Martyr Nicephorus of Antioch (February 9)

The Holy Martyr Nicephorus lived in the city of Syrian Antioch. In this city lived also the presbyter Sapricius, with whom Nicephorus was very friendly, so that they were considered as brothers. They quarreled because of some disagreement, and their former love changed into enmity and hate.

After a certain time Nicephorus came to his senses, repented of his sin and more than once asked Sapricius, through mutual friends, to forgive him. Sapricius, however, did not wish to forgive him. Nicephorus then went to his former friend and fervently asked forgiveness, but Sapricius was adamant. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Martyrdom of the Holy Hieromartyr Eleftherios and His Mother Anthia

During the reign of Aelius Hadrian, Roman Emperor and zealous servant of the idols, the wondrous Eleftherios was born the son of wealthy, renowned parents in the city of Rome. His father thrice held the rank of proconsul, and his mother was even more estimable, for instructed by Saint Paul, she believed in Christ and was baptized by the hand of the Apostle, taking the name of Evanthia [noble], and reared her son in piety. Read more…

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St. Eleftherios (December 15)

From a good tree comes good fruit. This wonderful saint had noble and greatly eminent parents. Eleutherius was born in Rome, where his father was an imperial proconsul. His mother Anthia heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul and was baptized by him. Having been left a widow early, she entrusted her only son for study and service to Anicetus the Bishop of Rome.

Seeing how Eleutherius was gifted by God and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him a deacon at the age of fifteen, a priest at the age of eighteen, and a bishop at the age of twenty. Eleutherius’s God-given wisdom made up for what he lacked in years, and this chosen one of God was appointed Bishop of Illyria with his seat in Valona (Avlona), Albania. Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called

The Feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First Called is November 30th. Our Community chose Saint Andrew as its patron saint because the first organizational meeting of our Parish was held on his Feast Day, November 30, 1979. The Patron Icon of St. Andrew, enshrined in the narthex of the Church, is a unique composition that exists nowhere else in sacred art. Iconographer Xenia Pokrovsky designed and wrote this sacred icon in egg-tempera. It depicts St. Andrew’s missionary work in the cities of Syria, from which the ancestors of many of our parishioners emigrated. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. Irene the Great Martyr (5 May)

The holy Great Martyr Irene was born in the city of Magedon in Persia during the fourth century. She was the daughter of the pagan king Licinius, and her parents named her Penelope.

Penelope was very beautiful, and her father kept her isolated in a high tower from the time she was six so that she would not be exposed to Christianity. He also placed thirteen young maidens in the tower with her. An old tutor by the name of Apellian was assigned to give her the best possible education. Apellian was a Christian, and during her lessons, he told the girl about Christ the Savior and taught her the Christian Faith and the Christian virtues.

When Penelope reached adolescence, her parents began to think about her marriage. One day, a dove flew through the window carrying an olive branch in its beak, depositing it upon a table. Then an eagle swooped in with a wreath of flowers in its beak, and also placed it upon the table. Finally, a raven flew in carrying a snake, which it dropped on the table. Penelope was puzzled by these events and wondered what they meant. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Can One Consider the Death of Father Daniel Sysoev to be a Martyrdom?

Hieromonk Job Gumerov

Death is the last event in a person’s earthly life. For a missionary, death is the last homily, the last message preached, the last witness for Christ, Whom the missionary loved with complete readiness to sacrifice his or her life for the sake of the triumph of the Faith. Father Daniel Sysoev[1] had prepared himself for this sacrifice long before. Even in his younger years when studying at the Moscow Theological Seminary where this writer taught Fundamental Theology, Father Daniel was pierced through with the fiery conviction that only Orthodoxy contained the fullness of saving truth. Possessed of great talents, as a seminarian he already knew the church canons, and passionately contested with students and instructors when they allowed themselves the slightest compromise. To people who were indifferent to the spreading and deepening of the faith, his aversion to compromise seemed strange; and some of them fell into judgment and condemnation—but his death as a priest in the church which he himself had built, gave proof of his earnestness, his zeal, his single-minded commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church.

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Holy Martyr AGATHA

On the 5th of the month, we keep the Memory of the Holy Martyr AGATHA

Saint Agatha, one of the most renowned Martyrs of the West, was born into a noble family at Catania in Sicily.1 From early youth, she consecrated herself to the Lord and worked at heightening her rare beauty with the most precious adornment of the true Faith and the holy virtues. At the time of her arrest, during the persecution under Decius (251), she was no more than fifteen. The Prefect Quintinian was greatly taken by her beauty when she appeared at his tribunal, and as he was interested in getting possession of her riches, he offered to marry her. On being refused, he sent her to live for a month with Aphrodisia, a woman of corrupt life, who used all her wiles to persuade Agatha to accept him. But the young girl was unmoved by the glamour of worldly pleasures, and Aphrodisia admitted herself defeated, saying that it would be easier to change the nature of iron or stone than Agatha’s resolve, firmly based as it was on the unshakeable rock of the Faith. When she was again brought to the tribunal, Quintinian said,

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On the Death of My Husband: Widow of Fr. Daniil Sysoev

Matushka Yuliya Mikhailovna Sysoeva and her daughters Iustina Daniilovna Sysoeva and Dorofei Daniilovna Sysoeva laying flowers on the grave of her husband, the murdered Fr Daniil Sysoev.

Thank you, dear ones, for your support and prayers. I can’t express my pain in words. It’s like the pain of standing by the Cross of the Saviour. Yet, it’s also a joy that you can’t convey by mere speech… it’s the joy of coming to the empty tomb. Where is thy victory, O death? Fr Daniil foresaw his demise several years before the crime.

He always wanted to be found worthy of martyrdom, and the Lord granted him this crown. Those who shot him, wanted to spit on the face of the Church, as once they spat on the face of Christ, but, they have not achieved what they wanted, because they failed to spit on the Church. Fr Daniil ascended his Golgotha right inside the church that he built and where he committed all his time and strength. They killed him as though he was an ancient prophet, between the altar and the place of sacrifice, and he rightly earned the title of a martyr. He died for Christ, Whom he served with all his might. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Holy Great-martyr Menas (11 November)

Agios Minas, Palaios Mitropolitikos Naos Herakliou

Menas was an Egyptian by birth and a soldier by profession. As a true Christian, he was not able to witness the abominable sacrificial offerings to the idols and left the army, the town, the people and everything else, and went to a deserted mountain, for it was easier for him to live among the wild beasts than with pagans. One day Menas clairvoyantly discerned a pagan celebration in the town of Cotyaeus.

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St. Irenaeus of Lyons (feast day 23 August)

A modern-day Byzantine Orthodox icon of St Irenaeus.

A modern-day Byzantine Orthodox icon of St Irenaeus.

Information as to his life is scarce, and in some measure inexact. He was born in Proconsular Asia, or at least in some province bordering thereon, in the first half of the second century; the exact date is controverted, between the years 115 and 125, according to some, or, according to others, between 130 and 142. It is certain that, while still very young, Irenaeus had seen and heard the holy Bishop Polycarp (d. 155) at Smyrna. During the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, Irenaeus was a priest of the Church of Lyons. The clergy of that city, many of whom were suffering imprisonment for the Faith, sent him (177 or 178) to Rome with a letter to Pope Eleutherius concerning Montanism, and on that occasion bore emphatic testimony to his merits. Returning to Gaul, Irenaeus succeeded the martyr Saint Pothinus as Bishop of Lyons. During the religious peace which followed the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, the new bishop divided his activities between the duties of a pastor and of a missionary (as to which we have but brief data, late and not very certain) and his writings, almost all of which were directed against Gnosticism, the heresy then spreading in Gaul and elsewhere. In 190 or 191 he interceded with Pope Victor to lift the sentence of excommunication laid by that pontiff upon the Christian communities of Asia Minor which persevered in the practice of the Quartodecimans in regard to the celebration of Easter. Nothing is known of the date of his death, which must have occurred at the end of the second or the beginning of the third century. In spite of some isolated and later testimony to that effect, it is not very probable that he ended his career with martyrdom. His feast is celebrated on 28 June in the Latin Church, and on 23 August in the Greek. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St Elessa of Kythera – feast day August 1 (in English and Greek)

An Orthodox icon of St Elessa of Kythera from Mount Athos.

A Greek Orthodox icon of St Elessa of Kythera from Mount Athos (1956).

St Elessa came from the Peloponnese and was the daughter of a rich Greek, named Elladios. Her mother Eugenia was a devout Christian and was barren. So through prayer she had Elessa miraculously, whom she raised according to the dictates of the Gospel and under the difficult situations caused by her pagan husband. At the age of 14 years, Elessa was orphaned by her mother and was thus left the lady of her father’s rich house. Countless were her beneficences and charities for the deprived and suffering fellow people. Sometime, though, her father induced her to marry a pagan ruler, but she refused. So when one day her father left for a trip, Elessa divided all her belongings to the oor and with her most loyal of servant-girls, escaped to the island of Kythera. There through prayer, she did many miracles. But when her father returned from the trip and learned what had happened, he was very angry, and upon discovering where Elessa was, he left to bring back. But Elessa’s opinion was contrary to that of her pagan father. Then he, after he tortured her mercilessly, he finally decapitated her and she thus all-worthily obtained the crown of martyrdom. (The memory of this Saint is not mentioned anywhere in the «synaxaristes»: we find her as a martyr only at Kythera).
Καταγόταν από την Πελοπόννησο και ήταν κόρη ενός πλούσιου Έλληνα, που ονομαζόταν Ελλάδιος. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

THE VENERABLE FEMALE MARTYR PARASCEVA [PARASCEVE] (July 26)

Agia Paraskevi

Parasceva was born in Rome of Christian parents and from her youth was instructed in the Faith of Christ. With great fervence, St. Parasceva endeavored to fulfill all the commandments of God in her life. Believing strongly and living according to her faith, Parasceva directed others on the path [of salvation] with the help of the True Faith and pious living. When her parents died Parasceva distributed all of her property to the poor and was tonsured a nun. As a nun she preached the Faith of Christ with an even greater zeal, not hiding from anyone, even though at that time the Roman authorities bloodily persecuted the Faith of Christ. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Sts. Eusebius, Zenon and Zenas (June 22)

A modern greek icon depicting Saints Zenon, Eusebius and Zenas

A modern greek icon depicting Saints Zenon, Eusebius and Zenas

1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR EUSEBIUS, BISHOP OF SAMOSATA

Eusebius was a great exposer of Arianism. When the throne of Antioch became vacant, Meletius was elected patriarch at the insistence of Eusebius. Meletius was a great beacon of the Church who, after his death, was found worthy of great praise by St. John Chrysostom. However, the Arians quickly banished Meletius from Antioch. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »