Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Holy Martyrs Victorinus, Victor, Nicephorus, Claudius, Diodorus, Serapion, and Papias of Egypt

Commemorated on January 31

The Holy Martyrs Victorinus, Victor, Nicephorus, Claudius, Diodorus, Serapion, and Papias suffered at Corinth in 251, during a persecution under the emperor Decius (249-251).

Sts Victorinus, Victor and Nicephorus were tied to a stone mortar and crushed by a huge stone pestle.

St Claudius died after his hands and feet were cut off.

St Diodorus was burned alive.

St Serapion was beheaded.


Your holy martyrS Victorinus, Victor, Nicephorus, Claudius, Diodorus, Serapion, and Papias, O Lord,
through their suffering have received an incorruptible crown from You, our God.
For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!


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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hieromartyr Hippolytus the Pope of Rome, Virginmartyr Chryse, Censorinus, Sabinus, Ares, Felix, Maximus, Herculianus, Venerius, Styracius, Mennas, Commodus, Hermes, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monagrius, Amandinus, Nymphodora, Cyrus, Theodore the Tribune, Maximus the Presbyter, Archelaus the Deacon and Cyriacus the Bishop


 St Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome                                                            Virginmartyr Chryse

 Commemorated on January 30

The Hieromartyr Hippolytus, and the Martyrs Censorinus, Sabinus, Chryse the Virgin and 20 Others suffered during the third century.

When St Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome, learned of the suffering of the martyrs, he appeared before the governor despite his advanced years and rebuked the torturers for their inhumanity. The enraged governor sentenced the holy bishop to be tortured. After long torments, they tied him hand and foot and threw him into the sea.

St Censorinus was a high-ranking magistrate during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius II (268-270). He was arrested and thrown into prison for his faith in Christ. By the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ he raised up a dead man. As a result, twenty soldiers and prison guards were converted to Christ. They were beheaded with St Censorinus. Then the virgin Chryse was brought for interrogation. She bravely confessed herself a Christian and was subjected to torture. After horrible torments, she was drowned in the sea.

Saint Sabinus had heavy rocks tied around his neck, and then they hung his body on a tree and burned his sides with torches. In his torments, he gave up his holy soul to the Lord.

With St Chryse suffered the martyrs Ares, Felix, Maximus, Herculianus, Venerius, Stiracius, Mennas, Commodus, Hermes, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monagrius, Amandinus, Olympius, Cyprus, Theodore the Tribune, Maximus the Presbyter, Archelaus the Deacon, and Cyriacus the Bishop.

All these Roman martyrs suffered in the year 269. The relics of the Hieromartyr Hippolytus were put in the church of the holy Martyrs Laurence and Pope Damasus at Rome. St Hippolytus was a disciple of St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lugdunum (Lyons in France), and he is also renowned as a Christian theologian who wrote many treatises against the heretics.

St Hyppolitus compiled a Paschal Canon, the famous Apostolic Tradition, "On Christ", and a "Treatise on the Antichrist." St Hippolytus also wrote many commentaries on Holy Scripture, on the Biblical Books: Genesis, Exodus, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, and on the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John, and on the Prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, on the Psalms of David and on the Apocalypse. Part of his works are preserved only in fragments. His discourses, devoted to the Theophany and the Prophet Daniel, are preserved in full. His discourses demonstrate his masterful style of preaching. He was one of the last Western Fathers to write in Greek.


Your lamb Chryse,
calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
"I love You, my Bridegroom,
and in seeking You, I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love."
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Your holy martyrs, O Lord,
Through their sufferings have received an incorruptible crown from You, our God.
For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
And shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!


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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

St Pitirim the Bishop of Perm

Commemorated on January 29

Archimandrite Pitirim succeeded St Gerasimus as bishop of Great Perm and Ustiug. Even during his time the Voguli had not ceased attacking the peaceful Zyryani, the settlers of Perm. Bishop Pitirim stood up for his flock just as his predecessor had done.

In 1447 he personally appealed to the Great Prince to help the Zyryani. The saint often visited his flock, which was spread out over a wide territory, instructing them in the Word of God and assisting them in their misfortunes. He undertook long journeys to enlighten the pagan Voguli, during which his life was frequently in danger, and he had to endure all sorts of privation. The saint did not slacken his efforts, he enlightened and instructed people in their homes, in churches, and in the open places.

By his preaching he converted many of the Voguli who lived along the tributaries of the River Pechora, to Christianity. Because of this he aroused the terrible wrath of the leader of the Voguli, Asyk, who murdered the saint in a field as he was serving a Molieben. This occurred not far from Ust-Vym on August 19, 1455. St Pitirim compiled the Life of St Alexis and the Canon for the uncovering of his relics.

The relics of St Pitirim rest in the Annunciation temple in Ust-Vym (in Vologda district).

The common commemoration of these three saints(Saints Gerasimus, Pitirim and Jonah) acknowledges their apostolic activity in this Eastern expanse of Russia. St Pitirim is also commemorated on August 19.


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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah

January 28

The great luminary of the life of stillness, Saint Isaac, was born in the early seventh century in Eastern Arabia, the present-day Qatar on the Persian Gulf. He became a monk at a young age, and at some time left Arabia to dwell with monks in Persia. He was consecrated Bishop of Nineveh (and is therefore sometimes called "Saint Isaac of Nineveh"), but after five months received permission to return to solitude; he spent many years far south of Nineveh in the mountainous regions of Beit Huzaye, and lastly at the Monastery of Rabban Shabur. He wrote his renowned and God-inspired Ascetical Homilies toward the end of his long life of monastic struggle, about the end of the seventh century. The fame of his Homilies grew quickly, and about one hundred years after their composition they were translated from Syriac into Greek by two monks of the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine, from which they spread throughout the monasteries of the Roman Empire and became a guide to the hesychasts of all generations thereafter.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
He that thundered on Sinai with saving laws for man hath also given thy writings as guides in prayer unto monks, O revealer of unfathomable mysteries; for having gone up in the mount of the vision of the Lord, thou wast shown the many mansions. Wherefore, O God-bearing Isaac, entreat the Saviour for all praising thee.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As an ascetic and God-bearer great in righteousness and an instructor of monastics do we honour thee, thou revealer of things sacred, and our protector. But, O Isaac, since thou hast great boldness with the Lord, intercede with Him for all of us who sing thy praise and who cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father most wise in God.


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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

15th Sunday of Luke

January 27

Tone of the week: Tone One

First Eothinon

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

Seasonal Kontakion in the First Tone
Your birth sanctified a Virgin's womb and properly blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and saved us O Christ our God, give peace to Your commonwealth in troubled times and strengthen those in authority, whom You love, as only the loving One.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the First Tone
As God, Thou didst arise from the tomb in glory, and Thou didst raise the world together with Thyself. And mortal nature praised Thee as God, and death was obliterated. And Adam danceth for joy, O Master, and Eve, now freed from her fetters, rejoiceth as she crieth out: Thou, O Christ, dost grant resurrection unto all.


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

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Synaxis of the New Martyrs of Russia

January 25

On the Sunday that falls nearest to January 25, we commemorate all the faithful throughout the former Russian Empire who died at the hands of the atheists, beginning in the year 1917. Among them are the Royal Family (see July 4), followed by Patriarch Tikhon the Confessor (see Mar. 24), and an innumerable multitude of clergy, monastics, and layfolk who confessed the Name of Christ in the face of every conceivable mockery, torment, and bitter death.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
In these latter times, a host of Martyrs, * newly crowned with grace, rejoice in Heaven, * glorified with diverse forms of martyrdom; * for having censured the madness of godless foes, * they gained the laurels of triumph and victory. * Hence, they fervently entreat Christ for us unceasingly, * to grant great mercy unto us who sing their praise.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The choirs of Martyrs who contested in the ancient times * welcome the hosts of victors newly crowned by Christ our God, * and they form one common festival in divine joy. * For these ranks which fought for faith throughout the Russian land * set at nought the wicked schemes of godless tyranny. * Hence, we cry to them: * Rejoice, ye Passion-bearers of the Lord.


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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Xenia of St. Petersburg, Fool-for-Christ

January 24

Our righteous Mother Xenia of Petersburg was born about the year 1730. She was married to a Colonel named Andrew; when she was twenty-six years old, her husband died suddenly, having been drinking with his friends. Left a childless widow, Xenia gave away all that she had, and vanished from Saint Petersburg for eight years; it is believed that she spent this time in a hermitage, learning the spiritual life. When she returned to Saint Petersburg, she wore her husband's military clothing, and would answer only to the name Andrew, that is, the name of her late husband. She took up the life of a homeless wanderer, and was abused by many as insane; she bore this with great patience, crucifying the carnal mind through the mockery she endured, and praying for her husband's soul. She was given great gifts of prayer and prophecy, and often foretold things to come; in 1796 she foretold the death of Empress Catherine II. Having lived forty-five years after her husband's death, she reposed in peace at the age of seventy-one, about the year 1800. Her grave became such a source of miracles, and so many came to take soil from it as a blessing, that it was often necessary to replace the soil; when a stone slab was placed over her grave, this too disappeared over time, piece by piece. Saint Xenia is especially invoked for help in finding employment, lodging, or a spouse.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In thee, O wandering stranger, Christ the Lord hath given us an ardent intercessor for our kind. For having received in thy life sufferings and grief and served God and men with love, thou didst acquire great boldness. Wherefore, we fervently hasten to thee in temptations and grief, crying out from the depths of our hearts: Put not our hope to shame, O Blessed Xenia.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Having been as a wandering stranger on earth, sighing for the Heavenly homeland, thou wast known as a fool by the senseless and unbelieving, but as most wise and holy by the faithful, and wast crowned by God with glory and honor, O Xenia, manly-minded and divinely wise. Wherefore, we cry to thee: Rejoice, for after earthly wandering thou hast come to dwell in the Father's house.


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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

St John (and St George)

Commemorated on January 23

Archimandrite John (Basil Maisuradze in the world) was born in the town of Tskhinvali in Samachablo around 1882. He was raised in a peasant family and taught to perform all kinds of handiwork. Basil was barely in his teens when he helped Fr. Spiridon (Ketiladze), the main priest at Betania Monastery, to restore the monastery between 1894 and 1896.

From his youth Basil was eager to enter the monastic life, and in 1903, according to God’s will, he moved to the Skete of St. John the Theologian at Iveron Monastery on Mt. Athos. Among the brothers he was distinguished for his simplicity and obedience. He was tonsured a monk and named John in honor of St. John the Theologian, whom he revered deeply and sought to emulate.

The monk John was soon ordained to the priesthood. Throughout his life the holy father dedicated himself to serving God and his brothers in Christ in hopes that his own life might be fruitful for them.

Fr. John remained on Mt. Athos for seventeen years. Then, due to the increasingly troubling circumstances there, he left the Holy Mountain with the other Georgian monks sometime between 1920 and 1921. He settled at Armazi Monastery outside of Mtskheta, where the Bolsheviks had left just one monk to labor in solitude. Once a band of armed Chekists broke into the monastery, led both Fr. John and the other monk away, and shot them in the back.

Believing them to be dead, they tossed them in a nearby gorge. A group of people later discovered Fr. John’s nearly lifeless body and brought it to Samtavro Monastery in Mtskheta. The other monk suffered only minor injuries and returned to the monastery on his own.

When his health had been restored, Fr. John went to Betania Monastery, where his first spiritual father was still laboring. He was appointed abbot shortly thereafter. Accustomed to hard work from his childhood, he skillfully administered the agricultural labors of the monastery. When visitors came to the monastery seeking advice or solace, Fr. John welcomed them warmly, spreading a festal meal before them. He enjoyed spending time with his guests, especially with children.

It is said that he always had candy or a special treat to give to the little ones. The children loved him so much that on the feast of St. John the Theologian, while he was sprinkling the church with holy water, they skipped around him and tried to tousle his hair. The children’s parents were ashamed, but Fr. John cheerfully assured them that it was fitting to be so joyous on a feast day.

Truly Fr. John was endowed with a deep love for young people, and he was also blessed with the divine gifts of prophecy and wonder-working. Once a certain Irakli Ghudushauri, a student at Moscow Theological Seminary, visited him at the monastery. Fr. John received him with exceptional warmth, blessing him with tears of rejoicing. This student would later become Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, the beloved shepherd who continues to lead the flock of the Georgian faithful to this very day.

Fr. John disciplined himself severely. He worked hard all day and slept on a single piece of wood. He would spend entire nights praying. Many wondered when he rested and where he had acquired such a seemingly infinite supply of energy.

Occasionally thieves would steal food or domestic animals from the monastery. But the monastery also had many protectors, even within the Soviet government. A group of Christians who worked for the government while secretly practicing their faith supported Fr. John and Fr. George (Mkheidze) (see below), explaining and justifying them to the government as “guardians of a national cultural monument.”

Many of the miracles performed by Fr. John are known to us today, though he was wary of receiving honor for his deeds. Frs. John and George healed the deaf, and many of the terminally ill were brought to them for healing. After spending several days in the monastery, the infirm would miraculously be cleansed of their diseases. Fr. John bore the heaviest workload in the monastery. He sympathized deeply with Fr. George, who was ailing physically and unfit for strenuous labor. But Fr. John departed this life before Fr. George. Fr. John became ill and reposed in 1957, at the age of seventy-five. He was buried at Betania Monastery.

Fr. George (Mkheidze) was born in the village of Skhvava in the Racha region around 1877. He received a military education—a highly esteemed commodity among the Georgian aristocracy—but instead of pursuing a military career in defense of the Russian empire, he dedicated himself to Georgia’s national liberation movement. At one point the pious and learned George worked for St. Ilia the Righteous as his personal secretary. He often met St. Ilia’s spiritual father, the holy hierarch Alexandre (Okropiridze), and the holy hieromartyr Nazar (Lezhava), and he was acquainted with other important spiritual leaders of the time as well.

Desiring to sacrifice his life to God, George was tonsured into monasticism by the holy hieromartyr Nazar. His rare character combined a nobleman’s deportment with a monk’s humble asceticism. Fr. George was ordained a priest and soon after elevated to the rank of archimandrite.

Filled with divine love and patriotic sentiment, the holy father willingly endured the heavy burdens and spiritual tribulations afflicting his country at that time.

In 1924, while Fr. George was laboring at Khirsa Monastery in Kakheti in eastern Georgia, an armed Chekist mob broke into the monastery. The perpetrators beat him, cut off his hair, shaved his beard, and threatened to take his life. He sought refuge with his family, but to no avail—his brothers, who were atheists, shaved off his beard while he was sleeping. (One of Fr. George’s brothers later committed suicide, and the other, together with his wife, was shot to death by the Chekists.) In the same year, Fr. George visited Betania Monastery and was introduced to Fr. John (Maisuradze), with whom he would labor for the remainder of his life.

Fr. George’s health was poor, and he was able to perform only the lightest of tasks around the monastery. He tended the vegetable garden and took responsibility for raising the bees. He was extremely generous. At times he would give all the monastery’s food to the needy, assuring Fr. John that God Himself would provide their daily bread.

Tall, thin, and with an upright posture, Fr. George was strict in both appearance and demeanor. He spoke very little with other people, and children did not play with him as they did with Fr. John. Knowing his character, they tried to please him by reciting prayers and behaving themselves. Fr. George did not like to leave the monastery, but it was often necessary for him to travel to Tbilisi to visit his spiritual children— among whom were many secret Christians who worked for the government.

Fr. George was endowed with the gifts of prophecy and healing, but he was careful to hide them. When constrained to reveal them, he would pass them off as though they were nothing extraordinary. Once a certain pilgrim arrived at the monastery and was surprised to discover that Fr. George knew him by name. Sensing his great amazement, Fr. George told the pilgrim that he had attended his baptism some thirty years earlier, thus concealing his God-given gift. Fr. George knew in advance when his nephew was bringing his sisters, whom he had not seen in forty-eight years, to visit him at the monastery during Great Lent.

Enlightened with this foreknowledge, Fr. George prepared fish and a festal meal in honor of the occasion.

The prayers of Fr. George and Fr. John healed the former’s nephew, who was afflicted by a deadly strain of meningitis. They restored hearing to a deaf child and healed many others of their bodily infirmities.

In 1957, when Fr. John reposed in the Lord, Fr. George was tonsured into the great schema. He was given the name John in honor of his newly departed spiritual brother. Fr. George-John now bore full responsibility for the affairs of the monastery. His health deteriorated further under the weight of this heavy yoke. His spiritual children began to come from the city to care for him.

Once a twenty-year-old girl arrived at the monastery, complaining of incessant headaches. She had been told that the water from Betania Monastery would heal her. She remained there for one week and was miraculously healed. When she left to return home, Fr. George-John walked five miles to see her off, in spite of his physical frailty.

The Theotokos appeared to Fr. George-John in a vision and relieved his terrible physical pain. The protomartyr Thekla also appeared to him, presenting him with a bunch of grapes. Several days before his repose, the holy father was in the city when an angel appeared to him and announced his imminent repose. The angel told him to return to the monastery to prepare for his departure from this world.

St. George-John (Mkheidze) reposed in 1960. He was buried at Betania Monastery, next to Fr. John (Maisuradze). These venerable fathers were canonized on September 18, 2003, at a council of the Holy Synod under the spiritual leadership of His Holiness Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. Frs. John and George-John have been lovingly deemed “one soul in two bodies.”


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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Righteous Martyr Anastasius of Persia

January 22

Saint Anastasius was a Persian by race, the son of a Magus, and a soldier in the Persian army in the days of Chosroes II, King of Persia, and Heraclius, Emperor of New Rome. The Saint's Persian name was Magundat.

When Chosroes captured Jerusalem in the year 614 and took the Precious Cross away captive, Magundat heard the report of the miracles that came to pass through the Cross of our salvation. Being of a prudent mind, perplexed that an instrument of torture should be so highly honored by the Christians, yet seized with longing to learn their Faith, he diligently sought out instruction in the whole divine dispensation of Christ: His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. When he learned what he sought to know, his soul was filled with wonder and joy. Withdrawing to the Holy City, he was baptized by Saint Modestus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and became a monk, receiving the new name of Anastasius.

As he read the lives of the Saints and the accounts of the holy Martyrs, his heart was kindled with love for them to such a degree that he prayed to be counted worthy of a martyr's end like unto theirs. Finally, unable to contain his longing, he left his monastery. Encountering certain Persian Magi at Caesarea, he rebuked them for their delusion. Since Palestine was still held in the captivity of the Persians, he was taken before the Persian ruler, questioned, beaten, and imprisoned. He was then taken with other captives to Persia, where, after many tortures, refusing to espouse again the error of his fathers, he was hanged up by one hand, strangled with a noose, and beheaded. The translation of his holy relics is celebrated on the 24th of this month.

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

Kontakion in the First Tone
With hymns let us, the faithful, sing Timothy's praises as Paul's divine disciple and faithful companion; with him let us also laud Anastasius the godly-wise, who shone forth with splendor like a star out of Persia and doth drive away from us our bodily sickness and spiritual maladies.


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

Monday, January 21, 2013

St Maximus the Confessor

Commemorated on January 21

Saint Maximus the Confessor was born in Constantinople around 580 and raised in a pious Christian family. He received an excellent education, studying philosophy, grammar, and rhetoric. He was well-read in the authors of antiquity and he also mastered philosophy and theology. When St Maximus entered into government service, he became first secretary (asekretis) and chief counselor to the emperor Heraclius (611-641), who was impressed by his knowledge and virtuous life.

St Maximus soon realized that the emperor and many others had been corrupted by the Monothelite heresy, which was spreading rapidly through the East. He resigned from his duties at court, and went to the Chrysopolis monastery (at Skutari on the opposite shore of the Bosphorus), where he received monastic tonsure. Because of his humility and wisdom, he soon won the love of the brethren and was chosen igumen of the monastery after a few years. Even in this position, he remained a simple monk.

In 638, the emperor Heraclius and Patriarch Sergius tried to minimize the importance of differences in belief, and they issued an edict, the "Ekthesis" ("Ekthesis tes pisteos" or "Exposition of Faith), which decreed that everyone must accept the teaching of one will in the two natures of the Savior. In defending Orthodoxy against the "Ekthesis," St Maximus spoke to people in various occupations and positions, and these conversations were successful. Not only the clergy and the bishops, but also the people and the secular officials felt some sort of invisible attraction to him, as we read in his Life.

When St Maximus saw what turmoil this heresy caused in Constantinople and in the East, he decided to leave his monstery and seek refuge in the West, where Monothelitism had been completely rejected. On the way, he visited the bishops of Africa, strengthening them in Orthodoxy, and encouraging them not to be deceived by the cunning arguments of the heretics.

The Fourth Ecumenical Council had condemned the Monophysite heresy, which falsely taught that in the Lord Jesus Christ there was only one nature (the divine). Influenced by this erroneous opinion, the Monothelite heretics said that in Christ there was only one divine will ("thelema") and only one divine energy ("energia"). Adherents of Monothelitism sought to return by another path to the repudiated Monophysite heresy. Monothelitism found numerous adherents in Armenia, Syria, Egypt. The heresy, fanned also by nationalistic animosities, became a serious threat to Church unity in the East. The struggle of Orthodoxy with heresy was particularly difficult because in the year 630, three of the patriarchal thrones in the Orthodox East were occupied by Monothelites: Constantinople by Sergius, Antioch by Athanasius, and Alexandria by Cyrus.

St Maximus traveled from Alexandria to Crete, where he began his preaching activity. He clashed there with a bishop, who adhered to the heretical opinions of Severus and Nestorius. The saint spent six years in Alexandria and the surrounding area.

Patriarch Sergius died at the end of 638, and the emperor Heraclius also died in 641. The imperial throne was eventually occupied by his grandson Constans II (642-668), an open adherent of the Monothelite heresy. The assaults of the heretics against Orthodoxy intensified. St Maximus went to Carthage and he preached there for about five years. When the Monothelite Pyrrhus, the successor of Patriarch Sergius, arrived there after fleeing from Constantinople because of court intrigues, he and St Maximus spent many hours in debate. As a result, Pyrrhus publicly acknowledged his error, and was permitted to retain the title of "Patriarch." He even wrote a book confessing the Orthodox Faith. St Maximus and Pyrrhus traveled to Rome to visit Pope Theodore, who received Pyrrhus as the Patriarch of Constantinople.

In the year 647 St Maximus returned to Africa. There, at a council of bishops Monotheletism was condemned as a heresy. In 648, a new edict was issued, commissioned by Constans and compiled by Patriarch Paul of Constantinople: the "Typos" ("Typos tes pisteos" or "Pattern of the Faith"), which forbade any further disputes about one will or two wills in the Lord Jesus Christ. St Maximus then asked St Martin the Confessor (April 14), the successor of Pope Theodore, to examine the question of Monothelitism at a Church Council. The Lateran Council was convened in October of 649. One hundred and fifty Western bishops and thirty-seven representatives from the Orthodox East were present, among them St Maximus the Confessor. The Council condemned Monothelitism and the Typos. The false teachings of Patriarchs Sergius, Paul and Pyrrhus of Constantinople were also anathematized.

When Constans II received the decisions of the Council, he gave orders to arrest both Pope Martin and St Maximus. The emperor's order was fulfilled only in the year 654. St Maximus was accused of treason and locked up in prison. In 656 he was sent to Thrace, and was later brought back to a Constantinople prison.

The saint and two of his disciples were subjected to the cruelest torments. Each one's tongue was cut out, and his right hand was cut off. Then they were exiled to Skemarum in Scythia, enduring many sufferings and difficulties on the journey.

After three years, the Lord revaled to St Maximus the time of his death (August 13, 662). Three candles appeared over the grave of St Maximus and burned miraculously. This was a sign that St Maximus was a beacon of Orthodoxy during his lifetime, and continues to shine forth as an example of virtue for all. Many healings occurred at his tomb.

In the Greek Prologue, August 13 commemorates the Transfer of the Relics of St Maximus to Constantinople, but it could also be the date of the saint's death. It may be that his memory is celebrated on January 21 because August 13 is the Leavetaking of the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

St Maximus has left to the Church a great theological legacy. His exegetical works contain explanations of difficult passages of Holy Scripture, and include a Commentary on the Lord's Prayer and on Psalm 59, various "scholia" or "marginalia" (commentaries written in the margin of manuscripts), on treatises of the Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3) and St Gregory the Theologian (January 25). Among the exegetical works of St Maximus are his explanation of divine services, entitled "Mystagogia" ("Introduction Concerning the Mystery").

The dogmatic works of St Maximus include the Exposition of his dispute with Pyrrhus, and several tracts and letters to various people. In them are contained explanations of the Orthodox teaching on the Divine Essence and the Persons of the Holy Trinity, on the Incarnation of the Word of God, and on "theosis" ("deification") of human nature.

"Nothing in theosis is the product of human nature," St Maximus writes in a letter to his friend Thalassius, "for nature cannot comprehend God. It is only the mercy of God that has the capacity to endow theosis unto the existing... In theosis man (the image of God) becomes likened to God, he rejoices in all the plenitude that does not belong to him by nature, because the grace of the Spirit triumphs within him, and because God acts in him" (Letter 22).

St Maximus also wrote anthropological works (i.e. concerning man). He deliberates on the nature of the soul and its conscious existence after death. Among his moral compositions, especially important is his "Chapters on Love." St Maximus the Confessor also wrote three hymns in the finest traditions of church hymnography, following the example of St Gregory the Theologian.

The theology of St Maximus the Confessor, based on the spiritual experience of the knowledge of the great Desert Fathers, and utilizing the skilled art of dialectics worked out by pre-Christian philosophy, was continued and developed in the works of St Simeon the New Theologian (March 12), and St Gregory Palamas (November 14).


Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship,
enlightener of the universe and adornment of hierarchs:
all-wise father Maximus, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things.
Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.


Let us the faithful fittingly praise the lover of the Trinity,
the great Maximus who taught the God-inspired faith,
that Christ is to be glorified in His two natures, wills, and energies;
and let us cry to him: "Rejoice, herald of the faith."


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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Holy Martyrs Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius and Basilides at Nicomedia

Commemorated on January 20

The Holy Martyrs Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius and Basilides were courtiers of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). They witnessed the suffering of Bishop Theopemptus of Nicomedia (January 5) for his faith in Christ, then they came to believe in Christ and received holy Baptism. For this reason they were subjected to tortures and condemned to death in the year 303.

St Bassus was buried in the ground to the waist, and his upper body was cut to pieces.

St Eusebius was suspended head downwards, and his limbs were cut off.

 St Eutychius was tied to four poles by his hands and feet, and he was pulled apart.

St Basilides was stabbed in the stomach with a knife.


Your holy martyr Bassus, O Lord,
Through his sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God.
For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries,
And shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through his intercessions, save our souls!


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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Opening of the Relics of the Venerable Sava of Storozhev, or Zvenigorod

Commemorated on January 19

Today we commemorate the opening of the incorrupt relics of Saint Sava of Storozhev and Zvenigorod on January 19, 1652.

St Sava is also also commemorated on December 3, as determined by the Moscow Council of 1547.


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

Friday, January 18, 2013

Righteous Athanasius of Novolotsk

Commemorated on January 18

Righteous Athanasius of Navolotsk went at the end of the sixteenth century from the Kargopol region to the Olonets land, where he founded a monastery 78 versts from what later became the city of Petrozavodsk. The saint died at a Verkholedsk suburb not far from Shenkursk.


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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Venerable and God-bearing Father Anthony the Great

Commemorated on January 17

Saint Anthony the Great is known as the Father of monasticism, and the long ascetical sermon in The Life of St Anthony by St Athanasius (Sections 16-34), could be called the first monastic Rule.

He was born in Egypt in the village of Coma, near the desert of the Thebaid, in the year 251. His parents were pious Christians of illustrious lineage. Anthony was a serious child and was respectful and obedient to his parents. He loved to attend church services, and he listened to the Holy Scripture so attentively, that he remembered what he heard all his life.

When St Anthony was about twenty years old, he lost his parents, but he was responsible for the care of his younger sister. Going to church about six months later, the youth reflected on how the faithful,in the Acts of the Apostles (4:35), sold their possessions and gave the proceeds to the Apostles for the needy.

Then he entered the church and heard the Gospel passage where Christ speaks to the rich young man: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me" (Mt.19:21). Anthony felt that these words applied to him. Therefore, he sold the property that he received after the death of his parents, then distributed the money to the poor, and left his sister in the care of pious virgins in a convent.

Leaving his parental home, St Anthony began his ascetical life in a hut not far from his village. By working with his hands, he was able to earn his livelihood and also alms for the poor. Sometimes, the holy youth also visited other ascetics living in the area, and from each he sought direction and benefit. He turned to one particular ascetic for guidance in the spiritual life.

In this period of his life St Anthony endured terrible temptations from the devil. The Enemy of the race of man troubled the young ascetic with thoughts of his former life, doubts about his chosen path, concern for his sister, and he tempted Anthony with lewd thoughts and carnal feelings. But the saint extinguished that fire by meditating on Christ and by thinking of eternal punishment, thereby overcoming the devil.

Realizing that the devil would undoubtedly attack him in another manner, St Anthony prayed and intensified his efforts. Anthony prayed that the Lord would show him the path of salvation. And he was granted a vision. The ascetic beheld a man, who by turns alternately finished a prayer, and then began to work. This was an angel, which the Lord had sent to instruct His chosen one.

St Anthony tried to accustom himself to a stricter way of life. He partook of food only after sunset, he spent all night praying until dawn. Soon he slept only every third day. But the devil would not cease his tricks, and trying to scare the monk, he appeared under the guise of monstrous phantoms. The saint however protected himself with the Life-Creating Cross. Finally the Enemy appeared to him in the guise of a frightful looking black child, and hypocritically declaring himself beaten, he thought he could tempt the saint into vanity and pride. The saint, however, vanquished the Enemy with prayer.

For even greater solitude, St Anthony moved farther away from the village, into a graveyard. He asked a friend to bring him a little bread on designated days, then shut himself in a tomb. Then the devils pounced upon the saint intending to kill him, and inflicted terrible wounds upon him. By the providence of the Lord, Anthony's friend arrived the next day to bring him his food. Seeing him lying on the ground as if dead, he took him back to the village. They thought the saint was dead and prepared for his burial. At midnight, St Anthony regained consciousness and told his friend to carry him back to the tombs.

St Anthony's staunchness was greater than the wiles of the Enemy. Taking the form of ferocious beasts, the devils tried to force the saint to leave that place, but he defeated them by trusting in the Lord. Looking up, the saint saw the roof opening, as it were, and a ray of light coming down toward him. The demons disappeared and he cried out, "Where have You been, O Merciful Jesus? Why didn't You appear from the very beginning to end my pain?"

The Lord replied, "I was here, Anthony, but wanted to see your struggle. Now, since you have not yielded, I shall always help you and make your name known throughout all the world." After this vision St Anthony was healed of his wounds and felt stronger than before. He was then thirty-five years of age.

Having gained spiritual experience in his struggle with the devil, St Anthony considered going into the Thebaid desert to serve the Lord. He asked the Elder (to whom he had turned for guidance at the beginning of his monastic journey) to go into the desert with him. The Elder, while blessing him in the then as yet unheard of exploit of being a hermit, decided not to accompany him because of his age.

St Anthony went into the desert alone. The devil tried to hinder him, by placing a large silver disc in his path, then gold, but the saint ignored it and passed by. He found an abandoned fort on the other side of the river and settled there, barricading the entrance with stones. His faithful friend brought him bread twice a year, and there was water inside the fort.

St Anthony spent twenty years in complete isolation and constant struggle with the demons, and he finally achieved perfect calm. The saint's friends removed the stones from the entrance , and they went to St Anthony and besought him to take them under his guidance. Soon St Anthony's cell was surrounded by several monasteries, and the saint acted as a father and guide to their inhabitants, giving spiritual instruction to all who came into the desert seeking salvation. He increased the zeal of those who were already monks, and inspired others with a love for the ascetical life. He told them to strive to please the Lord, and not to become faint-hearted in their labors. He also urged them not to fear demonic assaults, but to repel the Enemy by the power of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord.

In the year 311 there was a fierce persecution against Christians, in the reign of the emperor Maximian. Wishing to suffer with the holy martyrs, St Anthony left the desert and went to Alexandria. He openly ministered to those in prison, he was present at the trial and interrogations of the confessors, and accompanying the martyrs to the place of execution. It pleased the Lord to preserve him, however, for the benefit of Christians.

At the close of the persecution, the saint returned to the desert and continued his exploits. The Lord granted the saint the gift of wonderworking, casting out demons and healing the sick by the power of his prayer. The great crowds of people coming to him disrupted his solitude, and he went off still farther, into the inner desert where he settled atop a high elevation. But the brethren of the monasteries sought him out and asked him to visit their communities.

Another time St Anthony left the desert and arrived in Alexandria to defend the Orthodox Faith against the Manichaean and Arian heresies. Knowing that the name of St Anthony was venerated by all the Church, the Arians said that he adhered to their heretical teaching. But St Anthony publicly denounced Arianism in front of everyone and in the presence of the bishop. During his brief stay at Alexandria, he converted a great multitude of pagans to Christ.

People from all walks of life loved the saint and sought his advice. Pagan philosophers once came to Abba Anthony intending to mock him for his lack of education, but by his words he reduced them to silence. Emperor Constantine the Great (May 21) and his sons wrote to St Anthony and asked him for a reply. He praised the emperor for his belief in Christ, and advised him to remember the future judgment, and to know that Christ is the true King.

St Anthony spent eighty-five years in the solitary desert. Shortly before his death, he told the brethren that soon he would be taken from them. He instructed them to preserve the Orthodox Faith in its purity, to avoid any association with heretics, and not to be negligent in their monastic struggles. "Strive to be united first with the Lord, and then with the saints, so that after death they may receive you as familiar friends into the everlasting dwellings."

The saint instructed two of his disciples, who had attended him in the final fifteen years of his life, to bury him in the desert and not in Alexandria. He left one of his monastic mantles to St Athanasius of Alexandria (January 18), and the other to St Serapion of Thmuis (March 21). St Anthony died peacefully in the year 356, at age 105, and he was buried in the desert by his disciples.

The Life of the famed ascetic St Anthony the Great was written by St Athanasius of Alexandria. This is the first biography of a saint who was not a martyr, and is considered to be one of the finest of St Athanasius' writings. St John Chrysostom recommends that this Life be read by every Christian.

"These things are insignificant compared with Anthony's virtues," writes St Athanasius, "but judge from them what the man of God Anthony was like. From his youth until his old age, he kept his zeal for asceticism, he did not give in to the desire for costly foods because of his age, nor did he alter his clothing because of the infirmity of his body. He did not even wash his feet with water. He remained very healthy, and he could see well because his eyes were sound and undimmed. Not one of his teeth fell out, but near the gums they had become worn due to his advanced age. He remained strong in his hands and feet.... He was spoken of everywhere, and was admired by everyone, and was sought even by those who had not seen him, which is evidence of his virtue and of a soul dear to God."

The following works of St Anthony have come down to us:

Twenty Sermons on the virtues, primarily monastic (probably spurious).

Seven Letters to various Egyptian monasteries concerning moral perfection, and the monastic life as a spiritual struggle.

A Rule for monastics (not regarded as an authentic work of St Anthony).

In the year 544 the relics of St Anthony the Great were transferred to Alexandria, and after the conquest of Egypt by the Saracens in the seventh century, they were transferred to Constantinople. The holy relics were transferred from Constantinople in the tenth-eleventh centuries to a diocese outside Vienna. In the fifteenth century they were brought to Arles (in France), to the church of St Julian.


You imitated the ways of zealous Elijah,
and followed the straight path of John the Baptist.
You became a desert dweller
and strengthened the world by your prayers.
Father Anthony, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.


You rejected the tumult of this life
and lived your life to the end in solitude,
imitating the Baptist in every way.
With him we honor you, most venerable Anthony, foundation of the Fathers.


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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Veneration of Apostle Peter's Precious Chains

January 16

Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great and king of the Jews, grew wroth against the Church of Christ, and slew James, the brother of John the Evangelist. Seeing that this pleased the Jews, he took Peter also into custody and locked him up in prison, intending to keep him there until after the feast of the Passover, so that he could win the favour of the people by presenting him to them as a victim. But the Apostle was saved when he was miraculously set free by an Angel (Acts 12:1-19). The chains wherewith the Apostle was bound received from his most sacred body the grace of sanctification and healing, which is bestowed upon the faithful who draw nigh with faith.

That such sacred treasures work wonders and many healings is witnessed by the divine Scripture, where it speaks concerning Paul, saying that the Christians in Ephesus had such reverence for him, that his handkerchiefs and aprons, taken up with much reverence, healed the sick of their maladies: "So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" (Acts 19:12). But not only the Apostles' clothing (which certainly touched the bodies of the sick), but even their shadow alone performed healings. On beholding this, people put their sick on stretchers and beds and brought them out into the streets that, when Peter passed by, his shadow "might overshadow some of them"(Acts 5:15). From this the Orthodox Catholic Church has learned to show reverence and piety not only to the relics of their bodies, but also in the clothing of God's Saints.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Without leaving Rome, thou didst come to us by the precious chains which thou didst wear. O foremost of the Apostles. And worshipping them with faith, we pray: By thine intercessions with God, grant us great mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Now Christ God, the Rock, doth glorify the rock of faith, illustriously, in calling all to celebrate the dread wonders of the most precious chains of Peter, the first and chief of the disciples of Christ our God, Who granteth forgiveness of sins unto all.


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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

John the Hut-Dweller

January 15

Saint John, who was from Constantinople, was the son of illustrious parents -- Eutropius the Senator and Theodora. At twelve years of age he departed secretly from his home and went to the Monastery of the Unsleeping (see Dec. 29). Aflame with longing for his parents, he returned after six years to his father's home in the guise of a pauper and beggar. Living in a small hut at the gates of his parents' house (wherefrom he is called "hut-dweller"), he remained unknown therein for many years, and suffered mockery at the hands of those who had been his own servants. Foreknowing his death, he revealed himself to his parents, and within a few moments reposed, about the year 450.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Since thou hadst with fervour longed after the Lord from thy youth, * thou leftest the world with its delights and nobly didst strive in valiant ascetic deeds. * Thou didst pitch thy hut before the gates of thy parents; * thou didst break the demons' snares, O all-blessed Father. * And therefore, as is meet, hath Christ God glorified thee, O John.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Since thou didst desire a poverty like unto Christ's, O wise Father John, thou didst forsake thy parents' wealth; and while holding in thy hands the most holy Gospel, O righteous one, thou didst follow after Christ God while ceaselessly praying to Him for us all.


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

Monday, January 14, 2013

Leavetaking of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 14

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.


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

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday after Epiphany

January 13

Tone of the week: Grave Tone

Tenth Eothinon

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Grave Tone
By means of Your Cross, O Lord, You abolished death. * To the robber You opened Paradise. * The lamentation of the myrrhbearing women You transformed, * and You gave Your Apostles the order to proclaim to all * that You had risen, O Christ our God, * and granted the world Your great mercy.
Seasonal Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."

Resurrectional Kontakion in the Grave Tone
No longer will the dominion of death be able to keep men captive; for Christ hath descended, destroying and dispelling the powers thereof. Hades is bound; the Prophets rejoice with one accord, saying: A Saviour hath come for them that have faith. Come forth, ye faithful, for the Resurrection.


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

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Icon of the Mother of God of the Akathist

Commemorated on January 12

The "Akathist" Icon of the Mother of God is on the iconostasis of the Hilandar monastery's katholikon. It is known as the "Akathist" Icon because, during a fire at the katholikon in 1837 an Akathist was being read before the icon, and it remained unharmed, to the joy of the monks.

This icon should not be confused with the Zographou Icon "Of the Akathist" (October 10).


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

Friday, January 11, 2013

Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 11

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."


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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christian Chronology

From here.

Christian Chronology
by Protopresbyter Fr. George D. Metallinos


"Time" is Christianically seen as the framework in which God's revelation is manifested, for the fulfilment of man's salvation as well as for the sanctification of Creation in History. In other words, it has a soteriological significance - one that is always linked to the development of the plan of "divine providence". That is why Time is not perceived as something cyclical - as an interminable recycling - but rather as something linear. Its flow is not a repetitious one; it is filled with unique and salvific events that are "once only" and "everlasting". The center and the "fulfillment" of linear - straight - Time is Christ, the Alpha and the Omega of History, the Commencement and the End. The Christian perspective is permanently eschatological and it is from there that the Church draws the contents of Her perceptions regarding Time.

In Christianity, world and time are seen as creations "ex nihilo" by the Triadic God - outside every notion of being God's "archetypes" or "ideas". Besides, any notion whatsoever of an "analogy" between "created" (the creations) and "Uncreated" (the Triadic God) is Christianically (orthodoxically) nonexistent. Both the world and Time have a beginning and an end - that is, a destination and a "fullness" (Gal.4:4). God, therefore, creates Time, as He is the "creator of all - of the ages and of all the beings" (John Damascene). God is "He Who created the nature of Time" (Basil the Great). Saint Gregory the Theologian in fact also defines the relativity of Time, inasmuch as he defines it as "that which by a certain motion is split up and measured".

It is the movement of Earth and of the other celestial bodies that give rise to our awareness of "chronicity" and its "measurability". In actual fact, the measurement of Time is just a conventional thing for the Church, Herself being the "body of Christ" and an "in-Christ communion". However, given that the Church lives and moves within the world (even though She is not "of this world" -John 18:36), She conceded along the way to calendars being used by the societies in which Her flocks lived and struggled for their salvation. It should also be pointed out that (Christianically-Orthodoxically speaking), salvation is not some sort of escape from Time and the world; it is the conquering of the evil of the world - of sin. Calendars, therefore, are nothing more than an "auxiliary addition" in Christianity, for the management of worldly conventionalities, with no subjugation to it.

By "Christian world" we mean the new political morph, which had begun as an informal Christian commonwealth during the first three centuries A.D., then later appeared as an organized city-state magnitude with the inauguration of New Rome-Constantinople in 330 A.D.. By the 6th - 7th century the Christian world was using local or national calendars, which dated according to the system of the Gentiles. In other words, the Christian world did not have a uniform and common calendar, nor did it begin its chronology from Christ. Furthermore, because of its links to the Old Testament (that is, the prophetic tradition), Christianity had originally accepted the Hebrew designation of the age of the world - which of course is far different to the calculations of science. It was just in 691 A.D. in the 3rd Canon of the Quinisext Council "in Trullo", that the Christian calculation of the date of "Creation" was proposed as being 5508 years before the Incarnation of Christ. This was accepted by the entire Christian world, which had already begun to differentiate (politically to begin with, and later on spiritually-culturally), into "eastern" and "western". Therefore, "from the creation of the world" was the first Christianic chronological designation.

The freedom that exists in the universal Christian community is apparent, in the instituting of feast-days as early as the first Christian centuries. It was on the basis of the solar calendar - the Julian one, which began to be applied in the year 45 b.C. - that the Christian feast-days were allocated. Thus, the Conception of John the Baptist was set as the 23rd of September, and the conception of Jesus Christ (the Annunciation of the Theotokos) which -in accordance with the Gospel narration- was six months later, on the 25th of March. Respectively, the birth of the Baptist was specified as the 24th of June and of Jesus Christ (finally) as the 25th of December, the prerequisite being the equinoxes and the solstices and the symbolic interpretation of the Baptist's words regarding Christ: "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). In other words, the criteria were spiritual, not mundane or scientific. Nevertheless, it must not be overlooked that the political year begins in the East on the 23rd of September, which was also the the beginning of the "Indiction" up until 460, when it was transferred to the 1st of September. This last date acquired an ecclesiastic significance as the commencement of the liturgical year - a fact that continues to be valid to this day. It is uncertain when this practice began, however, it has been recorded in the 8th century.

The same freedom is also apparent in the "mobility" of Christian feast-days. The case of the dates on which Pascha is celebrated is the most characteristic example, but we will come back to that later on. Something similar also occurred with the date for the Nativity; up until 336 A.D. Christmas was celebrated together with the Epiphany, on the 6th of January (always according to the Julian calendar). However, this date was transferred in the West to the 25th of December, in order to confront the celebrations held in honour of the sun god Mithra, which took place during the winter solstice. In the East, the new date for Christmas was introduced around the year 380. Pursuant to this change was the reallocation of the other feast-days which are linked to Christmas (Circumcision, Presentation, Annunciation etc.).

We need to mention here the systems of the "Indictions" that were also observed by the Christian world. "Indiction" means "indicator", and was a term initially linked to the tax system of the Roman Empire. The usage of this system began during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (297/8), but with a duration of 5 years for each Indiction. The first Indictions with a duration of 15 years began in 312 A.D. (the first mention is in imperial documents, in 356/7). Ecclesiastically, this was accepted in 327, with commencement date the 24th of September. The Indiction period therefore was of a 15-year duration, and was used for dating documents or events. Upon the completion of that period of time, a new Indiction began, with its own reference year (first, second, etc. - something like the system of the Olympiads). The usual Indiction is called "byzantine" or "hellenic", and it commenced -as we mentioned- on the 1st of September. This system prevailed throughout the Christian world during the byzantine period, but continued to be in use, in meta-byzantine Greek texts (the patriarchal-ethnarchic ones).

Dating based on the Birth of Jesus Christ (AD - Anno Domini) begins in the 6th century. This new system was inspired by Dionysius Exiguus* of Scythian origin, monk, canonologist and chronologist. He settled in Rome around 500 A.D. and worked on chronological issues (for example, charts with Paschal dates). During the composition of his opus "Cyclus Decem Novennalis" (in 532) for the calculation of Pascha, he became renowned for identifying the years on the chart based on the Birth of Christ and not "the founding of Rome" («Ab urbe condita») as was done in the West, or beginning from Abraham, or from the first Olympiad. This new dating system spread very slowly to the West (France and England), while the first historian who used it steadfastly was the Venerable Bede, in the 8th century. From then on it prevailed throughout the entire Christian world - but also throughout the non-Christian world, as it continues to do, to this day.

Dionysius however made a fatal mistake. He had accepted the year 754 «Ab urbe condita» as the year of Christ's Birth, when it was a known fact that Herod died in 750/751 - a short while after the Massacre of the Infants (Matt.2:16), given that Christ was about two years old during the time of that Massacre. Which means He must have been born in the year 748/749 «Ab urbe condita». Hence our current date is deficient by 5 or 6 years, in which case, we are presently (2011) in the year 2016 or 2017 A.D.

*Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the Small, Dennis the Dwarf, Dennis the Little or Dennis the Short, meaning humble) (c. 470 – c. 544) was a 6th-century monk born in Scythia Minor, modern Dobruja shared by Romania and Bulgaria. He was a member of the Scythian monks community concentrated in Tomis, the major city of Scythia Minor. Dionysius is best known as the "inventor" of the Anno Domini (AD) era, which is used to number the years of both the Gregorian calendar and the (Christianized) Julian calendar. From about 500 he lived in Rome, where, as a learned member of the Roman Curia, he translated from Greek into Latin 401 ecclesiastical canons, including the apostolical canons and the decrees of the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Chalcedon and Sardis, and also a collection of the decretals of the popes from Siricius to Anastasius II. These collections had great authority in the West and still guide church administrations. Dionysius also wrote a treatise on elementary mathematics. The author of a continuation of Dionysius's Computus, writing in 616, described Dionysius as a "most learned abbot of the city of Rome", and the Venerable Bede accorded him the honorific abbas, which could be applied to any monk, especially a senior and respected monk, and does not necessarily imply that Dionysius ever headed a monastery; indeed, Dionysius's friend Cassiodorus stated in Institutiones that he was still only a monk late in life.

Gregory of Nyssa

January 10

Saint Gregory, the younger brother of Basil the Great, illustrious in speech and a zealot for the Orthodox Faith, was born in 331. His brother Basil was encouraged by their elder sister Macrina to prefer the service of God to a secular career (see July 19); Saint Gregory was moved in a similar way by his godly mother Emily, who, when Gregory was still a young man, implored him to attend a service in honor of the holy Forty Martyrs at her retreat at Annesi on the River Iris. Saint Gregory came at his mother's bidding, but being wearied with the journey, and feeling little zeal, he fell asleep during the service. The Forty Martyrs then appeared to him in a dream, threatening him and reproaching him for his slothfulness. After this he repented and became very diligent in the service of God.

Gregory became bishop in 372, and because of his Orthodoxy he was exiled in 374 by Valens, who was of one mind with the Arians. After the death of Valens in 378, Gregory was recalled to his throne by the Emperor Gratian. He attended the Local Council of Antioch, which sent him to visit the churches of Arabia and Palestine, which had been defiled and ravaged by Arianism. He attended the Second Ecumenical Council, which was assembled in Constantinople in 381. Having lived some sixty years and leaving behind many remarkable writings, he reposed about the year 395. The acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council call him 'Father of Fathers."

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Rejoicing with the Angels and taking delight in the Divine Light, Gregory of Nyssa, the vigilant mind, the God inspired hierarch of the Church, and wisdom's revered hymnographer, intercedeth unceasingly for us all.


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

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 9

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."


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

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 8

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."


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

Monday, January 07, 2013

Synaxis of John the Holy Glorious Prophet, Baptist, & Forerunner

January 7

Today we celebrate the Synaxis in honour of the most sacred Forerunner, since he ministered at the Mystery of the Divine Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rest from labour. Fish allowed.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
The Jordan accepted Your presence in the flesh and reversed its course in fear. John, fulfilling the spiritual ministry, fell back in awe. The ranks of Angels, seeing You in the flesh, baptized in the river, were amazed, and all who were in darkness were filled with light, praising You who appeared and enlightened all.


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

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Venerable Macarius of Mt. Athos

Commemorated on January 6

Saint Macarius was born in Thessalonica during the reign of Emperor Manuel II Paleologos, and went to Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos when he was young. Later, he went to Constantinople and became igumen of the Monastery of the Pantokrator, and chaplain to the Emperor.

He died in 1431 during an epidemic in Chalke.


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

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Eve of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 5

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
River Jordan was turned back by Elisseus' mantle once, when the fiery man of zeal Elias had been taken up; then were its waters divided hither and thither. The running streams became dry passage unto him, truly as a sign and type of Baptism, whereby we pass to the other side of the shifting stream of this fleeting life. Christ hath appeared in the Jordan River, to sanctify the waters.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
In the running waters of the Jordan River, on this day the Lord of all crieth to John: Be not afraid and hesitate not to baptize Me, for I am come to save Adam, the first-formed man.


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

Friday, January 04, 2013

Apostle and Evangelist Luke of the Seventy

Commemorated on January 4

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, was a native of Syrian Antioch, a companion of the holy Apostle Paul (Phil.1:24, 2 Tim. 4:10-11), and a physician enlightened in the Greek medical arts. Hearing about Christ, Luke arrived in Palestine and fervently accepted the preaching of salvation from the Lord Himself. As one of the Seventy Apostles, St Luke was sent by the Lord with the others to preach the Kingdom of Heaven during the Savior's earthly life (Luke 10:1-3). After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Sts Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.

Luke accompanied St Paul on his second missionary journey, and from that time they were inseparable. When Paul's coworkers had forsaken him, only Luke remained to assist him in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:10-11). After the martyric death of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, St Luke left Rome to preach in Achaia, Libya, Egypt and the Thebaid. He ended his life by suffering martyrdom in the city of Thebes.

Tradition credits St Luke with painting the first icons of the Mother of God. "Let the grace of Him Who was born of Me and My mercy be with these Icons," said the All-Pure Virgin after seeing the icons. St Luke also painted icons of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul. St Luke's Gospel was written in the years 62-63 at Rome, under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. In the preliminary verses (1:1-3), St Luke precisely sets forth the purpose of his work. He proposes to record, in chronological order, everything known by Christians about Jesus Christ and His teachings. By doing this, he provided a firmer historical basis for Christian teaching (1:4). He carefully investigated the facts, and made generous use of the oral tradition of the Church and of what the All-Pure Virgin Mary Herself had told him (2:19, 51).

In St Luke's Gospel, the message of the salvation made possible by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel, are of primary importance.

St Luke also wrote the Acts of the Holy Apostles at Rome around 62-63 A.D. The Book of Acts, which is a continuation of the four Gospels, speaks about the works and the fruits of the holy Apostles after the Ascension of the Savior. At the center of the narrative is the Council of the holy Apostles at Jerusalem in the year 51, a Church event of great significance, which resulted in the separation of Christianity from Judaism and its independent dissemination into the world (Acts 15:6-29). The theological focus of the Book of Acts is the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who will guide the Church "into all truth" John 16:13) until the Second Coming of Christ.


Holy apostle Luke of the Seventy;
entreat the merciful;
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.


The Church ever sees you as a shining star, O apostle Luke,
Your miracles have manifested great enlightenment.
Therefore we cry out to Christ:
"Save those who with faith honor Your apostle, O Most Merciful One."


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