Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Holy Relics of St. Demetrios pouring forth myrrh (2020)


The Holy Relics of St. Demetrios the Great Martyr and Myrrhstreamer, being moved to the center of his church for the "Holy Week" services in his honor, but pouring forth much myrrh inside and in front of its glass case (source)

The blog author remarks:

"Now that we are in need, the Saint is beside us."

A Fr. Euthemios, whose robes are being drenched from the myrrh coming from the Holy Relics of St. Demetrios as he is helping to carry them (source)

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

St. Artemios the Great Martyr of Antioch

St. Artemios the Great Martyr (source)
   

Holy Great Martyr Artemius of Antioch was a prominent military leader during the reigns of the emperor Constantine the Great (May 21), and his son and successor Constantius (337-361). Artemius received many awards for distinguished service and courage. He was appointed viceroy of Egypt. In this official position he did much for the spreading and strengthening Christianity in Egypt. 

Saint Artemius was sent by the emperor Constantius to bring the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew from Patras, and the relics of the holy Apostle Luke from Thebes of Boeotia, to Constantinople. The holy relics were placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles beneath the table of oblation. The emperor rewarded him by making him ruler of Egypt.

The emperor Constantius was succeeded on the throne by Julian the Apostate (361-363). Julian in his desire to restore paganism was extremely antagonistic towards Christians, sending hundreds to their death. At Antioch he ordered the torture of two bishops unwilling to forsake the Christian Faith.

St. Artemios the Great Martyr (source)
   

During this time, Saint Artemius arrived in Antioch and publicly denounced Julian for his impiety. The enraged Julian subjected the saint to terrible tortures and threw the Great Martyr Artemius into prison. While Artemius was praying, Christ, surrounded by angels, appeared to him and said, “Take courage, Artemius! I am with you and will preserve you from every hurt which is inflicted upon you, and I already have prepared your crown of glory. Since you have confessed Me before the people on earth, so shall I confess you before My Heavenly Father. Therefore, take courage and rejoice, you shall be with Me in My Kingdom.” Hearing this, Artemius rejoiced and offered up glory and thanksgiving to Him. 

On the following day, Julian demanded that Saint Artemius honor the pagan gods. Meeting with steadfast refusal, the emperor resorted to further tortures. The saint endured all without a single moan. The saint told Julian that he would be justly recompensed for his persecution of Christians. Julian became furious and resorted to even more savage tortures, but they did not break the will of the saint. Finally the Great Martyr Artemius was beheaded. 

St. Artemios the Great Martyr (source)
   

His relics were buried by Christians. After the death of Saint Artemius, his prophecy about Julian the Apostate’s impending death came true. 

Julian left Antioch for a war with the Persians. Near the Persian city of Ctesiphon, Julian came upon an elderly Persian, who agreed to betray his countrymen and guide Julian’s army. The old man deceived Julian and led his army into the Karmanite wilderness, where there was neither food nor water. Tired from hunger and thirst, Julian’s army battled against fresh Persian forces. 

Divine retribution caught up with Julian the Apostate. During the battle he was mortally wounded by an unseen hand and an unseen weapon. Julian groaned deeply said, “You have conquered, Galilean!” After the death of the apostate emperor, the relics of the Great Martyr Artemius were transferred with honor from Antioch to Constantinople. 

Saint Artemius is invoked by those suffering from hernias.

(source)

St. Artemios the Great Martyr, fresco by Manuel Panselinos in the Protaton, Mount Athos (source)
   

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

Monday, October 12, 2020

St. Paisios on Prayer and Lighting Candles

Lighting candles (source)

St. Paisios the Athonite on Prayer and Lighting Candles

Elder, when we light a candle, do we say that it is for some purpose?

-You are lighting it, but where do you send it? Aren't you sending it somewhere?

With a candle, we are seeking something from God. When you light it, you should say: "For those who are suffering in body and soul", "for those who have the greatest need", and among them is also the living and the reposed.

Do you know how much rest the departed sense when we light a candle for them? Thus, one has spiritual communication with the living and with the reposed.

The candle, in a few words, is an antenna*** that brings us into communication with God, with the sick, with the departed, etc.

***Note: St. Paisios is cleverly showing the resemblance of the words "κεράκι" and "κεραία" ("Candle" and "antenna") in Greek.

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

Thursday, September 24, 2020

St. Amphilochios of Patmos on the Catastrophe of Asia Minor, the Turks and the Churches of the Apocalypse

The Vision of St John the Theologian of the Revelation on Patmos (source)
   
 Metropolitan Amphilothios (Tsouchos, formerly of New Zealand, and currently Bishop of Ganou and Chora of Eastern Thrace), a spiritual son of St. Amphilochios Makris, related in October 2014 some astonishing prophecies of St. Amphilochios, which we are seeing being fulfilled in our times:

"Do you know why the Greek Christians [were forced to leave] Asia Minor? God allowed them to leave, so that they might not be found there on that day when there will be the great evil."

He was greatly troubled when he faced the mountains of Asia Minor, and knew that the Seven Lampstands of [the Churches] of Revelation were put out: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyateira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea, and the only Lampstand left lit was that of the Revelation (on Patmos).

He said: "May God make you worthy to take this LIGHT from the burning Lampstand of the Revelation (on Patmos), and to bring it to light the extiniquished Lampstands of the Evangelist John in Asia Minor."

"We have an outstanding debt first to those Crypto-Christians across, who are waiting until now for something from us, and secondly, to the Turkish people (who, as a whole, are about 50% from Greeks who became moslem). Within their veins runs Greek and Christian blood. The Monasteries of the Dodecanese should become missionaries to them.

"However, that great evil will occur, as St. Kosmas Aitolos prophesied, that a third of the Turks will fall in war, and a third of the Turks will go to "Kokkine Milia", and a third will become Christians...Therefore, then we must be ready nearby to help them more."

Another unpublished prophecy of the Saint to his spiritual children: "You should learn Turkish! Because you will be needed to catechize the Turks who will come to our faith!"

(source)

  

St. Amphilochios of Patmos (source)

  

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Homily on Sts. Sophia and her Daughters, by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes

St. Sophia and her daughters: Sts. Faith, Hope and Love (source)
  
Homily on Sts. Sophia and her Daughters, by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes
After the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, our Church celebrates, my beloved, the memory of Saints Sophia and her three daughters: Faith, Hope and Love.

St. Sophia was born, according to the Synaxarion, in a great city of Italy. She lived during the era of early persecutions, which, as is known, lasted for at least three centuries.

During that era, for one to be a Christian, it was costly. It cost one positions, honors, money, and even this life. Millions were sacrificed then for the love of Christ. With this heroic spirit, St. Sophia lived as well, and thus raised her daughters.

It is not possible to not rouse the evil of persecutors. They seized her, therefore, together with her daughters, and led them before the governor. He gave them the opportunity of three days in order to make a response, and possibly change their minds. But, after three days, the mother and her daughters remained unshakable in their dedication towards our Lord Jesus Christ.

The mother had fear that her daughters might deny Christ, because they were very young. The first, Faith, was twelve years old. Hope was ten. and Love was nine. Despite this, their weak flesh was strengthened by the grace of God, and they endured martyrdom with unprecedented boldness.

They locked them in prison. They beat them with whips. They pierced them with fiery arrows. They threw them in cauldrons of boiling water. However, like the Three Youths in the Furnace, thus, these three girls hymned God, as those around heard the hymn harmoniously: "Praise ye the Lord, and exalt Him beyond measure unto all the ages."

In the end, the three were beheaded by the sword of the tyrant. Their martyrdom was followed by that of their holy mother.

St. Sophia and her three daughters teach us, my beloved, that, if we wish to be faithful Christians, that Christianity will cost us. And the more faithful we are, the more it will cost us.

Many of us have become successful in this world. We find a myriad of ways to justify our seemingly proper and scandalous station. And later with think that we are Christians. Woe to us, if we do not set as a foundation the heroic mindset which defined the holy martyrs. These three little girls should censure the world. And their mother, St. Sophia, censures those mothers who are upset and tremble, thinking that through their fasting, prayer and reading, that the bodily strength of their little girls will be lessened.

The Martyrs are the greatest censure of our lukewarm, miserable and thrice-wretched Christianity.

However, St. Sophia and her three daughters teach us not only through their martyrdoms, but also through their names.

The name "Sophia", what does this teach us? "Wisdom", we hear in Church when the Priest holds the Gospel and raises it, showing it to the whole multitude of the faithful. The Gospel, in other words, is full of wisdom. There is no wiser book. Wisdom is Christ Himself, the Logos of God. Do you remember the wondrous apostolic reading which we read three days ago, on the feast of the Cross? He said: "But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (I Corinthians 1) Christ is wisdom, truth and life.

St. Sophia, therefore, through her name, brings to mind that we must seek from God the illumination of divine wisdom. The names of her three daughters bring to mind the three great theological virtues.

Faith! Awesome power, light, a star, foundation and root. Oh, if there were within our hearts this virtue! We could even bring down the stars from the heavens to the earth, and we could melt the mountains, and even the greatest hindrances would be solved. Do we have faith? If we had faith, 100% faith, the world would be different. But today, people don't even believe 1%. Take almost any Christian and ask him, and you would see that he is full of doubts, totally full of "ifs." If one has an "if", then you don't have faith. Faith is to believe 100% in reality that which our holy Church teaches us.

Hope also brings to mind that, in this world, we have a need for life-giving hope, which would warm us like the sun. The Christian who believes that God is a loving and nurturing Father, an almighty Father and all-wise, he would hope that all those things that God promised, all kinds of great and uplifted and indescribable good things, He will give to him.

And finally, Love, with her name reminds us of the fulfillment and the crown of the virtues. In this world of hatred, egotism, greed, and other evils, love today has grown cold. It is truly a terrible thing, as the sacred Chrysostom says, for us to see the sun be quenched one day. But it is even more terrible for love to be quenched. It is better for the sun to be quenched than for love to be quenched, because it is the sun for our souls. And Christ Himself prophesied, that there will come a cursed day, in which the sun of love will be quenched, and cold and frost will reign upon the earth. (Matthew 24:12)

We are speaking about love, but we don't possess love. Love is a heavenly thing, which is ineffably joined with humility, with obedience, with discipline, the great virtues. It is not something indiscriminate, like ecumenists reach, like worldly people teach. Love differs from love. There is carnal love, love of money, love of small and meaningless things. And there is furthermore love for one's father and mother, which, in the final analysis, also contains something physical. The love which Christ brings to the world, however, has the wings of an eagle, and flies to the third Heaven, and makes man a Cherubim and Seraphim.

Love, therefore, not only for relatives and friends, not just towards Christians, but love for the whole world. Love, even for those who crucify you! For we have Christ as our prototype, Who is love crucified. This love we must have as well.

My beloved, if one were to ask now which of these three virtues are the greatest, the greatest is the third, love. Its beauty is indescribable. The Apostle Paul paints all of this in his beautiful sayings on love, which we have properly heard in vain to this point. "If," he says, "I spoke in the tongues of men and Angels," even if I have done miracles, even if I distribute my earthly goods, even if I go to martyrdom and shed my blood, "and I have not love, then I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." "I am nothing." (I Corinthians 13:1-2)

These, my beloved, I have to tell you. Believe, in this age of faithlessness. Hope, in this age of hopelessness. Love, in this age of hatred. And first and foremost, keep love, which, as the Apostle Paul says, remains eternally. (ibid 13:7)

For what is Paradise? Is it rivers, crystalline springs? Is it the songs of the Angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, is it the Saints, the Martyrs, is it that whole and beautiful world, and indescribable good things? It is these things. But first and foremost, it is love, the love of God towards man. If I took out love from Paradise, immediately Paradise would become Hell.

That Paradise we ourselves should seek, if we sense the dawn of love, if we believe unshakably in the Lord, and if we have steadfast hope in the promises of God unto the ages.

Then, in the heights of Heaven, together with St. Sophia and her three daughters, Faith, Hope and Love, we will hymn the Triune God, saying: "Praise ye the Lord, and exalt Him beyond measure unto all the ages."
(+) Bishop Avgoustinos
Recorded from a homily that occurred in the Chapel of St. Sophia of the Orphanage of the "Agape" Brotherhood of Florina on 9/17/1970, (source)
  
Sts. Sophia, Faith, Hope and Love (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Homily on the Meaning of the Holy Cross, by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes

The Holy Cross of Christ (source)
 
Homily on the Meaning of the Holy Cross, by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes
My beloved, what does the Cross teach us? Take a chalk and write, like children do in school, 2+2=4. Thus, the Cross is the "equal sign", but what is it? Do you think that it is simply a piece of wood that we venerate and are saved? You are mistaken, because this is not how it is in reality.

The Cross equals forgiveness.
Because upon the Cross, Christ forgave His murderers. Are there today some here in church who are at odds with each other? Are there women who hate their mothers-in-law? Are there houses where people don't speak with each other? Are there neighbors that don't greet each other? Is there hatred? Well then, the Cross tells us today: "Forgive!" If you don't forgive, then don't approach the Cross, don't venerate it. When, within your heart, you have bitterness, you have this serpent of hatred, you can't approach the Cross. Because the Cross means forgiveness. You must forgive even your greatest enemy.

The Cross equals truth.
Even if they put a knife to your throat, and slaughter you, you should speak the truth. Not in the sense that you go to court and raise your wretched hand upon the Gospel and take a false oath. Not like this. Christ was crucified for the truth. Whoever says lies, whoever goes to court and takes false oaths, he is not worthy to venerate the Cross. The Cross, therefore, equals forgiveness, the Cross equals truth.

The Cross equals humility.
No--even though you might have a very large home, or more money or lands or animals, or if you have children studying in school or if you have a beautiful wife, or whatever else you might do--you should not boast or feel proud. You are not a Christian! Humility! Humble yourself to say: I am nothing, I am a worm, I am nothing in this world. However, when you have pride and you boast and you show off your body and your job and your money, then you are not a Christian.

The Cross equals love.
Is your neighbor hungry? Give him a piece of bread. Is he thirsty? Give him a glass of water. Is he naked? Give him a shirt to wear. Go and console him and wipe away his tears. This is Christianity. Not when you have everything and your neighbor has nothing.

The Cross equals sacrifice.
As Christ sacrificed Himself, thus we must sacrifice ourselves. This is what the Cross means. If you do these things, then you are worthy to be called Christians. But you who dip your hands in blood, you who take false oaths, you who are unjust to the orphan, you cannot approach the Cross. The Cross casts you out.

Read the life of St. Mary of Egypt. On this day, she went to Jerusalem and saw the crowd going into the church and everyone--old, young, women, men--were going to venerate. She herself tried to approach the entrance. But some power pushed her back. She tried and second and a third time, but she was unable. Why? Because she was a sinful woman, and she worked in sin in Alexandria. Only after she repented, then she was able to enter the church and she became a Christian in reality.

The Cross, my beloved, creates presuppositions. We must live corresponding to the teaching of the Cross.

And something else: You should make your Cross properly. Because unfortunately, in our faithless years that we are living through, everything has become fashionable. Fashionable hair, fashionable clothing, fashionable shoes, fashion everywhere. Unfortunately many in Church do it out of fashion. Unfortunately you see scientists, congressmen, ministers, prime ministers, and none are doing their Cross correctly. That which they are doing is not the Cross. It joking and mocking. It is playing with God. Do not play with God. How will they understand that you are a Christian? By your Cross. When you make the sign of the Cross properly, you are doing a whole prayer. Therefore, do your Cross properly.

And when should you do your Cross? When you awake in the morning, do your Cross. Are you going to work? Do your Cross. Are you going to your field? Do your Cross. Are you sowing, returning from your field, entering your home? Do your Cross. Are you sitting at your dinner table? Do your Cross. Are you going to sleep? Do your Cross.

"Though I fall, I make my Cross
And have an Angel by my side."

O woman, are you baking? Make the sign of the Cross in the dough. Wherever you go and whatever you do, make your Cross. The Cross is the "protector of the whole world."
(+) Bishop Avgoustinos
Imera, Kozani, 9/14/1965
(source)
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Elder Ephraim of Arizona: "If we had a pure heart, we would not be offended even if people insulted and derided us."

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