Sunday, February 26, 2012

Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Forgiveness

Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Forgiveness
As it is not to be imagined that the fornicator and the blasphemer can partake of the sacred Table, so it is impossible that he who has an enemy, and bears malice, can enjoy Holy Communion. […] I forewarn, and testify, and proclaim this with a voice that all may hear! ‘Let no one who has an enemy draw near the sacred Table, or receive the Lord’s Body! Let no one who draws near have an enemy! Do you have an enemy? Do not approach! Do you wish to draw near? Be reconciled, and then draw near, and only then touch the Holy Gifts!’ (Homily 20)

Thou dost not so much desire thy sins to be forgiven, as He desires to forgive thee thy sins. In proof that thou dost not so desire it, consider that thou hast no mind either to practice vigils, or to give thy money freely: but He, that He might forgive our sins, spared not His Only-Begotten and True Son, the partner of His throne.
St John Chrysostom

‘And forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.’ For we have many sins. For we offend both in word and in thought, and very many things we do worthy of condemnation; and ‘if we say that we have no sin’ (1 John 1.8), we lie, as John says. […] The offenses committed against us are slight and trivial, and easily settled; but those which we have committed against God are great, and need such mercy as is His only. Take heed, therefore, lest for the slight and trivial sins against you, you shut out for yourself forgiveness from God for your very grievous sins. (Catechetical Lectures, 23.16)

For God seeks nothing else from us, save a good purpose. Say not, How are my sins blotted out? I tell thee, By willing, by believing. What can be shorter than this? But if, while thy lips declare thee willing, thy heart be silent, He knoweth the heart, who judgeth thee. Cease from this day from every evil deed. Let not thy tongue speak unseemly words, let thine eye abstain from sin, and from roving after things unprofitable. (Procatechesis)
St Cyril of Jerusalem

Do we forgive our neighbours their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbours, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness or non-forgiveness, then, of your sins—and hence also your salvation or destruction—depend on you yourself, man. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is.
St Philotheos of Sinai

No one is as good and kind as the Lord is; but He does not forgive one who does not repent.
St Mark the Ascetic

Even if all spiritual fathers, patriarchs, hierarchs, and all the people forgive you, you are unforgiven if you do not repent in action.
St Kosmas Aitolos

Forgiveness is better than revenge.
St Tikhon of Zadonsk

Abba Poemen also said this about Abba Isidore that whenever he addressed the brothers in church he said only one thing, 'Forgive your brother, so that you also may be forgiven.'
From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Hence, in whatever state a person is, he sometimes finds himself making pure and intense prayers. For even from that first and lowest sort, which has to do with recalling the future judgment, the one who is still subject to the punishment of terror and the fear of judgment is occasionally so struck with compunction that he is filled with no less joy of spirit from the richness of his supplication than the one who, examining the kindnesses of God and going over them in the purity of his heart, dissolves into unspeakable gladness and delight. For, according to the words of the Lord, the one who realizes that more has been forgiven him begins to love more. (The Conferences)
St John Cassian (the Roman)

In smaller sins, sinners may do penance for a set time and come to public confession according to the rules of discipline. Then they receive the right of communion through the imposition of the hand of the bishop and clergy.

I entreat you, beloved brethren, that each one should confess his own sins while he is still in this world—while his confession can still be received and while the satisfaction and remission made by the priests are still pleasing to the Lord.
St Cyprian of Carthage

He, then, who has received the forgiveness of sins ought to sin no more. For in addition to the first and only repentance from sins (that is, from previous sins in the first and heathen life—I mean those in ignorance), there is forthwith proposed to those who have been called, the repentance which cleanses the seat of the soul from transgressions, that faith may be established. And the Lord, knowing the heart, and foreknowing the future, foresaw both the fickleness of man and the craft and subtlety of the devil from the first, from the beginning; how that, envying man for the forgiveness of sins, he would present to the servants of God certain causes of sins; skilfully working mischief, that they might fall together with himself. Accordingly, being very merciful, He has vouchsafed, in the case of those who, though in faith, fall into any transgression, a second repentance, so that should any one be tempted after his calling, overcome by force and fraud, he may receive still a repentance not to be repented of. ‘For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.’ But continual and successive repentings for sins differ nothing from the case of those who have not believed at all, except only in their consciousness that they do sin. And I know not which of the two is worst, whether the case of a man who sins knowingly, or of one who, after having repented of his sins, transgresses again. For in the process of proof sin appears on each side—the sin which in its commission is condemned by the worker of the iniquity, and that of the man who, foreseeing what is about to be done, yet puts his hand to it as a wickedness. And he who perchance gratifies himself in anger and pleasure, gratifies himself in he knows what; and he who, repenting of that in which he gratified himself, by rushing again into pleasure, is near neighbour to him who has sinned wilfully at first. For one, who does again that of which he has repented, and condemning what he does, performs it willingly. (Stromata, Book 2.13)
St Clement of Alexandria

If your heart has been softened either by repentance before God or by learning the boundless love of God towards you, do not be proud with those whose hearts are still hard. Remember how long your heart was hard and incorrigible. Seven brothers were ill in one hospital. One recovered from his illness and got up and rushed to serve his other brothers with brotherly love, to speed their recovery. Be like this brother. Consider all men to be your brothers, and sick brothers at that. And if you come to feel that God has given you better health than others, know that it is given through mercy, so in health you may serve your frailer brothers. (Prologue, 31 March)
St Nikolai of Serbia (Velimirovic)

Often during the day I have been a great sinner, and at night, after prayer, I have gone to rest, justified and whiter than snow by the grace of the Holy Spirit, with the deepest peace and joy in my heart! How easy it will be for the Lord to save us too in the evening of our life, at the decline of our days! O save, save, save me, most gracious Lord; receive me in Thy heavenly Kingdom! Everything is possible to Thee! (My Life in Christ, Part 1, p. 27)
St John of Kronstadt

Forgive me the sinner, my brethren, and may God grant us all forgiveness!
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Nine Holy Martyrs of Kola

The Nine Holy Martyrs of Kola - Commemorated on February 22 (
Many centuries ago, the village of Kola was located at the source of the Mtkvari River [in Georgia]. There Christians and pagans dwelt together as neighbors. Christian and pagan children would play together, but when the Christian children heard church bells ringing, they recognized the call to prayer and dropped their games. Nine pagan children [all ages 7-11 per another source]—Guram, Adarnerse, Baqar, Vache, Bardzim, Dachi, Juansher, Ramaz, and Parsman—would follow the Christian children to church.

But the Christians always stopped them near the gates of the church and reprimanded them, saying, “You are children of pagans. You cannot enter God’s holy house.” They would return sorry and dejected.

One day the nine pagan children tried to enter the church forcibly, but they were cast out and scolded. “If you want to enter the church, you must believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” they were told. “You must receive Holy Communion and join the community of Christian believers.”

With great joy the youths promised the Christians that they would receive Holy Baptism. When the Christians of Kola related to their priest the good news of the pagan boys’ desire, he recalled the words of the Gospel: He that loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that takes not his cross, and follows after Me, is not worthy of Me. (Matt. 10:37–38).

He was not afraid of the anger that would follow from the pagan community, but rather took the boys on a cold winter night and baptized them in the icy river. A miracle occurred while the Holy Sacrament was being celebrated: the water became warm and angelic hosts appeared to the youths. Greatly encouraged in their faith, the children decided to remain in the Christian community rather than return to their parents.

When their parents learned that they had been baptized in the Christian Faith, they dragged their children away from the church, abusing and beating them into submission all the way home. The heroic children endured the abuses and, though they went hungry and thirsty for seven days, repeated again and again, “We are Christians and will not eat or drink anything that was prepared for idols!”

Neither gentle flattery, nor costly clothing, nor promises of good things to come could tempt the God-fearing youths. Rather they asserted, “We are Christians and want nothing from you but to leave us alone and allow us to join the Christian community!”

The enraged parents went and reported to the prince everything that had happened. But the prince was of no help—he simply told them, “They are your children, do with them as you wish.” The obstinate pagans asked the prince permission to stone the children. So a large pit was dug where the youths had been baptized, and the children were thrown inside.

“We are Christians, and we will die for Him into Whom we have been baptized!” proclaimed the holy martyrs, the Nine Children of Kola, before offering up their souls to God.

Their godless parents took up stones, and then others joined in, until the entire pit had been filled. They beat the priest to death, robbed him, and divided the spoils among themselves.

The martyric contest of the Nine Righteous Children of Kola occurred in the 6th century, in the historical region of Tao in southern Georgia.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Akathist to St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary - Commemorated July 27 (
Akathist to St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary

Kontakion 1
Chosen passion-bearer of Christ and gracious healer, who freely grants healing to the sick, we praise you in songs as our protector. As you have boldness with the Lord, free us from all harm and sickness who cry with love to you: Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Ikos 1
We know you, glorious Panteleimon, as an earthly angel and a heavenly man. For adorned with angelic purity and martyrdom you have passed from earth to Heaven, where with angels and all the saints standing before the throne of the Lord of Glory, you pray for all of us on earth who venerate you with these invocations:
Rejoice, torch of piety!
Rejoice, most glorious lamp of the Church!
Rejoice, adornment of venerable martyrs!
Rejoice, support of the faithful in fearless endurance!
Rejoice, outstanding boast of youth!
Rejoice, warrior of Christ of invincible courage!
Rejoice, you who having grown up in the world were not of the world!
Rejoice, angel in the flesh, surpassing mortals!
Rejoice, all-blessed dweller in Heaven!
Rejoice, vessel of divine knowledge!
Rejoice, you by whom faith has been exalted!
Rejoice, you by whom delusion has been dethroned!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 2
Seeing you to be a chosen vessel, the Lord loved the beauty of your soul; for, despising all earthly glory and pleasure, you longed to adorn yourself with the crown of martyrdom, wounded with divine love and singing inspiringly: Alleluia!

St. Panteleimon meeting St. Hermolaos, St. Panteleimon raising the dead boy through the power of Christ, and St. Hermolaos baptizing St. Panteleimon (
Ikos 2
Possessing divinely inspired knowledge, O valiant warrior Panteleimon, you astounded the Emperor Maximian by the courage of your soul and by the words with which you fearlessly preached Christ. Therefore, praising your boldness we say to you:
Rejoice, you who despised Maximian’s threats!
Rejoice, you who did not yield to the advice of the godless!
Rejoice, propagator of true adoration!
Rejoice, uprooter of demon worship!
Rejoice, accuser of the fury of the torturers!
Rejoice, overthrower of the delusion of idols!
Rejoice, you who dispersed the assembly of the godless!
Rejoice, you who exchanged corruptible for heavenly joy!
Rejoice, converser with immaterial angels!
Rejoice, fellow-chorister of long-suffering saints!
Rejoice, you by whom Satan was put to shame!
Rejoice, you by whom Christ is glorified!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 3
By the power of the Most High given to you and by your strong patience you rendered powerless the torturer’s insolence, O valiant victor, undaunted by fire, wild beasts, and the wheel. When beheaded with the sword, you received the crown of victory from Christ the Lord, crying to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 3
The monastery which has your precious head as a great treasure, O divinely wise martyr, is filled with joy over it, and praising with love the Grace of healing given you by God, thankfully cries to you:
Rejoice, all-radiant lamp of Nicomedia!
Rejoice, unsleeping guardian of the monastery that honors you!
Rejoice, you through whom godlessness grew cold!
Rejoice, you through whom the knowledge of God has increased!
Rejoice, bright glory of passion-bearers!
Rejoice, joyous report of the Orthodox!
Rejoice, gracious source of healings!
Rejoice, container of great gifts!
Rejoice, fragrant myrrh that sweetens souls!
Rejoice, for you help those who call upon you!
Rejoice, you who gave sight to the blind!
Rejoice, you who caused the lame to walk!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 4
Possessed by a storm of polytheistic thoughts, the impious Emperor was confused on learning from the doctors who were jealous of you that you heal all kinds of incurable illnesses by the name of Christ. And we, glorifying with gladness our wonderful God in you, cry to Him: Alleluia!

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (
Ikos 4
When the people of Nicomedia heard of your great compassion for the suffering and of your free healing of all illnesses, all rushed to you with faith in the healing Grace in you, and receiving swift healing of all their diseases they glorified God and magnified you, their most gracious healer, crying to you:
Rejoice, you who are anointed with the myrrh of Grace!
Rejoice, sanctified temple of God!
Rejoice, great glory of the pious!
Rejoice, firm wall of the oppressed!
Rejoice, you who surpass the wise in knowledge!
Rejoice, you who enlighten the thoughts of the faithful!
Rejoice, recipient of divine gifts and source of many of the Lord’s mercies to us!
Rejoice, speedy helper of the suffering!
Rejoice, harbor of the storm-tossed!
Rejoice, instructor for those astray!
Rejoice, you who heal the sick freely!
Rejoice, you who impart healing abundantly!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 5
The Lord worked a glorious miracle through you when, through His servant Hermolaos, He called you into His marvelous light. For after your prayer to Christ a child who had died from snakebite at once revived and stood up healed. Then recognizing the Lifegiver as the true God of all, with firm faith you cried to Him: Alleluia!

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (
Ikos 5
The blind man whom you touched with prayer in the name of Christ recovered his sight, O glorious Martyr. Then, renouncing your father’s polytheism, you were baptized by the priest Hermolaos and embraced your mother’s religion with which you also enlightened your father. Therefore we cry aloud to you as to a glorious servant of God and wonderful healer:
Rejoice, you who have great devotion to God!
Rejoice, you who are ever aflame with the fire of divine love!
Rejoice, attentive listener to the teachings of the priest Hermolaos!
Rejoice, you who followed the advice of your mother Eubule!
Rejoice, you who gave away everything to obtain Christ!
Rejoice, you who vanquished love for the world by love for God!
Rejoice, for instead of the pleasures of the world you accepted for Christ cruel sufferings!
Rejoice, for you became a partner of Christ’s Passion!
Rejoice, you who overcame all the passions!
Rejoice, you who through Grace were adorned with dispassion!
Rejoice, you who fill with joy those who hasten to you!
Rejoice, you who heal all freely by the Grace of Christ!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 6
The blind man enlightened by you in body and soul became a preacher of the truth for, like the blind man of the Gospel, he boldly preached Christ to all as the true light that enlightens every man. But for reproaching the impious Emperor and the pagan gods he was beheaded and rose to the unwaning light in Heaven to sing to God: Alleluia!

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (
Ikos 6
Standing before the Emperor’s tribunal with a radiant face you boldly declared in the hearing of all, thrice-blessed martyr: My all-healing power and glory is Christ, the true God, the Lord of all, Who raises the dead and heals all infirmities. For this confession we bless you and say:
Rejoice, thundering mouth of the deity of Christ!
Rejoice, melodious tongue that declares His plan of salvation!
Rejoice, orator of sublime theology!
Rejoice, wise sower of piety!
Rejoice, sweet-sounding flute of faith!
Rejoice, glorious preacher of Orthodoxy!
Rejoice, you who were shown to be marvelous before your death!
Rejoice, worker of wonders after your death!
Rejoice, seer of Christ’s glory!
Rejoice, listener of those who pray to you!
Rejoice, giver of help to those who need it!
Rejoice, obtainer of blessings for those who honor your memory!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 7
Myrrh was poured out on your soul, O divinely wise healer, from the Comforter Spirit, therefore after your death your venerable relics, by their fragrance banish the stench of passions and give healing to those who with faith cry to God: Alleluia!

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (
Ikos 7
When the worshipers of idols beheld, O Saint, the paralyzed man raised and walking through your prayer many believed in Christ; but the demon’s priest, consumed with jealousy, incited the Emperor to anger. Therefore, to you who was mercilessly tortured and burnt for Christ, we cry with compunction:
Rejoice, you who despised earthly pleasures!
Rejoice, you who were above material comforts!
Rejoice, for you regarded as nothing all the beautiful things in this world!
Rejoice, for you shook yourself free of fleeting glory!
Rejoice, you who remained free from the nets of the devil!
Rejoice, you who vanquished the wiles of the torturers!
Rejoice, you who did not spare your life for Christ!
Rejoice, you who were shown to be an enemy of hostile flesh!
Rejoice, you who oppressed the spread of polytheism!
Rejoice, you who by the power of God defeated the idols!
Rejoice, sharp arrow by which enemies are wounded!
Rejoice, mediator who defends the faithful!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 8
The Lord appeared to you in a wonderful way, encouraging and upholding you in the tortures for His name. For in the person of the priest Hermolaos He cooled the boiling lead into which you were thrown, and in the sea He untied the great stone from your neck and brought you unharmed to land. But you, having been brought again before the Emperor, sang triumphantly to Christ our God: Alleluia!

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (
Ikos 8
While dwelling noetically wholly in Heaven, you do not leave those below on earth but remain with us through the relics of your holy skull, O great passion-bearer of Christ, receiving from the Lord enlightenment and sanctification and giving it to those who cry to you thus:
Rejoice, you who are filled with divine wisdom!
Rejoice, discerner of God’s providence!
Rejoice, delight of minds made wise by God!
Rejoice, gladness of souls who love God!
Rejoice, bright pearl of Christ!
Rejoice, you who were sanctified in soul and body!
Rejoice, dweller in the courts of the firstborn in Heaven!
Rejoice, inhabitant of the ever-blessed bridal halls!
Rejoice, beholder of the light of the Trinity!
Rejoice, fervent mediator in your prayers to God for us!
Rejoice, you who grant illumination to souls!
Rejoice, you who send comfort to the afflicted!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 9
All nature marveled, O Panteleimon, at the radiance of Grace and wealth of virtues in you: thine angelic purity, your great courage in cruel sufferings, your strong love for Christ and great compassion for people, for whom you do glorious things that they may sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 9
Eloquent orators cannot worthily praise your struggles, O glorious victor, as by the invincible power of God, though young in years you conquered the ancient, primordial enemy and put to shame the delusion of idols. But we, filled with wonder, cry to you:
Rejoice, joyful sight of angels!
Rejoice, reverent wonder of men!
Rejoice, you who shed your blood for Christ, and in death shed milk!
Rejoice, you who gave up your body to a martyr’s death for His sake!
Rejoice, model of confession!
Rejoice, valiant warrior of the King of kings!
Rejoice, you who conquered the ruler of darkness!
Rejoice, you who by your victory gladdened Heaven and earth!
Rejoice, blessed inhabitant of the world above!
Rejoice, wise pilgrim of the world below!
Rejoice, tree adorned with the fruits of the gifts of Grace!
Rejoice, you who carry palms of victory!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 10
Filled with compassion, as a true imitator of the Lord, the Giver of mercy, O venerable martyr, you were renamed by Him Panteleimon (that is, all-merciful), for you pour mercy on all who resort to you; pour it also abundantly on us who cry to God concerning you: Alleluia!

Ikos 10
Finding you a strong wall invulnerable to all kinds of torture, the torturer tried to crush your strength by the teeth of wild beast and the spikes of the torture-wheel, but all to no effect. For the power of Christ subdued the fierceness of the beasts and the frightful wheel, on which your body was turned, immediately broke to pieces. So to you, invincible passion-bearer, we cry:
Rejoice, precious chosen one of Christ!
Rejoice, unblemished fragrance of God!
Rejoice, firm diamond of the Church!
Rejoice, unshakable tower reaching to Heaven!
Rejoice, tamer of visible beasts!
Rejoice, crusher of invisible dragons!
Rejoice, you who were stained with your blood shed for Christ, mixed with milk!
Rejoice, you who have received unfading crowns!
Rejoice, you who cause joy to angels and men!
Rejoice, you who have been glorified by God in Heaven and on earth!
Rejoice, celestial one, who sings in choir with the martyrs!
Rejoice, you who are satisfied with the sweet vision of Christ!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 11
A funeral song we offer to your sacred sacrifice for Christ, in which milk instead of blood flowed from you, Great Martyr, and the olive tree under which you were beheaded was all covered with healing fruit. Therefore we cry fervently to Christ Who wonderfully glorifies those who glorify Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 11
A luminous ray were you, O divinely wise one, to those sitting in the darkness of polytheism, leading them to the Sun or righteousness, Christ God. Him do you entreat that we who offer you these glad praises may ever live in the light of His commandments:
Rejoice, bright star, shining in the noetical firmament!
Rejoice, ray of light shining for Christian people!
Rejoice, you who were mystically illumined by the Sun, Christ!
Rejoice, you who in spirit roam the earth!
Rejoice, beautiful tabernacle of the Most Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, honorable vessel that pours out healing!
Rejoice, treasury of purity!
Rejoice, namesake of mercy!
Rejoice, heir of the Heavenly Kingdom!
Rejoice, partaker of eternal glory!
Rejoice, patron of those in distress on the sea of life!
Rejoice, unmercenary healer who helps those who invoke you with faith!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 12
You received an abundance of Grace, thrice-blessed one, according to the greatness of your love for Christ God, Who also showed you to be a source of healing, for you cure free of charge the sicknesses of soul and body of those who come to you with faith and cry to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 12
Chanting of your long-suffering labors for Christ, O glorious passion-bearer, we praise your great patience, we bless your martyr’s death, and we honor your holy memory, O our defender and healer, and in praise we cry to you:
Rejoice, sweet-sounding trumpet of piety!
Rejoice, sword which cuts down impiety!
Rejoice, you who were scraped on a tree for Him Who stretched out His arms on the tree of the Cross!
Rejoice, for, being burnt for Him, you extinguished the furnace of delusion!
Rejoice, you who wounded the enemies by your wounds!
Rejoice, you who dried the streams of idolatrous blood by your blood!
Rejoice, you who were thrown into boiling lead for Christ!
Rejoice, you who were sunk in the sea for His name!
Rejoice, you who remained unharmed therein by the providence of God!
Rejoice, you who passed through tortures of fire and water into the peace of Heaven!
Rejoice, you who poured unfailing streams of mercy on the faithful!
Rejoice, gracious and compassionate physician who grants healing through Grace!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 13
O, our long-suffering and wonderful Passion-bearer of Christ and Healer Panteleimon! Graciously accept from us this small offering, heal us of our many and various ailments, and through your intercession protect us from enemies visible and invisible and pray to the Lord that we may be delivered from eternal torment, that we may continually sing in His Kingdom: Alleluia! (3)

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (
Ikos 1
We know you, glorious Panteleimon, as an earthly angel and a heavenly man. For adorned with angelic purity and martyrdom you have passed from earth to Heaven, where with angels and all the saints standing before the throne of the Lord of Glory, you pray for all of us on earth who venerate you with these invocations:
Rejoice, torch of piety!
Rejoice, most glorious lamp of the Church!
Rejoice, adornment of venerable martyrs!
Rejoice, support of the faithful in unflinching endurance!
Rejoice, outstanding boast of youth!
Rejoice, warrior of Christ of invincible courage!
Rejoice, you who having grown up in the world were not of the world!
Rejoice, angel in the flesh, surpassing mortals!
Rejoice, all-blessed dweller in Heaven!
Rejoice, vessel of divine knowledge!
Rejoice, you by whom faith has been exalted!
Rejoice, you by whom delusion has been dethroned!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 1
Chosen passion-bearer of Christ and gracious healer, who freely grants healing to the sick, we praise you in songs as our protector. As you have boldness with the Lord, free us from all harm and sickness who cry with love to you: Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!
Wondrous icon of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary, from the Skete of the Saint, Koutloumousiou Monastery (the most accurate representation of him, according to Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, who was granted a divine vision of the Saint) (
Prayer to St Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary
Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, thou imitator of God's mercy! Look down in thy loving kindness and hearken unto us, sinners, who offer heartfelt prayers before thy holy icon. Ask for us from the Lord God, before Whom the Angels stand in heaven, remission of our sins and transgressions. Heal the ills of body and soul of the servants of God whom we here commemorate,
who are here present, and of all Orthodox Christians who seek thy help. For behold, we, who because of our sins are possessed by bitter ills and have no help or consolation, yet flee to thee for refuge, since thou hast been given Grace to pray for us and to heal every ill and every disease. Grant, therefore, to all of us, by thy holy prayers, health and strength of soul and body, a good growth in the Faith and in devotion, and all that is needful unto this temporal life and unto our salvation: So that, having been granted great and rich mercy thorugh thee, we may glorify thee and Him that bestoweth all good things, our God Who is wondrous in His Saints, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(From "Polny Sbornik Molitv", pp. 214-215: Prayer 3. (
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

St. Damian the New Righteous Martyr (+1568)

St. Damian (Damianos) was born in the village of Myrichovo, Karditsas (Agia Triada today) to pious parents around 1510, and from his young age he loved the monastic life and wished to be arrayed in the angelic Schema of Monasticism. Thus he left his home and came to the Holy Mountain, and became a monk in the Holy Monastery of Philotheou. After a short time he left the monastery, and went to a hermitage to pursue further prayer with an ascetic named Dometios. He remained there for roughly three years, and the monk Damian cultivated all of the virtues of the monastic life. The Saint was worthy to hear a divine voice which told him: “Damian, you cannot seek only your own benefit, but that for others, too.”

After this, the monk Damian left Mount Athos and came to the area of Olympou. There he preached the word of God, peace, moving Christians to repent, to flee their injustices and evil deeds, and he advised them to follow the commandments of God. His word, however, was not appreciated by some hypocritical Christians, who condemned him as a deceiver of the people. Damian, however, as a true Christian, did not pay attention to their slanders, but left from that area to go to Larissa and Kissavou. Unfortunately, he met the same there: injustices, misery, anger, and ulterior motives. He decided to flee and to go to Agrapha, continuing his fiery preaching. The teaching of the Saint was always the same: steadfast faith and the keeping of the Lord's commandments. The Saint is seen as the founder of the Monastery of Panagia Peleketes in Karytsa, Dolopon, which was the base of the Saint's missionary efforts. The Saint largely rebuilt the Holy Monastery, which had suffered significant damage, and he completed its construction. Thus he passed into the consciences of the people of the area, becoming the founder of the Monastery, and being depicted in two frescos of the Monastery with the title of “Ktitoros” (“Founder”) only 86 years after his martyrical repose (the one fresco is from 1654, and the second from 1666).

However, even in Agrapha where the Saint was loved so, the devil was hunting him. Some impious and non-God-fearing inhabitants of the area slandered him, and condemned him as a deceiver of the people and a false monk. Thus, he left and moved to Kissavo, and there, next to the village of Anatole, he built a new monastery in honor of the Precious Forerunner. He lived with other monks in prayer for the peace from above, and for the peace of the whole world. A multitude of faithful people of the region would come to the Monastery to hear the fiery preaching of the Saint. Once, Damian went for work from his monastery to the neighboring village of Voulgarine. There, he was met by the Turks, and led to the Turkish judge, being slandered by those who said that he hindered the selling at the markets on Sunday, and that he urged the Greeks to remain steadfast in their faith. He was then tortured terribly for 15 days, beaten furiously, bound by his feet with heavy iron chains, and had his life threatened. It was futile, however, so the Turkish ruler ordered him to be put to death first at the gallows, and then to be thrown into the fire. The executioners hanged him, and one of them hit him hard on the head with a club. However, the robe snapped and the Saint fell half-dead to the floor. The executioners them took him and threw him into the fire, after which they threw his ashes into the river Peneio. Thus the Righteous Martyr Damianos received the crown of Martyrdom on February 14, 1568. His memory is celebrated on the 14th of February.
St. John the Forerunner, and St. Damian the New Righteous Martyr (
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone (amateur translation)
Rejoice today those in Kissavo Monastery, and let Larissa skip, being gathered at the sacred feast of Damian, come therefore, let us together offer hymns of praise to the Savior through him, and let us praise him, for we are save through his intercessions.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

St. Cassiane the Hymnographer, the Righteous

The Iconoclast controversy, which vexed the Church for over a hundred years, coincided with one of the most productive periods in church hymnography. Among those who made significant contributions in this field, the names of St. Andrew of Crete (+740), Saint John Damascene (+754), and Saint Theodore the Studite (+826) are well known. Less familiar are the women hymnographers of this period-the nuns Thecla, Cassiane and Theodosia-who demonstrated considerable talent in this same field. Of these, Cassiane won lasting distinction as the only woman whose works have entered into the liturgical tradition of the Church.

Cassiane was born in Constantinople some time before 805. Her father's aristocratic status gave Cassiane the privilege of a good education. She was tutored in both secular and sacred studies, and showed such exceptional aptitude for learning as to draw the attention of the great abbot of the Studion Monastery, Saint Theodore. He remarked likewise on her pious character, and indeed, from an early age she desired to become a nun. She was at the same time a spirited young woman of strong convictions and did not hesitate to express her opinions.

Cassiane was also gifted with physical beauty. When the heir-apparent, Theophilus, was in search of a bride, he narrowed the choice to six lovely maidens. Cassiane was one of them. When they gathered for the final decision to be made, Theophilus, who had heard of Cassiane's intelligence, approached her with the statement, "From woman came corruption" (referring to the fall of Eve), to which the quick-witted Cassiane responded, respectfully but surely, "But also from woman sprang forth what is superior" (i.e., God's incarnation from the Holy Virgin). Unnerved, Theophilus passed over Cassiane and offered the golden apple, the sign of his choice, to the more demure, and silent, Theodora.

It would have been a difficult match. Theophilus was an iconoclast and harshly enforced the imperial edict-renewed after the death of Empress Irene -forbidding the veneration of sacred images. Theodora, an iconodule, did not approve of her husband's policy, but she concealed her veneration of icons and kept quiet. Cassiane, by contrast, openly professed herself in favor of the holy icons. She not only spoke her mind, but she acted on her convictions, visiting iconodule monks in prison and sending them gifts. For her defiance of the imperial edict, she suffered persecution and was beaten with a lash.

Far from being disappointed at Theophilos' rejection, Cassiane was now free to unite herself to the bridegroom of her own choosing-the King of kings, Jesus Christ. She was tonsured a nun about the year 820, and founded a convent on one of Constantinople's seven hills, where she led "an ascetic and philosophical life" pleasing to God. An energetic abbess, she not only regulated the life of the convent, but she also found time to pursue her scholarly literary interests. She combined the talents of poet, theologian and musician, writing hymns and composing musical settings for them. Originally sung by her nuns, many of her compositions proved to have enduring value; twenty-three of her works were later incorporated into the liturgical books of the Church.

One of Cassiane's most brilliant creations is her hymn, sung in the Matins service for Holy Wednesday, on the subject of the sinning woman. Based on the story from St. Luke's Gospel (7:36-50), this hymn blends dramatic and narrative elements to create a masterpiece of hymnography which manages, in a few short lines, to present the essential Christian drama of sin and salvation.

The most familiar of Cassiane's works are undoubtedly the irmoi in the Matins canon for Holy Saturday, which is repeated at the Midnight Office for Holy Pascha: "Weep not for me, O Mother, beholding in the tomb the Son Whom thou hast conceived without seed in thy womb, for I shall arise..." With these stanzas, Cassiane achieves a taut sense of anticipation, providing a marvelous momentum into the climatic celebration of Our Lord's Resurrection.

Cassiane had a forceful personality: "I hate the fool who acts the philosopher," she wrote. "I hate silence when it is time to speak." And this, combined with her many talents and keen intellect makes her an appealing model for today's woman. But it is the fact that she lived only for God, to the end of her life, that made her a saint.

"One of Cassiane’s biographer’s comments, “She lived only for God, to the end of her life.” Thus, after
dedicating her life to Christ and the Church, and adorned with the diadem of virginity and the crowns of a confessor, an ascetic, and a hymnographer, our holy mother Cassiane reposed in the Lord."

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
That which was created in the image of God was preserved in you, O Mother; for taking up the cross you followed after Christ. By your deeds you have taught us to reject the flesh for it passes away, but to care for the soul as a thing immortal. Therefore, O venerable Cassiane, your soul rejoices with the angel

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Selected hymns to St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr

St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr of Magnesia - Commemorated February 10 (
Selected hymns to St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
A pillar unshakable are you in Christʹs holy Church, * and, as your own name denotes, an ever radiant lamp, * all‐blessed Haralambos, * shining throughout the whole world * by your feats as a martyr, * driving away the darkness of the worship of idols. * With confidence, therefore, pray to Christ, * entreating Him to save our souls.

Idiomelon from the Orthros in the Plagal of the Second Tone
Come, you fans of the Martyrs, let us honor the God‐crowned phalanx led by the radiant Martyr, that select and holy company of Hieromartyr Haralambos, which was eagerly sacrificed for Christ. Let us spiritually observe his all‐sacred memory, and call out to him: ʺFree your people, who correctly believe in God; free us from the threat of plague, and deliver us from every adversity.ʺ

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Since the holy Church of Christ is in possession of your highly honored skull as priceless treasure, she is glad, O Hieromartyr Haralambos. Therefore she praises the Maker of all with joy.

Let us come together and extol Haralambos, the all‐glorious great Martyr, the steadfast warrior and soldier of Christ. He contended splendidly for Christ and the truth. He openly preached the Orthodox faith, and put an end to the error of idolatry. He rebuked the most unlawful king, and with joy and exultation he was beheaded. Therefore he received the crown from the right hand of the Most High, and he became a fellow citizen of the Angels. This is why the Orthodox Church venerates his all‐honored skull, and crowns it with praises. By it she is freed from many hardships and diseases, and she praises the Maker of all with joy.

St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr (

On the tenth of this month (February) we commemorate the holy Hieromartyr Haralampus of Magnesia.

You were made worthy, O Charalampos, through swords,
Of the radiance and joy of the Martyrs.
On the tenth, Charalampos was cut by the throat.
Prosomoia of the Praises in the First Tone
Come all you children of Greece now, * and you who love the Saints, * let us give rightful honor * to the skull of the Martyr * Haralambos, saluting it with a kiss; * for he preached in the stadium * that Christ is God and Creator, and he rebuked * the deception of the impious.

Thrice‐blessed Saint, you are numbered * with the celestial hosts, * and as you stand in honor * near the Trinity, Father, * you pray for us who honor your precious skull * with devout faith and reverence. * O Hieromartyr Haralambos, we entreat * that you keep us safe from any harm.

In all of Greece has the festive * and bright memorial * of holy Hieromartyr Saint Haralambos risen * most glorious and splendid; for she is blest * to possess his most honored skull, * which had proclaimed Christ the Savior, both God and man. * Hence she celebrates it festively.

Doxastikon of the Praises in the Plagal of the First Tone
Your precious skull, O divine Saint, is like an alabaster box that is full and pouring out cures, like very costly fragrant oil. It wondrously perfumes the faithful, and it delivers from every evil those who approach it with faith. It exterminates foul‐smelling delusion, diseases of every kind, and the pandemic plague, and it grants good health to all, as well as peace and great mercy.
St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr (
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

All Saints of Eurytania, Greece

I thought to continue a series of posts, each highlighting a region of the world and its local Saints. As is clear, the light of Christ has reached the farthest reaches of the earth, and thus, there is not one area which has not produced, as fruit of the Holy Spirit, Orthodox Saints. The following is regarding a region in central Greece called Eurytani. Also note, if you are have a preference for information about Saints from a region of your interest, please post to let me know, and I will do what I can to provide what info I can gather online. May Christ have mercy on us all and save us, through the prayers of our Holy Fathers!
Synaxis of All Saints of Eurytania (
The feast of the Saints of Eurytania was instituted with the permission of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece in 1971, and is celebrated the last Sunday of August each year.

The Saints include:
(12 in total)

All Saints of Eurytania (
See the following link for the website of a church of All Saints of Eurytania, with more information about each of the Saints:
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

St. Nikephoros the Martyr of Antioch

St. Nikephoros the Martyr of Antioch - Commemorated February 9 (
This Martyr, who was from Antioch in Syria, contested during the reign of Gallienus, about the year 260. Through the working of the evil one, his friendship with a certain Christian priest named Sapricius was turned to bitter hatred. Nicephoros, repenting of his enmity, tried both through intermediaries and in person to be reconciled with Sapricius, but to no avail. Later, when the persecution broke out under Valerian and Gallienus, Sapricius was seized as a Christian. When Saint Nicephoros learned that Sapricius had been arrested by the pagans and was enduring torments for Christ, he sent intermediaries to Sapricius, begging his forgiveness; but Sapricius would not forgive him. Later, as Sapricius was being taken to beheading, Nicephoros, hoping that Sapricius, at his end, in such a holy hour, would at last forgive him, met him on the way, fell before him, and fervently asked his forgiveness; but Sapricius forgave him not. Wherefore, though Sapricius had passed through many sufferings, and the crown of martyrdom was now awaiting him, because he disdained the chief commandments of love and forgiveness, the grace of God, which had been strengthening him in his torments, departed from him, and he told his executioners he would sacrifice. Nicephoros immediately confessed Christ before them, and being himself beheaded, took the crown that Sapricius had cast away.
St. Nikephoros the Martyr (right) with an unknown martyr (

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Bound fast with chains of love, thou didst mightily sunder the wickedness of hatred with manifest courage, and hence, O Nicephoros, when the sword had cut off thy head, thou wast shown to be a godly Martyr of Jesus, our Incarnate Saviour; pray Him for us who honor thy glorious memory.

Additional Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone (amateur translations below)
Being illumined with the love of the Creator, you truly fulfilled the law of grace, and thus you were spiritually reborn. Therefore, having loved your neighbor as yourself, you struggled, O Nikephoros, and deposed the enemy; keep us in harmony.

Full of love towards God, O blessed one, you loved your neighbor as yourself. Therefore you also struggled, and deposed the worker of hate, O Nikephoros, taking refuge in Christ.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!