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 »

“These Truths We Hold” (Part VI)

theotokos

Continued from (Part V)

Other Orthodox Communities in America.

Albanian.

Albanian Orthodox immigrants had been arriving in America for some time and, after some troubles with the local Greek Priest in Boston, Massachusetts, the Albanians there selected Theophan (Fan) Noli to be their own Priest. Accordingly, on February 9,1908, Fan Noli was ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop Platon in New York and the first Liturgy in the Albanian language was celebrated by Fr. Theophan in Boston on March 18, 1908. After serving for some years, organizing Albanian parishes, Fr. Theophan returned to Albania, where he was consecrated Bishop, on November 21,1923, subsequently becoming Prime Minister of that country in 1924. After a coup-d’etat, Bishop Theophan was forced to leave Albania, eventually returning to America as Bishop of the Albanian Orthodox Church in America. At his death in 1965, he was succeeded by Bishop Stephen (Lasko), who joined the Albanian Church to the newly-autocephalous Orthodox Church in America in October, 1971. Another tiny Albanian Diocese in America is under the spiritual care of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part V)

american saints

Continued from (Part IV)

Orthodoxy in America.

In the 18th Century, the great Orthodox Christian missionary work which began with Pentecost in Jerusalem, so many centuries before, finally crossed from the continent of Euro-Asia into North America. The first missionaries traveled with the explorers Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikov, who formally claimed Alaska and the Aleutian Islands in 1741. For the next fifty years, together with the exploration and economic development of this new outpost of the Russian Empire, the first attempts were made to bring the Orthodox Faith to the natives of that region (the Aleuts, the Athabascan Indians, the Tlingits, and the Eskimos).

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part IV)

Enthroned Mother of God and Child with Archangels.Circa 1600

Enthroned Mother of God and Child with Archangels.Circa 1600

Continued from (Part III)

World Orthodoxy Today.

Constantinople.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople again, at least nominally, became independent after World War I and the rise of modern, secular Turkey, although greatly reduced in size. At present the Patriarch’s jurisdiction includes Turkey, the island of Crete and other islands in the Aegean, the Greeks and certain other national groups in the Dispersion (the Diaspora) — in Europe, America, Australia, etc. — as well as the monastic republic of Mt. Athos and the autonomous Church of Finland. The present position of the Patriarchate in Turkey is precarious, persecution still exists there, and only a few thousand Greek Orthodox still remain in Turkey.

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part III)

Fathers of the Orthodox Church. Fresco from the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi in Mount Athos (Holy Mountain)

Fathers of the Orthodox Church. Fresco from the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi in Mount Athos (Holy Mountain)

Continued from (Part II)

Notable Fathers of the Early Period.

St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage († 258).

St. Cyprian, commemorated on August 31, was Bishop of Carthage during the persecu-tions of the Emperor Decius (250). He died as a martyr in 258, and among his many writings concerning Church life, the most important is On the Unity of the Catholic Church, which sets forth the role of the Bishop in the ecclesiastical structure.

St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch († 107).

St. Ignatius was the second Bishop of Antioch and is commemorated on December 20 and January 29. Martyred in the Arena at Rome, while on his way to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters to Christian communities, as well as to St. Polycarp, which contain valuable information on the dogmas, organization and liturgy of the early Church.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons († 202).

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part II)

eikona 1

Continued from (Part I)

Other Apostles.

St. Barnabas.

St. Barnabas, a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith (Acts 11:24), was a Jew from Cyprus, closely associated with the work of St. Paul. It was Barnabas who was sent to the Christians at Antioch, fetching Paul from Tarsus to help him. Later, he and Paul were sent on the first missionary journey, which began on the island of Cyprus, of which Church St. Barnabas is said to have founded. According to Church tradition, he was martyred on Cyprus at Salamis. He commemorated together with St. Bartholomew on June 11.

St. James the Brother of the Lord.

St. James was a half-brother (or perhaps a cousin) of the Lord, and was the first Bishop of the Church at Jerusalem, being called by St. Paul a pillar of that Church, together with Peter and John (Gal. 2:9). At the first general Church council, the Council of Jerusalem, James is depicted as having a leading role (Acts 15:12-21). Having ruled the Church in Jerusalem wisely (for which reason he is often called the Just), St. James was martyred there. Being taken to the top of the Temple wall, he was commanded to convince the people to turn away from Christ, which he refused to do, speaking to them in quite the opposite manner. Thereupon he was thrown down from that high point to the ground, where he was stoned and beaten to death. The Epistle of St. James is attributed to him and his Feast Day is celebrated on October 23.

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Ο Άγιος Ευτυχής Ιερομάρτυρας μαθητής του Αγίου Ιωάννη Θεολόγου – Hieromartyr Eutyches the Disciple of St John the Theologian (Commemorated on August 24)

st eutychesΟ Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Ευαγγελιστής, θέλοντας να δείξει τον άνθρωπο που έχει αληθινά πνεύμα Θεού, είπε: «Παν πνεύμα ο ομολογεί Ιησούν Χριστόν εν σαρκί εληλυθότα, εκ του Θεού εστί». Δηλαδή, κάθε άνθρωπος που παρουσιάζεται με χάρισμα Πνεύματος, αν ομολογεί όχι μόνο με λόγια αλλά και με έργα ότι ο Ιησούς Χριστός πράγματι σαρκώθηκε και έζησε σαν άνθρωπος φέροντας την ανθρώπινη φύση, αυτός ο άνθρωπος είναι από το Θεό. Ένας τέτοιος άνθρωπος ήταν και ο Άγιος Ευτυχής. Σαν γνήσιος μαθητής του Αγίου Ιωάννη του Ευαγγελιστή, απέδειξε περίτρανα στη ζωή του ότι είναι πραγματικά άνθρωπος του Θεού. Κήρυξε με ανδρεία το Ευαγγέλιο, γκρέμισε πολλούς ναούς ειδώλων, υπέμεινε δαρμούς και κακοπάθησε πολλά χρόνια δέσμιος μέσα στη φυλακή. Κατόπιν τον έριξαν στη φωτιά και μετά στα πεινασμένα θηρία. Επειδή, όμως, ένα από τα θηρία μίλησε με ανθρώπινη φωνή, αλλά και επειδή στη συνέχεια έμεινε αβλαβής από τα υπόλοιπα μαρτύρια, όλοι εξεπλάγησαν. Εξ’ αιτίας, λοιπόν, αυτών των θαυμάτων, τον άφησαν ελεύθερο να γυρίσει στην πατρίδα του Σεβαστή, όπου ειρηνικά παρέδωσε στον Κύριο το πνεύμα του.

Απολυτίκιο. Ήχος δ’. Ο υψωθείς εν τω Σταυρώ.

Ως φοιτητής των ιερών Αποστόλων, της ευσέβειας υποφήτης εδείχθης, και την του Λόγου σάρκωσιν εκήρυξας τρανώς, όθεν ενδιέπρεψας, μαρτυρίου τοις πόνοις, θαύμασι της πίστεως, βεβαιώσας τον λόγον. Ιερομάρτυς Πάτερ Ευτυχές, Χριστόν δυσώπει, υπέρ των ψυχών ημών.

Hieromartyr Eutyches the Disciple of St John the Theologian

The Hieromartyr Eutyches, a disciple of the holy Apostles John the Theologian and Paul, lived from the first century into the beginning of the second century, and was from the Palestinian city of Sebastea.

Although St Eutyches is not one of the 70 Apostles, he is called an Apostle because of his labors with the older Apostles, by whom he was made bishop. After hearing about Christ the Savior, St Eutyches first became a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian. Later he met the Apostle Paul, and preached together with him on the early journeys.

St Eutyches underwent many sufferings: they starved him with hunger, beat him with iron rods, they threw him into the fire, and then to be devoured by wild beasts. Once, a lion was let loose upon the saint, which astonished everyone because it praised the Creator with a human voice. The hieromartyr Eutyches completed his labors in his native city, where he was beheaded with a sword at the beginning of the second century.

Πηγή: Συναξαριστής και OCA

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 »

THE HOLY AND GREAT MARTYR PANTALEON [PANTELEIMON] ( July 27)

Saints Panteleimon and Hermolaus. Byzantine wall-painting of the late 13th century at the Church of Panagia Olympiotissa at Elassona, Greece.

Saints Panteleimon and Hermolaus. Byzantine wall-painting of the late 13th century at the Church of Panagia Olympiotissa at Elassona, Greece.

Pantaleon was born in Nicomedia of a Christian mother and a pagan father. His mother was called Eubula and his father Eustorgius. As a young man he studied the science of medicine. The priest, Hermolaus, invited Pantaleon to be with him and taught him the Faith of Christ and baptized him. Pantaleon miraculously cured a blind man whom the other doctors treated in vain; he cured him by the power of Christ and baptized him. Out of envy the doctors accused Pantaleon of being a Christian and he went before the Emperor Maximian to stand trial. «He stood before the earthly king in body but in thought he stood before the heavenly King.» Before the emperor, he freely declared that he was a Christian and, before the eyes of the emperor, he healed a paralytic of a long-standing illness.

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