St. Zeno of Verona (April 12)

Saint Zeno, Bishop of Verona, was born a Greek and came from Syria. In his youth he became a monk and devoted himself to the study of Holy Scripture. Visiting several monasteries, the saint came to the city of Verona and settled there. The people chose him as bishop of the city.

The emperors Constantius (353-361) and Valens (364-378), were advocates of the Arian heresy, which had been condemned at the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in the year 325. Under their patronage the Arians began a persecution against the Orthodox. St Zeno bravely endured all the oppression from the heretics. Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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 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 »

Christians find a champion

By Sarah Mac Donald

A court victory for the Ecumenical Patriarchate confirming its ownership of an orphanage has raised the hopes of embattled church communities in Turkey. Christians have been in legal limbo with few rights since the foundation of the modern republic in the 1920s.

If the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, realises his ambitions for the refurbishment of a Greek Orthodox orphanage building on Buyukada Island, Istanbul, it could mark a turning point in relations between the Turkish state and religious minorities. The Ecumenical Patriarch told the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that he would like to use part of the vast wooden building as a centre for interfaith dialogue.

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St Ephrem the Syrian (January 28)

Our Righteous Father Ephrem the Syrian was a prolific Syriac language hymn writer and theologian of the 4th century. He is venerated by Christians throughout the world, but especially among Syriac Christians, as a saint. His feast day in the Orthodox Church is January 28.

Ephrem was born around the year 306, in the city of Nisibis (the modern Turkish town of Nusaybin, on the border with Syria). Internal evidence from Ephrem’s hymnody suggests that both his parents were part of the growing Christian community in the city, although later hagiographers wrote that his father was a pagan priest. Numerous languages were spoken in the Nisibis of Ephrem’s day, mostly dialects of Aramaic. The Christian community used the Syriac dialect. Various pagan religions, Judaism and early Christian sects vied with one another for the hearts and minds of the populace. It was a time of great religious and political tension. The Roman Emperor Diocletian had signed a treaty with his Persian counterpart, Nerses in 298 that transferred Nisibis into Roman hands. The savage persecution and martyrdom of Christians under Diocletian were an important part of Nisibene church heritage as Ephrem grew up. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The difficulties a convert faces in approaching Orthodoxy

Inside an Orthodox churchin Peja/Pec, Kosovo

Inside an Orthodox churchin Peja/Pec, Kosovo

by Ecaterini

I am a convert to Orthodoxy and live in regional Australia. I came to my local Greek Orthodox Church from the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch whose Patriarch is based in Syria. In Australia, this Church is known as the Antiochian Orthodox Church. There are five traditions of World Orthodoxy represented in my area, but only the Greek and Serbian traditions are «affiliated» with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Only rarely do these churches offer a Divine Liturgy in English.

I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts on what difficulties converts face on coming into the Orthodox Faith. It has been my experience that, if one wants to do more than just participate in a «nominal way» in the life of the church, a full commitment to the Orthodox Faith is what is required. My sole purpose in writing this letter is to increase awareness of the process of conversion to the Faith. I pray that I will do this with humility. Hopefully, by sharing some of my thoughts with you, we can learn from one another that the road will be made just a little easier (not just for those converts who may come after people like me but for each one of us whose spiritual journeys are often unique and deeply personal as we aspire to live our lives in the Lord’s name).

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ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MONASTICISM

vatopaidi monk

With the development of monasticism in the Church there appeared a peculiar way of life, which however did not proclaim a new morality. The Church does not have one set of moral rules for the laity and another for monks, nor does it divide the faithful into classes according to their obligations towards God. The Christian life is the same for everyone. All Christians have in common that «their being and name is from Christ»[1]. This means that the true Christian must ground his life and conduct in Christ, something which is hard to achieve in the world.

What is difficult in the world is approached with dedication in the monastic life. In his spiritual life the monk simply tries to do what every Christian should try to do: to live according to God’s commandments. The fundamental principles of monasticism are not different from those of the lives of all the faithful. This is especially apparent in the history of the early Church, before monasticism appeared. 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 »

The Early Centuries of the Greek Roman East (2)

A page of a byzantine illuminated manuscript of the 12th century, depicting the Ascension of Christ and two prophets.

A page of a byzantine illuminated manuscript of the 12th century, depicting the Ascension of Christ and two prophets. Φύλλο από βυζαντινό εικονογραφημένο χειρόγραφο του 12ου αιώνος, που απεικονίζει την Ανάληψη του Χριστού και δύο προφήτες.

Continuation from (1)

The Advancement of Architecture

The ruler as builder was one of the oldest ideals of a sovereign. Public buildings and other structures were, in principle, gifts to be used by the ruler’s subjects, but also monuments of the greatness of the ruler. Justinian strove hard to realize this ideal. The greatest buildings he erected or rebuilt were in Constantinople, the city which was now the embodiment of the civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire. Numerous magnificent and artistically beautiful structures were constructed or rebuilt during his reign. They included statues, churches and various other monuments. His crowning achievement was the building of St. Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom. This building was considered by many an architectural wonder of the middle ages, and is still standing strong today. Its design, size, artwork, name and its significance made it a building that symbolized the religious and philosophical epicenter of Constantinople and Byzantine civilization.

Even before he came to power, during his uncle’s reign, Justinian had already set about to rehabilitate and rebuild many churches in Constantinople and its suburbs. This work began mostly in a private capacity and reflected the piety which was to show itself further when Justinian became emperor. The chief church in this category was St. Accius, a Cappadocian soldier who had been executed at Byzantium in the early 300’s and was venerated as one of the leading martyrs who had suffered on the site of the future Constantinople. Six other churches were similarly rebuilt. One was St. Mocius. This was one of the most famous shrines in Constantinople. It was said to have been originally a temple of Zeus, which Constantine then converted into a church. Other churches included St. Plato, martyred at Ancyra, and St. Thyrsus, executed in Nicomedia in the same persecution. In the suburbs of Constantinople he rebuilt a church of the famous woman martyr, St. Thecla, who suffered in the first Christian century. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Early Centuries of the Greek Roman East (1)

Justinian with his entourage (courtiers and guards), the bishop of Ravenna Maximian and clergy. Mosaic in the church of St. Vitalius in Ravenna (548AD). Ο Ιουστινιανός με την συνοδία του (αυλικούς και φρουρούς), τον επίσκοπο της Ραβέννας Μαξιμιανό και κληρικούς. Ψηφιδωτό στην εκκλησία του Αγίου Βιταλίου στην Ραβέννα (548 μΧ).

Justinian with his entourage (courtiers and guards), the bishop of Ravenna Maximian and clergy. Mosaic in the church of St. Vitalius in Ravenna (548AD). Ο Ιουστινιανός με την συνοδία του (αυλικούς και φρουρούς), τον επίσκοπο της Ραβέννας Μαξιμιανό και κληρικούς. Ψηφιδωτό στην εκκλησία του Αγίου Βιταλίου στην Ραβέννα (548 μΧ).

I.The Foundation of Constantinople and the Adoption of Christianity

We begin our story about the history of Romiosini or the Greek Middle ages with the founding of Constantinople, the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire. Constantinople was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine I (324-337) who wanted to establish, for various political reasons, a new capital city for the Roman Empire in the east. Ultimately, this change was brought about because of the turmoil which the Roman Empire was facing in the west at the time. With much of the western territories having been destroyed by the invasions of the Germanic tribes, Rome was in constant danger of being attacked. Moreover, with the eastern frontier of the Empire stretching over all of Asia Minor and Syria, Rome was no longer in a position to check the ongoing hostilities with Persia. Consequently, after a series of internal struggles among the ruling powers of the Empire, Constantine -who emerged victorious-chose as the location of his new capital the ancient Greek city of Byzantion. In 324 Constantine transformed Byzantion into «The New Rome» or «Constantinopolis», the City of Constantine. The people often referred to it simply as «The City» or, in Greek, «Hi Polis». MORE… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »