The Nativity of the Most-holy Theotokos (September 8)

12B03The Holy Virgin Mary was born of aged parents, Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the lineage of David, and her mother of the lineage of Aaron. Thus, she was of royal birth by her father, and of priestly birth by her mother. In this, she foreshadowed Him Who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Her parents were quite old and had no children. Because of this they were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility they prayed to God with tears, to bring them joy in their old age by giving them a child, as He had once given joy to the aged Abraham and his wife Sarah by giving them Isaac. The Almighty and All-seeing God rewarded them with a joy that surpassed all their expectations and all their most beautiful dreams. For He gave them not just a daughter, but the Mother of God. He illumined them not only with temporal joy, but with eternal joy as well. God gave them just one daughter, and she would later give them just one grandson-but what a daughter and what a Grandson! Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Holy Great Female Martyr Euphemia (11th July & 16th September)

Byzantine mosaic of St. Euphemia of the 6th century. Porec, Basilica of Euphrasius.

Byzantine mosaic of St. Euphemia of the 6th century. Porec, Basilica of Euphrasius.

Saint Euphemia is commemorated on September 16, the day on which she was martyred. On this day, however, is commemorated the miracle surrounding her honorable relics, which was manifested at the time of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon. This Council was convened during the reign of Emperor Marcian and the Empress Pulcheria in the year 451 A.D., after the death of Emperor Theodosius the Younger. The reason for summoning this Council was the heresy of Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria and Eutyches, an Archimandrite from Constantinople, who spread the false teaching that in Christ the Lord there were not two natures, divine and human, but only one, a divine nature. At this Council Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, played the most prominent roles. Because a conclusion could not be reached through debates and testimonies from either side, Patriarch Anatolius motioned that the Orthodox and the heretics write down their confessions of faith and then place them in the sarcophagus where the relics of St. Euphemia reposed. They all agreed to this. Therefore, the two confessions of faith were written and placed on the bosom of the great female martyr. The sarcophagus was closed, sealed with the emperor’s seal and military guards were appointed. read more… 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 »

THE HOLY MARTYR EMILIAN AND THE VENERABLE PAMBO (JULY 18)

Saints Valentina, Pambo and Emilian (July 18).

Saints Valentina, Pambo and Emilian (July 18).

THE HOLY MARTYR EMILIAN

During the reign of Julian the Apostate, in the Thracian town of Dorostolon, lived a young man, Emilian, a servant of the mayor of the town. When the apostate emperor began to destroy Christianity throughout the realm of the Roman Empire by fire and sword and, when the emperor’s representative came to Dorostolon to kill the Christians, he did not find a single one. Rejoicing at this, he sponsored a great banquet for the citizens of Dorostolon and ordered sacrifices to be offered to the idols and rejoicing ensued throughout the entire town, day and night. That night, St. Emilian entered the pagan temples, markets and the streets of the town and smashed all of the idols with a sledgehammer. 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 SALVATION OF THE SOUL

christ-kievo

Christ giving Holy Communion to His disciples. Byzantine mosaic of the 11th century from the Cathedral of Sancta Sophia in Kiev.

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

After a large number of people had gathered around our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord spoke these words: «What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?» In addition, He spoke these words: «What can a man give in exchange for his soul?»

This means that a man’s soul has more value than the whole visible world. And if a man loses his soul, with what can he make payment, with what can he buy it back again? With nothing in the world. Not even if he gives the whole world can he buy his lost soul.

Blessed is he who knows this, and who guards his soul as his greatest treasure. Blessed is he who stands guard over his soul every day and does not permit his soul to suffer harm in any way. For he who saves his soul will save everything, and he who loses his soul will lose everything.

In a small town there once lived a very rich man. He lived in a small dilapidated house. He did not want to renovate his house, but saved and guarded his wealth.

Now this one night his house happened to catch fire and burn down. The man, however, jumped out of bed undressed, searched out his saved-up treasure, and leapt out of the house. His whole house was reduced to ashes, but he did not feel sorry about it at all. Rather, with his wealth he moved to a large city, and in this large city he built a beautiful palace, and there he continued to live cheerfully and free from worry.

Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Venerable Joseph the Hymnographer, Holy Martyr Pherbutha, Venerable Zosimas and Venerable Martyr Nicetas (April 4)

0404joseph-hymnographer1. VENERABLE JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER

Joseph was born in Sicily of pious and virtuous parents, Plotinus and Agatha. After the death of his parents, Joseph moved to Thessalonica where he was tonsured a monk. As a monk, he was a model to all in fasting, extreme restraint, ceaseless prayer, chanting of the Psalms, vigils and labor. The bishop of Thessalonica ordained him a priest [Heiromonk]. While visiting Thessalonica the distinguished Gregory Decapolis was so impressed with Joseph, because of his rare character, that he invited him to his monastery in Constantinople. When the flame of the Iconoclastic heresy erupted again under Leo V, the Armenian, Joseph was sent to Rome to call upon the Pope and the Roman Church to battle for Orthodoxy. While enroute, Joseph was captured by pirates and taken to Crete where the heretics detained him in prison for six years. Joseph rejoiced that he was made worthy to suffer for Christ and, for that, he continually praised God, considering the iron chains on him as an adornment of gold. Early in the morning on Christmas day, in the sixth year of Joseph’s imprisonment, the wicked Emperor Leo was slain in church while attending Matins. At that same moment, St. Nicholas appeared to Joseph in prison and said to him:»Arise and follow me!» Joseph felt himself being elevated in the air and, all at once, found himself before the gates of Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »