Friday, August 7, 2020

"When was such a wonder of wonders ever seen by men?"

The Most-holy Theotokos and Christ (Source)
When was such a wonder of wonders ever seen by men? How does the Queen of all lie breathless? How has the Mother of Jesus reposed? Thou, O Virgin, wast the preaching of the prophets; thou art heralded by us. All the people venerate thee; the angels glorify thee. Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee, and through thee, with us. With Gabriel we hymn thee, with the angels we glorify thee; and with the prophets we praise thee, for they announced thee.
Habakkum beheld thee as an overshadowed mountain, for thou art covered with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Daniel beheld thee as a mountain from whom, seedlessly, the solid and strong King, the Christ, issued forth. Jacob saw thee as a ladder upon Whom Christ came down to eat and drink with us. And although we, His slaves, contemplate ascending into the heavens, yet thou hast ascended before all. Rejoice, O Virgin, for Gideon beheld thee as a fleece. David saw thee as the virgin daughter of the King. Isaias called thee Mother of God and Ezekiel a gate. All the prophets prophesied thee!
What shall we call thee, O Virgin? Paradise. It is meet, for thou hast blossomed forth the flower of incorruption, Christ, Who is the sweet-smelling fragrance for the souls of men. Virgin? Verily, a virgin thou art, for without the seed of man thou gavest birth to our Lord Jesus Christ. Thou wast a virgin before birth and virgin at birth and still a virgin after. Shall we call thee Mother? This is meet too; for as a Mother thou gavest birth to Christ the King of all. Shall we name thee Heaven? This thou art also for upon thee rose the Sun of righteousness. Wherefore, rejoice O Virgin, and hasten to thy Son’s rest and dwell in the tents of His beloved. Hasten there and make ready a palace and remember us and all thy people also, too. O Lady Mother of God, for both we and thyself are of the race of Adam. On account of this, intercede on our behalf; for this supplicate thy Son Whom thou hast held in thine embrace, and help us in our preaching and then afterwards that we may find rest in our hopes. Go forward, O Virgin from earth to heaven, from corruption to incorruption, from the sorrow of this world to the joy of the Kingdom of the heavens, from this perishable earth to the everlasting Heaven. Hasten, O Virgin to the heavenly light, to the hymns of the angels, to the glory of the saints from all the ages. Hasten, O Virgin, to the place of thy Son, to His Kingdom, to His power, where the angels chant, the prophets glorify and the Archangels hymn the Mother of the King, who is the lit lampstand, wider than the heavens, the firmament above, the protection of Christians, and the mediatress of our race.”
-St. Ierothos
Most-holy Theotokos save us!

A Miracle of St. Iakovos of Evia in India

St. Iakovos of Evia (source)
When we celebrated the forty-day memorial of Papou [St. Iakovos of Evia], they whole area was covered in snow.

At one point in the evening, a rural villager came close. I heard Fr. Seraphim tell the sailor: "Go ahead, Niko, they're waiting for you behind the Altar."

When I went for a walk again in the Monastery, I passed by [the Saint's] grave, and I see the sailor crying, and after a short time, he related to us:
"We were stopped in India, because our boat had suffered damage, and we didn't know what was wrong. On Thursday evening I saw [the Saint] and he told me:
'Niko, it's there. That's where the damage is. Change out that part and you will leave.'
And that is how it occurred."

And when he returned to his home, his loved ones hadn't told him anything.

At the lunch table in his home, his little daughter told him:
"Daddy, that Papouli*** flew"
"What Papouli?"

They told him what had occurred [i.e. the repose of St. Iakovos] and he immediately came up to the Monastery. Of course at that hour, Fr. Seraphim and other pilgrims were there saying:
"He was a holy man."

And Fr. Seraphim [joked] "What kind of holy man? He was lying. He said that he hadn't gone anywhere, but he himself had gone to India."
-Quote of Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista, of Blessed Memory, from a talk on St. Iakovos of Evia in the Holy Church of St. George, Panoramatos 11/21/2016
***Note: "Papouli" here is being used as a term of endearment for a priest.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

"Your Disciples, O Logos, cast themselves down to the ground..."

The Holy Transfiguration of Christ (source)
Foreshadowing Your Resurrection, O Christ God, You took Your three Disciples Peter and James and John and ascended Tabor. And You, O Savior, were transfigured before them, while light overshadowed Mount Tabor. Your Disciples, O Logos, cast themselves down to the ground, not being able to behold Your form that is difficult to gaze upon. Angels served with fear and trembling, the Heavens were astonished, the Earth was shaken, beholding upon the earth, the glory of the Lord.
-Doxastikon of the Stichera for the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

The Transfiguration of Christ (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

"Trinities of Saints", by Monk Arsenios

Famous depiction of the prefiguration of the Holy Trinity by Rublev (source)


"According to the grace-filled expression of our Saints: “The Holy Spirit is the head of the household of the Orthodox Church”…Without His presence, all the deeds and the Mysteries of the Church remain invalid, dead. Thus, great is our rejoicing and exaltation when we see how the Holy Spirit has not abandoned His Orthodox Church even to our days…


"Therefore, among the infinite gifts of the Holy Spirit to His Church, we see a most-beautiful and grace-filled phenomenon, in other words, throughout the centuries, we see revealed trinities of Saints, and this is not by accident.


Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (source)


"We see this begin with the three Forefathers and Patriarchs of the Jewish people: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


"Though we do not see the same with the Apostles***, after a few centuries, we see shining forth the Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian.


The Three Great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers: Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom (source)


[***Note: One could argue that Christ highlighted the Apostles Peter, James and John at His Holy Transfiguration]

"The next trinity are the great Venerable Ascetics Sts. Anthony, Euthemios and Savas the Sanctified.
Three Great Desert Fathers: Sts. Anthony the Great, Euthemios and Sabbas the Sanctified (source)
"After several centuries shown forth three Saints who conquered the terrible heresy of papism: Photios the Great, Gregory Palamas and Mark of Ephesus.

Three Great Pillars of Orthodoxy: Sts. Gregory Palamas, Mark of Ephesus and Photios the Great (source)
"And, while several centuries passed without this particularly pleasant phenomenon being seen, many Saints were recognized. However, in our days, even before our Holy Church recognized them as Saints, the faithful especially of the Church of Greece, had begun to paint the icon of three Holy Elders: Porphyrios, Paisios and Iakovos, whom our Church formally recognized a short time later. Behold, how in our days, which are especially evil ones, the Holy Spirit has given us a new grace-filled trinity of Saints, which many of us “have seen and touched with our hands.” (I Epistle of John 1:1)…

"They, in short, are three greatly loved Saints of our days. All three had as their calling the healing of the pain of wearied people. It is unable to overestimate their contribution…"
-Excerpt from "The Three Saints of our Days: Sts. Paisios, Porphyrios and Iakovos"

By Monk Arsenios of the Skete of Koutloumousiou, Mount Athos

Three Great Venerable Wonderworkers of the 20th Century: Sts. Paisios the Athonite, Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia and Iakovos of Evia (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Homily on the Holy Maccabees by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes

Icon of the Holy Maccabees with their Mother St. Solomone, and their teacher Eleazar (source)
Homily on the Holy Maccabees by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes: "Our Faith is True"
We will speak, my beloved, on the Holy Maccabees. They are a star cluster of nine stars, one being their teacher Eleazar, the second was their mother Solomone, and the other seven are her distinguished children of this large family.

These heroes lived in the 2nd century before Christ, during the reign of the King of Syria and Judea of one of the successors of Alexander the Great, Antiochos the Epiphanes (175-163BC). This man, a fanatical idolater, had endless hatred of the Jews, who were the only ones who believed in the true God. He tried with his whole being to uproot from their hearts their faith which had been given to them by Moses. And he slaughtered, slaughtering like a wild beast, more wild than a tiger or a lion. A beast might eat three or four people, but can't eat more. He, however, slaughtered 80,000 Jews, and blood poured through the streets of Jerusalem like a river. And in order to put an end to their religion, he organized an idol-worshiping feast. In the center of the city, he placed a great and large altar, and there sacrificed sheep and goats and bulls and rams, like the Jews would do typically, but--in order to corrupt them--he also sacrificed pigs, hundreds of pigs, to the gods of the idols. And in order to defile the Jews and to strike their religious consciences, he forced them to consume the meat. We must know that the Jews never ate pork. To this day, if you go to a Jewish home, they never eat pork. I won't go into the reasons that they do it, but in any case they continue to keep this.

The Jews fast. Do we? We also need to fast. And here I will make an aside. Are you a Christian, are you Orthodox? I'm not sure. If you were Orthodox, if you firmly believed in our Orthodoxy, you must keep the fasts. Which fasts? You should fast on Wednesday and Friday: Wednesday because on that day was our Lord Jesus Christ betrayed, and Friday, because on that day He was crucified. If you were Orthodox, you would fast during holy and Great Lent, and the other fasting periods, including January 5th, the day before Theophany, August 29th, the day of the Beheading of the Forerunner, and the Exaltation of the Precious Cross.

Do Christians fast today? Unfortunately, this holy practice seems to be going by the wayside. You can break whatever you wish, and you see people even breaking the fast on Holy Friday. During fasting periods, the meat markets are full and the restaurants at night dish out tons of meat. We [Greeks] have become among the largest meat-eaters in the Balkans. We even buy and ship in meat from Bulgaria and Serbia. All of this eating of meat is very serious for our health as well.

So the Jews therefore fasted, and to mock their fasting, Antiochos forced them to eat pork that had been sacrificed to the idols. First, he called the teacher Eleazar, who was an honorable priest. He told him: "I am 90 years old. Until now I have kept the fast according to the divine law, and I cannot even begin to think about abandoning our holy tradition..." He was seized by the soldiers of Antiochos, bound, and thrown into the fine. Thus, he gave up his soul to God.

After this, one by one he called the seven brothers, the Maccabees. He hold them: "Take pity on your youth." He told the first: "I will give you honor, glories, respect." "Keep your honors, I will remain in the home of my fathers/ I will never taste pork sacrificed to the idols..." Thus, the first said not. The same occurred with the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and the seventh. And after they all denied, each began their terrible martyrdom, which one shudders to even think about. Open the Old Testament to the end and turn to the book of Fourth Maccabees (5-12). Don't just read magazines and newspapers. If you are a Christian, read the holy Scriptures. You will say, I don't have time, or I'm tired...Good try!

Let me make another aside. I tell you to fast, but you don't fast. I tell you to read the Holy Scriptures, but you don't read them. The one you don't do, neither do you do the other. What Christian are you, can you tell me? I tell you to pray, but you don't pray. I tell you to confess, but you don't confess. I tell you to commune, but you don't commune. I tell you to go to church, but you don't go. You only go to church when you're invited to a sacrament [i.e. a baptism or a wedding]. Many go for a memorial service. But this is a sin. Because every church every Sunday is a memorial service. What memorial?  Not of our father or our mother. Every Sunday, we serve a memorial for the Lord. And if you go to the memorial of your father or mother, even more so should you go to the memorial of our Lord Jesus Christ. What does faith cost you? To the martyrs it cost terrible pains and death.

The Maccabees therefore said no, and began their martyrdom. A martyrdom that makes man shudder to read it, as is described in the Holy Scriptures. They put a trident between their eyes. Another they cut off his right hand. Another they cut off the left with a saw. Another they cut off his fingers. Another, they pulled off his nails. Another they raked his flesh with iron nails. Another they skinned him alive, like the butcher skins an animal... But it was as if nothing to them! They remained steadfast.

And in front of all of this, in the presence of the martyrdom of the seven children, who was there, I ask? Their mother, St. Solomone. O, what a mother! She was not at all like some mothers today who would say: "Eat, my child, a little meat, it's nothing..." Today, many mothers are only thinking of their children's bodies, their flesh, in other words. Above the body, they don't see anything else. St. Solomone was a unique mother, a historic mother, a rare example throughout the ages. "No, my children!" she said, "Do not pollute our religion, do not loose the crown of glory!" And their mother prepared them, her seven children, for a terrible martyrdom. It was their faith in God, and this faith showed her to be a heroine, a unique and grand and lady of a woman. How did she find the strength to support all her children to be sacrificed? Don't you think that she felt pain? Of course she felt pain. As her children were being martyred, and she saw them one by one being put to death in the most terrible manner, she suffered. She was pained for each separately, and for them all together. Her pain was greatly multiplied. Mothers, when their children get sick with a fever, they entreat God for the fever to flee from their children and to come to them instead. If, therefore, each child of St. Solomone was martyred once, then she was pained for each, and it was as if she was martyred seven times, multiplied by seven. And, having endured steadfastly and unshaken throughout this trial, in the end, she herself fell into the fire (IV Maccabees 17:1). Thus, they were all burned and became a sacrifice for the love of God, martyrs before Christ.

This, my brethren, in a few words, is the martyrdom of the seven Maccabee children, of their mother Solomone, and their teacher Eleazar. What does it teach us?

One lesson comes forth today. Our faith is not a myth. It is living and wondrous. We have the most true religion, the only truth in the world. Because of this, the Prophets prophesied and gave their lives, including the Maccabees in the Old Testament, and because of this, the Apostles and Martyrs were sacrificed in the New Testament, and because of this, the Fathers and the Teachers of the Church lived in asceticism, and preached theology, and confessed the faith.

Let us as well honor and imitate their struggles out of love, that we might, together with them, become partakers in the glory of the Kingdom of God, to Whom be glory and might unto the ages of ages. Amen.
(+) Bishop Avgoustinos
(Delivered in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Ptolmaidos, on Sunday August 2nd, 1987)
The Holy Maccabee Martyrs (source)  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy in us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

" for behold, she stands among us at the annual feast of her memory, granting the gifts of peace..."

St. Irene Chrysovalantou (source)

Come, all the faithful, let us hasten with diligence to Irene the God-bearer, for behold, she stands among us at the annual feast of her memory, granting the gifts of peace, distributing to each as they are worthy, as we have all been blessed by her gifts, and we behold the grace-filled mind with which she was rightly made worthy of. The lamp of virginity, the treasury of dispassion, the overflowing vessel of mystical fragrances, for in the house of God, she received this anointing, having the honor of rest. Therefore, she was adorned like the Angels with the angelic glory with which she was made worthy, and she ceaselessly intercedes with God, the Bestower of Peace, to grant peace to the world, and to save our souls.
-Doxastikon of the Aposticha for St. Irene Chrysovalantou

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A Study on the Apolytikion of St. Paraskevi

St. Paraskevi the Great Martyr (source)
Note: The short but powerful Apolytikion (troparion) of St. Paraskevi, is often times not fully or clearly translated from the original Greek, and is even less often explained regarding its deep meaning and how the Saint illustrates Christ. This is an excerpt from a very lengthy study on the Saint's hymn, including many pertinent scriptural references. May the Saint's love and diligence for the Lord help us to prepare ourselves, and may the Lord make us worthy of His Kingdom, through her prayers.
Excerpt from a Study on the Apolytikion of St. Paraskevi
By Archimandrite Theophilos Lemonzi, PhD
Together with the holy icons, it is undeniable that the most beautiful hymns of the Church serve as teaching on the spiritual life, as the faithful person receives the knowledge of the wondrous deeds of the Saints, and is moved to imitate them. While the holy icons spiritually nourish the sight of the faithful, the hymns spiritually nourish the hearing of the faithful.

A special place in the heart and the pious lips of the Orthodox Christians is the Apolytikion of St. Paraskevi, which is as follows:
"Τὴν σπουδήν σου τῇ κλήσει κατάλληλον, ἐργασαμένη φερώνυμε, τὴ ὁ μώνυμόν σου πίστιν εἰς κατοικίαν κεκλήρωσαι, Παρασκευὴ ἀθληφόρε· ὅθεν προχέειςἰ άματα, καὶ πρεσβεύεις ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶ ἡμῶν."
"Working with a diligence proper to your calling, corresponding to your name, you inherited your faith of the same name as a dwelling-place, O Champion Paraskevi, therefore you pour forth healings, and you intercede on behalf of our souls."
The author of this perfectly-worked hymn is unknown, however, we can surmise that he was learned and had a deep knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and of Theology. From our pastoral experience we believe that very many have discussed the great teaching that this brings, and the deepest meaning of this Apolytikion, and have tried to translate it into modern Greek...
In the first part: "Working with a diligence proper to your calling, corresponding to your name" the main issue is the address «φερώνυμε» ("corresponding to your name", "name-bearer" or "namesake"). This is one who receives his name from someone, and the author is likely using the deepest meaning of the name "Paraskevi" which the Saint bears. The name that we are given at Holy Baptism has a deepest spiritual significance, and we are called to express throughout our life as a Christian that which our name means in reality. The author, with this word, tries to give the reason for which the Saint not only was named "Paraskevi", but also lived this name out in deed, because with her holy life was given meaning corresponding to her name: she correspondingly prepared herself with dedication for Martyrdom, and for the Kingdom of Heaven.
The word "Paraskevi" comes from the word "παρασκευάζω", meaning I prepare, but also I make myself something in order to obtain an identity, and it further means preparation, production, and ascesis. The sixth day of the week "Paraskevi" ("Friday") received its name from the Jews, for during that day they prepared for Sabbath rest with whatever they would need for that day, e.g. the food that they would eat. In the same way, St. Paraskevi, through the working of the commandments and asceticism of virtue, she prepared, in other words, she made herself worthy, preparing herself beforehand for her Martyrdom, and for her entrance into eternal life.

The phrase "Working with a diligence proper to your calling, corresponding to your name" furthermore expresses the whole Christian life of the Saint. The phrase "your calling" refers to the call from God towards the Saint for salvation, but also for every person. The meaning of divine call plays a central role in holy history. God called Abraham (Genesis 12:1-2), Moses in the desert of Sinai (Exodus 3:2), and the Holy Prophets. The Holy Apostles (Matthew 4:18-25) and the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-19) were called by Jesus to follow and to preach the Gospel. God calls all men "with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago," (II Timothy 1:9) through His Grace (Galatians 1:15). What distinguishes this is the freedom of man, and if he will respond to this call, for, as St. John of the Ladder says, even God directs Himself towards all men, because He does not remove their free will, He becomes life and salvation for those alone who desire Him. Because of this, the faithful become partakers in their heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1), and are called "called and chosen" (Romans 1:6, Revelations 17:14). The significance of this calling is one's participation in eternal life (I Timothy 6:12), however, the faithful must show their love of struggle: ["For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps."] (I Peter 2:21)

With the phrase: "Working with a diligence" is expressed this response to the calling of God towards the Saint for salvation. On Holy Friday, Jesus "worked salvation in the midst of the earth" (Psalm 73:12), through His life-giving death, and St. Paraskevi "worked with diligence", in other words, worked with dedication, zeal and willingness to respond to the divine calling for salvation (see the phrase of St. Paul:  "For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves" (II Corinthians 7:11)) being obedient to the commandment of St. Paul "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

The participation through "working", describes the working of the commandments of the Gospels, and the asceticism of virtue, as a struggle and agony of freedom. The Christian, as a worker of virtue, ought to work with goodness and to turn away from evil: "lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love." (Ephesians 4:1-2) As the Saints, who "worked righteousness", and also "received promises" (Hebrews 11:33), thus, the faithful should "work goodness" (Romans 2:10), because God will give to each "according to his works" (Romans 2:6).

The word «σπουδή» comes from the verb "σπουδάζω", which means I hasten, I am going, I am paying attention to details, willingly in order to accomplish something, I am dedicated to something with a unique interest, zeal and care. The faithful should work with care towards their salvation: "be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace" (II Peter 3:14), according to the Apostle Peter, and as the Apostle Paul commands St. Timothy: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed" (II Timothy 2:15).

St. Paraskevi was detail-oriented regarding the words of the Gospel, and she showed special care, willingness and zeal to be diligent to the Holy Scriptures, such that she was shown a missionary of Christ, and embodied non-possessiveness, giving away all her goods to the poor, studying the ascetical life "and through purity, making her soul beautiful", working ceaselessly for the Gospel and life according to God, confessing her faith in Christ and hastening towards Martyrdom.

The diligence and care of the Saint is further adorned through all of her working of the commandments and through her virtue, her struggles of asceticism and martyrdom, and her uncompromising love, to the point that she healed her persecutor, Antoninus. And all of these occurred with a special desire to be obedient to the word of the Apostle Paul "Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord." (Romans 12:11), and because of this, she was continuously witnessing to Christ, even after the first tortures that she suffered. She did not shy away, she was afraid, but continued "receiving the good witness".

The author, therefore, using this word "diligence", wishes to bring to the mind of the faithful the response of the Saint to the call of God towards salvation, her love of struggle, her willingness and care for asceticism in her Christian life, and her bearing witness. The spiritual life, even though it does not come from man, requires the consent of man to bear fruit. This presupposes an unending struggle against the passions, and simultaneously a working towards the keeping of the virtues of the Gospel, as noted by blessed Fr. Michael Karadamakes. The phrase, therefore "Working with a diligence proper to your calling", has the same content as the suggestion of the Apostle Peter to the faithful: "therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (II Peter 1:10-11) and reveals the consent of the Saint to the divine calling towards asceticism and the keeping of the commandments. And all of these she worked with a corresponding and illustrative manner, with humility and love, for the asceticism of virtues, when they do not occur according to the commands of the Gospel, they are not pleasing to God: "An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules." (II Timothy 2:5) Similar to the Pharisee of the Parable (Luke 18:1-14), who worked to keep the commandments of God, but his inspiration was to please men, and because of this, he was not justified...

In the second part: "you inherited your faith of the same name as a dwelling-place, O Champion Paraskevi", a most important point is point is the word "inherited", which serves as the immediate continuation of the beginning phrase "working with a diligence proper to your calling, corresponding to your name", and reveals that which the Saint received as a gift and inheritance from God due to the diligence and willingness that she showed. The word «κληροῦμαι» means to receive something through lot, and the hymnographer says that the Saint received through her lot, as a lawful inheritor, this faith of the same name as a dwelling-place.

But what does this phrase mean: "your faith of the same name"?

That which she herself possesses is called synonymous, because it shares the same name with something. Synonymous unites two words which have the same meaning. In this specific case, the word «ὁμώνυμον» has the final meaning of the word and means that the two words «πίστις» and «παρασκευή» ("faith" and "preparation") have the same meaning. But why does the hymnographer use this meaning to unite these two words? The reason is most deep and theological. As we mentioned above, the name of the Saint means preparation for martyrdom and for the Kingdom of Heaven, through her working of the commandments of God, her asceticism and love of struggle. As a consequence, the Christian faith is not possible as a theoretical religious ideology, but, as was remarked by Blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi, if we keep the commandments, this is a confession. As long as sin is a denial of God, then love of struggle and the taking up of one's Cross is a practical outcome of one's Christian identity. Through Holy Scripture, the meaning of faith plays an essential role.

The faith of holy people goes together with works: the Apostles, having believed in Christ, at the same time: "immediately left their nets and followed Him" (Mark 1:18), and Abraham believed "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go" (Hebrews 11:8), he left his homeland according to the directive of God and "you see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works" (James 2:22). Therefore, Blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi teaches us that: "our Lord convinces us that it is not enough, and it does not benefit us to know only abstractly that God exists. ['Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)] ["He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.” (John 14:21)]. He who "has", in other words, he who cared to learn the meanings and the goal of my commandments, and who afterwards "keeps" them, in other words, uses them. And He notes the meaning of the commandments "and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (John 14:21) and He confirms again: " He who does not love me does not keep my words."" (John 14:24)

Blessed Fr. John Romanides remarks that, according to Orthodox Theology, man cannot, like Protestant heresies, become a perfect and saved Christian by himself, through some rational decisions regarding the faith and compliance with some general idea about love. He requires ascesis, trial and struggle against the schemes of the devil. This is what St. Paraskevi did. She was not only faithful in words, but expressed this through her asceticism of virtue "faith worked through love" (Galacians 5:6), being obedient to the command of the Apostle Peter "supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge" (II Peter 1:5)...

Therefore, the phrase "your faith of the same name" shows that faith means struggle and ascesis for virtue, and serves as a practical confession, for "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). It means that I prepare myself, through the keeping of the commandments, to receive the Grace of God and to enter the Kingdom of God. The Christian faith does not have a notion of stasis, in other words, that I simply accept an ideology, for "What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?" (James 2:14) but it has a dynamic meaning, to confess my faith in Christ with my deeds according to St. Paul's exhortation to Timothy: "Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (I Timothy 6:12) In essence, the phrase "your faith of the same name" summarizes the whole meaning of the "life in Christ".

The hymnographer says that the Saint received from God through lot, "inherited", to have it as a dwelling place sharing the same name with this faith. The word "κλήρος" has to do with the casting of lots (see Acts 1:26), but also the meaning of the lawful part which one receives as an inheritance. The Apostle Paul offers thanksgiving "to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." (Colossians 1:12) and the sacred Chrysostom, interpreting this says that the Apostle Paul wishes to teach that sanctification and theosis is not the outcome of human virtue, but serves as a gift of God....

The author, therefore, wishes to show the great gift of the Grace of God to the Saint due to her holy life, and that this gift is given, for she obtained adoption, she became a child of God, and as a result, inherited from Him, according to the word of the Apostle Paul "and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8:17) God the Word became man "that we might receive adoption as sons" (Galatians 4:5). The presupposition, however, is for us to "suffer together with Him", as St. Paul says, in other words, ascesis and love of struggle, the diligence for which the Saint showed, and therefore having kept this, "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God" (John 1:12)

The Saint faithfully kept this presupposition, to "suffer together" through asceticism of the virtues and martyrdom, and through this manner she allowed herself to receive the grace of adoption, and because of this, to become a genuine inheritor of His Kingdom.

The content of this lot, of the inheritance which the Saint received was given to her as a dwelling-place sharing the name of the faith. This phrase is difficult to explain, and for us to understand this, we need to understand what we mean by "place" (II Corinthians 5:1-5), as St. Paul compares the biological and mortal status of man with a "tent", in which dwells sin and the passions. We the faithful dwell in this house as well ["Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling"] as we experience the consequences of corruption from the passions, and we long to come to dwell in "a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens...For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee..."

St. John Chrysostom, interpreting this, says that this place specifically is not a dwelling made by hands in which we are called to dwell, it is not some stable of the body, but sanctification and incorruption which the faithful receive through Divine Grace...

The person who finds himself under the slavery of the passions comes to dwell in this "earthly tent", in other words, in corruption and sin. He is called to respond to the call from God to repent with a disposition of self-denial, to deny the devil and his words and to walk the path of asceticism, that he might become a recipient of Divine Grace. Blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi teaches that, as long as we keep the commandments, we confess our faith in God, and turn our freedom towards God, then Divine Grace is moved, which destroys the old man and builds within us the new, dispassionate one. Divine Grace gives such strength that the Holy Martyrs could endure all the inhumane tortures from their persecutors.

This new reality, the new man, the life in Christ, is the tent not made by human hands, which the faithful hope to be adorned with, and which was received by St. Paraskevi as a gift from God. the hymnographer wishes to show that the Saint, by holding steadfast to her faith, "for we walk by faith, not by sight." (II Corinthians 5:7), endured the struggles of asceticism, and through the keeping of the commandments, of obedience and self-denial, she became a recipient of Divine Grace, receiving "grace sent from above", which works salvation within us...
St. Paraskevi the Great Martyr (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!