she has in her is God-human and indivisible: the faith, love, truth, baptism, Eucharist and every divine mystery and every divine virtue and generally all her life and structure. Therefore, also indivisible in her are her teaching and her works and her sanctification and theosis. Everything is by grace organically united, in one God-human body, of which Christ is the only and unique Head. All the members of the Church, namely the faithful - albeit as persons are integral and unjoined - when joined together by that one same grace of the Holy Spirit, through the sacraments and virtues into one organic unity, they comprise one body and one spirit and confess one faith (Eph.4:4-5), which unites them with Christ and with each other.

Along with the other apostles, the Christ-bearing Apostle of the Nations most of all preaches through the Holy Spirit the unity and uniqueness of her founding person, the Godman Christ: "For no other foundation can anyone lay next to the one that is laid, who is Jesus Christ" (1Cor 3:11).

Following the holy Apostles, the Fathers and Teachers of the Church, confess, preach and defend with the same zeal the unity and uniqueness of the Church of the Orthodox. Their zeal for the preservation of the unity of the Church was expressed mainly in the cases of people or groups of people who severed themselves from the Church, namely, in cases of heresies and schisms. On the topic of unity, a special significance and importance was and is ascribed to the Ecumenical and Local Synods of the Church. According to the uniform stance of the Fathers and the Synods, the Church is only one, but also unique, because the one and unique Godman, Her Head, cannot have many bodies. The Church is one and unique because it is the body of the one and only Christ. The dividing of the Church is ontologically impossible, which is why there has never been a division per se of the Church, but only a departure from the Church. According to the word of the Lord, the vine cannot be divided; only the voluntarily unfruitful vine branches fall off from the ever-living vine and dry up (John 15:1-6). At various times, heretics and schismatics had severed themselves from the one indivisible Church of Christ, who consequently ceased to be members of the Church and embodied in Her Godman body. Such were firstly the Gnostics, then the Arians and the Pneumatomachs (Spirit-opponents), then the Monophysites and Uniates and all the other heretic and schismatic legion.

"Saint Philotheos of Paros
The Ascetic and missionary apostle (1884-1980)"
Vol. 3 Sept-Dec 2001, Thessaloniki
Publication: Orthodox Kypseli.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Martyr Marinus of Rome

Commemorated on December 16

The Martyr Marinus was a soldier who suffered in Caesarea of Palestine in the third century. When he was about to be promoted to centurion, he refused to swear the customary oath invoking the pagan gods, or to offer sacrifice to idols. St Marinus was beheaded after cruel tortures, and buried by St Asterius (August 7).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2008(with 2oo7's link here also):

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Venerable Tryphon the Abbot of Pechenga (Kolsk)

Commemorated on December 15

Saint Tryphon of Pechenga and Kola, in the world Metrophanes, was born in the Novgorod governia into a priestly family. The pious parents raised their son in the fear of God. From his early years Tryphon had resolved to devote his life to apostolic deeds and to go to the pagan Laplanders and proclaim the Gospel of Christ. He knew of them only through the accounts of fish vendors.

Once, while praying in the forest he had heard a voice, "Tryphon, this is not your place. An empty and thirsty land awaits you." Forsaking his parental home, the saint went out onto the Kola Peninsula and halted at the banks of the Pechenga River, where the Lapps lived. There he began to carry on trade with them. The saint first acquainted himself with the pagan beliefs of these people and studied their language, and then began to preach the Christian Faith to them. The Lapps greeted the words of the saint with great mistrust. The holy preacher suffered much hardship, enduring hostility and even beatings. But gradually, through his wise and kindly words and meekness, many were converted to Christ.

With the blessing of Archbishop Macarius of Novogord, St Tryphon and St Theodoretos built a church for the newly-converted. In 1532 he founded the Pechenga-Trinity monastery for those eager for the monastic life, "on the cold sea, on the frontier of Murmansk."

Tsar Ivan the Terrible helped him and richly endowed the monastery. The Enlightener of the Lapps died in old age in 1583, having lived at the Pechenga almost 60 years. Local veneration of St Tryphon began soon after his death.

In 1589, the Swedes destroyed the Pechenga monastery. Later, by order of Tsar Theodore, the monastery was transferred to the Kola Peninsula. On the site of the restored monastery a church was built and named for St Tryphon. Over the saint's grave a church was constructed in honor of the Meeting of the Lord. St Tryphon has often come to the aid of perishing seamen, who call upon his name with faith.


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

Monday, December 14, 2009

St Hilarion, Metropolitan of Suzdal and Yuriev

Commemorated on December 14

Saint Hilarion, Metropolitan of Suzdal and Yuriev (in the world John), was born November 13, 1631 into the family of the lower city priest Ananias. His father, famed for his piety and reading, was one of three candidates for the Patriarchal throne, together with the future Patriarch Nikon (1652-1658).

John entered a monastery in 1653. In 1655, he became founder and builder of the Phlorischev wilderness monastery not far from the city of Gorokhovetsa. In his monastic struggles, the saint wrestled with fleshly passions. When he fell down in exhaustion before the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God beseeching Her help, the Mother of God shielded him with gracious power and calmed his spirit.

Once, when St Hilarion was serving Vespers together with a hierodeacon, robbers burst into the church. They killed the deacon and started to set St Hilarion on fire, asking him where the monastery treasure was hid. They did not believe that there was no gold in the monastery. Overcome by the pain, St Hilarion turned to the wonderworking icon and said, "O All-Pure Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ! If they injure me with the fire, I shall no longer have the ability to glorify Thy Son and Thee." Suddenly the robbers heard the shouts of people searching for them, and they fled.

Another time, St Hilarion in passing by the church heard a voice: "I shall glorify thee throughout all the land." He trembled, and going into the vestibule, he found no people there. On the portico he found only the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. The ascetic fell down before the image with tears and confessed his unworthiness.

Later on, when the saint had begun the construction of a stone church, he was very sad that concerns about the construction and disagreements among the workers were distracting him from prayer. While serving in church with the brethren, he was preoccupied by these thoughts and began to regret undertaking the work. With tears he besought the Mother of God not to abandon him and to deliver him from these worries.

When he finished his prayer, St Hilarion remained alone in church and began again to think about the construction. And so he fell asleep. In a dream the Mother of God appeared to him and said, "Transfer My icon, named the Vladimir, from this hot church and put it in the newly-built stone church, and I shall be your Helper there".

St Hilarion awoke and ordered the large bell to be rung. The monks immediately assembled. All went to the hot church and, having prayed before the icon, solemnly transferred it from the portico into the temple. After serving the all night Vigil, Divine Liturgy and a Molieben, the saint told the brethren of his vision. Then in procession they transferred the icon to the church under construction, where they set it in the midst of the woods. From that time the construction went successfully and was soon completed. The saint wanted to dedicate the temple in honor of the icon, but he it was revealed to him in a vision that the temple was to be consecrated in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

In the wilderness monastery he maintained a very strict community rule. In 1694, the saint sent a letter to the Phlorischev monastery in which he reminisced about his own monastic Rule at this monastery: "Under me, a sinner, no one possessed anything of his own, but all was shared in common. Many of you may remember that former cenobitic community. And you also remember that I consigned to the fire those possessions which would destroy that cenobitic community."

On December 11, 1681, the saint was consecrated as Archbishop of Suzdal and Yuriev, and in 1682 he was elevated to the dignity of Metropolitan and remained on the Suzda' cathedra until February 1705. The saint died peacefully on December 14, 1707 and was buried in the Suzdal cathedral in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. The saint was known for his unceasing concern for the poor. After his death they found only three coins.

The wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir-Phlorischev (August 26) was painted by the renowned iconographer John Chirov in 1464 at Nizhni Novgorod in fulfillment of a vow of John Vetoshnikov.


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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Martyr Auxentius at Sebaste

Commemorated on December 13

Saint Auxentius was one of the Five Companions who suffered for Christ under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) at Sebaste, in Armenia. Sts Eustratius, Mardarius, Eugene, and Orestes were the other four.

Among the first Christians imprisoned and undergoing torture at that time was St Auxentius, a presbyter of the Arabian Church. He was beheaded.


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

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Martyr John, Abbot of the Zedazeni Monastery

Commemorated on December 12

The life of the holy martyr John, Abbot of Zedazeni Monastery, has not been preserved, but the list recalling “the names of the holy fathers who reposed at Zedazeni Monastery after John of Zedazeni,” which was compiled by Catholicos Arsenius II, tells us that Abbot John was “murdered at Zedazeni by Muslims.” St. John was martyred in the 9th century.


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

Holy Poles who were martyred by the Papists-Holy Martyr Saint Ignatius

From here.

Holy Poles who were martyred by the Papists
Holy Martyr Saint Ignatius

Monk Ignatius was born in the 1860's decade. Feeling the monastic calling, he entered the Monastery of Saint Onouphrios at Giabletsna, the only monastery in the region of Helm that had never in its history succumbed to the Unia. After the normal trial period of a novice, he was tonsured monk with the name Ignatius.

During the difficult years of Orthodoxy after the end of the 1st World War and until the end of the 2nd World War, Fr. Ignatius was one of the most virtuous and older monks of the Monastery, who, with prayers and admonitions supported the Orthodox pilgrims who were coming to venerate the miraculous icon of Saint Onouphrios.

When the 2nd World War began, the life of the monks became unbearable, due to many raids by the papist rebels, who looted the monastery and threatened the monks with death if they would not depart from their penitence. The papists seeing the firmness and persistence of the monks to Orthodoxy and to their monastery, in collaboration with German soldiers whom they had predisposed against the monks, they raided the monastery during the night of the 9th August 1942. They scattered the monks who then took refuge into the nearest forest, they looted the monastery, set it on fire and guarded it so that no one try to put the fire out. All the monks were overtaken by fear and only Ignatius felt sorry for his monastery and not accepting its desecration returned to it and with great caution went up to the belfry and started to toll the bells so that the people at the nearest village would understand the destruction and run for help. Then the raiders with rage brought him down and having tortured him in many different ways, they murdered him.

The Holy Martyr Ignatius was buried at the cemetery of the monastery. In the spring of 2003 his tomb was opened and his relics were placed in the reliquary of the main Church of the Monastery.

Post Twenty-Six: "Father Seraphim Rose-His Life and Works" by Hieromonk Damascene

(click on images to enlarge)

This is far too lengthy a book for me to do any real justice to it critique wise or to really unload its contents in the space of one post.

But some general impressions I would not mind putting down at all.

One thing I like about this book is that Hieromonk Damascene has captured the aspect of Blessed Father Seraphim Rose's character which always made him a "student". Father Seraphim possessed that manner of humility that he knew he fell far short of the totality of knowledge that could be had and in fact it seems evident that this knowledge of his lack of knowledge progressed as his spiritual life did.

In this book Father Seraphim's pre-Orthodox life as Eugene Rose is set out for us as well to mark his entering into the Mystery of the Church and in Eugene we see the grounds already being sowed for the Kingdom well before his formal entry into Her.

Eugene, as is shown through this book, was a seeker after Truth which burned in him and he was also gifted with an intellect that was able to wrestle with the understanding that he, with the world, always stood at a crossroads between coming under the auspices of that type of person who utilized knowledge for the sake of worldly gain and the type of person who sincerely wielded knowledge in the noblest manner possible.

Early in Eugene's college career he came under the tutelage of his wise professor of Chinese philosophy, Gi-ming Shien. Giving insight into Eugene's character is his obvious love for this professor when we see the following quoted of the professor on pgs 73-74:

"What a man is is his learning, not what he has. It is his wisdom, not his knowledge. What a man is is revealed in his personal manner. The manner is not important in itself, but as it reveals the man...

"The end of learning is to be a good man.... Of primary importance in this is a teacher and friend, since the goal of education is not concepts, but personal change of character. In the teacher and friend is a living personal example. Only a spirit can influence a spirit."

Eugene sought only after such as this professor to teach him and to emulate whether in person or through their writings.

This is further shown later on this work as we see Eugene received into the Church and we see his close and reverent association with such persons as the future Saint John Maximovitch who also embodied the living of the tradition he had received and held it in the noblest manner possible, making himself one with the tradition so that where he began and ended and where it began and ended were of no importance to him. They were one.

And though Eugene came to the Church knowing and understanding that here was Truth in its fullest possible sense, he quickly came to understand and wrestle with that there were two "Orthodoxies" within the Church in much the same way that he understood this distinction to be operative "in the world" prior to his entering the Church with such people as his beloved Chinese professor and those who opposed him at the university.

This is shown on pages 227-228 in the following:

"From the first 'milk' I drank in as an Orthodox Christian in the Synod," Eugene was to recall in later years, "I was taught that we have two kinds(or perhaps 'traditions') of bishops: on one side Vladikas John, Averky, Leonty, Nektary, Sava; on the other, those who now seem to have the governing positions."

It was the lot of the great and holy hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad to suffer much at the hands of those of the "other" tradition. And the one to suffer the most was the holiest of them all: Archbishop John.

It was one of Father Seraphim's hallmarks of character that he would not countenance fakery of any kind and he gravitated always to those who were authentic in any station of life, whether Orthodox or not.

And what of Father Seraphim's spiritual life? Of what manner was it and what did he hold before him in his striving after Christ?

I hope the reader will forgive me for the length of the following selection from the book but I thought it necessary and telling to reproduce it in its entirety as found on pgs 454-455:

In order to know this transfigured realm which was man's inheritance from the beginning, Fr. Seraphim was first of all being transfigured himself. The whole aim of monastic life is the transfiguration of the old man into an unearthly being, which is why the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor has traditionally held such great significance for monastics.

As Fr. Seraphim knew, however, such transfiguration does not happen of itself. He did not wait for the virtues to come naturally, but, seeing their lack in himself, he consciously labored to acquire them, hoping in Christ to strengthen him. Each day entailed constant unseen warfare, watching and fighting against the interior movements of the fallen man. He was those about whom Christ said, The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12). One of the visitors to the skete relates: "Fr. Seraphim believed that authentic Orthodox Christian life is very difficult and that one must grasp and hold onto it not only firmly and with all of one's might, but with a certain 'toughness' and tenacity, even a fierceness, because everything in the world, everything in this life, is constantly trying to steal it away and substitute some cheap imitation. He particularly liked those very single-minded saints who just kept right on going, no matter what the obstacles. This was one of the things he especially admired in Archbishop John (Maximovitch), who kept his inner life intact, no matter what was going on around him, and remained always serenely indifferent to the opinions of others about him."

Never forgetting the necessity of forcing himself in the Christian spiritual life, Fr. Seraphim lived according to the following words of St.Macarius the Great, which he entered into his spiritual journal: "In coming to the Lord, a man must force himself to that which is good, even against the inclination of his heart, continually expecting His mercy with undoubting faith, and force himself to love when he has no love, force himself to meekness when he has no meekness, force himself to pity and to have a merciful heart, force himself to be looked down upon, and when he is looked down upon to bear it patiently ... force himself to prayer when he has not spiritual prayer. And thus God, beholding him thus striving and compelling himself by force, in spite of an unwilling heart, gives him the true prayer of the Spirit, gives him true love, meekness, bowels of mercies (Col. 3:12), true kindness, and in short fills him with spiritual fruit."

The primary means of spiritual transformation is repentance: the awareness of sin within oneself—even the most subtle—and the heart-wrenching desire to turn from it and change. It has been seen how Fr. Seraphim, in the early years of his conversion, went through a process of deep repentance which changed him into a new being. But his repentance did not end there. As he well understood, true spiritual life involves continuous repentance, and a corresponding continuous re-creation and perfecting of one's inner being through the grace of Christ. In 1964, not many years after his conversion, he had discussed this in one of his "lay sermons." Reflecting on the Good Thief who while hanging on the cross had acknowledged his sin and confessed Christ, Fr.Seraphim wrote: "We are all, whether we realize it or not, in the position of this thief. Like him we have been condemned by our sins as unworthy of this life; like him we have nothing to hope for in this world, and we face only suffering and a miserable death if we hope for no other life than this. But if, like him, even in our suffering and unworthiness we yet turn to the God Who condescended to share our human weakness, even to such an ignominious death, and believe that He has the power to fulfill the promises He has made to us—then is our condemnation revoked, our sins forgiven, our unworthiness overlooked, and our pain and sorrow and death swallowed up in victory and joy and eternal life.

Father Seraphim influenced in his life many and became mentor and spiritual father to many as well. One person of note that Father Seraphim gave so much of his time to was Father Alexy Young. Father Alexy Young, at his ordination as priest was given the following words by Vladika Nektary as recorded on pages 780-781:

"Never, never be a 'professional' priest"-by which he meant: Don't let the priesthood be your 'career', your 'living'; let it be rather the air you breathe-and be less concerned about the material and financial aspects of your life than you are about giving yourself to Christ as His priest; be ready to suffer."

Vladika Nektary himself, it should be noted, during the ordination while giving Father Alexy the above quoted words, wept. It is told also that never did he serve the Divine Liturgy without being overcome with awe at the great Mystery before him.

I too am overcome with awe at the caliber of men before us to imitate in the persons of Father Seraphim Rose and all those he emulated and those who later would emulate him.

Set before us is always the same choosing of which "tradition" we would follow. And this choice we make with the bent of our heart.

One more thing of note I would like to mention is that one of Father Seraphim's most oft used quotes has been added to what I and my brothers do professionally with our restaurant. Some time back I did a post on one of things my brothers and I do to weld our business with our Faith titled, "Kyklos Greek Cafe presents Wisdom of the Saints." If you go to the post via the link and scroll down, you will see one of our receipts printed out and at bottom of the receipt one would find "It's later than you think."-Seraphim Rose written there.

Blessed (Saint) Father Seraphim Rose, pray for us!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Venerable Luke the New Stylite of Chalcedon

Commemorated on December 11

Saint Luke the New Stylite was a soldier under the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (912-959). During a war with Bulgaria (917), St Luke remained unharmed through the Providence of God. After this he became a monk, and having succeeded in his efforts, was ordained as a presbyter. Striving for an even higher degree of perfection, the monk put chains upon himself and ascended a pillar.

After three years standing on the pillar, through divine inspiration, he went to Mount Olympos, and then to Constantinople, and finally to Chalcedon, where he chose a pillar upon which he remained for 45 years, manifesting a gift of wonderworking. He died in about the year 980.


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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Martyr Eugraphus of Alexandria

Commemorated on December 10

The Holy Martyrs Eugraphus, Menas, and Hermogenes suffered for their faith in Christ under the emperor Maximian (305-313).

St Menas was sent by the emperor from Athens to Alexandria to suppress the riots that had arisen between the Christians and the pagans. Distinguished for his gift of eloquence, Menas instead openly began to preach the Christian Faith and he converted many pagans to Christ. Learning of this, Maximian sent Hermogenes to Alexandria to place the saints on trial. Moreover, he gave orders to purge the city of Christians.

Hermogenes, although he was a pagan, was distinguished by his reverent bearing. And struck by the endurance of St Menas under torture and by his miraculous healing after the cruel torments, he also came to believe in Christ. Maximian himself then arrived in Alexandria. Neither the astonishing stoic endurance of Sts Menas and Hermogenes under torture, nor even the miracles manifested by God in this city, mollified the emperor. Instead, they vexed him all the more. The emperor personally stabbed St Eugraphus, the secretary of St Menas, and then gave orders to behead the holy Martyrs Menas and Hermogenes.

The relics of the holy martyrs, cast into the sea in an iron chest, were afterwards found (see February 17) and transferred to Constantinople in the ninth century. The emperor Justinian built a church in the name of the holy Martyr Menas of Alexandria. St Joseph the Hymnographer (April 4) composed a Canon in honor of these holy martyrs.

Troparion - Tone 8

Having slain the fiery ragings and fierce movements of the passions though their ascetic labors,
the Martyrs of Christ, Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus, received grace to dispel the afflictions of the infirm and to work wonders both while alive and after death.
It is a truly great wonder that bare bones pour forth healing.
Glory to our only God and Creator.

Kontakion - Tone 4

The Lord snatched you from the temporal army making you a fellow inheritor of the eternal, O Menas;
together with Hermogenes and Eugraphus with whom you suffered,
you are granted an incorruptible crown.


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

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Icon of the Mother of God "the Unexpected joy"

Commemorated on December 9

The "Unexpected Joy" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is painted in this way: in a room is an icon of the Mother of God, and beneath it a youth is kneeling at prayer. The tradition about the healing of some youth from a bodily affliction through this holy icon is recorded in the book of St Demetrius of Rostov, The Fleece of Prayer [See Judges 6: 36-40].

The sinful youth, who was nevertheless devoted to the Theotokos, was praying one day before the icon of the All-Pure Virgin before going out to commit a sin. Suddenly, he saw that wounds appeared on the Lord's hands, feet, and side, and blood flowed from them. In horror he exclaimed, "O Lady, who has done this?" The Mother of God replied, "You and other sinners, because of your sins, crucify My Son anew." Only then did he realize how great was the depth of his sinfulness. For a long time he prayed with tears to the All-Pure Mother of God and the Savior for mercy. Finally, he received the unexpected joy of the forgiveness of his sins.

The "Unexpected Joy" icon is also commemorated on January 25 and May 1.


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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Forefeast of the Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

December 8


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

Holy Poles who were martyred by the Papists- Holy Martyr Peter.

From here.

Holy Poles who were martyred by the Papists
Holy Martyr Peter.

Holy Martyr Peter was born in 1891 in the village of Tarnavatka, in the county Tomasouf. After his general studies he studied at an Agricultural School, from where he graduated in 1908. During the 1st World War years he was working as a teacher.

In his thirties Peter Ohrisko felt his hieratic calling and entered the hieratic school in the city of Cremieniets. After his graduation in 1923 he got married. During the same year in December he was anointed deacon and priest in the city of Cremieniets by Metropolitan Anthony of Loublin. For a decade, he served at different villages of the eparchy of Bolynia.

In 1939 when the atheistic regime prevailed in Bolynia, Father Peter returned to his place of birth, the eparchy of Helm in the county of Tomasouf. He remained at the village of Sumin and was appointed officiating priest of the parish of the village Moresin. During the difficult years of the 2nd World War he continued with zeal his hieratic service, placing more importance on the spiritual progress of the youth. However, the spreading papist propaganda and hate towards the Orthodox of the eparchy of Helm, included him and his parish members, making them various underhanded proposals, with the intention to make them deny Orthodoxy. Seeing that he was not giving in, but only continue supporting his parish members, they unleashed against him persecutions and threats.

Finally, in the year 1944 at the village Tsartoviets of the county Zamosts, on Holy Monday while he was performing the Presanctified Divine Liturgy, and while at the same time confessing the youth that had gathered there, the papist rebels surrounded the church and seized him, fully dressed in his hieratic vestments; they took him outside, tore his hieratic vestments and tortured him horribly while taking him away from the village. Over these tortures he surrendered his soul, remaining always in word and works faithful to Orthodoxy. Many of the parish members met the same fate. The murderers buried his body in place, in the fields and since then the location of his grave with his relics remains unknown.

Holy Poles who were martyred by the Papists
Publications: Orthodox Kypseli

Monday, December 07, 2009

Venerable Nilus of Stolbensk Lake

Commemorated on December 7

Saint Nilus of Stolobnoye was born into a peasant family in a small village of the Novgorod diocese. In the year 1505 he was tonsured at the monastery of St Sava of Krypetsk (August 28) near Pskov. After ten years in ascetic life at the monastery he set out to the River Sereml, on the side of the city of Ostashkova; here for thirteen years he led a strict ascetic life in incessant struggle against the snares of the devil, who took on the appearance of reptiles and wild beasts. Many of the inhabitants of the surrounding area started coming to the monk for instruction, but this became burdensome for him and he prayed God to show him a place for deeds of quietude. Once, after long prayer he heard a voice saying, "Nilus! Go to Lake Seliger. There upon the island of Stolobnoye you can be saved!" St Nilus learned the location of this island from people who visited him. When he arrived there, he was astonished by its beauty.

The island, in the middle of the lake, was covered over by dense forest. St Nilus found a small hill and dug out a cave, and after a while he built a hut, in which he lived for twenty-six years. To his exploits of strict fasting and stillness [ie. hesychia] he added another - he never lay down to sleep, but permitted himself only a light nap, leaning on a prop set into the wall of the cell.

The pious life of the monk frequently roused the envy of the Enemy of mankind, which evidenced itself through the spiteful action of the local inhabitants. One time someone set fire to the woods on the island where stood the saint's hut, but the flames went out in miraculous manner upon reaching the hill. Another time robbers forced their way into the hut. The monk said to them: "All my treasure is in the corner of the cell." In this corner stood an icon of the Mother of God, but the robbers began to search there for money and became blinded. Then with tears of repentance they begged for forgiveness.

St Nilus performed many other miracles. He would refuse gifts if the conscience of the one offering it to him was impure, or if they were in bodily impurity.

Aware of his approaching end, St Nilus prepared a grave for himself. At the time of his death, an igumen from one of the nearby monasteries came to the island and communed him with the Holy Mysteries. Before the igumen's departure, St Nilus prayed for the last time, censing around the holy icons and the cell, and surrendered his soul to the Lord on December 7, 1554. The translation of his holy relics (now venerated at the church of the Icon of the Mother of God "Of the Sign" in the city of Ostashkova) took place in the year 1667, with feastdays established both on the day of his death, and on May 27.

Troparion - Tone 4

You appeared as a bright light on the island of Lake Seliger.
From your youth you took Christ’s cross on your shoulder.
You followed him zealously, O Father Nilus,
And by your purity you approached the divine likeness.
You were enriched with the gift of miracles;
And now we run to your relics compunctionately crying:
Entreat Christ our God that he may save our souls!

Kontakion - Tone 8

Leaving your fatherland you made your wilderness dwelling on the island of Lake Seliger.
Living in hardship and amazing men by your virtues,
You received Christ’s gift of working wonders.
Remember us who honor your holy memory,
That we may cry to you: Rejoice, O Father Nilus!


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

Sunday, December 06, 2009

10th Sunday of Luke

Tone of the week: Tone One

Fourth Eothinon

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the First Tone

The stone had been secured with a seal by the Judeans, * and a guard of soldiers was watching Your immaculate body. * You rose on the third day, O Lord * and Savior, granting life unto the world. * For this reason were the powers of heaven crying out to You, O Life-giver: * Glory to Your resurrection, O Christ; * glory to Your eternal rule; * glory to Your dispensation, only One who loves mankind.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the First Tone

You arose from the sepulcher in glory as God, and with yourself resurrected the world. And mortal nature extolled You as God, and death was obliterated, and Adam is dancing, O Master; and Eve, now redeemed from the bonds, rejoices crying out: O Christ, You are He who grants resurrection to all.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Third Tone

On this day the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to * God the Word ineffably, * Who was before all the ages. * Dance for joy, O earth, on hearing * the gladsome tidings; * with the Angels and the shepherds now glorify Him * Who is willing to be gazed on * as a young Child Who * before the ages is God.


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