Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Venerable Cyriacus of Tazlu, Romania

Saint Cyriacus was born into a peasant family, and became a monk at the Tazlau Monastery. Since he surpassed the other monks in humility, prayer, and virtue, he was found worthy of the grace of the priesthood.

Wishing to attain further perfection, St Cyriacus withdrew to a mountain called Magura Tazlaului, where he lived for fifty years. There he struggled in a manner similar to the great hesychasts of old, sustaining himself with dried bread and fruits, keeping all-night vigils and shedding copious tears. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, he was able to forsee future events, and to cast out evil spirits.

In time, many disciples flocked to him seeking spiritual counsel. These, in turn, became hesychasts and lived in the mountains of Tazlau, Nichitu, and Tarcau.

After he had reached a great age, St Cyriacus surrendered his soul to God around 1660. His disciples buried him in a cave on Magura Tazlaului, and many miracles were worked through his holy relics.

At the end of the seventeenth century Moldavia was threatened by great dangers, and many people took refuge in the forests. The relics of St Cyriacus were divided among the faithful so that they would not be profaned by infidels. Thus, the mountain cave on Magura Tazlaului was deprived of its great treasure.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Afterfeast of the Nativity

December 29

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined the light of knowledge upon the world; for thereby they that worshipped the stars were instructed by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory be to Thee.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Afterfeast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Commemorated on December 28

On December 28, the Afterfeast of the Nativity Feast, the Orthodox Church remembers the 20, 000 martyrs of Nicomedia were burned in their church while celebrating the Nativity of the Lord in 302. 


Your Nativity, O Christ our God, / Has shone to the world the Light of wisdom! / For by it, those who worshipped the stars, / Were taught by a Star to adore You, / The Sun of Righteousness, / And to know You, the Orient from on High. / O Lord, glory to You!


Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, / And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! / Angels with shepherds glorify Him! / The wise men journey with a star! / Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

St Theodore the Archbishop of Constantinople

Saint Theodore, Archbishop of Constantinople, was a native of Constantinople, led a pious life, was ordained as a priest and served in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia, where he was also the keeper of the sacred vessels.

In the year 676 he was chosen to be Patriarch of Constantinople, although after two years he was deposed because of slander. But truth triumphed, and St Theodore was restored to the Patriarchal throne in 683. He then guided the Church of Constantinople to the very end of his life. He died around the year 686.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hieromartyr Euthymius the Bishop of Sardis

The Hieromartyr Euthymius, Bishop of Sardis, during the period of the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (780-797) and the empress Irene (797-802), was chosen Bishop of Sardis because of his virtuous life. He was also present at the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), at which he denounced the Iconoclast heresy.

When the Iconoclast emperor Nicephorus I (802-811) came to rule, St Euthymius and other Orthodox hierarchs were banished to the island of Patalareia, where they languished for a long time. Recalled from exile by the emperor Leo V (813-820), the bishop boldly denounced the Iconoclast heresy, and they sent him into exile to the city of Assia. The next emperor, Michael II the Stammerer (820-829), attempted to make him renounce icon-veneration, but without success.

Then the holy martyr was flogged and banished to the island of Crete. Michael was succeeded on the throne by the Iconoclast emperor Theophilus (829-842), on whose order St Euthymius was subjected to cruel tortures: they stretched him on four poles and beat him with ox thongs. St Euthymius fell asleep in the Lord several days after the torture.

St Euthymius is also commemorated on March 8.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nun-Martyr Eugenia of Rome along with the Martyrs Protus and Martyrs Phillip, Hyacinthus, Basilla and Claudia

Commemorated on December 24

The Holy Martyr Eugenia, was a Roman by birth. She lived at Alexandria, where her father Philip was sent by the emperor Commodus (180-192) to be Prefect of Egypt. Eugenia received a fine upbringing and was noted for her beauty and good disposition. Many illustrious youths sought her hand, but she did not wish to marry anyone, for she was determined to preserve her virginity.

Providentially, she became acquainted with the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. She yearned with all her soul to become a Christian, but kept this a secret from her parents. At that time, Christians were banished from Alexandria by the command of the emperor. Wishing to learn more about Christian teachings, she asked permission to visit one of the family estates outside the city, supposedly to enjoy the countryside. She left in the company of her two servants Protus and Hyacinthus, dressed in men’s clothes. She and her companions were baptized at a certain monastery by Bishop Elias (July 14), who learned about her in a vision. He blessed her to pursue asceticism at the monastery disguised as the monk Eugene.

By her ascetic labors, St Eugenia acquired the gift of healing. Once, a rich young woman named Melanthia turned to her for help. Seeing “Eugene,” this woman burned with an impure passion, and when she was spurned, she falsely accused the saint of attempted rape. St Eugenia came to trial before the Prefect of Egypt (her father), and she was forced to reveal her secret. Her parents and brothers rejoiced to find the one for whom they had long grieved.

After a while they all accepted holy Baptism. But Philip, after being denounced by pagans, was dismissed from his post. The Alexandrian Christians chose him as their bishop. The new Prefect, fearing the wrath of the people, did not dare to execute Philip openly, but sent assassins to kill him. They inflicted wounds upon St Philip while he was praying, from which he died three days later.

St Claudia went to Rome with her sons, daughter, and her servants. There St Eugenia continued with monastic life, and brought many young women to Christ. Claudia built a wanderers’ hostel and aided the poor. After several peaceful years, the emperor Galienus (260-268) intensified the persecution against Christians, and many of them found refuge with Sts Claudia and Eugenia.

Basilla, an orphaned Roman girl of imperial lineage, heard about the Christians and St Eugenia. She sent a trusted servant to the saint asking her to write her a letter explaining Christian teachings. St Eugenia sent her friends and co-ascetics, Protus and Hyacinthus, who enlightened Basilla, and she accepted holy Baptism.

Basilla’s servant then told her fiancé Pompey that his betrothed had become a Christian. Pompey then complained to the emperor against the Christians for preaching celibacy and denouncing idolatry. Basilla refused to enter into marriage with Pompey, and so they killed her with a sword.

They dragged Sts Protus and Hyacinthus into a temple to make them sacrifice to the idols, but just as they entered, the idol fell down and was shattered. The holy Martyrs Protus and Hyacinthus were beheaded. They also brought St Eugenia to the temple of Diana by force, but she had not even entered it, when the pagan temple collapsed with its idol.

They threw the holy martyr into the Tiber with a stone about her neck, but the stone became untied and she remained unharmed. She also remained unscathed in the fire. Then they cast her into a pit, where she remained for ten days. During this time the Savior Himself appeared to her and said that she would enter into the heavenly Kingdom on the day He was born. When this radiant Feast came, the executioner put her to death with a sword. After her death, St Eugenia appeared to her mother to tell her beforehand the day of her own death.


Your lamb Eugenia, O Jesus, / Calls out to You in a loud voice: / I love You, O my bridegroom, / And in seeking You, I endure suffering. / In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, / And died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / For I have offered myself in love. / By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.


You left the passing glory of the world to follow Christ, / Keeping spotless the brilliance of your soul, / O inspired Martyr Eugenia, worthy of all praise!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ten Martyrs of Crete

December 23

These Saints, who were all from Crete, contested for piety's sake during the reign of Decius, in the year 250. Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, and Eunician were from Gortynia, the capital; Zoticus was from Knossos; Agathopus, from the port city of Panormus; Basilides, from Cydonia; Evarestus and Pompey, from Heraklion. Haled before the Governor as Christians, they were subjected to torments for thirty days, being scourged, racked, dragged upon the ground through dung heaps, stoned, spit upon. They were questioned again, but their costancy roused the Governor to greater fury. After subjecting them to torments more bitter still, he had them beheaded.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Let us now honour Crete, that land most marvellous, which sprouted forth the ten flowers revered by all, those goodly pearls of Christ our God, those verdant boughs of the Martyrs; for although they were but ten, the most blessed men put to shame the ten thousand armoured host of the wicked demonic ranks. And hence, they have received crowns of glory as stout-hearted Martyrs of Christ Saviour.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Shining like a morning star, the Martyrs' contest, worthy of all reverence, hath shown beforehand unto us Him that was born in a lowly cave, and Whom the Virgin conceived without seed of man.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Anastasia the Great Martyr

December 22

This Saint, who was from Rome, was a most comely, wealthy, and virtuous maiden, the daughter of Praepextatus and Fausta. It was her mother who instructed her in the Faith of Christ. The Saint was joined to a man named Publius Patricius, who was prodigal in life and impious in disposition, but she was widowed after a short time. Henceforth, she went about secretly to the dwellings of the poor and the prisons where the Martyrs of Christ were, and brought them whatever was needed for their daily subsistence. She washed their wounds and loosed them from their fetters, and consoled them in their anguish. Also, because the Saint, through her intercessions, has healed many from the ill effects of spells, potions, poisons, and other harmful substances, she has received the name "Deliverer from Potions." Since the fame of her deeds had spread about, she was arrested by Diocletian's minions, and after enduring many torments she was put to death by fire in the year 290.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
When they that are found in trials and adversities flee unto thy church O Anastasia, they receive the august and wondrous gifts of divine grace which doth abide in thee; for at all times, O Saint of God, thou pourest forth streams of healings for the world.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow

December 21

Our holy and wonderworking Father Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow, was born in Volhynia, tonsured a monk at twelve years of age, and later ordained a priest. He lived in solitude for a time in a desert place north of Lvov and founded the Holy Transfiguration Monastery; afterwards he was sent to Constantinople, where the holy Patriarch Athanasius consecrated him Metropolitan of Kiev in 1308, and he returned to Vladimir, where the Metropolitans of Kiev had their residence at that time (see Saint Jonas on June 15). In 1325, he moved to Moscow, where he founded the Dormition Cathedral, and after his repose on December 21, 1326, was buried there. He was also an iconographer, and two of his icons, the Dormition and the Petrovskaya, are found in the Dormition Cathedral (see also Oct. 5 and Aug. 24).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Now the formerly fruitless land rejoiceth; for behold, Christ hath revealed a light in thee that shineth forth clearly in the world, and healeth our infirmities and sicknesses. Wherefore, dance and be merry with boldness; he is a hierarch indeed of the Most High, Who was his fellow-worker in these things.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
On this day, we hasten to thee with love, fashioning a song, O God-bearing champion and marvellous wonderworker of our land. Since thou hast boldness before the Lord, deliver us from diverse afflictions, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O support of our city.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Venerable Daniel the Hesychast

Commemorated on December 18

Saint Daniel the Hesychast, the great wonderworker and instructor of monastics, was born in Moldavia at the beginning of the fifteenth century. He was baptized with the name Dumitru. When he was sixteen, he became a monk of the monastery of St Nicholas at Radauti and received the name David. His spiritual Father was St Leontius of Radauti (July 1). After many years of ascetical struggles, he became a chosen vessel of the Spirit and was ordained to the holy priesthood.

He lived for some years at the monastery of St Laurence in the Civoul de Sus district. There he fulfilled his obediences during the day, and at night he kept vigil, prayed, and wove baskets. He received the Great Schema and the new name Daniel. He obtained the igumen’s blessing to live in the wilderness in solitude, where he devoted himself to spiritual struggles. Around 1450, he lived near the Neamts Monastery by Secu creek for fourteen years. In time, people discovered where he lived and came to visit him. Longing for solitude, he moved to northern Moldavia and chiseled out a cell for himself in the face of a cliff near Putna creek. Next to it, he carved out a small chapel for prayer.

After his spiritual child St Stephen the Great (July 2) built the Putna Monastery, which was consecrated in 1470, St Daniel moved near the Voronets Monastery. Here too, he carved a small cell out of the rock under Soim (Falcon) Cliff and lived a God-pleasing life for the next twenty years. He guided many disciples in the principles of the spiritual life, and he also had the gift of healing the sick of their physical infirmities.

In 1488, when he was over eighty years old, St Daniel went to live at the Voronets Monastery, where he was chosen to be the igumen.

St Daniel was a great ascetic and wonderworker, wise and clairvoyant. People from near and far visited him seeking his spiritual advice, or to confess their sins. He died in 1496 and was buried at the Voronet Monastery, where people continue to venerate his tomb.

St Daniel was glorified by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1992.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Venerable Daniel the Confessor (in Schema Stephen) of Spain, and Egypt

Saint Daniel the Confessor, (in the schema Stephen) lived in the tenth century. He was a Spanish dignitary, and prefect of the island of Niverta. Disdaining worldly glory, he became a monk in Rome and went on pilgrimage to the holy places at Constantinople and Jerusalem, where he received the Great Schema and the name Stephen. He received the crown of martyrdom after he refused the Saracens’ demand that he renounce Christ and become a Moslem.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

St Hilarion, Metropolitan of Suzdal and Yuriev

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 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Venerable Arsenius of Latros

Commemorated on December 13

St Arsenius of Latros, the son of rich, illustrious and pious parents, was born at Constantinople. He was made Patrician and General of the Cibyrra military Theme (the Byzantine Empire was divided into 29 Themes, or districts). Once, when he was traveling by sea with his soldiers, a storm arose and the ships sank. Of all the soldiers only St Arsenius was saved. After this he became a monk, and he mortified his flesh by fasting, vigil and hardships.

Later, he came to a certain place on Mount Latros, in Asia Minor. There he killed a poisonous viper by his prayer and the Sign of the Cross, and then he settled in the nearby Kelliboria monastery on the north side of the mountain, where he was chosen igumen. From the monastery St Arsenius went to a cave, where he repelled wild beasts by prayer. The brethren of the monastery asked him to return to them. He did go back, but did not live with the other monks. He lived alone in a small cell, and for six days of the week he neither ate any food, nor would he converse with anyone.

Finally, St Arsenius attained such perfection that he was fed by an angel. He was also granted the grace to perform miracles. He could stir bitter water with his staff and change it into sweet water. After performing many other miracles, he called the brethren to him and gave them his final instructions.

After advising them to put aside all worldly cares and vanities, St Arsenius surrendered his soul to God. The saint continued to work miracles even after his death.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holy New Martyr Peter the Aleut

December 12

The holy New Martyr Peter suffered martyrdom in San Francisco at the time that California belonged to Spain. An Aleut from Alaska, he and his companions were captured in California by the Spaniards. When he refused to abandon Orthodoxy to accept Latinism, which they wished to force upon him, the Spaniards submitted him to a martyrdom like that suffered by Saint James the Persian, cutting him apart joint by joint. He died from loss of blood in steadfast confession of the Faith in 1815.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
O Peter, upon the rock of thy faith hath Christ built His Church, and in the streams of thy blood hath He hallowed our land. In thee thy people hath been sanctified, O Aleut; from the farthest islands of the west hath He raised thee, a light unto all. Glory to Him that hath glorified thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
As a skilful fisherman, the Martyr Peter was not harmed when he was caught by adversaries of the Faith; but in a sea of martyric blood, he gained the Kingdom and drowned bitter heresy.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Martyr Gemellus of Paphlagonia

The Holy Martyr Gemellus of Paphlagonia was subjected to cruel tortures for his staunch denunciation of the emperor Juilan the Apostate (361-363) in the city of Ancyra (Galatia). A red-hot iron belt was placed around his waist. Then he was ordered to accompany the impious Julian on his journey. When they reached Edessa in Mesopotamia, he was stretched out on the ground and his limbs were pierced with wooden stakes. Then he was hung on a post and mutilated.

Enduring the tortures, the saint continued to revile the emperor. After being subjected to even more horrible torments, they let him go. He was still able to walk and speak, so he went on his way until he met a priest. He entreated the priest to baptize him, and when he emerged from the water, his wounds were all healed.
Hearing of this miracle, Julian ordered that St Gemellus be crucified. The victorious athlete of Christ gave up his soul to God, and his body was secretly taken down and buried by Christians.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, December 08, 2013

62 Martyred Priests and the 300 Martyred laypeople of Africa, martyred by the Arians

The Holy Martyrs of Africa (62 Clergy and 300 Laypeople): They suffered in the time of the emperor Zeno (474-491). Guneric, the ruler of the Vandal kingdom in North Africa, came under the influence of heretical Arian bishops and began a fierce persecution against the Orthodox.

When believers had gathered at one of the churches and secretly celebrated the Divine Liturgy, barbarian soldiers burst into the church. Some of the worshippers fled, but 300 men voluntarily gave themselves over to torture and were beheaded. Of the clergy, two were burned, and sixty had their tongues cut out. By a miraculous Divine power they continued to preach and to oppose the Arian heresy.

They all endured horrible torments, but remained faithful to Christ and His holy Church.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir of Seligersk

Commemorated on December 7

The Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Seliger comes from the island of Seliger in the Tver Province of Russia. 


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Friday, December 06, 2013

Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra

December 6

This Saint lived during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great, and reposed in 330, As a young man, he desired to espouse the solitary life. He made a pilgrimage to the holy city Jerusalem, where he found a place to withdraw to devote himself to prayer. It was made known to him, however, that this was not the will of God for him, but that he should return to his homeland to be a cause of salvation for many. He returned to Myra, and was ordained bishop. He became known for his abundant mercy, providing for the poor and needy, and delivering those who had been unjustly accused. No less was he known for his zeal for the truth. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of the 318 Fathers at Nicaea in 325; upon hearing the blasphemies that Arius brazenly uttered against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck him on the face. Since the canons of the Church forbid the clergy to strike any man at all, his fellow bishops were in perplexity what disciplinary action was to be taken against this hierarch whom all revered. In the night our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady Theotokos appeared to certain of the bishops, informing them that no action was to be taken against him, since he had acted not out of passion, but extreme love and piety. The Dismissal Hymn for holy hierarchs, The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock ... was written originally for Saint Nicholas. He is the patron of all travellers, and of sea-farers in particular; he is one of the best known and best loved Saints of all time.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Nicholas, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Saintly One, (St. Nicholas) in Myra you proved yourself a priest; for in fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, venerable One, you laid down your life for your people and saved the innocent from death. For this you were sanctified as One learned in divine grace.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Holy Prophet Sophonias (Zephaniah)

December 3

This Prophet, who is ninth in order among the minor Prophets, was the son of Chusi (Cushi), from the tribe of Levi, or according to some, the great-grandson of King Hezekias. He prophesied in the years of Josias, who reigned in the years 641-610 before Christ. His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters. His name means "Yah is darkness."
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Sophonias, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Thou wast shown to be illumined by the Divine Spirit, O Prophet Sophonias, proclaiming God's manifestation, and thou didst preach: Rejoice greatly, O daughters of Sion and of Jerusalem; behold, your King cometh, bringing salvation.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Monday, December 02, 2013

Habakkuk the Prophet

December 2

This Prophet, whose name means "loving embrace," is eighth in order of the minor Prophets. His homeland and tribe are not recorded in the Divine Scriptures; according to some, he was of the tribe of Symeon. He prophesied in the years of Joachim, who is also called Jechonias, before the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish People, which took place 599 years before Christ. When Nabuchodonosor came to take the Israelites captive, Habakkuk fled to Ostrakine, and after Jerusalem was destroyed and the Chaldeans departed, Habakkuk returned and cultivated his field. Once he made some pottage and was about to take it to the reapers in the field. An Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and carried him with the pottage to Babylon to feed Daniel in the lions' den, then brought him back to Judea (Bel and the Dragon, 33-39): His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters; the third chapter is also used as the Fourth Ode of the Psalter. His holy relics were found in Palestine during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great, through a revelation to Zebennus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis (Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., Book VI 1, 2-9).

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Habakkuk , O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Thou plainly beheldest the sacred disciples of Christ as horses that troubled the deep sea of ignorance, plunging error into the depths with their godly teachings, Habakkuk, God-proclaimer; hence, as a true Prophet, we acclaim thee, while asking that thou shouldst intercede that we find mercy with God the Lord.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Nahum the Prophet

December 1

The Prophet Nahum had Elkesaeus (Elkosh) as his homeland, and was from the tribe of Symeon; he is seventh in order among the twelve Minor Prophets.  He prophesied during the time of Hezekias, after the destruction of Samaria (721 years before Christ), but before the ten tribes were taken into captivity; he prophesied against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. His name means "comforter." His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Nahum, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Thy pure heart, illumined by the Holy Spirit, was a sacred vessel of resplendent prophecy, for thou didst see things far off as close at hand. Hence we revere thee, blest Nahum most glorious.



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hierarch Peter, First Catholicos of Georgia

Commemorated on November 30

Saint Peter was the first catholicos of Georgia. He led the Church of Kartli from the 460s through the beginning of the 6th century. According to God’s will, St. Peter inaugurated the dynasty of the chief shepherds of Georgia.

It is written in the biography of Holy King Vakhtang IV Gorgasali that the king was introduced to Peter, a pupil of St. Gregory the Theologian, during one of his visits to Byzantium, and he became very close to him. At that time he was also introduced to the future catholicos Samuel.

The close spiritual bond of the holy king and the catholicos, combined with their concerted efforts on behalf of the Church, contributed immeasurably to the establishment of friendly political relations between Georgia and Byzantium and the proclamation of the autocephaly of the Georgian Apostolic Church.

Having returned to his own capital, King Vakhtang sent an envoy to Byzantium to find him a wife. He also sent a request that the hierarch Peter be elevated as catholicos and that the priest Samuel be consecrated bishop. He pleaded with the patriarch to hasten the arrival of Catholicos Peter and the twelve bishops with him.

The patriarch of Constantinople approved King Vakhtang’s request to institute the rank of catholicos of Georgia. Since the Georgian Church was still under the jurisdiction of Antioch, Peter and Samuel were sent to the Antiochian patriarch himself to be elevated. The autocephaly of the Georgian Church was proclaimed upon the arrival of the holy fathers in Georgia.

St. Peter ruled the Church according to the principle of autocephaly and established a form of self-rule that would later help to increase the authority of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church.

The mutual respect and cooperation of the catholicos and the holy king laid the foundations for future, harmonious relations between secular and Church authorities in Georgia. Their example defined the authority of the Church and a national love and respect for the king.

Peter accompanied Holy King Vakhtang Gorgasali to war with the Persians in 502. It is written that “the fatally wounded king Vakhtang summoned the catholicos, the queen, his sons and all the nobility.” St. Peter heard the king’s last confession, granted the remission of his sins, presided at his funeral service, and blessed the prince Dachi (502-514) to succeed him as king of Kartli.

Holy Catholicos Peter led the Georgian Church with great wisdom to the end of his days.

St. Samuel ascended the throne of the Apostolic Orthodox Church of Georgia in the 6th century, after the holy catholicos Peter.

Like St. Peter, Samuel was a native of Byzantium. He arrived with Catholicos Peter in Georgia as a bishop, at the invitation of King Vakhtang Gorgasali and with the blessing of the patriarch of Constantinople.
At that time Svetitskhoveli in Mtskheta was the residence of the catholicos.

After the repose of Catholicos Peter, Samuel succeeded him, and King Dachi “bestowed upon him the city of Mtskheta, according to the will of King Vakhtang.” St. Samuel led the Georgian Church during the reigns of King Dachi and his son Bakur. He initiated construction of Tsqarostavi Church in the Javakheti region.

What we know of St. Samuel’s activity paints him as a pastor who demonstrated great foresight and cared deeply about his flock. He was also a close acquaintance of the holy martyr Queen Shushanik.

St. Samuel faithfully served the Autocephalous Church of Georgia and labored to strengthen the Christian Faith of the Georgian people to the end of his days.

The Holy Synod of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church canonized the holy catholicos Peter and the holy catholicos Samuel on October 17, 2002.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Stephen the New

November 28

The righteous Stephen was born in Constantinople in 715 to pious parents named John and Anna. His mother had prayed often to the most holy Theotokos in her church at Blachernae to be granted a son, and one day received a revelation from our Lady that she would conceive the son she desired. When Anna had conceived, she asked the newly-elected Patriarch Germanus (see May 12) to bless the babe in her womb. He said, "May God bless him through the prayers of the holy First Martyr Stephen." At that moment Anna saw a flame of fire issue from the mouth of the holy Patriarch. When the child was born, she named him Stephen, according to the prophecy of Saint Germanus.

Stephen struggled in asceticism from his youth in Bithynia at the Monastery of Saint Auxentius, which was located at a lofty place called Mount Auxentius (see Feb. 14). Because of his extreme labours and great goodness, he was chosen by the hermits of Mount Auxentius to be their leader. The fame of his spiritual struggles reached the ears of all, and the fragrance of his virtue drew many to himself.

During the reign of Constantine V (741-775), Stephen showed his love of Orthodoxy in contending for the Faith. This Constantine was called Copronymus, that is, "namesake of dung," because while being baptized he had soiled the waters of regeneration, giving a fitting token of what manner of impiety he would later embrace. Besides being a fierce Iconoclast, Constantine raised up a ruthless persecution of monasticism. He held a council in 754 that anathematized the holy icons. Because Saint Stephen rejected this council, the Emperor framed false accusations against him and exiled him. But while in exile Saint Stephen performed healings with holy icons and turned many away from Iconoclasm. When he was brought before the Emperor again, he showed him a coin and asked whose image the coin bore. "Mine," said the tyrant. "If any man trample upon thine image, is he liable to punishment?" asked the Saint. When they that stood by answered yes, the Saint groaned because of their blindness, and said if they thought dishonouring the image of a corruptible king worthy of punishment, what torment would they receive who trampled upon the image of the Master Christ and of the Mother of God? Then he threw the coin to the ground and trampled on it. He was condemned to eleven months in bonds and imprisonment. Later, he was dragged over the earth and was stoned, like Stephen the First Martyr; wherefore he is called Stephen the New. Finally, he was struck with a wooden club on the temple and his head was shattered, and thus he gave up his spirit in the year 767.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Trained on the mountain in ascetical labours, with the whole armour of the Cross thou didst vanquish the spiritual arrays of unseen enemies; and when thou hadst stripped thyself with great courage for contest, thou didst slay Copronymus with the sword of the true Faith. For both these things hast thou been crowned by God, O righteous Martyr, blest Stephen of great renown.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
With songs and hymns, O ye feast-lovers, let us all extol the godly Stephen, that great lover of the Trinity, for he honoured with his whole heart the comely image of the Master, of His Mother, and of all the Saints. Now with one accord, with longing, and with joy of heart, let us cry to him: Rejoice, O Father most glorious.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

James the Great Martyr of Persia

November 27

This Saint was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth; he was the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the King's friendship and flatteries. When his mother and his wife learned of this, they declared to him by letter that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words and coming to himself, the Saint wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. Therefore, becoming exceedingly wroth, the King - this was Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438), Isdiger's son and successor - condemned him to a most bitter death, the likes of which not even a brute beast was ever condemned to: that is, his body was dismembered at every joint of his arms and legs. And so, when he had been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous Martyr was finally beheaded, in the year 421.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Be entreated, O Lord, by the sufferings endured for You by the Saints, and we pray You, heal all our pain.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
O stout-hearted James, persuaded by thy noble wife, and fearing the dread tribunal, thou didst scorn all fear of the Persians with their profane decrees, and thou wast shown forth to be a most wondrous martyr of Christ, when all of thy body was pruned like a vine.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Venerable James the Solitary of Syria

Commemorated on November 26

Saint James the Hermit was the disciple of St Maron (February 14). He lived in asceticism on a mountain not far from the city of Cyrrhus in Syria. He suffered grievous ills, but he always wore chains, ate food only in the evening, and prayed constantly. By such efforts he attained to high spiritual perfection, receiving from the Lord power over demons, the gift of healing and even of raising the dead. St James peacefully fell asleep in the Lord.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Apodosis of the Presentation of the Theotokos into the Temple

November 25

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Today is the prelude of God's pleasure and the proclamation of man's salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, "Hail, fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Virginmartyr Mastridia of Alexandria

The Nun Mastridia lived in Alexandria. She made a vow of virginity and she dwelt in unceasing prayer, keeping the fasts and keeping silence. The pure life of the holy virgin was beset by trials. A certain young man, attracted to her with impure desire, began to pursue her so that she could not even leave her home to go to church.

Grieving because she had unwillingly led the youth into temptation, and being zealous for his salvation, the saint invited him into her home. She asked what it was about her that made him bother her so much. He replied, “Your beautiful eyes!” Hearing this, she gouged them out with a needle she used for sewing. Thus she saved herself and the youth from temptation. He then repented and became a monk, living as a strict ascetic. St Mastridia finished her life in works for the Lord.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Venerable Anthony of Iezerul-Vilcea Skete

Commemorated on November 23

Saint Anthony the Hesychast was born in the sub-Carpathian Mountains of Vilcea county in Romania, and he loved Christ from his early childhood. He knew many ascetics who lived as hesychasts, and they had a profound effect upon his life. He received the monastic tonsure at the Iezerul Skete, where he lived for several years as a young man.

In 1690, after he had gained experience in the ascetical life, the igumen blessed him to live as a solitary on Mt Iezerul. There he lived in a small cave, glorifying God and struggling against demons. Only real hesychasts know what great temptations and trials face those who wish to live as solitaries.

St Anthony labored for three years digging a chapel out of the cliffside with his own hands. He would work during the day, and keep vigil by night. When the chapel was finished, it was consecrated by Bishop Hilarion of Rimnicu Vilcea. St Anthony prayed there unceasingly, reading the daily services and making hundreds of prostrations. A hieromonk from the Skete would come from time to time to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Feast Days and during the fasts.

St Anthony’s holy life became known throughout the region, and many of the clergy and laity flocked to him for spiritual advice or consolation in sorrows. He received them with love, gave them the help they needed, and sent them home in peace. Through his influence, a genuine spiritual revival took place in sub-Carpathian Oltenia.

St Anthony fell asleep in the Lord in 1714 after twenty-five years of spiritual struggles. His disciples mourned him, and buried him beside his small chapel. The faithful still go there to light candles and to pray, seeking his blessing and assistance.

St Anthony the Hesychast was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple

Commemorated on November 21

According to Holy Tradition, the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple took place in the following manner. The parents of the Virgin Mary, Sts Joachim and Anna, praying for an end to their childlessness, vowed that if a child were born to them, they would dedicate it to the service of God.

When the Most Holy Virgin reached the age of three, the holy parents decided to fulfill their vow. They gathered together their relatives and acquaintances, and dressed the All-Pure Virgin in Her finest clothes. Singing sacred songs and with lighted candles in their hands, virgins escorted Her to the Temple (Ps. 44/45:14-15). There the High Priest and several priests met the handmaiden of God. In the Temple, fifteen high steps led to the sanctuary, which only the priests and High Priest could enter. (Because they recited a Psalm on each step, Psalms 119/120-133/134 are called “Psalms of Ascent.”) The child Mary, so it seemed, could not make it up this stairway. But just as they placed Her on the first step, strengthened by the power of God, She quickly went up the remaining steps and ascended to the highest one. Then the High Priest, through inspiration from above, led the Most Holy Virgin into the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest entered once a year to offer a purifying sacrifice of blood. Therefore, all those present in the Temple were astonished at this most unusual occurrence.

After entrusting their child to the Heavenly Father, Joachim and Anna returned home. The All-Holy Virgin remained in the quarters for virgins near the Temple. According to the testimony of Holy Scripture (Exodus 38; 1 Kings 1: 28; Luke 2: 37), and also the historian Josephus Flavius, there were many living quarters around the Temple, in which those who were dedicated to the service of God dwelt.

The earthly life of the Most Holy Theotokos from Her infancy until She was taken up to Heaven is shrouded in deep mystery. Her life at the Jerusalem Temple was also a secret. “If anyone were to ask me,” said St Jerome, “how the Most Holy Virgin spent the time of Her youth, I would answer that that is known to God Himself and the Archangel Gabriel, Her constant guardian.”

But there are accounts in Church Tradition, that during the All-Pure Virgin’s stay at the Temple, She grew up in a community of pious virgins, diligently read the Holy Scripture, occupied Herself with handicrafts, prayed constantly, and grew in love for God. From ancient times, the Church has celebrated the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Indications that the Feast was observed in the first centuries of Christianity are found in the traditions of Palestinian Christians, which say that the holy Empress Helen (May 21) built a church in honor of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple.

St Gregory of Nyssa, in the fourth century, also mentions this Feast. In the eighth century Sts Germanus and Tarasius, Patriarchs of Constantinople, delivered sermons on the Feast of the Entry.

The Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple foretells God’s blessing for the human race, the preaching of salvation, the promise of the coming of Christ.




by Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica 

If a tree is known by its fruit, and a good tree bears good fruit (Mt. 7:17; Luke 6:44), then is not the Mother of Goodness Itself, She who bore the Eternal Beauty, incomparably more excellent than every good, whether in this world or the world above? Therefore, the coeternal and identical Image of goodness, Preeternal, transcending all being, He Who is the preexisting and good Word of the Father, moved by His unutterable love for mankind and compassion for us, put on our image, that He might reclaim for Himself our nature which had been dragged down to uttermost Hades, so as to renew this corrupted nature and raise it to the heights of Heaven. For this purpose, He had to assume a flesh that was both new and ours, that He might refashion us from out of ourselves. Now He finds a Handmaiden perfectly suited to these needs, the supplier of Her own unsullied nature, the Ever-Virgin now hymned by us, and Whose miraculous Entrance into the Temple, into the Holy of Holies, we now celebrate. God predestined Her before the ages for the salvation and reclaiming of our kind. She was chosen, not just from the crowd, but from the ranks of the chosen of all ages, renowned for piety and understanding, and for their God-pleasing words and deeds.

In the beginning, there was one who rose up against us: the author of evil, the serpent, who dragged us into the abyss. Many reasons impelled him to rise up against us, and there are many ways by which he enslaved our nature: envy, rivalry, hatred, injustice, treachery, slyness, etc. In addition to all this, he also has within him the power of bringing death, which he himself engendered, being the first to fall away from true life.

The author of evil was jealous of Adam, when he saw him being led from earth to Heaven, from which he was justly cast down. Filled with envy, he pounced upon Adam with a terrible ferocity, and even wished to clothe him with the garb of death. Envy is not only the begetter of hatred, but also of murder, which this truly man-hating serpent brought about in us. For he wanted to be master over the earth-born for the ruin of that which was created in the image and likeness of God. Since he was not bold enough to make a face to face attack, he resorted to cunning and deceit. This truly terrible and malicious plotter pretended to be a friend and useful adviser by assuming the physical form of a serpent, and stealthily took their position. By his God-opposing advice, he instills in man his own death-bearing power, like a venomous poison.

If Adam had been sufficiently strong to keep the divine commandment, then he would have shown himself the vanquisher of his enemy, and withstood his deathly attack. But since he voluntarily gave in to sin, he was defeated and was made a sinner. Since he is the root of our race, he has produced us as death-bearing shoots. So, it was necessary for us, if he were to fight back against his defeat and to claim victory, to rid himself of the death-bearing venomous poison in his soul and body, and to absorb life, eternal and indestructible life.

It was necessary for us to have a new root for our race, a new Adam, not just one Who would be sinless and invincible, but one Who also would be able to forgive sins and set free from punishment those subject to it. And not only would He have life in Himself, but also the capacity to restore to life, so that He could grant to those who cleave to Him and are related to Him by race both life and the forgiveness of their sins, restoring to life not only those who came after Him, but also those who already had died before Him. Therefore, St Paul, that great trumpet of the Holy Spirit, exclaims, “the first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45).

Except for God, there is no one who is without sin, or life-creating, or able to remit sin. Therefore, the new Adam must be not only Man, but also God. He is at the same time life, wisdom, truth, love, and mercy, and every other good thing, so that He might renew the old Adam and restore him to life through mercy, wisdom and righteousness. These are the opposites of the things which the author of evil used to bring about our aging and death.

As the slayer of mankind raised himself against us with envy and hatred, so the Source of life was lifted up [on the Cross] because of His immeasurable goodness and love for mankind. He intensely desired the salvation of His creature, i.e., that His creature would be restored by Himself. In contrast to this, the author of evil wanted to bring God’s creature to ruin, and thereby put mankind under his own power, and tyrannically to afflict us. And just as he achieved the conquest and the fall of mankind by means of injustice and cunning, by deceit and his trickery, so has the Liberator brought about the defeat of the author of evil, and the restoration of His own creature with truth, justice and wisdom.

It was a deed of perfect justice that our nature, which was voluntarily enslaved and struck down, should again enter the struggle for victory and cast off its voluntary enslavement. Therefore, God deigned to receive our nature from us, hypostatically uniting with it in a marvelous way. But it was impossible to unite that Most High Nature, Whose purity is incomprehensible for human reason, to a sinful nature before it had been purified. Therefore, for the conception and birth of the Bestower of purity, a perfectly spotless and Most Pure Virgin was required.

Today we celebrate the memory of those things that contributed, if only once, to the Incarnation. He Who is God by nature, the Co-unoriginate and Coeternal Word and Son of the Transcendent Father, becomes the Son of Man, the Son of the Ever-Virgin. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8), immutable in His divinity and blameless in His humanity, He alone, as the Prophet Isaiah prophesied, “practiced no iniquity, nor deceit with His lips” (Is. 53: 9). He alone was not brought forth in iniquity, nor was He conceived in sin, in contrast to what the Prophet David says concerning himself and every other man (Ps. 50/51: 5). Even in what He assumes, He is perfectly pure and has no need to be cleansed Himself. But for our sake, He accepted purification, suffering, death and resurrection, that He might transmit them to us.

God is born of the spotless and Holy Virgin, or better to say, of the Most Pure and All-Holy Virgin. She is above every fleshly defilement, and even above every impure thought. Her conceiving resulted not from fleshly lust, but by the overshadowing of the Most Holy Spirit. Such desire being utterly alien to Her, it is through prayer and spiritual readiness that She declared to the angel: “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto Me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38), and that She conceived and gave birth. So, in order to render the Virgin worthy of this sublime purpose, God marked this ever-virgin Daughter now praised by us, from before the ages, and from eternity, choosing Her from out of His elect.

Turn your attention then, to where this choice began. From the sons of Adam God chose the wondrous Seth, who showed himself a living heaven through his becoming behavior, and through the beauty of his virtues. That is why he was chosen, and from whom the Virgin would blossom as the divinely fitting chariot of God. She was needed to give birth and to summon the earth-born to heavenly sonship. For this reason also all the lineage of Seth were called “sons of God,” because from this lineage a son of man would be born the Son of God. The name Seth signifies a rising or resurrection, or more specifically, it signifies the Lord, Who promises and gives immortal life to all who believe in Him.

And how precisely exact is this parallel! Seth was born of Eve, as she herself said, in place of Abel, whom Cain killed through jealousy (Gen. 4:25); and Christ, the Son of the Virgin, was born for us in place of Adam, whom the author of evil also killed through jealousy. But Seth did not resurrect Abel, since he was only a type of the resurrection. But our Lord Jesus Christ resurrected Adam, since He is the very Life and the Resurrection of the earth-born, for whose sake the descendents of Seth are granted divine adoption through hope, and are called the children of God. It was because of this hope that they were called sons of God, as is evident from the one who was first called so, the successor in the choice. This was Enos, the son of Seth, who as Moses wrote, first hoped to call on the Name of the Lord (Gen. 4:26).

In this manner, the choice of the future Mother of God, beginning with the very sons of Adam and proceeding through all the generations of time, through the Providence of God, passes to the Prophet-king David and the successors of his kingdom and lineage. When the chosen time had come, then from the house and posterity of David, Joachim and Anna are chosen by God. Though they were childless, they were by their virtuous life and good disposition the finest of all those descended from the line of David. And when in prayer they besought God to deliver them from their childlessness, and promised to dedicate their child to God from its infancy. By God Himself, the Mother of God was proclaimed and given to them as a child, so that from such virtuous parents the all-virtuous child would be raised. So in this manner, chastity joined with prayer came to fruition by producing the Mother of virginity, giving birth in the flesh to Him Who was born of God the Father before the ages.

Now, when Righteous Joachim and Anna saw that they had been granted their wish, and that the divine promise to them was realized in fact, then they on their part, as true lovers of God, hastened to fulfill their vow given to God as soon as the child had been weaned from milk. They have now led this truly sanctified child of God, now the Mother of God, this Virgin into the Temple of God. And She, being filled with Divine gifts even at such a tender age, ... She, rather than others, determined what was being done over Her. In Her manner She showed that She was not so much presented into the Temple, but that She Herself entered into the service of God of her own accord, as if she had wings, striving towards this sacred and divine love. She considered it desirable and fitting that she should enter into the Temple and dwell in the Holy of Holies.

Therefore, the High Priest, seeing that this child, more than anyone else, had divine grace within Her, wished to set Her within the Holy of Holies. He convinced everyone present to welcome this, since God had advanced it and approved it. Through His angel, God assisted the Virgin and sent Her mystical food, with which She was strengthened in nature, while in body She was brought to maturity and was made purer and more exalted than the angels, having the Heavenly spirits as servants. She was led into the Holy of Holies not just once, but was accepted by God to dwell there with Him during Her youth, so that through Her, the Heavenly Abodes might be opened and given for an eternal habitation to those who believe in Her miraculous birthgiving.

So it is, and this is why She, from the beginning of time, was chosen from among the chosen. She Who is manifest as the Holy of Holies, Who has a body even purer than the spirits purified by virtue, is capable of receiving ... the Hypostatic Word of the Unoriginate Father. Today the Ever-Virgin Mary, like a Treasure of God, is stored in the Holy of Holies, so that in due time, (as it later came to pass) She would serve for the enrichment of, and an ornament for, all the world. Therefore, Christ God also glorifies His Mother, both before, and also after His birth.

We who understand the salvation begun for our sake through the Most Holy Virgin, give Her thanks and praise according to our ability. And truly, if the grateful woman (of whom the Gospel tells us), after hearing the saving words of the Lord, blessed and thanked His Mother, raising her voice above the din of the crowd and saying to Christ, “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps Thou hast sucked” (Luke 11:27), then we who have the words of eternal life written out for us, and not only the words, but also the miracles and the Passion, and the raising of our nature from death, and its ascent from earth to Heaven, and the promise of immortal life and unfailing salvation, then how shall we not unceasingly hymn and bless the Mother of the Author of our Salvation and the Giver of Life, celebrating Her conception and birth, and now Her Entry into the Holy of Holies?

Now, brethren, let us remove ourselves from earthly to celestial things. Let us change our path from the flesh to the spirit. Let us change our desire from temporal things to those that endure. Let us scorn fleshly delights, which serve as allurements for the soul and soon pass away. Let us desire spiritual gifts, which remain undiminished. Let us turn our reason and our attention from earthly concerns and raise them to the inaccessible places of Heaven, to the Holy of Holies, where the Mother of God now resides.

Therefore, in such manner our songs and prayers to Her will gain entry, and thus through her mediation, we shall be heirs of the everlasting blessings to come, through the grace and love for mankind of Him Who was born of Her for our sake, our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory, honor and worship, together with His Unoriginate Father and His Coeternal and Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.


Today is the prelude of the good will of God, / of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. / The Virgin appears in the temple of God, / in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. / Let us rejoice / and sing to her: / "Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."


The most pure Temple of the Savior; / the precious Chamber and Virgin; / the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, / is presented today to the house of the Lord. / She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, / therefore, the angels of God praise her: / “Truly this woman is the abode of heaven.”


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Icon of the Mother of God “the Joy of All who Sorrow”

Commemorated on November 19

Icons of this type depict the Mother of God standing full-length, with a scepter in Her right hand. In some variants of this icon, She is also holding Christ in Her left arm. See July 23 and October 24. 


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Plato the Great Martyr of Ancyra

November 18

Saint Plato contested in martyrdom in 266, when Agrippinus was proconsul. He was from the city of Ancyra in the province of Galatia.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Thine all-holy memory doth cheer and gladden the whole world, calling all to come to thine august and ven'rable temple; wherein now, with jubilation we have all gathered, and with odes we hymn thy triumphs, O Martyr Plato, and with faith, we cry out to thee: Rescue thy people, O Saint, from barbarous foes.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)