Monday, February 28, 2011

Hieromartyr Proterius the Patriarch of Alexandria

Commemorated on February 28

The Hieromartyr Proterius, Patriarch of Alexandria, and those with him. The priest Proterius lived in Alexandria during the patriarchal tenure of Dioscorus (444-451), an adherent of the Monophysite heresy of Eutyches. Proterius fearlessly denounced the heretics and confessed the Orthodox Faith.

In 451 at the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, the heresy of Eutyches was condemned and the teaching of Christ as Perfect God and Perfect Man, existing in these two natures "unconfusedly" and "indivisibly" [and "immutably" and "inseparably"] was set forth. The heretic Dioscorus was deposed and exiled, and Proterius, distinguished for his strict and virtuous life, was placed upon the patriarchal throne of Alexandria.

However, many supporters of Dioscorus remained in Alexandria. Rebelling against the election of Proterius, they rioted and burned the soldiers who were sent out to pacify them. The pious emperor Marcian (450-457) deprived the Alexandrians of all the privileges they were accustomed to, and sent new and reinforced detachments of soldiers. The inhabitants of the city then quieted down and begged Patriarch Proterius to intercede with the emperor to restore their former privileges to them. The kindly saint consented and readily obtained their request.

After the death of Marcian the heretics again raised their heads. Presbyter Menignus ("the Cat"), himself striving for the patriarchal dignity, and taking advantage of the absence of the prefect of the city, was at the head of the rioters. St Proterius decided to leave Alexandria, but that night he saw in a dream the holy Prophet Isaiah, who said to him, "Return to the city, I am waiting to take you." The saint realized that this was a prediction of his martyric end. He returned to Alexandria and concealed himself in a baptistry.

The insolent heretics broke into this refuge and killed the Patriarch and six men who were with him. The fact that it was Holy Saturday and the Canon of Pascha was being sung did not stop them. In their insane hatred they tied a rope to the body of the murdered Patriarch, and dragged it through the streets. They beat and lacerated it, and finally they burned it, scattering the ashes to the wind.

The Orthodox reported this to the holy Emperor Leo (457-474) and St Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople (July 3). An army arrived at Alexandria, the rebellion was crushed, and Menignus was brought to trial and exiled.

Regarding the death of the Hieromartyr Proterius, four Thracian bishops of his time wrote: "We consider His Holiness Proterius to be in the ranks and choir of the saints, and we beseech God to be compassionate and merciful to us through his prayers."

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

The Dialogue of the Orthodox with the Non-Chalcedonians

From here.

Suggestions of a Committee from the Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain Athos

Concerning the Dialogue of the Orthodox with the Non-Chalcedonians

The third common declaration from the dialogue of the Joint Commission between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental "Orthodox" (Non-Chalcedonian) Churches which took place at Chambessy, Switzerland from November 1-6, 1993, has caused anxiety and fear. The Joint Commission suggests the lifting of anathemas "by the leaders of all churches of both sides by the signing of an ecclesiastical declaration to the effect that each church recognizes the other as fully Orthodox" and that "lifting the anathemas must have as consequences:

a) the establishment of total communion between both sides, and that
b) no condemnation of the past against each other by synod or person is active anymore..."

If we understand the above correctly, a union is imminent. A union that the Patriarch of Antioch has already realized in part.

Surely we should be celebrating the impending union if this union were proper and truly from an Orthodox point of view acceptable, that is, in truth. But since, as we intend to show, in our and other theologians' opinion the presuppositions are not fulfilled, we fear that a rushed union will result firstly to a false and dishonest union and secondly to an internal schism in our Holy Orthodox Church.

Following are our reservations:

1. It is noticeable that in all three official statements the Orthodox have abandoned Orthodox ecclesiology, according to which our Orthodox Church constitutes the only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Non-Chalcedonians are recognized as "Oriental Orthodox" and both churches are two equal families of the same church. In other words, this is a form of branch theory.

Characteristically Professor G. Mantzaridis notes,
"The conscience of the Orthodox Church is that the Orthodox Church constitutes the uninterrupted continuation of the one undivided Church. That conscience is based on the through the ages unity with the Apostolic Church. The unity of the Church as an essential characteristic of its nature can not be placed under negotiation. There are not many churches because there are not many Christs or many bodies of Christ. This position is neither backward nor conservative but self-understood and traditional. It is the position that the Church had from the beginning and has always been projected in the ecclesiastical tradition. For this reason even the way in which the restoration to full communion between the Non-Chalcedonian and Orthodox Church is asserted creates serious worries for the discernment of Orthodox identity itself. It is not possible under the light of new dogmatic agreement for Synods that were condemned by Ecumenical Synods to be viewed as Orthodox in their teaching content, for a teaching is not exhausted only in the formulation of the dogma but also expresses the unity and identity of the Church. Neither is it possible for people who are anathematized in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy to be regarded as fathers of another Orthodox Church which is finally to be accepted as identical with the Church that formed the Synodicon. Always and especially in crucial times as in the present, attention to the through-the-ages identity and conscious of Orthodoxy is imperative. (G. Mantzaridis, Orthodoxy and European Unity, Thessalonika 1994, p.157-8)
2. We Orthodox abandon our historic continuity and identity with the Church of the Ecumenical Synods (4th, 5th and 6th) if we accept that the Non-Chalcedonians were always Orthodox and that their fathers (Dioscoros and Severos) were also Orthodox. Indirectly we accept that the above Ecumenical Synods were in error and now we are correcting them. Any attempt to compromise in these matters is unacceptable. Either the Synods have rightly taught the truth and Dioscoros, Severus and their successors were heretics or, if they were not heretics then the Synods were in error. Let us remember the way that the ballot was cast among the Fathers in the 4th Ecumenical Synod according to the records. The Fathers were called to declare their support for Leo or Dioscoros:
"The magnificent and most honored leaders said: 'Dioscoros said: from two natures I accept, of two natures I do not accept. The most holy Archbishop Leo said: We believe that the two natures are united in Christ, unconfused, without change, and undivided in the Only-begotten Son our Savior.' Then the Holy fathers were asked, 'Whom do you follow; the most holy Leo or Dioscoros?' The most reverend bishop cried, 'As Leo we also believe. All those who contradict are of the Eutychian heresy. Leo has spoken in the Orthodox way.'"
3. The attempt of the Joint Commission to redefine the Orthodox Christology in order to achieve an agreement with the Non-Chalcedonians despite the masterful formulation of the 4th, 5th and 6th Holy Synods seems to us purposeless and dangerous.

Purposeless because we are going to start talking all over again about matters that our Fathers with so much toil and effort have debated and in the Holy Spirit defined in dogma "in a few words and much wisdom." (Doxastikon, Sunday of the Holy Fathers) in a manner not susceptible to mistranslation. As the Most Reverend Chrysostomos Konstantinidis, Metropolitan of Myron (now of Ephesus) also notes:
"We view that we cannot alter this dogmatic formula [of the 4th Synod]. We consider it adequate in its nature and position, spiritually, ecclesiologically and Synodically, also adequate and indispensable to express interpret and comprehend the Christological dogma of the two natures of Christ. We have insisted in the past and we insist now that the quest of a new Christological formula or a new editing in, out of or even parallel to the terms of the Chalcedonian Synod is useless and not permissible". (Met. Chr. Konstantinidis, "Dialogue of the Orthodox Church and Ancient Oriental Churches'', in the periodical Theology, Athens 1980, Vol. 51#1, p. 40)
Dangerous, because under the new wording of the Joint Commission, though at first sight Orthodox, there are perhaps interpretations of moderate or even covered monophysitism. If the Non-Chalcedonians accept the Orthodox Christology then what stands in their way to accept also the most Orthodox formulations of the Holy 4th, 5th and 6th Ecumenical Synods? Especially that of the Holy 4th Synod of Chalcedon which also was attested as Orthodox by the well known miracle of the holy great martyr Euphemia?

Denying the terms of these Synods they allow us, with good reason, to suspect that in depth they do not accept the Orthodox Christology of the Synods. [1]

4. The condemnation of Eutychius by the Non-Chalcedonians does not constitute in our view a guarantee of their Orthodoxy. They also must condemn the moderate monophysitism of Severos and Dioscoros. It is notable that also the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Nikopolis considers Dioscoros to be a heretic. (Metropolitan of Nikopolis, Melitios, "Answers to questions", in the periodical Ekklesia, 1-15 January 1992, #1)

Regarding the monophysitic character Christology of the followers of Severos, Fr. G. Florovsky writes:
"For the followers of Severos the 'humanity' in Christ was not totally human, because it was not active, that is, it was not 'self-moving'. According to the monophysite view the humanity in Christ was like a pathetic object of the divine influences. Theosis seems to be a one-sided act of the divinity that does not take into consideration enough the synergy of the human freedom which in no way is accepted as a 'second object'. In their religious experience the element of freedom generally was not emphasized enough and it could be labeled as anthropological minimalism (lessening the human part in Christ)". (The Byzantine Fathers of the 5th Century, translation by P. Pale, Thessalonika 1992, p. 604).
It is a very delicate point but nevertheless a fundamental one. Perhaps on this delicate point lies our difference with today's Non-Chalcedonians. Because of this difference they must explicitly confess the term of the 4th Ecumenical Synod.

That the Non-Chalcedonians accept some moderate monophysitism is evident from the records of the informal meeting in Aarhus. Also it is evident from their declarations such as the address of the Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III in the Mixed Theological Commission in the Monastery of Anba Bishoy in 1989: "We believe that the Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is perfect in His Divinity and perfect in his Humanity without confusion, without change, without separation and we are not talking about two natures after the mysterious union of our Lord". ("Episkepsis" #442, 7/1/1989, p. 10).

Of course in the Second Common Declaration they accept that "Both families agree that the natures have united hypostatically, naturally, with their proper energies and wills, without confusion, without change, without division and without separation and they are distinguished 'only in theory’".

We think that the "only in theory" permits interpretations leaning towards Monophysitism and it must be made clear from the Orthodox viewpoint. If the "only in theory" is in reference to the difference of the two natures as it is expressed in the dogma of the 5th Holy Ecumenical Synod, all is well. But if it means that the two natures exist only in theory then that is not Orthodox.

5. Paragraph 8 of the Second Declaration in reference to the Ecumenical Synods raises serious questions and anxiety. Here is the paragraph:
"Both families accept the first three Ecumenical Synods, which constitute our common inheritance. As far as the four following Synods of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox state that the above points from 1-7 are also the teaching of the four later Synods of the Orthodox Church, at the same time the Oriental Orthodox view this statement as an Orthodox interpretation and with that understanding from both sides the Oriental Orthodox respond positively to the statement."
According to professor of dogmatics Nik. Mitsopoulos:
"The Non-Chalcedonians, the 'eastern Orthodox' as they are called in the 'statement' not only refuse to accept the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Ecumenical Synods as Ecumenical but according to the 'common statement' behave simply condescending[ly] to the Orthodox acceptance of these Synods and especially after the Orthodox have stated the interpretation of the teaching of the above Synods. This interpretation the Non-Chalcedonians deny viewing it as an Orthodox ‘interpretation'." (ibid. Nik. Mitsopoulos 4/1/1992 #6, p. 193) [2]
Next we cite and copy the questions which the professor asks in relation to the above paragraph.
"We ask. If today there were in existence organized Christian communities denying, let us say, the term 'of one essence' as it is stated in the Symbol of the Faith of Nicaea-Konstantinoupolis [-Constantinople] and yet they affirm that they accept the meaning 'of one essence' as it is stated in the Symbol of Faith, but on the other hand do not accept the way it was formulated in the 1st Ecumenical Synod of Nicaea and consequently do not accept the very Symbol of the Faith, could these people be accepted as Orthodox?
"We also ask: Even today exist in small numbers Christians who belong to the 'Minor Churches of the Orient', 'Assyrian Nestorian' and do not accept the 3rd Ecumenical Synod. If these people declare solemnly that they accept the teachings of the Synod but not the Synod and its terms, could we view these people as Orthodox?
"Once more we ask: If we accept as Orthodox the people who do not accept the terms of the Chalcedonian Synod, is it possible to support as an argument of us Orthodox the position that with the filioque of the Roman Catholics there comes an addition/alteration in the teaching of the Symbol of Faith of Nicaea-Constantinople concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit, given that the Roman Catholics insist that with the addition of the filioque, the teaching of the Symbol of Faith is not altered, but is simply interpreted?
"Furthermore we ask: If the Non-Chalcedonians who deny the 4th Ecumenical Synod are accepted as Orthodox and we are led into 'full Communion of the two Church Families in Christ our Lord' according to the 'declaration' would there be in one united Church faithful who accept the Seven Ecumenical Synods and faithful who do not accept them?
"We ask, again: Until now when an enacted bishop is to be ordained it is demanded that he accepts the Seven Holy Ecumenical Synods and that he confesses that the terms of the Synods are inspired by the illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit as terms of the true faith. In the case of a union will some be asked to accept it and some not to?" (ibid. 1992, #6, p. 193 and #7, p. 238)
According to the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Ephesus:
"The way the brothers of the Ancient Oriental Churches perceive Synods and authority of Synods is basically different from ours. Consequently the distance of our worlds, as far as Synods are concerned, is great" (ibid. Met. Myron Chrysostomou Konstantinidis, Vol. 2, p. 227) And he concludes "Definitely one such perception of Ecumenical Synods as not indispensable elements of absolute expression of the holiness and authority of the Church should create thoughts and uneasiness not only on the Orthodox side but on the Roman Catholic as well with its well known Synodology". (ibid)
6. It has been expressed with assurance that the lifting of the anathemas which the Ecumenical Synods have placed on the Non-Chalcedonian "Fathers" by the presiding hierarchs of the Orthodox Church is possible. For that they recall certain examples which either lack historical proof or are not concerned with the Ecumenical Synods.

Concerning this topic we must state the following:

a) These examples are about isolated individuals and definitely not about leaders of heresies and heretical "churches". Now for the case of Emperor Theophilos, it is important to make clear that at the hour of his death he repented and that St. Methodius did not lift the anathema that included the Emperor and all the iconoclasts but he prayed with the whole Church for the forgiveness of the Emperor's soul. (Synaxarion, Sunday of Orthodoxy, Triodion)
Fr. George Florovsky also notes about the lifting of the anathemas by the 4th Ecumenical Synod. "It is not a case of lifting some simple canonical anathema. The case is much more difficult when the anathema is of theological nature." (ibid. Chyr. Konstantinidis, p. 233).

b) The isolated and the by economia events that took place in the Church do not constitute law, but the Holy Canons prevail as is evident from the First and Second Synods: "The rare (exception) does not constitute a Church law" (Canon 17). If isolated cases prevailed over the Holy Canons then the whole canonical order of the Church would be overturned.

c) The lifting of the anathema of the Ecumenical Synods puts in dispute and doubt the authority and authenticity of the Ecumenical Synod and the infallible expression of the Orthodox Faith. [3]

Also according to the Professor Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisen:
"It is not a matter of interpretation but rather of altering and turning the resolution of the Ecumenical Synods upside-down.
"For instance, what would happen and what interpretation are we to give to the term of faith if the 7th Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea, which recapitulates the whole Orthodox Faith, states the following regarding the Non-Chalcedonians and their saints: 'In addition, we acknowledge the two natures of the Incarnate for our sake by the immaculate Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. We acknowledge Him as perfect God and perfect man, as also the Synod in Chalcedon loudly proclaimed, and which defamed and expelled from the divine court Eutychius, Dioscoros, Severios, Petros and their very blasphemous and mixed up line.'
"We Orthodox view the resolutions of the Ecumenical Synods as infallible because they were conceived by the supervision of the Holy Spirit and were acknowledged by the conscience of the Church of all the ages. Will we offend the authority and authenticity of the Ecumenical Synods with interpretations and theological sophistries? Will we bring forth a schism to the catholic unity that lasted throughout the years in the Orthodox Church, forcing the Orthodox people of the 20th century to believe differently about the Non-Chalcedonians than the Orthodox of the previous generations, especially when this belief was taught and fortified by holy men? Theology is not an easy matter that one can play games with in order to achieve and make deals, aiming to create personal and social relations. If you bring down part of it, the whole building will collapse. The Holy Fathers knew this very well and that is why they suggested that the only way and method for union with heretics is to be their renunciation of their heresy and the acceptance of the Orthodox teachings. We now, from the very beginning, excluded that method, since we have recognized them already as Orthodox and have brought them into the court of the Orthodox Church from which infallibly and by divine inspiration the Holy Fathers expelled them by the decisions of the Ecumenical Synods."
7. The agreements made up until now do not bear the mark of being executed in a synodical fashion. The topics are agreed upon by a limited number of hierarchs and theologians (of the same frame of mind and opinion as far as the Non-Chalcedonians are concerned) and again are approved by synods of a few members without the wider participation of hierarchs of local churches. There is no broad synodical deliberation where freely there may be heard the opinion of those who disagree, and where afterwards the hierarchs would express their opinion.

But also, there is not adequate awareness and acceptance from the whole body of the Church and especially from those who care about the faith for what is taking place.

The Most Reverend Metropolitan of Nicopolis writes:
"Then, accounts are submitted to the Holy Synods. These Synods have the right to judge and push forward the dialogue as much as they want. The texts of the dialogue are simply suggestions for the Holy Synods. After the dialogue accounts of the Joint Commission are submitted and the Synod unanimously has accepted them, then they will be judged by a large Synod which will decide if the results of the dialogue will materialize. This last Synod will take the question to its last stage. Right now, as regards the dialogue with the Non-Chalcedonians, we are at some of the beginning stages." (ibid. Met. Meletios of Nicopolis)
We agree with this process, with the presupposition of course that the conscience of the whole body of the Church will accept those suggestions. The text of the Joint Commission, however, does not foresee such a process, but suggests the immediate lifting of the anathema and union.

8. We believe that a true union presupposes that the Non-Chalcedonians will accept the Seven Ecumenical Synods, and also that they will accept all the fathers of our Holy Church such as St. John of Damascus, St. Maximus the Confessor and St. Gregory Palamas as saints who truly express those Synods. Every attempt that took place even from the time of Holy Photius until today to unite the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians has asked their acceptance of the Holy 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Synods. This is the first time in history that no demand is made on them to accept the Holy Synods. As the Rev. Met. of Ephesus notes,
"Firstly, the 5th and 6th Ecumenical Synods without contradiction have added new elements for the understanding and acceptance of the Christological dogma and were not limited merely in maintaining the traditions. And as for the 4th Ecumenical Synod, the contribution to the Christological Dogma is well known. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Ecumenical Synods, after the first three Ecumenical Synods, have been the base and presupposition of the whole analytical Christological Faith of the Church. Not accepting these Ecumenical Synods precipitates not accepting the whole Christological teaching of the Church, and naturally takes away the possibility of discussion and dialogue on the subject not only of the Ecumenical Synods but also on the very subject of Christology."
The next point is in reference to a view that we cannot explain and even dare to say is most unsettling. This view was expressed recently by the Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III during his discourse in front of our Orthodox community for the dialogue with the Ancient Oriental Churches in Chambessy, last February [1994]. At that time the Coptic Patriarch said: "As regards the Ecumenical Synods, we accept the first three...we deny the Synod of Chalcedon...I can say completely openly that all the Oriental Churches cannot accept the Synod of Chalcedon...You have Seven Ecumenical Synods; if you lose one you are not losing a lot." (ibid. Met. Chry. Konstantinidis, p. 229-230)
We ask what kind of union will it be when we will accept the Ecumenical Synods and they will not? Will we hold Dioscorus and Severus as heretics while they hold them as saints? [4] Will we have the Synod of Ephesus as a bandit synod while they have it as Orthodox? And how can they achieve a union with us when they do not accept our Church as it is, but only under certain conditions and mutilated?

If the Non-Chalcedonians believe that they are fully Orthodox and therefore their salvation is not at any risk, why then do they wish to unite with our Church, the Church which they do not accept totally, and why aren't they coming towards it with humility and repentance? Also what is compelling us to accept their conditions and to violate our own fundamental ecclesiastical principles?

It is possible that this expedient union is of political nature which is initiated by heretical groups plotting a union to confront their own needs. Is that a sufficient reason for a union?

Or perhaps ecclesiastical unions of peaceful coexistence are being pushed along to serve the political plans of unification and coexistence in our century?*

9. In spite of the acceptance of common points in the Orthodox Christology by the Non-Chalcedonian theologians who are in dialogue with the Orthodox, still we have to examine if the clergy and the whole body of their Churches accepts that Christology. For we have information that the architects of this union differ in opinion from the fullness of their Churches. Also there are opposing statements by Non-Chalcedonian Patriarchs and theologians against these resolutions. Characteristically Professor N. Mitsopoulos ascertains:
"From what I have studied and especially,
a) by the position which the Fathers of the Church take regarding the Non-Chalcedonians 

b) by the texts of the two common statements of the Joint Committees of 1989 and 1990 and,

c) by the personal conversations with some of my very dear students and graduate students, most of whom excel in their studies, not only am I not convinced that the Non-Chalcedonian Christology is not Orthodox, but furthermore I have the conviction that their Christology is not Orthodox, and in particular is not Orthodox as regards the dogma of the hypostatic union of the two natures in Christ." ("Dogmatic presuppositions", from the newspaper Orthodox Typos, #1061 2/4/1994).
10. We observe in the dialogue with the Non-Chalcedonians two basic directions to be in force which also characterize the dialogue with the Roman Catholics. Namely:

a. The recognition of the other heretical Church either as a "Sister" Church or as an equally honored "family," while giving up the claim that the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is only our own Orthodox Church. And,

b. The acceleration for union by going around our differences which are either silenced or minimalized.

+ + +

After all that has been said above, we conclude that until now the presuppositions for union with the Non-Chalcedonians have not been met and that a rushed union not only will not unite our divisions and bring harmony, but will destroy the unified parts.

Therefore the most reverend fathers and brothers who participate in and accelerate this dialogue, as well as all the individuals who are occupying leading positions in the venerable hierarchy, must reflect the responsibility of creating a new schism much wider than the schism of the Old Calendar, and must help to stop the advance of the proceedings for a union in the immediate future. But before anything, all the reverend Hierarchs, the Holy Clergy and the whole body of the Church must be widely informed and must discuss this issue.
After enough time is given to the conscience of the Church to function freely and without any haste, only then should be done whatever will rest and comfort the conscience of the Church.

This text should be taken as one more indication that part of the Church's conscience is not at peace with the decisions made until now neither will it accept such a union.

In the Holy Mountain 1st of February 1994

The Committee Members:

From Vatopediou Abbot Archimandrite Ephraim
From Dionysiou Elder Epiphanios
From Philotheou Elder Luke
From Gregoriou Abbot Archimandrite George


1. Professor Ioannis Karmiris characterizes the Non-Chalcedonians Churches as leaning toward monophysitism. (By Nik. Mitsopoulos, ''The Term of the 4th Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon and its denial by the Non-Chalcedonians of today," in the periodical Ekklesia 3/15/92, #5, p. 154 footnote 6).

The Most Reverend Metropolitan of Nikopolis Melitiou accepts that they have a mixed-up Christology. (Metropolitan Meletios of Nikopolis, The Fifth Ecumenical Synod, Athens 1985, p. 82, footnote on preceding page).

Professor Nik. Mitsopoulos writes: "the denial of the Non-Chalcedonians of the 'in two natures' and the 'there is not any kind of confusion in the way for the two natures to unite' in spite of their very positive acceptance of 'without confusion', ‘without change', ‘undivided’ and ‘inseparable', still is a denial of the truth as the Holy Spirit dictates." (ibid. 4/1/92 #6, p.192-3)

2. The Most Reverend Met. of Nikopolis acknowledges that, parallel to their statement, "Naturally, if there is to be any union having as a base the above statement even then they must accept solemnly the Ecumenical Synods that until now they deny, that is the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th." (Met. Meletios of Nikopolis, "Answers to questions", p. 12). Professor I. Karmiris acknowledges the same (in his "Introduction Before the Conference of the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonian Theologians", Athens 1970, p. 69).

3. The opinion of the canon expert Archbishop Ieronymos Kotsonis is characteristic: "The Church has always demanded absolute unity in dogma, and whenever an understanding was to be reached with the heretics who were outside of the Church, the Church has found it preferable to keep them separated from the Church, rather than adulterate the dogma of the Church and thus achieve an erroneous union" (Arch. I. Kotsonis, "Problems of the 'Eccesiastical Economia'", Athens 1957)

4. Concerning the "holiness" of Dioscorus Professor Trempelas wrote: "Furthermore how is it possible to proclaim Dioscorus a Saint who not only is accused as the ethical perpetuator of Patriarch Flavius' death but also he anathematized Pope Leo for the Tomos from which full clauses were included in the terms of the 4th and 6th Ecumenical Synods." (Trempelas Pan., "On the Ecumenical Movement and the Theological Dialogues Semi-official Documents," Athens 1972, p. 39-40 footnote 234)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Memorial Saturday of Meatfare

Commemorated on February 26

Today we remember the miracle of the boiled wheat performed by the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (February 17). Fifty years after the death of St Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), wanting to commit an outrage upon the Christians, commanded the city-commander of Constantinople to sprinkle all the food provisions in the marketplaces with the blood offered to idols during the first week of Great Lent. St Theodore, having appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordered him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva).

In memory of this occurrence, the Orthodox Church annually celebrates the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit on the first Saturday of Great Lent. On Friday evening, at the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts following the prayer at the ambo, the Canon to the holy Great Martyr Theodore, composed by St John of Damascus, is sung. After this, kolyva is blessed and distributed to the faithful. The celebration of the Great Martyr Theodore on the first Saturday of Great Lent was set by the Patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople (381-397).

Troparion - Tone 8

Only Creator, with wisdom profound, You mercifully order all things,
and give that which is needed to all men:
Give rest, O Lord, to the souls of Your servants who have fallen asleep,
for they have placed their trust in You, our Maker and Fashioner, and our God.

Kontakion - Tone 8

With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Your servants,
where there is neither sickness nor sorrow, and no more sighing,
but life everlasting.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Venerable Moses, Ascetic of the Syrian Deserts

Commemorated on February 23

St Moses lived in Syria in the fifth century.Iimitating St John, he settled on a high mountain near the village of Rama. He was a disciple of St Polychronius, and lived with him. Emulating his Elder in everything, St Moses was the very model of an austere ascetical life.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

Spiritual Experiences

From here.


Spiritual Experiences
By: Fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos
PhD. of Theology, PhD. of Philosophy

 Man can have the feeling of the presence of Divine Grace in his life, i.e. he can have spiritual experiences. Holy Scripture, however, recommends to the faithful: "Beloved, do not believe in every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God". It further underlines that many false prophets have come into the world and it further shows ways in which one can judge and discern the spirit of truth from the spirit of error, i.e. the genuine from the counterfeit experiences (I Jn 4, 1-6).

It must be emphasized at the outset, that Holy Scripture does not place experience at the center of our interests, nor does it elevate it to something absolute. Faith in Jesus Christ, and not personal experience, is placed at the center of the Christian confession. This confession differentiates the Christian Church from the Hebrew Synagogue; whosoever confessed Christ was thought to have denied the Jewish Synagogue; and was declared an outcast from it (Jn 2, 22. 12,42). The Christian's experience is modified by this confession [of Jesus Christ] and is not independent of it (Rom. 10,9). The confession of faith is not the result of experience, but exactly the opposite: experience is acquired in unity with the confession and the life of the Church; these two factors also modify and determine the genuineness of the spiritual experience. In this way the Orthodox Christian is not in danger of falling into subjectivity and error, through personal experience.

The Apostle Paul does not base the gospel which he preaches on his own individual experience, but on the experiences of others: Peter's, that of the twelve, that of the five hundred, James' and the rest of the Apostles. He refers to himself as the last of all; he says, "last of all, as one untimely born, he appeared also to me", in order to add further along that he is what he is through the Grace of God. " Whether, then it was I, or they," he concludes, "so we proclaim and so you come to believe" (I Cor. 15 1-11). He does not sever himself from the Church, nor does he base himself on his own personal experience, which he does not even emphasize.

The content of the faith, then, is neither conditioned nor shaped by each one's personal experience, but is handed down and is received in the Church (I Tim. 6,20. II Tim. 1,14. 2,2. Jude 3). " As the prophets saw, as the apostles taught, as the Church received, as the teachers the truth was proven.. .so do we believe, so do we speak, so do we declare" (the Seventh Ecumenical Council).

That the content of the faith constitutes the norm and standard by which the genuineness of the experience is measured, can be seen in the example of St. Thomas for whom, like the Jews, "the sign", the experience of the miracle, had paramount significance. This, however, is overcome by the words of Christ: "Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe", i.e. blessed are those who do not base themselves on their own personal experience (Jn 20, 28-29).

Another "measure and standard" for determining the authenticity of experience is the obedience to Christ's teachings; the Apostle underlines that he who violates and does not abide in the teachings of Christ "does not have God" (II Jn.,9). The entire spiritual life of the believer is understood of course as life in the Holy Spirit, as a gift of the Holy Spirit which is the fruit of God's love. As we have already mentioned, gifts of God which are an offering of love, presuppose the complete acceptance of this love on man's part. Man proves his deep desire to accept God's love by offering to Him his complete love; he must humble his mind, his flesh, together with his passions and desires and offer his entire self to God (Matth. 22,37. Rom. 5, 1-2. Gal. 5,24). God accepts this offering and with His Grace He sanctifies and transforms the labors of humble man into gifts of the Holy Spirit which are joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-con­trol and above all, love (Gal. 5, 22-23), the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit. Without this total humility on man's part, spiritual experiences are not granted; and if they do exist, they do not come from the Spirit of God (James 4, 6. I Peter 5,5).

The experiences of the saints in Jesus Christ have all the characteristics which we have mentioned. They were experiences of the Church and not of individuals. Consequently, all those who put forth spiritual experiences and "signs" without the characteristics that we have mentioned accompanying them have been deceived by the spirit of error. Such false experiences are already known from the Old Testament, and indeed appear outwardly as being similar to the genuine experiences (Ex. 7, 10-11; 20-22. 8, 18). Christ Himself informed us that false messiahs, false teachers and false prophets would work "signs" in order to bring about confusion and to deceive even the elect, if possible (Matth. 24, 24-25. cf. Rev. 13, 12-18).

The Apostle Paul informs the Christians of Corinth that the reference here is to false apostles and "deceitful workers" who disguise themselves as Apostles of Christ, just as Satan "transforms himself into an Angel of Light". It is not surprising then, the Apostle concludes, if the Devil's servants also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds! (II Cor. 11, 13-15).

THE ORTHODOX CHURCH Its Faith, Worship and Life
Rev. Antonios Alevisopoulos, Th.D., Ph.D
Translated by Rev. Stephen Avramides

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

St Athanasius the Confessor of Constantinople

Commemorated on February 22

Saint Athanasius the Confessor was born in Constantinople of rich and pious parents. From his childhood he dreamed of devoting himself entirely to God, and having reached maturity, he settled in one of the Nicomedia monasteries, called the Pavlopetrios (i.e., in the names of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul), and became a monk there.

The loftiness of his ascetic life became known at the imperial court. During the reign of the iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820), St Athanasius was subjected to torture for venerating icons, and then underwent exile, grief and suffering. Confessing the Orthodox Faith until the very end of his life, St Athanasius died peacefully in the year 821.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

Monday, February 21, 2011

Icon of the Mother of God "Kozelshchansk"

Commemorated on February 21

The Kozelshchansk Icon of the Mother of God was glorified in the late nineteenth century, though it is older than that. This icon is of Italian origin and was brought to Russia by one of Empress Elizabeth's (1741-1761) maids of honor, who was Italian. The owner of the icon married a records clerk of the Zaporozhsky-Cossack army, Siromakh. So, the icon went to the Ukraine with them.

During the nineteenth century it belonged to the family of Count Vladimir Kapnist, and was one of their sacred possessions. The icon was in the village of Kozelschina, Poltava governance. During Cheesefare Week in the year 1880, Maria, the daughter of V. I. Kapnist, dislocated some bones in her foot. The local doctor said the problem was not serious. Dr. Grube, a noted surgeon in Kharkov, agreed with the diagnosis, and he applied a plaster cast to Maria's foot. He also prescribed hot baths and iron supplements. To lessen the discomfort of the foot while walking, a special shoe was made with metal bands that went around the girl's leg. Lent passed, but the girl did not feel any relief.

After Pascha, Maria's other foot became twisted. Then both shoulders and her left hip became dislocated, and she developed pain in her spine. The doctor advised Count Kapnist to take his daughter immediately to the Caucasus for the curative mineral waters and mountain air. The journey to the Caucasus and the curative treatments caused even greater affliction. The girl lost all feeling in her hands and feet, and did not even feel pinches.

Because of the advanced degree of the illness, and since therapy was not helping, they were compelled to return home.

In the month of October, the father journeyed with his sick daughter to Moscow. Here he consulted specialists, who declared that they could do nothing for Maria.

The parents and the sick girl began to despair. However, an unexpected opportunity for help from a foreign professor presented itself. Since it would be some while before his arrival in Moscow, the sick girl asked to return home. The Count sent her back to the village, and his wife promised to bring their daughter back to Moscow when he received news of the the professor's arrival. On February 21, 1881, they received a telegram saying that the professor had arrived in Moscow.

On the day before the appointment, Maria's mother suggested that she pray before the family icon of the Mother of God. She said to her daughter, "Masha [a diminutive form of Maria], tomorrow we go to Moscow. Take the icon, let us clean its cover and pray to the Most Holy Theotokos that your infirmity be cured."

The girl, who had no confidence in earthly physicians, placed all her hope in God. This icon had long been known as wonderworking. According to Tradition, young women would pray before it to have a happy family. It was also the custom to clean the cover of the icon, and the one praying would wipe it with cotton or linen.

Pressing the holy icon to her bosom, the sick girl, with the help of her mother, cleaned it and poured out all her sorrow and despair of soul to the Mother of God. All at once, she felt the strength return to her body and she cried out loudly, "Mama! Mama! I can feel my legs! I can feel my hands!" She tore off the metal braces and bandages and began to walk about the room, while continuing to hold the icon of the Mother of God in her hands.

The parish priest was summoned at once and celebrated a service of Thanksgiving before the icon. The joyous event quickly became known throughout all the surrounding villages. The Countess and Maria went to Moscow and took with them the holy icon of the Mother of God. News of the healing quickly spread about Moscow and people began to throng to the hotel, and then to the church, where they had brought the icon.

The icon continued to work several more healings. When the family returned home to Kozelschina, people had already heard about the miracles of the Kozelschansk icon of the Mother of God in Moscow, and many came to venerate the icon. It was no longer possible to keep the icon at home, so by the order of Archbishop John of Poltava, the icon was transferred to a temporary chapel on April 23, 1881. Every day from early morning, services of Thanksgiving and Akathists were served before the icon.

In 1882 a chapel was built on the grounds of the estate, and then a church. By decision of the Holy Synod on March 1, 1885 a women's monastery was established, and on February 17, 1891 it was dedicated to the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos.

At present, the Kozelschansk Icon is in the Krasnogorsk Protection women's monastery (Kiev diocese). In the lower left corner of the icon is a table with a cup and a spoon. It is believed that this symbolizes the Mother of God as a "bowl for mixing the wine of joy" (Akathist, Ikos 11). A Service and an Akathist have been composed for the Kozelschansk Icon.SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Venerable Agathon the Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves

Commemorated on February 20

Saint Agathon of the Kiev Caves was a great ascetic, and he healed the sick by a laying his hands upon them. He also possessed the gift of prophecy and foretold the time of his own death. His memory is celebrated also at the Synaxis of the Monks of the Far Caves on August 28.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Venerable Theodore of Sanaxar

Commemorated on February 19
Saint Theodore was born near the town of Romanov in the province of Yaroslavl in 1719, the son of Prince Ignatius Ushakov and his wife Paraskeva (or Irene). At his Baptism, he was named John.

As a young man, John Ushakov enlisted in the Preobrazhensky Guard Regiment in Petersburg, and attained the rank of sergeant. Life in the capital was fraught with great spiritual danger for a young person, but God delivered John from the wrong path.

When John was twenty, at a drinking party with his friends, one of them suddenly collapsed and died. They all experienced fear and sadness, but this seemed to affect John more than the others.This incident is remarkably similar to the circumstances surrounding the death of Major Andrew Petrov, the husband of Blessed Xenia of St Petersburg (January 24), but it may be only coincidental.

In any case, John decided to leave St Petersburg and live in the wilderness, dedicating himself to God. While walking near the city of Yaroslavl disguised as a laborer, he saw his uncle out with his servants. His uncle did not recognize him because of his poor clothing, but John was reminded of his former life of luxury and ease. He soon banished this thought and resolved to dwell in the wilderness.

While walking in the forests near the White Sea, John came upon an abandoned cell, so he decided to remain there in solitude and pray to God. He lived there for three years in great hardship and affliction. Government regulations of the time enjoined citizens not to permit monks to live in the forests. When John came to the village for supplies, he was beaten within an inch of his life, and was forced to flee.

John eventually came to the region south of Kiev, reaching the Ploschansk Monastery. He begged the igumen to accept him, saying that he was the son of a priest. He could not admit to being a sergeant of the Guard, since legal obstacles would have made it very difficult for him to enter monastic life.

The igumen would not accept him for a long time, since he did not have the proper identification papers. Finally, he did accept John and assigned him to read in church. After hearing him read, the igumen realized that John was not from a priestly family, but probably belonged to the nobility. Fearing trouble with the authorities, he ordered John to live in the forest near the monastery where other ascetics were living. He found an empty cell and received the blessing of these Fathers to remain there.

When a team of investigators came to the forest looking for monks living there illegally, John was caught. Since he had no documents and admitted to being a sergeant in the Guard, he was brought to St Petersburg and taken to the empress Elizabeth. When he was taken to the empress, she asked, "Why did you desert my regiment?"

John explained that he had done so in order to save his soul. Elizabeth forgave him and was willing to restore him to his former rank, but John said that he did not want his former life or rank.

The empress then asked why he had snuck away in secret instead of asking to be discharged. John replied, "If I had troubled Your Majesty with such a request, you would not have believed that a young man such as I could have borne such a burden. I have now been tested in the spiritual life, and I ask Your Majesty to bless me to continue in it until my death."

Elizabeth agreed to this, but stipulated that he should remain in the St Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St Petersburg. Soon, at her express command, John was tonsured in August of 1748 at the age of twenty-nine. Archbishop Theodosius, who then governed the monastery, ordered that he be named Theodore, in honor of St Theodore of Yaroslavl (September 19).

While Fr Theodore was in the Lavra, people would visit and ask him about how to please God while living in the world. He tried to tell them that there were older, wiser monks there who would be able to instruct them better than he could. Still, they insisted, so he tried to help them. He found, however, that he could not always answer their questions or find solutions to their problems, so he began to read patristic books, especially the works of St John Chrysostom, asking God to enlighten him so he could understand the Scriptures and the teachings of the Fathers. He learned many things from his reading, and he was able to instruct people for their spiritual profit. This caused jealousy among some of the older monks, who complained to the archbishop that this young monk was attracting people to himself and disturbing the tranquility of the monastery. The hierarch ordered that no visitor requesting to see Fr Theodore should be admitted.

Fr Theodore went to the steward of the monastery, asking him why people could not see him. He was told that because he presumed to instruct people, attracting many visitors, that the routine of the monastery was disrupted.

"If there is something in my teaching which seems unlawful to His Eminence," Fr Theodore responded, "then he should question me. It is sinful, however, to cause unnecessary sorrow to those seeking spiritual profit."

The archbishop was furious, but he ordered that people should be allowed to see Fr Theodore again. The jealousy and difficulties continued for ten years, and Fr Theodore endured his trials with patience. In 1757, he wanted to transfer to Sarov Monastery, and when the brethren of the Lavra found out about this, they insisted that he submit a written request for transfer.

Obtaining his release, Fr Theodore left St Petersburg with many of his disciples, male and female. Along the way they stopped at St Nicholas Convent in Arzamas, where he settled his women disciples. Soon they moved to the vacant Alexeyevsky Convent. The male disciples went with him to Sarov.

In 1759, after two years at Sarov, Fr Theodore asked Igumen Ephraim to let him have the Sanaxar Monastery, because the number of his disciples had increased. Sanaxar had been founded in 1659, but was closed by Tsar Peter I in the first half of the eighteenth century, and the property was administered by the Sarov Monastery. After moving to Sanaxar Hermitage, Fr Theodore began the work of building cells and storerooms. Bishop Pachomius of Tambov appointed Fr Theodore as the Superior. He also ordained the reluctant Fr Theodore to the holy priesthood on December 13, 1762. Fr Theodore began setting things in order, establishing a Rule for the reverent, unhurried celebration of the services. He also set down a cell Rule for the monks to follow. Everyone shared in the work (except those who were too old or too sick), including the Superior.

The number of monks at Sanaxar continued to increase, but not all of them had been tonsured. It was necessary to obtain permission to have them tonsured, for the number of monks allowed to live in a monastery was regulated by law. On April 23, 1763 Empress Catherine II decreed that all of Fr Theodore's monks should be tonsured. The following year, she issued a decree limiting the number of monasteries, those not specifically approved would be closed.

Sanaxar Hermitage was among the monastic institutions scheduled to be closed, but it remained open through Fr Theodore's efforts. Fr Theodore was raised to the rank of igumen in October of 1764, and Sanaxar was reclassified as a Monastery on March 7, 1765.

Because of the number of brethren, it became necessary to build a larger stone church to replace the small wooden one. A foundation was dug and a Molieben served at the site. Suddenly, a swarm of bees came and settled on the spot where the altar would be. This was taken as a sign of an increase in the number of brethren, and an abundance of grace in the monastery.

According to N. Subbotin's 1862 book on Archimandrite Theophanes of the St Cyril of New Lake Monastery (who was a novice at Sanaxar at the same time that St Herman was), Igumen Theodore ordered a monk named Herman to brush the bees into a hive. It is probable that this was the future St Herman of Alaska (December 13). In another edition of the book, the brother's name is given as Gerasimus. After this account, Subbotin mentions "Fr Herman, who is now in America." The discrepency in names may be explained if St Herman's name before his tonsure was Gerasimus. St Herman, in one of his letters to Fr Nazarius, says that he had friends at Sarov and Sanaxar, so St Theodore may have been one of St Herman's early instructors.

St Theodore once visited St Tikhon (August 13) at the Zadonsk Monastery. It is not known how long the two had known one another, but the retired bishop received him with love. This visit was providential, because St Tikhon also knew what it was to suffer offenses from superiors, from worldly-minded monks, and from laymen. Perhaps he even advised Fr Theodore on how to endure the trials which lay ahead of him.

When Fr Theodore returned to Sanaxar a royal edict was delivered to him by a courier. It ordered him to be sent as an exile to Solovki Monastery as a troublemaker. He was deprived of the rank of Igumen and Hieromonk, and the Superior of Solovki was ordered to keep a close eye on him. Fr Theodore remained there for nine years (1774-1783).

His release came about thanks to his disciple Archimandrite Theophanes (Sokolov), who found himself assigned as cell attendant to Metropolitan Gabriel of St Petersburg. Desiring to help his Elder, Fr Theophanes made the Metropolitan aware of Fr Theodore's situation. His Eminence asked Fr Theophanes to prepare a memorandum setting forth the facts of the case in detail. As a result, Metropolitan Gabriel asked Empress Catherine II to release Fr Theodore and permit him to return to Sanaxar.

On April 18, 1783 she issued a decree authorizing his release. Because of his weakened condition from the cold and fumes from smoky stoves, it took him a long time to make his way back to Sanaxar. He arrived at Arzamas Monastery on October 9, 1783 where he was greeted by the sisters, and by two hieromonks from Sanxar. Others were also on hand to meet the Elder: superiors from other monasteries, respected nobles, merchants, and ordinary men and women. He stayed about a week, instructing the nuns each day. Finally, he prepared to return to Sanaxar. The entire brotherhood came to meet him at the ferry on the Moksha River. After receiving his blessing, they accompanied him on the walk to Sanaxar. Fr Theodore thanked the brethren for their continued love, and for completing the church without him.

Within a few days after his return, Fr Theodore faced renewed persecution. Hierodeacon Hilarion accused him of being "a heretic and an atheist," and placed these accusations before the Holy Synod. They determined that Hierodeacon Hilarion was at fault and should be punished. He later asked Fr Theodore's forgiveness in front of the whole community.

The Superior of the Monastery, Fr Benedict, was jealous of Fr Theodore because of the crowds of visitors who came to see him. He complained to the local bishop, saying that the quiet of the monastery was being disturbed by so many people. Investigators were sent, but they did not interview anyone who might have said anything favorable to Fr Theodore. As a result, Fr Theodore was forbidden to receive visitors.

Once again, Fr Theophanes brought the Elder's plight to the attention of Metropolitan Gabriel. His Eminence sent a note saying that he was well-disposed toward Fr Theodore. As a result, he was given a bit more freedom, but his disciples could only seek his advice by writing letters.

Fr Benedict became ill, and Fr Theodore went to his cell to ask his forgiveness. Fr Benedict turned his face to the wall and refused to speak to the Elder. After suffering for a while, Fr Benedict died on December 27, 1778.

After the Superior's death, Fr Theodore was once again permitted to visit the nuns of the Alexeyevsky Convent at Arzamas. After delivering a moving homily on Psalm 136 ("By the rivers of Babylon") he left Arzamas and stopped at the monastery in Sarov. There he asked forgiveness of everyone, then rushed back to Sanaxar. He arrived on Wednesday of Cheesefare Week and spoke to his disciples in his cell around noon. Then he dismissed them to return to their cells.

Two noble disciples of St Theodore remained behind to ask his advice. Suddenly his expression changed and he began to weep for about fifteen minutes, lamenting how he had sinned in his youth. Then he ordered them to their cells, saying that he was feeling weak.

It was not rare for the Elder to be ill, but this weakness seemed unusual. His two disciples left and returned to their cells. Soon after this, his cell attendant knocked on the door with the customary prayer, but received no reply. He entered the cell and found Fr Theodore lying on his bed and praying, so he left and told the brethren about this. They all came to see him, but he would not speak.

About five hours later, around nine o'clock on the evening of February 19, 1791, St Theodore surrendered his soul to God.

St Theodore's relics were uncovered on April 21, 1999, and he was glorified for local veneration on June 28, 1999. He was glorified for national veneration by the Orthodox Church of Russia in 2004.

St Theodore of Sanaxar, who is also commemorated on April 21 (the uncovering of his relics in 1999), should not be confused with his famous relative St Theodore (Ushakov), Admiral of the Russian Fleet (October 2).

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

Friday, February 18, 2011

St Nicholas the Catholicos of Georgia

Commemorated on February 18

Nicholas Batonishvili was the son of Levan I, King of Kakheti (1520–1574). He lived during the grievous period of the Persian invasion of eastern Georgia. The young prince chose the path of monastic life and bravely helped his elder brother, King Alexandre II (1574–1605).

Despite his royal blood, he preferred the monk’s habit and the sweet, light yoke of Christ to the glamour and opulence of his inheritance.

According to God’s will, Nicholas was enthroned as Catholicos of All Georgia. The Georgian chronicle Life of Kartli (Kartlis Tskhovreba) relates the date of his enthronement as Saturday, February 28, 1584.

Armed with the highest hierarchical rank, royal blood, and personal integrity, Catholicos Nicholas was an exemplary leader for the Georgian nation. He struggled to plant the seeds of Christian love between countries of like faith.

He corresponded with Patriarch Job of Russia (1586–1590) and even sent him a horse. He also donated a leather-bound illuminated manuscript of the Gospels, copied in 1049, to the Metekhi Church of the Theotokos.

In his book Pilgrimage, the renowned eighteenth-century historian Archbishop Timote (Gabashvili) reports that there is an icon of Holy Catholicos Nicholas hanging in the refectory at the Iveron Monastery on Mt. Athos. Bishop Timote also describes another refectory, built by Ashotan Mukhran-Batoni, and notes, “There, I believe, Catholicos Nicholas Batonishvili reposed.”

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):

Thursday, February 17, 2011

St Mariamne the sister of the Apostle Philip

Commemorated on February 17

Righteous Mariamne "The Apostolic Virgin" and sister of the holy Apostle Philip (November 14), made a vow of virginity and became the companion of her brother Philip and the holy Apostle Bartholomew (June 11), actively assisting them in their apostolic work.

The Church historian Nicephorus Callistus describes their successful preaching in the Phrygian city of Hieropolis, where they were arrested and locked up in prison. They put the Apostle Philip to death on a cross, but St Mariamne and St Bartholomew were set free. St Bartholomew went to preach the Gospel in India. St Mariamne, after burying the body of St Philip, preached the Gospel at Lykaonia (Asia Minor). She died there in peace.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's):