Saturday, May 27, 2017

"Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day

Please be sure to scroll down past the Saint or Feast of the day.

After the Saint or Feast of the day I post my "Main Posts". These may be anything including original articles, book reviews, adding new blogs to my web page and just about anything new I may wish the reader to read.

Please note I do not always have "Main Posts" posted.

I tend to leave "Main Posts" up for several days.

Sophocles

St. Basil of Georgia, the son of King Bagrat III

Commemorated on May 27

Saint Basil, the son of King Bagrat III, lived in the 11th century and labored at Khakhuli Monastery (in southwestern Georgia, present-day Turkey). He was a major figure in the spiritual and educational life of southern Georgia.

The famous 19th-century scholar Prince John Bagrationi describes Saint Basil in his work Kalmasoba: (the tradition of monks journeying throughout the land to collect alms for the Church. In his book Prince John follows a fictional monk traveling throughout the country on kalmasoba. With this literary device he describes the contemporary situation, the life of the people, diverse branches of knowledge, and Georgian literature and folk culture, creating a veritable Georgian encyclopedia.) “Basil Bagrationi was highly educated in philosophy and theology. He was fluent in several languages and translated many books. He was the composer of many distinguished rhetorical works.

Perfected in the monastic life and in the spiritual learning of the Church, our Holy Father Basil was known among the people as the ‘Jewel of the Georgian Church.’”

The 18th-century historian and geographer Prince Vakhushti Bagrationi examined the cultural development of Georgia during the rule of King Bagrat IV in his book The Ancient History of Georgia, and Basil is among the major Church figures he mentions: “The great translators of the time were Basil, son of Bagrat....” In his work The Life of Saint Giorgi of the Holy Mountain, Giorgi the Lesser recalls the pious laborer of Khakhuli Monastery: “The great Basil, son of King Bagrat III, shepherd and enlightener of our country at that time.”

Saint Basil eventually moved from Georgia to Mt. Athos and labored there until his death. It was there that he composed his “Praises to Holy Father Ekvtime.”

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Friday, May 26, 2017

Apostle Carpus of the Seventy

Commemorated on May 26

Saint Carpus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1). He was bishop of Verria in Macedonia. 

TROPARION - TONE 3

Holy Apostles Carpus and Alphaeus, / entreat the merciful God / to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

KONTAKION - TONE 4

Podoben: “Today You have shown forth...” / The Church ever sees you as a shining star, Apostle Carpus. / Your miracles have brought her great enlightenment. / Save those who in faith honor your memory.


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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Venerable Nikita the Stylite, Wonderworker of Pereyaslavl

Commemorated on May 23

The celebration of the Synaxis of the Rostov and Yaroslav Saints on May 23 was established by resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis I (+ 1970) and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, on March 10, 1964.

St Nikita is also commemorated on May 24.









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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Monday, May 22, 2017

Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council

Commemorated on May 22


The Second Ecumenical Council was convened in the year 381 and consolidated the victory of Orthodoxy attained in the year 325 at the First Ecumenical Council.

During the difficult years which passed after the acceptance of the Nicene Symbol of Faith (Creed), the Arian heresy developed new offshoots. Under the guise of struggle against the Sabellian heresy, which taught about a blending of the Hypostatic Persons of the Father and the Son [as mere aspects or modalities within the Trinity], Macedonius began to employ the word “homoiousios” “of similar essence” [in contrast to the Orthodox teaching of “homoousios”, “of the same essence”] regarding the essence of the Son and that of the Father.

This formula still presented a danger because Macedonius presented himself as a struggler against the Arians, who used the term “like the Father.” Besides this, the Macedonians, being semi-Arians, depending on conditions and advantages of the moment, sometimes inclined towards Orthodoxy, sometimes towards Arianism. They blasphemed the Holy Spirit by suggesting that He was not “of the same essence” with the Father and the Son.

A second heretic, Aetius, introduced the concept “anomoion” (“different in essence.” He said that the Father has a completely different essence from that of the Son. His disciple Eunomios taught a hierarchical subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Holy Spirit to the Son. Everyone who came to him was rebaptized into the “death of Christ,” denying Baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, which is commanded us by the Savior Himself (Mt. 28:19).

A third heresy arose from the teachings of Valentius and Ursacius at the Arimonian Council. They attempted to deceive the Orthodox bishops, proclaiming that the Son of God is from God, and is in the likeness of God the Father, and is not a created being as the Arians taught. The heretics did not wish to use the term “one in essence” in describing the relation of the Son to the Father, saying that the word “essence” is not found within the Holy Scripture. Besides these three main heresies, there were also many other false teachings. The heretic Apollinarios said, “The flesh of the Savior did not have a human soul or reason. The Word of God took the place of the absent soul; and Divinity remained dead for three days.”

For dealing with these crafters of heresy, the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395) convened an Ecumenical Council at Constantinople, at which 150 bishops were present. Upon investigation by the holy Fathers it was proposed to affirm a Confession of Faith from a Roman Council, which holy Pope Damasus had sent to Bishop Paulinos of Antioch. After reading the document aloud, the holy Fathers rejected the false teaching of Macedonius, and unanimously affirmed the Apostolic teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a subordinate being, but is rather the Life-Creating Lord, Who proceeds from the Father, and is worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son. In order to combat other heresies, of the Eunomians, Arians and Semi-Arians, the holy Fathers affirmed the Nicene Symbol of the Orthodox Faith.

In the Symbol (Creed), accepted by the First Ecumenical Council, the divine nature of the Holy Spirit was not addressed, since at that earlier time [in 325] heresies against the Holy Spirit had not become widespread. Therefore, the holy Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council added to the Nicean Symbol its eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth sections. They definitively formulated and affirmed the Nicene-Constantinople Symbol of Faith, which is used even now by all the Orthodox Churches.

The Second Ecumenical Council also established the norms for ecclesiastical courts [Canon VI], and it decided to receive those repentant heretics who were properly baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity through Chrismation, but those baptized with a single immersion were to be received as pagans.


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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday of the Blind Man

Commemorated on May 21

After the Midfeast (John 7:14), the Lord Jesus Christ came to the Temple again and taught the people who came to Him (John 8:2). After leaving the Temple, He opened the eyes of a man “who was blind from his birth (John 9:1).

The miracle described in today’s Gospel (John 9:1-38) is even more remarkable than it might seem at first. Saint Basil and other Fathers tell us that this was not just a case of giving sight to a blind man born with eyes that did not function, but to someone who had no eyes at all! The second Exapostilarion for this Sunday says, “Along the way, our Savior found a man who lacked both sight and eyes...”.

The Gospel says, “Since the world began, it was not heard that any man opened the eyes of one who was born blind” (John 9:32). There are examples in the Old (Tobit 2:17) and New (Mark 8:22-26) Testaments of blind people receiving sight, but this is something completely unprecedented.

The Savior placed clay in the man’s empty sockets and told him to wash in the pool of Siloam. When he obeyed these instructions, the eyes of clay became living eyes!

In his MENAION, Saint Demetrius of Rostov calls the blind man Saint Celidonius (see his account of Saint Lazarus in the Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles on January 4).

KONTAKION - TONE 4

I come to You, O Christ, / Blind from birth in my spiritual eyes / And I call to You in repentance: / You are the most radiant light of those in darkness!

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Monday, May 08, 2017

Venerable Arsenius the Great

Commemorated on May 8

Saint Arsenius the Great was born in the year 354 at Rome into a pious Christian family, which provided him a fine education and upbringing. He studied rhetoric and philosophy, and mastered the Latin and Greek languages. Saint Arsenius gave up philosophy and the vanity of worldly life, seeking instead the true wisdom praised by Saint James “pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits” (Jas. 3:17). He entered the ranks of the clergy as a deacon in one of the Roman churches, dedicating himself to the service of God.

The emperor Theodosius (379-395), who ruled the eastern half of the Roman Empire, heard about his erudition and piety, and he wished to entrust Arsenius with the education of his sons Arcadius and Honorius. Arsenius, however, protested that he had given up secular studies in order to serve God. Against his will, but in obedience to the will of Pope Damasus (December 11), Saint Arsenius agreed to teach the imperial children, hoping to teach them Christian piety as well.

When he arrived at Constantinople, Arsenius was received with great honor by the emperor Theodosius, who charged him to educate his sons not only in wisdom, but also in piety, guarding them from the temptations of youth. “Forget that they are the emperor’s sons,” said Theodosius, “for I want them to submit to you in all things, as to their father and teacher.”

With fervor the saint devoted himself to the education of the youths, but the high esteem in which he was held troubled his spirit, which yearned for the quietude of monastic life. Saint Arsenius entreated the Lord to show him the way to salvation. The Lord heard his prayer and one time he heard a voice telling him, “Arsenius, flee from men, and you shall be saved.” And then, removing his rich clothing and replacing it with old and tattered garments, he secretly left the palace, boarded a ship for Alexandria, and he made his way to Sketis, a monastery in the midst of the desert.

Arriving at the church, he asked the priests to accept him into the monastic brotherhood, calling himself a wretched wanderer, though his very manner betrayed him as a cultivated man. The brethren led him to Abba John the Dwarf (November 9), famed for his holiness of life. He, wishing to test the newcomer’s humility, did not seat Arsenius with the monks for the trapeza meal. He threw him a piece of dry bread saying, “Eat if you wish.” Saint Arsenius got down on his hands and knees, and picked up the bread with his mouth. Then he crawled off into a corner and ate it. Seeing this, Elder John said, “He will be a great ascetic!” Then accepting Arsenius with love, he tonsured him into monasticism.

Saint Arsenius zealously passed through his obediences and soon he surpassed many of the desert Fathers in asceticism. The saint again heard the Voice while he was praying, “Arsenius, hide from people and dwell in silence, this is the root of virtue.” From that moment Saint Arsenius settled in a solitary cell deep in the desert.

Having taken on the struggle of silence he seldom left his seclusion. He came to church only on Sundays and Feast days, observing complete silence and conversing with no one. When Abba Moses asked him why he hid himself from people, Saint Arsenius replied, “God knows that I love you, but I cannot remain with God and with men at the same time. The Heavenly Powers all have one will and praise God together. On earth, however, there are many human wills, and each man has his own thoughts. I cannot leave God in order to live with people.”

Though absorbed in constant prayer, the saint did not refuse visiting monks with his counsel and guidance, giving short, but perceptive answers to their questions. Once, a monk from Sketis saw the great Elder through a window standing at prayer, surrounded by a flame.

The handicraft of Saint Arsenius was to weave baskets, for which he used the fronds of date palms soaked in water. For a whole year Saint Arsenius did not change the water in the container, but merely added a little water to it from time to time. This caused his cell to be permeated with a foul stench. When asked why he did this, the saint replied that it was fitting for him to humble himself in this way, because in the world he had used incense and fragrant oils. He prayed that after death he would not experience the stench of hell.

The fame of the great ascetic spread far, and many wanted to see him, and they disturbed his tranquility. As a result, the saint was forced to move around from place to place. But those thirsting to receive his guidance and blessing still found him.

Saint Arsenius taught that many take upon themselves great deeds of repentance, fasting, and vigil, but it is rare for someone to guard his soul from pride, greed, jealousy, hatred of one’s brother, remembrance of wrongs, and judgment. In this they resemble graves which are decorated outwardly, but filled with stinking bones.

A certain monk once asked Saint Arsenius what he should do when he read the Holy Scriptures and did not comprehend their meaning. The Elder answered, “My child, you must study and learn the Holy Scriptures constantly, even if you do not understand their power... For when we have the words of the Holy Scriptures on our lips, the demons hear them and are terrified. Then they flee from us, unable to bear the words of the Holy Spirit Who speaks through His apostles and prophets.”

The monks heard how the saint often urged himself on in his efforts with the words, “Rouse yourself, Arsenius, work! Do not remain idle! You have not come here to rest, but to labor.” He also said, “I have often regretted the words I have spoken, but I have never regretted my silence.”

The great ascetic and keeper of silence was given the gift of tears with which his eyes were constantly filled. He spent fifty-five years at monastic labors and struggles. He spent forty years at Sketis, and ten years on the mountain of Troe near Memphis. Then he spent three years at Canopus, and two more years at Troe, where he fell asleep in the Lord.

Our holy, God-bearing Father Arsenius reposed when he was nearly one hundred years old, in the year 449 or 450.

His only disciples seem to have been Alexander, Zoilos, and Daniel (June 7).

TROPARION - TONE 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, / And your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe. / O our holy Father Arsenius, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

KONTAKION - TONE 2

Arising from Rome, as a sun, you reached the royal city, / Enlightening it, O most blessed one, by your words and deeds. / You drove out the darkness of unreasoning. / Therefore we honor you, Arsenius, the glory of the Fathers!

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Saturday, May 06, 2017

3rd Saturday after Pascha

May 6

APOLYTIKION OF 3RD SATURDAY AFTER PASCHA

SECOND TONE

When You descended to death, O Immortal Life, then, the light of Your divinity destroyed Hades. When You raised the dead from the depths of darkness, all the heavenly powers cried out, "Glory to You our Christ, the Giver of Life."

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Translation of the Dormition Icon of the Mother of God from Constantinople to the Kiev Caves, Far Caves

Commemorated on May 3

The Kiev Caves Icon of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos is one of the most ancient icons in the Russian Orthodox Church. The Mother of God entrusted it to four Byzantine architects, who in 1073 brought the icon to Saints Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. The architects arrived at the monks’ cave and asked, “Where do you want to build the church?” The saints answered, “Go, the Lord will point out the place.”

“How is it that you, who are about to die, have still not designated the place?” the architects wondered. “And they gave us much gold.”

Then the monks summoned all the brethren and they began to question the Greeks, saying, “Tell us the truth. Who sent you, and how did you end up here?”

The architects answered, “One day, when each of us was asleep in his own home, handsome youths came to us at sunrise, and said, ‘The Queen summons you to Blachernae.’ We all arrived at the same time and, questioning one another we learned that each of us had heard this command of the Queen, and that the youths had come to each of us. Finally, we beheld the Queen of Heaven with a multitude of warriors. We bowed down to Her, and She said, ‘I want to build Myself a Church in Rus, at Kiev, and so I ask you to do this. Take enough gold for three years.’”

“We bowed down and asked, ‘Lady Queen! You are sending us to a foreign land. To whom are we sent?’ She answered, ‘I send you to the monks Anthony and Theodosius.’”

“We wondered, ‘Why then, Lady, do You give us gold for three years? Tell us that which concerns us, what we shall eat and what we shall drink, and tell us also what You know about it.’”

“The Queen replied, ‘Anthony will merely give the blessing, then depart from this world to eternal repose. The other one, Theodosius, will follow him after two years. Therefore, take enough gold.

Moreover, no one can do what I shall do to honor you. I shall give you what eye has not seen, what ear has not heard, and what has not entered into the heart of man (1 Cor.2:9). I, Myself, shall come to look upon the church and I shall dwell within it.’”

“She also gave us relics of the holy martyrs Menignus, Polyeuctus, Leontius, Acacius, Arethas, James, and Theodore, saying, ‘Place these within the foundation.’ We took more than enough gold, and She said, ‘Come out and see the resplendant church.’ We went out and saw a church in the air. Coming inside again, we bowed down and said, ‘Lady Queen, what will be the name of the church?’”

“She answered, ‘I wish to call it by My own name.’ We did not dare to ask what Her name was, but She said again, ‘It will be the church of the Mother of God.’ After giving us this icon, She said, ‘This will be placed within.’ We bowed down to Her and went to our own homes, taking with us the icon we received from the hands of the Queen.”

Having heard this account, all glorified God, and Saint Anthony said, “My children, we never left this place. Those handsome youths summoning you were holy angels, and the Queen in Blachernae was the Most Holy Theotokos. As for those who appeared to be us, and the gold they gave you, the Lord only knows how He deigned to do this with His servants. Blessed be your arrival! You are in good company: the venerable icon of the Lady.” For three days Saint Anthony prayed that the Lord would show him the place for the church.

After the first night there was a dew throughout all the land, but it was dry on the holy spot. On the second morning throughout all the land it was dry, but on the holy spot it was wet with dew. On the third morning, they prayed and blessed the place, and measured the width and length of the church with a golden sash. (This sash had been brought long ago by the Varangian Shimon, who had a vision about the building of a church.) A bolt of lightning, falling from heaven by the prayer of Saint Anthony, indicated that this spot was pleasing to God. So the foundation of the church was laid.

The icon of the Mother of God was glorified by numerous miracles. Two friends, John and Sergius, sealed their friendship before it. After many years John fell mortally ill. He gave part of his wealth to the the Caves monastery, and he gave Sergius the portion for his five-year-old son for safekeeping. He also entrusted his son Zachariah to his guardianship. When Zachariah turned fifteen, he asked for his inheritance, but Sergius persisted in saying that John had distributed everything to the poor. He even went into the Dormition church and swore before the wonderworking icon that he had taken nothing.
When he attempted to kiss the icon, he was not able to come near it. He went to the doors and suddenly shouted, “Saints Anthony and Theodosius! Let me not be struck down for my dishonesty. Entreat the Most Holy Theotokos to drive away the multitude of demons which torment me. Let the gold and silver be taken away. It is sealed up in my granary.” Zachariah gave away all his inheritance to the Caves monastery, where he also himself was tonsured a monk. From that time, no one would take oaths before the wonderworking icon (March 24).

More than once the icon defended the land from enemy invasion. In 1677, when the Turks laid siege to Chigirin and danger threatened Kiev, they carried the icon around the city for almost the entire day of August 27. The Mother of God blessed Russian armies going to the Battle of Poltava (1709). In 1812 they carried the icon around Kiev again. The icon is commemorated twice during the year: May 3 and August 15 .

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):